The Deep Spiritual Work of Online Dating: Claim the Truth About Your Belovedness

A number of my friendships with men that had started online either fizzled out slowly or ended with a big bang. But my friendship with “Sam,” who I’d met on eHarmony, was one I wanted to last. We’d connected during the pandemic and since we lived a few states apart from each other, our relationship had grown mostly over the phone. Sometimes text, sharing songs and YouTube videos. Sending the occasional online article. Sam and I could talk for hours about writing, and family, and sports, and health, and social issues, and Jesus. We had really hit it off and had even enjoyed a two-hour conversation just a few days before a big bang explosion abruptly ended our friendship. Although we were both fond of each other, it became suddenly clear we wanted different things. And in space of three curt texts, we were done.

Cue the voice of the one who lies.

You’re not worth knowing.

You’re not worth sticking around for.

You’re not worth loving.

But here’s the thing: I recognized the voice of the enemy and I knew better. I knew in my head and in my heart that I was God’s beloved. I’ve earned the seminary degree, I’ve authored the Christian living book, and I’ve assured countless other women of their inherent irrefutable belovedness. And yet what I’ve discovered over the years about the sinister voice of the enemy is that its wily power can circumvent what we know to be true in our heads, and even what we’ve experienced of God’s love in our hearts, as those wily lies sink into our deep places.

As other unwanted endings had done, the end of this friendship that started on eHarmony resonated with hurts buried in my deep places. From when my birthparents relinquished me for adoption as an infant. Or when my adoptive father left our home and took a job across the country. When my stepfather left our home several years later. And, ultimately, when my husband left the home we’d shared with our three children eighteen years into a marriage that had been, for the most part, pretty good.

So when Sam abruptly ended our friendship, it stung. And even though God had already done such beautiful healing work of those old hurts, the deceiver capitalized off that difficult dating moment to lie about who I really am.

Maybe you’ve experienced something similar. Perhaps the fun chat with a guy who suddenly ghosts you feels oddly familiar. Or maybe the experience of getting stood up at the Mexican restaurant triggers an old hurt. Or maybe it’s the awful silence of simply not getting the interest from men you want to receive. So many of the disappointments and rejections of online dating can trigger our old wounds and irritate our scars, those earlier hurts that God has been gracious to heal.

Beloved, I want to remind you who you really are and let you know that you do not have to be bossed around by the deceiver’s lies:

You are God’s beloved.

There’s nothing you can do to be more worthy of love than you already are.

You are accepted, received, and embraced

—in this moment and all others—

by one whose love does not, cannot, fail.

God sees you. God hears you. God knows you. God loves you.

Nothing can separate you from God’s love.

In every moment the voice of Jesus whispers,

“I am the One who is with you and for you.”

Now and forever, you are loved beyond all measure.

If it sounds too good to be true, read it again. Then speak it out loud, in the first person, “I am God’s beloved. There’s nothing I can do to be more worthy of love than I already am…” Memorize it. Repeat it until it saturates your deep places.

And when you do notice that the enemy of your soul is bullying you with lies, know that God’s truth can, and does, set you free.

First, identify the lie that’s bullying you. Grab a journal and write it down.

Maybe the enemy whispers, “You have little to offer.”

Maybe the deceiver hisses, “You’re not attractive enough.”

Or maybe Satan shouts, “No one will ever love you.”

Ask the Spirit to guide you, and write down every lie that comes into your mind. I also suggest you open up a note on your phone so that you can “catch” these lying thoughts as they surface in your mind throughout the day, so that you can return to them later and deal with them.

Second, ask God what is more true than the lie you’ve believed. Often you’re going to hear God gently speaking truth to your heart through Scripture,

You are mine…I will be with you…You are precious and honored in my sight, and…I love you… — Isaiah 43:1-4

Other times you might hear echoes of a human voice — a parent, a grandparent, the mom of a friend — who spoke truth to your soul, “Sweetie, there’s nothing I would change about who you are.” You might even hear God’s holy voice echoing through a song that rises up in your heart. God can speak to you in countless ways.

Finally, choose to claim what is most true about who you are. Decide to actively live into the truth of your identity. Maybe you will pull out your craft supplies and string a beaded necklace that reads, “BELOVED.” Or maybe you’ll Sharpie a message on a post-it note that hangs on your bathroom mirror, echoing God’s heart toward you, “I am for you.” Or maybe you’ll simply text a friend, “Today I choose for the truth that God knit me together in my mother’s womb and God delights in who I am.”

Precious sister, online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. And while the bumps and bruises you face on the dating journey may sting, you can have confidence that you are, and always will be, God’s beloved.

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Written for Faith.Full by Margot Starbuck, author of The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating.

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Your Turn

Are you single and hoping for a healthy and happy relationship? How about online dating? Have you tried it? If so, what was your experience? No matter what, are you resting in your belovedness? Come share with us on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck, a New York Times bestselling writer, is the author of the forthcoming Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating: Lessons Learned While Swiping Right, Snapping Selfies, and Analyzing Emojis (Thomas Nelson, August 2020). And while she never would have chosen to be a veteran of 16 dating sites, she’s thankful for all she’s learned on the journey. Margot lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Follow Margot Starbuck on:   Facebook   Website

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