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Photo courtesy of Nattu via Flickr

Finding Spiritual Freedom In Dating

Photo courtesy of Nattu via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Nattu via Flickr

Freedom is the ability to be who we truly are at the core of our character in Christ.

When we are authentically our true selves, we can enjoy dating because we have nothing to lose and we are able to walk out our deeper character with confidence. Essentially, we stop apologizing for who we are, and insecurities don’t weigh us down.

Instead, we show up, and fear does not control our lives as we are able to pour this level of self-acceptance from ourselves into our relationships. With freedom, we step out of the emotional prison of insecurity and enjoy our relationships with an “open hand” because we trust in God’s timing and the Lord’s plan for our lives, and we know that everything is unfolding as it should, for a reason.

If this sounds too ideal, then let’s take a look at three important steps in the journey to finding spiritual freedom.

Step One: Acknowledge and heal emotional strongholds.

Do you have emotional anchors weighing you down? Do you have negative thoughts or “lies” you have bought into about your own limitations or your lack of worthiness? For example, you may not feel like you deserve your heart’s desires. Instead, you settle for unhealthy relationships or waste valuable time in activities that hinder your spiritual growth, such as compulsive shopping, pornography, emotional eating and so on. With such emotional strongholds, you may not believe you are worthy, and you will settle for less than you deserve. As a result, you will deviate from God’s greatest blessings. To find freedom, we can surrender these emotional strongholds to the Lord for healing and step into our true God-given potential. When we do this up front—unloading and healing—then we stop the process of dragging unresolved emotional baggage into our relationships.

Step Two: Look at patterns in your previous relationships.

If you look at past relationships, there is a common denominator, and that is you! Who were you in all of your relationships? Did you like the role you played? One helpful exercise is to sit down and list the people you have dated as you examine who you were in these relationships. We find spiritual freedom in dating by stepping out of old patterns that are not reflective of what is good for us. The people who are in our lives are not there by accident. Instead, we send signals to new individuals we meet, and we start patterns of attraction. What signals are you sending? If you are not happy with the results, then it is time to look at these patterns as you then surrender unhealthy roles and step into the freedom of healthy relationships.

Step Three: Grow in your authentic character.

Not everyone will like you. In this lifetime—even if you work hard at being the nicest person—there will be people who will think you are “too nice” or even “fake.” When you are true to God and yourself, you stop this process of apologizing for who you are. Instead, you step into the freedom to be your authentic self. This level of confidence includes the ability to stop comparing yourself to other people. As a result of walking in freedom around who you truly are, you have a better understanding of what you want and don’t want, and what is good for you. When you are true to yourself and God, you stop wasting time in situations or with people who are not good influences on your character. Instead, you learn to invest your energy wisely. With this level of freedom, you stop the pattern of constantly trying to “please” everyone around you. With this level of clarity, when true love shows up in your life, you will know it and can invest wisely in this relationship.

As we learn to navigate through life with wisdom—knowing who we really are and what is good for us—we become the eagle soaring above many energy-draining situations. When we find the “inner eagle” in ourselves, we can stop wasting time on “chickens” or even “turkeys.” Essentially, with spiritual freedom, we find our eagle nature and attract another eagle into our lives.

About Cathy Patterson-Sterling

Cathy Patterson-Sterling is a Christian counselor with a counseling ministry called Real Life Tool Box. She is an author, speaker, wife, mother and friend. Through her counseling ministry, she offers more than 50 e-learning audio play courses to help people grow in faith and have their healthiest relationships. She is passionate about helping people find freedom from fear or other emotional strongholds that are holding them back from living out their greatest potential in God's plans for their lives.
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