Are You Afraid of Commitment… or Something Else?
How many times have you heard that said of someone in regards to dating and relationships?
But I wonder.
It’s not that I think people are lying when they say this – at least not to other people – but I do wonder if they’re lying to themselves.
“I just don’t think I’m ready for a commitment.”
Of course, you most certainly should feel confident about a serious relationship commitment before proceeding. Sadly, many who do feel confident later discover it was only a feeling. They really weren’t ready.
Indeed, if you doubt your readiness for a serious commitment I would urge you to consider whether you should be dating at all.
“I just don’t have time for that kind of commitment.”
Though this may be true in many cases, might I suggest that some conveniently pull the “commitment card” because they know it’s an accepted excuse for withdrawing from a relationship without further question.
However, more than commitment, I have begun to suspect it’s relational intimacy many of us are afraid of. We desperately want to grow closer, but we don’t think we can afford to get too close. We’re afraid to let our guard down and allow someone to get to know who we really are.
Many of us don’t even know ourselves. But we know enough. Enough to know we have weaknesses. And fears. And failures. And sin.
But admitting that (even in the vaguest sense in which I just did) already requires more vulnerability than really seems prudent, and so we say…
“I’m afraid of commitment.”
When the truth is, we’re just plain scared.
And some of you have good reason. Your parents have let you down. Your whole family has let you down. Your friends have. Coaches and teachers have. The church has. And yes, past loves have let you down as well.
And so your heart aches for healing that seems illusive. (Can you see how dangerous dating could be for someone in this situation?)
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it can’t be that way if you want to walk in the high calling God has placed on your life.
Do you believe God can heal you?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Do you believe God actually brought His beloved son back from the dead?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Yes! This is the God of the resurrection! His healing power is perfect, infinite and unchanging. Your pain is not. The God who can calm the sea can calm your soul!
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Do you believe that? Really?
I hope so, because if you can believe in this God, you have someone you can trust to walk you through the process of growing in intimacy. And you can avoid the siren call of the numerous intimacy impostors who will tempt you to abandon this arduous endeavor.
Hope this blog series becomes a signpost along your journey. Next week we’ll look at the daunting requirements for healthy intimacy. Then we’ll compare them to the seemingly easy prerequisites for the intimacy impostors.
- Have you ever said, “I’m afraid of commitment”? Do you think that’s really what you’re afraid of? Why or why not?
- Is letting someone know the “real you” scary? If so, why? (list the reasons) If not, who knows the “real you”? (list them)
- If you’ve been hurt by loved ones in the past, what have you done to deal with that hurt? Is there a next step you feel you should take? Would you pray for the courage to take that step?
[This is post is part of a series called Relation^ology (it begins with this post) where we identify the greatest relational need of our heart and then ID the counterfeits we seek out or settle for instead. Relation^ology started out as a discussion series and can be booked for your college, youth or young adults group (or singles group, life group, cell group, community group or whatever they’re calling Bible study these days).]
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!