FEATURE ARTICLE BY SAVANNAH BOLLER
P & T chats with Savannah, student leader at Nexus youth & goalkeeper for Brisbane Roar Youth Squad.
P & T: "As a 16 year old in high school, what’s your perspective on dating?"
Savannah: "Dating: What even the heck is it? I mean I can’t say i’ve been on a billion dates or dated a thousand guys (literally none.) But i’m a teenager who, among group chats and friends, manages to talk a heck of a lot about it.
‘He should just ask her out.’ ‘They are so on the tune.’ ‘They fully made out on Friday night. It’s not a thing though.’ ‘Guess who looked at me today?!’ ‘He walked with me to class. I bet he’s going to ask me to the formal now.’
It’s as if every second conversation is about relationships and dating.
I think our definition of dating has significantly changed over time. It seems this generation of ours sees dating as toe dipping in 100 different guys simultaneously to see which one may be right. Our culture has seen a shift from guys respectfully and boldly taking a girl on a date to get to know her, to tuning and flirting over messenger without ever actually meeting her - then hooking up at a party where they meet for the first time.
Dating and relationships have become opportunities for self gratification and momentary satisfaction.
I believe this is a far cry from how God wants us to see it. I believe that in every relationship, romantic or not, we must pursue love. That means sacrificing for the other person; giving more than you take; respecting boundaries and honouring the other person’s value and worth.
For me, I see dating as a means to get to know someone beyond acquaintance, because there is mutual feelings beyond friendship."
P & T: Ok, tell us, how do you handle it all in high school?
Savannah: By being a salmon. But seriously.
Salmon float upstream. Against the current.
/// Romans 12 : 2 ///
“Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”
For me it is actively choosing the will of God - by always fixing my attention on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. It’s choosing what He wants in all my relationships, not just the romantic ones. And by seeking His will we are transformed, ‘from the inside out.’ It’s choosing then to speak about, and act upon relationships not as flings and self gratifying opportunities, but opportunities to love and sacrifice and model Christ to each other.
P & T: Any advice for us, Sav?
Savannah: Please be friends.
Don’t dip your toes: leading people on, flirting with a bunch of people. Whoever it is that gets left behind is always hurt. Make sure you're clear with your intentions with people, in word and action (and text!)
There is no rush. Don’t jump into a relationship in school.
Just because everyone around you seems to be in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you have to be.
There are more fish in the sea outside of school. Friendship with intention should be precious, not forced.
No but seriously. It is so socially accepted and almost encouraged nowadays to be physically intimate not only in a committed relationship outside of marriage, but for flings and one night stands. I mean I had a friend back in year 8, who met a random at a music festival. Nek minnut, I turn around and they’re making out in the corner. Like ok it’s “just kissing”, but it begins to go beyond that. It may be celebrated in our culture but God calls us to keep that intimacy inside marriage. Because ultimately it’s going to hurt even more if you don’t stay together. There is a spiritual element when you have sex with someone. The bible talks about it as a man and woman becoming ONE. My mum explained it well, saying that if that relationship is broken, you take a part of someone else and they take a part of you.
So sure, maybe you’re not going all out with someone and you don’t intend to, but it can be so easy to accidentally become that if we don’t make boundaries and make them known to each other. Pursue Him before you pursue him.
They should be more in love with Christ than you, so they can love you better. Same goes for you. Love Him (big H) above him (little h), so you can love him better.
The guy you’re consumed in isn’t worth 8 years of worry and thought if it isn’t drawing you closer to Christ.
Keep your eyes fixed on Christ, then you know His will. Just because he is an awesome Godly guy, it doesn’t mean it’s God-honouring to pursue him.
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