ep. 39 | Dating with Randi Beth Burton
On today’s episode of the Journeywomen podcast, I chatted with Randi Beth Burton about all things dating. Taking me out of my comfort zone! Randi Beth schooled this old married lady on the newest dating fads and I learned a lot! But more importantly, we sought to look at the awkward experience of dating through the lens of the Gospel. We didn’t hit a lot of practicals, because we figured ya’ll have already been inundated with that, and we admittedly don’t have many tips there anyway. But, we can offer you the refreshing truth of the Gospel that is your hope as you navigate all of life, including dating. Listen to what Randi Beth said,
“It’s so much better for me to look at the situation where God has me and be content in that and love that because He is a good God and He has me there for a purpose. And that purpose is is knowing Him and experiencing intimacy with Him.”
Randi Beth is 32, single with 2 awesome roommates and a dog, and she lives in New Braunfels, TX. Randi Beth does Marketing for T Bar M Camps and Retreats. She loves seeing the way God uses camp to impact the lives of the campers who attend, the counselors who serve them all summer, and their families. She has a small group of high school girls that she leads and does life with, which is one of her great blessings in this season of life.
The Gospel meets us wherever we’re at, regardless of our life season. This conversation is actually the third of five episodes we’re putting out on the topic of relationships. So, if you’re new, be sure to hop back to last week’s episode on singleness with Becca Harris and subscribe to the podcast to catch next week’s episode on marriage!
Can you tell us a little about who you are, what you do, and what your life looks like?
Dating can be such an uncertain, awkward thing. While it’s something that Scripture certainly helps us navigate, there aren’t explicit Scriptures that pertain to this cultural transition from singleness into marriage. How can we, as Christian women, firmly establish ourselves in the Gospel as we navigate a situation as uncertain as dating relationships?
I remember insecurities coming up in my dating relationships. How do we date with hope in the Gospel and confidence in who we are in Christ Jesus?
How can the Gospel actually free us up to handle the different opinions that people maintain on the practicalities of dating? (For ex: semantics/terminology, methodology, manner of going about things that aren't clear in Scripture... the gray areas)
What are some things that Scripture does actually mandate when it comes to dating?
What is the ultimate hope we have as we date?
THREE QUESTIONS I ASK EVERY GUEST
- What 3 resources would you recommend for someone who is currently dating?
- What are 3 of your simple joys?
- Who has had the biggest influence on your own journey with Jesus?
“I think a lot of times people feel like if you date online it’s like you’re taking this into your own hands, but that is not the heart in it for a lot of people, it’s become so normal. I heard a statistic the other day that 1 in 3 relationships these days begins online!”
“Have you heard the saying, ‘God doesn’t move parked cars?’ I have the mentality that I don’t want to just sit and wait for God to bring me someone. I do trust Him in this process, but I think there’s great value in going out on dates and learning more about yourself through that process, what you’re looking for in someone else and how to articulate the things that are important to you and presenting yourself in that way and manner.”
“When I think about my purpose in life, sometimes I can make dating my purpose, and not just dating, but marriage.”
“I know that marriage is this covenant picture we have on earth of our relationship with God and how Christ loves the Church, and so I have a great desire to have that, and eventually I desire to raise children to know the Lord too. But that’s not my purpose.”
“If we talk about the big picture of the gospel there’s 3 questions every man and woman must ask in life, regardless of if you’re a Christian or not, these are just human questions. Where did we come from and who are we, what has gone wrong with the world, and what can we do to fix it? Everyone has their own answer to these questions...people of all worldviews agree that the world is not as it should be, we just disagree with what that problem is. With Christianity, the gospel answers these questions for us. We know and acknowledge that we were created by God in His image, His image bearers, and even before the fall, before sin, He said to go out into the world, multiply, and subdue it. That’s what He tells us to do even before the fall, but then we have sin. That’s what has gone wrong with the world, Genesis 3 happened and sin is the problem. What can we do to fix it? God did that for us. We’re saved by a God who died for us in order to restore us. So, Jesus changed everything and He gave us a purpose with 2 simple words, ‘Follow Me’, and that changed everything. When I became a Christian that’s what I’m saying I’ll do...follow Him.”
“Going back to dating, we kind of think of our relationship with God as a transactional relationship, like ‘Lord I’ll do this and in return You’re going to bless me in this way’, and the natural order of life that happens most often is (childhood, high school, college or a job, marriage, children, repeat)...I end up getting upset with God because I feel like He didn’t uphold His end of the contract. Look at all this I’ve done! Why have you not given me this at this time? But the reality is if you do look at it as a contract, when I was becoming a Christian God gave me a piece of paper that was blank and said ‘Follow Me’ and I signed that regardless of what life looks like.”
“...trust the Lord with His timing and the way He is growing you as a person.”
“I wouldn’t trade the times when I’ve experienced intimacy with the Lord and the growing that comes from that for anything.”
“It’s so much better for me to look at the situation where He has me and be content in that and love that, because He is a good God and He has us there for a purpose, which is knowing Him and intimacy with Him.”
“I think about some of the insecurities that can come up in dating…’are my standards too high?’...‘Am I not good enough?’...And then it gets deeper, ‘am I not hearing God correctly?’ I can be at a wedding sitting in the pew and sometimes I get this twinge of ‘Why hasn’t God done that for me?’ and at its root there’s sin. That’s envy or distrust and I have a choice then what to do with that thought. I can let it rob me of my joy in the moment or I can turn it into a prayer expressing my desire, clinging to trust in God’s leading and plan in my life.”
“There’s this great quote by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity-- ‘I’m sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.’ If C.S. Lewis were alive I would have to ask his forgiveness because he’s not talking about dating in this quote (I think he’s talking about church denominations!) but I like it because he paints this picture of a man in a hallway, and the thing the man is seeking is behind a door, yet God has him in the hallway waiting. So he wants to enter through the door but this is where God has him. And he says, ‘When you do enter your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light, and above all you must be asking which door is the true one, not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.’”
“I’m praying for light and asking the Lord which door is the true one: is it this man or that man, is it singleness? I want the true one and I want to choose joy in the midst of me being in the hallway.”
“God gave His people the law, this standard He wanted His people to abide by, and it was laborious...it was a standard no man could achieve. God, knowing this, even set about standards in which you could purify yourself so that you could commune with God because He so desires to ‘tabernacle’ with us, to dwell with us, and so there were standards and sacrifices put in place so that we could be purified. With His Son, in Jesus’ life death and resurrection, He made it possible for us to know Him without the need for sacrifice. So, going back to the law, Jesus helped clarify some of these things for us. He said, ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ (Matthew 5:27-28) Jesus came to fulfill the law, so it’s not hopeless for us that we can’t achieve these standards--He paid that penalty and now we’re free from sin--but what we do see is that Jesus is about the intent of the heart.”
“In any grey area or semantic of dating, the intent of your heart is what is important.”
“Scripture says the heart is deceitful, so there are two really good tests or thermometers for this. The first is God’s Word. God doesn’t speak to everything in the Bible, there are things that aren’t clear, but knowing scripture and knowing the heart of the Father, which is revealed in His Word, can provide illumination to these grey areas. ‘Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.’ I like to think about grey areas that way. I don’t search scripture to specifically answer whatever that question is because I might not find it, but what I can do is put scripture in my heart and ask myself what this says about God and how He designed things and created them to be.”
“I don’t think dating is just between you and the other person...you should let people in on that. You need people to hold you accountable.”
“If you find yourself in a dating relationship and you’re worried about what your friends might think, that’s a red flag.”
“Scripture is very clear about fleeing from sexual immorality...that’s a pretty big piece to put over your dating relationship. Our culture perpetuates that, it’s totally normal and even celebrated to not suppress your sexual desires, and that is everywhere that we look.”
“I have walked with many women who have made mistakes in this area or tricked themselves in the moment to say this is good for me and regretted it afterward, so I understand the weight of that and the temptation to succumb to that, and God is merciful even in those times. He is faithful and there is forgiveness and healing in that and redemption on the other end of that.”
“We should be speaking into this, there are so many ministries who do this well and speak into the truth of abstaining from sex until marriage, that’s what God designed it for, and that is very clear in scripture. That’s not a grey area and Jesus took that back to the heart of the issue.”
“Self control is a fruit of the Spirit...When you realize it is, the only way that can be evident in my life is when I am abiding with God, and it always goes back to the heart issue."
“One of the hardest parts of walking with the Lord is confession, and yet it’s so freeing and necessary in our relationship with the Lord and our state of brokenness. You have to be honest. We talked about our heart being deceitful, so if it’s an issue of the heart, I have to be honest before the Lord in confessing that and there’s such peace and freedom on the other end of confession because forgiveness is there and it modifies your behavior. Not only with the Lord, but confessing with people. God asks us to confess our sins to one another, and that goes back to letting people in on your dating relationship as well, even if it’s one trusted friend that you say ‘you have permission to ask me the hard questions about my relationship.’”
“You have to communicate (to others) where your heart is in the midst of dating.”
“Solomon says in Ecclesiastes that God set eternity in the heart of man, so that’s what our heart really desires. I love the verse ‘delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’ (Psalm 37:4)...but that verse that can often be misquoted goes back to that prosperity thought that ‘if I delight in God He’ll give me what I want’. But really it’s that our hopes align with His...I love thinking about that in light of what Solomon said about eternity being in the heart of man, that’s truly what my heart desires and I was created for intimacy with the Lord, and I was created to desire that relationship.”
“As Christians, we’re given a new self and a new heart, and we thirst for that relationship (with God). But it’s like we ask for a candy bar when we really need fruit or a coke when we need water, and we do that with dating. But if we can experience intimacy with the Father through abiding with Him (He’s the vine, we’re the branches--John 15), then our dating relationship is much healthier because we’re not seeking to satisfy that longing with another person because it’s satisfied by God, as it should be.”
RANDI BETH'S RESOURCES
Scripture first and foremost
The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler
Love Song: A Study in the Song of Solomon by Tommy Nelson
How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson
RANDI BETH’S SIMPLE JOYS
"Sit Around Time"
Nephews and Niece
Connect with RANDI BETH
My friend Amanda Wilson started an Instagram account with a goal to show that “healthy” is attainable and sustainable. Eventually, this birthed ‘A. Wellness Note’, a bite size health resource subscription. Amanda is aware that healthy is not everyone’s hobby, but believes that it’s everyone’s responsibility to be a steward of their body. Through A. Wellness Note, she seeks to simplify overall wellness and equip you with knowledge and practical steps that will result in a healthy lifestyle. You can find Amanda on Instagram at @awilsonwellness and awilsonwellness.myshopify.com. Use the code JOURNEYWOMEN at checkout and get 10% off your initial subscription through March 19th. That’s JOURNEYWOMEN at checkout and get 10% off your subscription through March 19!
You've heard me talk about T Bar M and their awesome retreat offerings, but now it's February which means it's time to start thinking about summer camp! I can tell you from personal experience that the best weeks of my summer growing up and as a staffer in college were at summer camp and T Bar M is one of the best out there! For all you moms out there with school-aged children, you know you have months of summer to plan for your kids, so if you want to give your kids an experience that matters this summer, send them to T Bar M! Your kids will have a chance to step away from the craziness of life, jump into some serious fun, AND grow in their ability to love God and love others! T Bar M has Day Camps if you happen to be local to New Braunfels Texas, or overnight camps for campers 1st – 11th grade, or if you want to join in on the fun, too, we have incredible Family Camps. Go check them out at tbarm.org/journeywomen to learn all about it.
FOR MORE EPISODES OF JOURNEYWOMEN:
Subscribe on iOS, go to the iTunes page and subscribe to the Journeywomen Podcast. On Android, click this podcast RSS feed link and select your podcast app. You may need to copy the link into your favorite podcast app (like Overcast or Stitcher).
WRITE A REVIEW
Writing a review on iTunes will help other women on their journeys to glorify God find and utilize the podcast as a resource.
Talking with others about Journeywomen is the best way you can help! My prayer is that Journeywomen will serve as a resource as you share conversations with women about glorifying God through their own spiritual journey.
* Affiliate links used are used where appropriate.
Thank you for supporting the products that support Journeywomen! *