I cannot control other people. The only thing I can control is myself.

11/14/2017 .
Reannah Sartoris  .  Saddleback Singles Leadership Team

“It’s not you. It’s me.” How many times have you said this line? Or been on a date where you wished you had a quick exit line? I've been on my fair share of bad dates and, over time, I've realized something: while this line may seem cliché, it's actually true!

 Many of my dates had their own issues or hang ups that made them hard to get to know. For example, I once met a guy who only texted me work selfies and videos of him singing in the car. Every. Day. While fun at first, we never had a real conversation -- he never asked about me and I never got to know much about him.

 Another bad date included a guy talking about his ex-girlfriend the entire time. They had just broken up and emotions were still fresh. I found myself playing counselor and consoler instead of someone flirty and fun. Again, we never got to know much about each other.

 I quickly concluded that these experiences revealed their issues and not mine and I would stop dating them. But I still kept having bad dates. I couldn't figure out why, until I had a personal revelation:

 I cannot control other people.

 Wait, sounds too obvious and simple, right? But it was so true.

 I cannot control other people.

The only thing I can control is myself.

 The truth of the matter is, the only common denominator of all these bad dates was ME.

 The only way I could change this cycle of bad dates was to look at myself. Why was I making these choices? What kind of attention was I seeking? What need was I trying to fill?

 There is no way to eliminate bad dates. (If you find a way - let us know!) But what I had to learn how to do is answer my questions above and learn how to filter out the bad dates quicker.

Please know, this wasn't always easy.

 I read books. (Like this one and this one.) I started a single women's small group. I continue to talk to mentors and godly women in my life for advice and prayer.

 Over time, I started to have more good dates. And once you have a good date and are treated well, it's hard to go back and accept anything less!

 Once I focused on who I was and who God wants me to be, the more I was attracted to godly, like-minded men.

 So now, I’m realistic. I don’t expect a relationship to be easy, but I do expect it to be healthy. The hard part is, healthy takes work, and you have no control over whether other people are or aren’t willing to work on themselves.

 Let’s face it: we’ve all got STUFF. We can be Christian and need counseling. We can be godly AND be messy. It’s okay - you just have to be willing to grow into who God wants you to be. God says in Isaiah, “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs, in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

 God’s best for our lives is better than anything we could plan for ourselves. I won’t settle for anything less, and neither should you. Listen to God, keep His Word, seek godly counsel, and His path for your life will be made clear.