D5X: Extreme Dating Fitness for Christian Men, Part 3: Confidence
Nota Bene: this is Part 3 of a 5-part series that I have, inspired by Tony Horton, decided to call D5X: The Extreme Dating Fitness Program for Christian Men. If followed to the letter, it is a program that will get your relationship muscles trained and ripped in just five days. (Hopefully, your most important muscle—your heart—will not get ripped. If it does, there is no money-back guarantee. But Jesus will be there for you.)
I’m writing primarily to Christian men who are young, single, and in college. Oh, and ones that generally don’t want to be considered socially inept, creepers, or cowards.
If you haven’t yet read my previous post, “Debunking the Ministry vs. Matrimony Myth,” you might want to do that now. You will find it in the September archives. Among other things, it explains the biblical and philosophical rational for pursuing marriage and why I—a 37 year old single man with a receding hairline and odd appreciation for Nicholas Sparks books—have a right to speak to this issue. If, however, you don’t think I do, then go read one of the million books on how to raise godly kids by couples whose kids are still toddlers. Or just start a blog and write your own posts attacking my ideas, which will inevitably drive traffic to my site. And if that happens, my friend: checkmate.
Ready to move ahead? Okay! Let’s decide. Commit. And succeed together!
I have a friend—we’ll call him Clark, because—when he was in college—he was a dating Superman. With blonde-haired, Gap ad good looks and a Greek god-like physique, he was a hit with the ladies. In fact, he was more than a hit. He was like a triple platinum selling album, as every kind of co-ed—from sorority pledges and baristas to waitresses and cheerleaders—ranked him at the top of their charts. He had no trouble getting dates—even less trouble getting attention. Back then, he was supremely confident—even cocky. Why? Because a wink, a smile, a “how you doing?”—little else was needed to get the girl. But, as Clark would later tell me, it was the wrong kind of girl. The kind that is rich with looks, but bankrupt of character.
Then he re-dedicated his life to Christ, left college, and everything changed. He found a new reason to lack confidence and doubt himself. Simply put, he found a reason to fear. So, what is he afraid of?
The single girl who loves Jesus.
Clark is attracted to a girl named Lois (not her real name). She is beautiful, godly, intelligent, friendly, and pretty much amazing. The other day, he called to tell me he’d run into her at Target.
“How’d it go?” I asked. “Did you ask her out?”
“No,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked.
To which this former Man of Steel replied: “I was terrified.”
Terrified. Behind closed doors, even the most confident Christian man will admit that the idea of asking out a godly Christian woman is…unnerving, to say the least. This, I think, is because a godly Christian man is both humble and charitable. On the one hand, he thinks: “I know my own heart. I am only too aware of my own sin. Why would this amazing girl want to be with me? On the other hand, he may be charitable to a fault—perhaps a bit too idealistic. Many Christian men I know think the world of their sisters in Christ—and they should! There is something about godly femininity that is captivating, energizing, intoxicating, and intimidating! But this tendency to idolize women and put them on a pedestal—it can trick an otherwise rational man into thinking he doesn’t have a chance. (Incidentally, this was my first thought upon meeting Kasia. But I overcame that thought by concluding, “Hey, I’ll risk my heart, and if God wants to be gracious to me, I’ll take it!)
But, my Christian brother, know this: you do have a chance. In fact, you have more than a chance. You have, in the words of Ronald Reagan, a “rendez-vous with destiny.” For as that great dating guru says in the movie Hitch: “no woman wakes up thinking ‘Gosh, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today.’”
She wants you to ask, dear brother. She just doesn’t know it yet.
Therefore, you must act. You must screw up your courage and secure a first date. In my experience, there are five things you can do to help you accomplish this:
First, pray out loud—and make it a kind of pep talk for yourself. Obviously, you can’t do anything without God’s help. Jesus says, “you have not, because you ask not.” Ask God to help you screw up your courage. Ask him to give you the kind of faith that moves mountains—and fearlessly asks amazing Christian girls out on dates.
But here’s the twist: pray out loud. The old Southern Baptist preacher Vance Havner once said, “You having doubts? Well, don’t let yourself talk to you. You talk to yourself!” Praying out loud is a way to silence that doubting, sniveling, cowardly inner voice that is causing you to lose heart.
Pray something like this: O Sovereign Lord, hear my prayer! You, who changed my heart of stone into a heart of flesh, please—for the moment—reverse that process! Let my heart be as a rock! Steady! Solid! Unshaking! O mighty God, in your hand the heart of Pharaoh was like a tributary, which you turned in whatever direction you willed! You made the Egyptians favorably disposed to the Israelites, so that your people plundered their booty! Even so, great and awesome God, turn my heart in the direction of faith and courage. And, Sovereign King, make (enter the name of the single Christian woman of your choice) favorably disposed toward me and my romantic advances. Make me strong and courageous, O God! Grant success, sovereign Lord! I believe! I believe! Help me in my unbelief!
(Incidentally, I have no problem with praying that God overrides the free will of the object of your affection by a sovereign act of his irresistible grace. I guess that’s the Calvinist in me. Plus, some guys need all the help they can get.)
Second, play an inspiring song right before you ask the girl out. Almost nothing stirs the emotions and strengthens the heart like a good eighties arena rock anthem or a selection from the original soundtrack of your favorite motion picture. As far as rock anthems are concerned, I’m a big fan of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twister Sister or ““Right Now” by Van Halen. If you want something a little less intense, but still upbeat, you can’t go wrong with “It’s Not Over (‘Til It’s Over) by Starship or “Born to Run” by The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Of course, if your liberty of conscience doesn’t permit you to be motivated by secular music, you could try “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins or “The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
The truth is, I have always relied very heavily on instrumental music without lyrics. As a freshman in high school, I got myself juiced to ask an upperclassman girl to homecoming by blasting the theme song to Superman from my boom box (the benefit of this selection is that you can pretend your pulling your shirt open and imagine a big red V on your chest. Or an L. Or J. Or whatever is appropriate.) Other effective scores include those from Braveheart, Glory, Far and Away, and of course, Star Wars. Battlestar Galactica (from the original 1980 series) has also served me well. And I resolved to ask Kasia out after listening to the opening credits of The Rocketeer.
In fact, that one is so great, you should go listen to it right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzNhQefDvH0
Third, perform an inspiring scene from one of your favorite movies right before you ask her out. You might want to make sure you are alone for this one. The important thing is to really get in character, draw from the character’s strength, and then pick up your cell phone and call the girl before reality again rears its ugly head. I can’t really tell you which scene is going to work for you. I was born in 1973 and was 5 years old at the height of the Star Wars craze. So, if I was using this method now to help me ask Kasia out, I’d probably pick that one scene at the Death Star:
[Door to prison cell opens. Princess Leia looks depressed and forlorn. Luke Skywalker walks in, disguised as a storm trooper.]
Princess Leia: Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?
Luke Skywalker: What? Oh, the uniform!
[Luke pulls helmet off, revealing his valiant and heroic identity.]
Luke Skywalker: I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you!
I’d perform that scene a couple times. And, as I dialed, I’d take a deep breath and repeat, “I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you. I. Am. Luke. Skywalker. And. I’m. Here. To. Rescue. You. I AM LUKE SKYWALKER AND I’M HERE TO RESCUE YOU!
Not a Star Wars fan? Scenes from Braveheart, Spider-Man, The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, and, of course, The Karate Kid will work just fine, too. It’s your call.
Fourth, punch something. Not someone, mind you. Something: a wall. A slab of concrete. A tree. Sheets of ice. Large cuts of frozen lean beef. A 42 inch inflatable Batman and Robin bop bag. It doesn’t really matter. The heavily testosterone-infused exercise will generate adrenaline and dopamine and the endorphins will put you into a better, more positive state of mind. You’ll be more likely to actually follow through with your plan. Afterward, if she doesn’t say yes, that’s when you can consider hitting someone.
Finally, make it about serving her, not satisfying yourself. In all seriousness, this is really my most important point. When we ask women out, we are often nervous and fearful. Why? Because we don’t want to experience rejection. (Who does?) But you can neutralize your fear of rejection if you view your offer of a date as an opportunity to serve her, not feel good about yourself.
This is what I mean: when I realized I wanted to ask Kasia out, I was nervous. I mean, she’s an amazing woman—beautiful, holy, confident, a doctor—and I hadn’t really been interested in anyone for a long time. But I hadn’t forgotten what it felt like to really like someone and be disappointed by her lack of response. On top of that, I didn’t really enjoy the thought of being rejected.
But then it occurred to me: why does it have to be about me? Why can’t I see this as an opportunity to serve a Christian sister? I’ll ask her out. I’ll make it my goal to bless her, to encourage her, and if nothing else, to provide her with an enjoyable night of meaningful conversation and good laughs. And if she chooses to pass on the offer, that’s fine. I don’t have to take it as a personal affront or rejection. It just means she didn’t feel led to accept my offer to serve her. I’ll live.
Trust me, fellas. I know what it feels like to experience unrequited love. But if you are paralyzed by a fear of rejection, one that is keeping you from actively pursuing a fine Christian woman, then your ego is exercising way too much influence.
Check your ego at the door, purpose to serve her, and you’ll soon discover the boldness you’ve been looking for. I promise.
And don’t forget about the Rocketeer.
Wednesday: stating intentions
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