Your time at university could be the place where your calling comes alive! As disciples, we are called to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:14) wherever we find ourselves, whether in a relationship or not. Your view towards relationships as you prepare for university has the potential to help your calling come alive, or become a distraction from it.
Will your light shine before others? Or will it be hidden?
Sam and Viki from the Fusion team answer 5 questions that will help you to think through how you might approach relationships during your time at university. To read Sam’s perspective, click here. First up, it’s Viki.
Can I be truly happy when I’m single?
We often see ‘singleness’ as a problem to be solved. The classic question from a distant family member asking, “have you met any nice boys recently?” followed by “don’t worry sweetie, your time will come”, I’m sure, drives most of us insane. Singleness isn’t the issue, but these questions and our responses can point to the underlying struggle that isn’t solved by a relationship: discontentment.
Can you be truly happy when single? Honestly, if our hearts are chasing the next thing, then I’m not sure we can. But the call to let our light shine is not waived by our relationship status, and just as Jesus gave purpose to each of his disciples, single or not, he too gives purpose to us. With calling in mind, it’s not only happiness we can pursue, but freedom to find joy in every circumstance and shine our light with others.
Is my life complete without a relationship?
Some of the most influential, God-fearing and faith-filled people throughout the Bible were single.
In Exodus 1, Shiprah and Puah were countercultural and courageous when they chose to obey God instead of Pharaoh.
Throughout the Gospels, Mary Magdalene provided generously for Jesus and his disciples.
With her own book in the Bible, Esther was brave and obedient when she followed God’s call.
And of course, we have Jesus. Need I say more?
It is our identity as sons and daughters that completes us and gives us worth, and as you prepare for university, we pray that you know you are already enough, even before you step onto campus.
Who do I involve in my relationship?
Ever heard of rose-tinted glasses? Yeah, they are a thing. Sometimes our discernment of a potential boyfriend or girlfriend can be fogged by things as simple as how attractive they are, how intellectually ‘on it’ they are, or how expressive they are in worship. We may need a helping hand from people we trust to discern if the person we’re with is going to help us live out our calling or distract us from it.
A small group or mentor or a great place to start.
Inviting a few people who you love and trust to get to know the person you’re dating early on, is a helpful way of not only avoiding hurt later, but thriving in a potential relationship that encourages each person to come alive in their calling!
Should I be setting boundaries?
Boundaries are needed in all relationships. They help you work out and maintain your own values, whilst loving others like Jesus. As Fusion, we encourage you to consider what boundaries you’d like to establish both inside and outside of a relationship with your student worker in your local church. Here are some questions you might like to consider with them:
- Who are you allowing to speak into your relationship and life?
- How are you pursuing healthy friendships with the opposite sex?
- Do both of you want to wait until marriage to have sex? If so, how are you going to help each other to do that?
- How much time do you spend together/communicating with each other?
- Which friends/mentors are you going to remain accountable to?
What if it goes wrong?
Spoiler alert: things will go wrong. Some relationships will end, others will endure a time of long-distance. Eventual engagements may be delayed and oceans may separate you. The trend of “relationship goals” is a myth highlighted by Instagram timelines.
So what do you do when it goes wrong?
- Allow yourself to be sad: sometimes break-ups and goodbyes require chocolate and donuts with friends. That’s okay.
- Be open and honest with your closest friends and mentors about how you’re feeling. Denial isn’t going to help anything.
- Be thankful: in most scenarios there is good, whether it is something you learned about yourself, your commitment exemplified by dating long-distance or the memories you got to make.
- Speak well: process all the ugly feelings (we all have them) with your closest friends, but choose to speak well of and honour the other person. Even in hurt, we are still called to be a light. This is an opportunity to be countercultural in how you let your light shine before others, even if there wasn’t a ‘happy ending’.
- Commit to community: it’s easy to retreat and cut out community, but isolation is the enemy’s favourite tactic for the church. You don’t have to wear a fake smile or hide the tears, but continue to show up even on rough days.
Fusion is committed to preparing you well before you go to university. Why not reserve your place at our free Prep for Uni sessions now?
If you’d like to learn more about who God has called you to be, why not get a copy of A Call Less Ordinary?