How God is Teaching Me….Using “Tinder”

If you asked me yesterday what “Tinder” is, like any 65 year-old woman in the world I would have told you “No, what’s that? You mean the firewood?”.

I know very little about apps. My boss had to show me how to configure the Starbucks app, for crying out loud. $45 in gift cards and I wasn’t even getting rewards points for purchases. (Not bitter.) In my classes at Cedarville we learn about stages of adoption when it comes to a new technology. The lowest stage (and most oblivious group of consumers) are the laggards. I am an app laggard.

For all of y’all who don’t know what Tinder is I’m just going to give you this *head’s up: it’s a dating app, but not everyone uses it as a dating app. Some refer to it as a “hook-up app”, but of course it doesn’t have to be used this way. In the same way that Snapchat has been used for less moral things than sending your friends silly selfies, Tinder has been accused of being nothing less than a shady meet-up app, just a step up from Craiglist in terms of sketchiness. In my defense, I didn’t know the associations people had with Tinder until after I signed up and started clicking around. I’m not into hooking up anyways. I like “’til death do us part” too much for that.

Essentially, after you log in and allow Tinder to access your location, it provides you with a stack of potential dates a mile long. Where the ethically questionable aspect comes in is how you sort through all these potentials: that is, swiping left or right depending on how physically attractive you find their profile picture. If you find them attractive and they happen to find you attractive, then – Hooray! – you have a match. When you’re matched, you can chat with the person to your heart’s content.

I know what you’re thinking.

It’s shallow.
Just straight up wrong.
WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

I though the same thing. For me, online dating seems like a desperate last-ditch option that I would consider only 10 years from now. But you know what they tell you about not making decisions late at night? Last night at 12:30 it seemed like a good idea to explore the land of Tinder.

I immediately started clicking through guys like I was playing a card game, feeling slightly guilty for rejecting those I chose to. A couple guys caught my interest and I built up the nerve to click “Like”. Then I feel asleep, buzzing the way I do when someone tells me they like me.

I woke up to several matches in my inbox: some guys were interested. A rush of a feeling I couldn’t place hit me. Finding out someone thinks you’re cute is incomparable. Especially if you’re like me and don’t really consider yourself anything special to look at. For the hopeless romantic, when someone likes your face it’s the first step on the steep staircase to falling in love.

I spent my ENTIRE DAY getting repeatedly distracted from my online biology coursework. Guys were messaging me and I was messaging them back. I didn’t know much about them other than their age (always between the ages of 20-25), where they were located in proximity to me, (in miles) and whatever they chose to write in their bios.

What was the most terrifying aspect of this whole experience was how content I was to do nothing all day except wait for more guys to message me.

As guys I found attractive continued to click the “Like” button on my face in return, my list of matches got longer. My pride swelled.

Guys don’t line up for me in real life. What is this alternate universe where this cool hipster guy is taking time to message me and oh my gosh now he’s telling me about his Etsy store?!?

Communication on Tinder is awkward, at least it was for me. You’re both so guarded. You don’t know them, nor they you. You don’t tell them anything personal, but you want to get to know them and learn about what their heart beats for. It just takes a stupid long time to get there.

So I surrendered my entire day to a dating app.

One guy I was talking to and I had a conversation about Tinder while using Tinder. We both had recently joined and were questioning the point of it all. Tinder is shallow. Addicting. All-consuming. A skewed means of affirmation.

“Let’s delete it,” he concluded.

I wholeheartedly agreed. I spent a lot of time this afternoon thinking about how a Christian should view something like Tinder. I even looked up Christian blogs online to see what the general population of Christians believed to be true about the app.

You know what I found?

Nothing.

Not even Relevant, the premium source for hipster articles on everything from movies to marriage, had something to say about Tinder.

I know Tinder carries with it an inherent amount of shame. Even admitting I used it for a day kind of stings my pride. But why does it? It’s the 21st century for crying out loud. We’re not desperate, we’re just interested. We’re just curious…right?

The issue lies in motive. For me, Tinder is a quick-fix for the burden of loneliness. It’s a grab at satisfaction from yet another shallow source that I remind myself (ever so painfully) isn’t the Bread of Life.

For me, anything is better than being alone.

“Painfully extroverted” accurately describes my situation. I cling to any friends who meet my rather high standards and look for as much face time as I can get with them. Obviously this has terrible consequences because most of the time I tend to drift more closely to guy friends than I want to and someone gets hurt along the way.

I harbor a jealousy for introverts everywhere. They make it look so easy, being alone. They can sit for hours in relative silence, pondering whatever suits their fancy. Being by themselves doesn’t cripple them: it strengthens them. They emerge from bouts of solitude fresh-faced and ready to seize the day. Not so with me.

When I’m alone, my thoughts get increasingly more morbid and terrifying. When I’m alone, my once sunny disposition takes a turn for the worse. What once was tinged with a kaleidoscope of color looks like a disgustingly bland shade of nothing. When I’m alone, I don’t recognize myself. I’m not who I want to be. Like an addict addicted to human interaction, I reach out to friends, desperately craving their attention and affection. I hate how needy I become.

After spending all day on Tinder, my head was bogged down with thoughts and the increasingly more unappealing glow of my iPhone/stealer of joy/teller of lies seemed to be never far away. I went for a walk to clear my head.

I realized that finding contentment will always be a struggle for me. It won’t end if I find a guy or if I move to Nashville permanently. So how do I solve my satisfaction problem?

I become so enamored with Christ that I don’t even think to look up and around at the junk-painted-gold littering the world around me.

I went to a Jimmy Needham show with my lovely boss Tiffany the other day. Jimmy is one of her clients, so we went for support. I’d never seen a Jimmy show before, but I had met him for the first time about a week prior and liked him immediately. Infectiously funny, effortlessly kind. His show was an immense display of talent and humility. He took a break in the middle of his set to share his testimony, which was honest and moving. Then he started talking about being satisfied in Christ,

“Satisfied people don’t sin,” he said.

Wow. That hit be between the eyes.

“Jesus stands with his arms wide and says ‘I am the BREAD OF LIFE. EAT OF ME. Be satisfied.”

At that point I realized I was crying pretty hard. Because it hit home. Desperately, I wanted Christ more than sin. I wanted to flee from sin and flee straight into His arms.

I guess sometimes God does crazy things to teach you simple lessons. Sometimes we download Tinder in the middle of the night and waste a whole day just to realize that life is fine just the way it is and singleness is a blessing for however long a season it ends up being.

I can honestly say I’ve searched and come up wanting.

I just want Jesus.

in Christ,

ang

 

*If your reaction to the title of this blog was as violent as my friend Eddie when I told him, I’m sorry. It’s in my nature to care what you think. Immediately I feel the shame that, despite living in the 21st century, strangely comes along with using some form of untraditional dating technology. Perhaps the reaction you may or may not have just had [your curiosity dragging you to this blog…which, if that’s the case, I’ve got you exactly where I want you] upon hearing someone reference “Tinder” in public is due to the app’s connotations. I hope by writing about my experiences I’ve cleared up some confusion.

Hey here are some pictures! If you read this whole post I’m really proud of you and thankful that you care so much!

Percy Priest Lake
Percy Priest Lake
Church in downtown Franklin.
Church in downtown Franklin.
I just thought this was awesome. If you understand why, let's be friends.
I just thought this was awesome. If you understand why, let’s be friends.
IMG_5447
#CedarNash
Relics of my journey
Relics of my journey
This was a really, really cool day.
This was a really, really cool day.
Getting lost.
Getting lost.
The one and only.
The one and only.
The Dream 2014. SR.
The Dream 2014. SR.
KLOVE FAN AWARDS HYPE
KLOVE FAN AWARDS HYPE (note the bloody knees)
If you want to find love then you know where the city is
If you want to find love then you know where the city is
Le Parlor de Barista
Le Parlor de Barista
Dragon Park magic
Dragon Park magic
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10 Replies to “How God is Teaching Me….Using “Tinder””

  1. You know I tell you to be careful with these kinds of things and I’ll probably still tell you that in the future. haha But I think the lessons and discoveries in this blog post are amazing! God uses all kinds of things to draw us closer to him. There’s no need to feel bad about being curious about an app – it all depend on how you use it. And you know what, you learned a lot from that app and came to your own conclusion that deleting it was the wisest thing. It’s all good, girl! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your post is exactly what I needed to hear. I was having one of those “feel sorry for myself about being single” days, and I was thinking about redownloading tinder, even though I knew that for me it would be a quick fix to feeling lonely. All my friends are off getting married or going on dates, and I’m still here watching the bachelor in paradise with my mom on Monday nights (admittedly, when I could be spending my time in more fruitful ways). Thankfully I decided to google some articles to hear the various opinions about the app and its place in the Christian world. It’s funny because I had the same experience with tinder..downloading it at midnight, wasting an entire day on it, feeling ashamed for a little bit, and realizing it’s about your motives. It’s like you were inside my head when you wrote this article. This was a good reminder that if I’m finding my satisfaction and fulfillment in people, then finding a significant other still will not solve my problems. True contentment is found in Jesus alone. The only one who will never fail us. Also, I suggest not harboring jealousy for introverts for making being alone look easy. While I can sit in silence for hours, it’s doesn’t make my struggle of singleness any different than yours. I may not necessarily need people to feel rejuvenated, but I still yearn for a partner in life the way you probably do. The struggle is still very real. In fact, I hate to call it a struggle because right now it’s exactly what God has for me. I often just need to get out of the “God owes me a perfect match” mindset and be thankful for the abundance God has blessed me with. Thanks for the article, and btw Jimmy Needham is seriously the BEST. 🙂

  3. I can relate to most things you experienced. I tried it out for one day out of curiosity because I am an app freak 🙂 I felt the Holy Spirit thug at my heart Ps 139 and more where being quoted at me by the Lord’s still voice. May the love of Jesus increase and abound in your life and mine… Thanks for writing this 🙂 love and blessings!

  4. Thank you for this post. I have been debating whether or not I should get Tinder just because I’m curious about it. When I read your post, I felt the Holy Spirit convincing me because that what I’ve been thinking is curiosity, is really lack of trust in God. I need to learn to rest in God.

  5. This was me to a T. Thank you for writing this. Today is that Tinder day for me. Downloaded it at 2am because I was sad and lonely and missing my ex. I knew from the moment I downloaded it that I was really yearning for Christ, but I kept hiding. Satisfied people don’t sin. Contentment is my biggest problem too. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Love this post. I went through heartbreak recently and, with God’s help, I’ve really been able to get to a good place. But when moments of loneliness hit, that’s when I start considering downloading Tinder – I told myself that it was just to meet new people and make some new friends, but really it acted like a quick-fix for loneliness. I wasn’t ever going to do anything with those matches, it was just nice to be matched and feel cute or have a conversation with someone who may be interested in me. And I realized that that wasn’t okay. I love the quote in your blog post that said, “Sometimes we download Tinder in the middle of the night and waste a whole day just to realize that life is fine just the way it is and singleness is a blessing for however long a season it ends up being.” That’s literally what happened to me. And you know, those moments of loneliness still come sometimes, but when they do, I choose to focus on God’s love for me and on Jesus, who longs to have a relationship with me. And I’m learning to fall in love with God all over again. 🙂 Wonderful post!

    1. Thank you so much. I’m so glad that you were reminded of how the Lord longs to satisfy you. Rest in his love, dear friend 🙂

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