Date Night with Jesus

by gary-foote on June 4, 2011

My wife and I began dating our freshman year of college. We had been good friends before that though. We first met when we volunteered to be a part of a team of traveling Catholic youth evangelists. We worked together primarily as Catholic youth retreat leaders and Catholic youth conference speakers. When we weren’t “on the job,” I remember wanting to spend as much time with her as I could because she was such an amazing person, and I wanted to know everything about her. Part of our agreement with the organization that we worked with was not to date anyone while we served on the Catholic youth evangelist team. Not being able to date was a struggle, but we both honored our commitment and an incredible friendship blossomed during our year of service together.

 

By the time we started dating in college, I already knew a lot about her. But I just couldn’t help myself from wanting to know more. We were in a deep discussion early on in our relationship, and I forgot to go to one of my afternoon classes because I was so intrigued by what she had to say. I knew that I couldn’t make that a habit. As time went on, we joined a fraternity/sorority, got jobs on campus, volunteered in ministry, and decided to double-major while graduating early. Needless to say, the carefree days our first few weeks of dating quickly faded as our “free time” quickly diminished. I would still walk her to class in the morning, we would see each other in a few classes we had in common (purposely scheduled that way of course), and would call each other to say goodnight before we went to sleep. Although we made an effort to be in each other’s lives, we didn’t have any real quality time together. We sat down and had a long conversation about all of our commitments and how they “got in the way” of our relationship but were all too important to let go of. We both needed money to live on so jobs needed to stay, our fraternity/sorority provided us with friendships that we needed, and our class schedules were the reason that we were in college. Putting our heads together, we came up with a solution, “Thursday Night Date Night.” We made a commitment to one another that no matter what came up during the week, every Thursday night we would spend the whole evening together from 5:00 p.m. – no later that 12:00 a.m. We also decided that we would always go off-campus so that we would have quality time together without any interruptions. Eventually, our “date nights” became legendary on campus, and we had a following of people who would always ask us what we did come Friday morning. It was really funny to be “famous” for that. We were even asked to speak at an all campus seminar on relationships because of the success we were having. “Thursday Night Date Night” moved our relationship from two young adults who were curious about one another to two young adults who were passionately in love with each other and eventually without a doubt in either of their minds got married.

 

Even though we are married, older, and have kids we still try to find time for Date Nights. Unfortunately, they are not as intriguing as when we would go to neighboring states to try a new restaurant, climb a rock wall, or go to a national park for a picnic. But we still find time to sneak away for an hour to go to our favorite chain restaurant or stay up at night alone and talk about our dreams. The point is, we still invest in each other and are excited to continue to learn more about each other for the rest of our lives.  We don’t let the “have to” discussions of who is picking up the kids when, or doing the laundry, or paying the bills consume every conversation we have. We are more than just two people who share a house and kids. We are committed to each other as best friends.

 

I remember when I first met Jesus. Yes, He had always been around in my life since I was conceived, but I remember the first time that I really acknowledged Him as a person. I was a freshman in high school, and it was at a youth ministry prayer meeting. When I first really realized who He was, I couldn’t stop spending time with Him. I’d stay up late at night praying or reading the Bible. I looked into what days neighboring parishes had youth ministry nights on the nights that my parish didn’t, and I would go to those too. I talked with friends about their faith. There were even times that I chose events at the parish over doing my homework. I loved Jesus so passionately that I decided to devote a good portion of my life to working in ministry. Then it happened…. I began working at a parish and had to balance a budget, ensure the teens were safe, plan events, coordinate volunteers, and everything else that goes along with working in Catholic Youth Ministry. My built in “Sunday Night Date Nights” with Jesus no longer existed as the coordination of music, greeters, ushers, and Eucharistic ministers at the Youth Mass became a part of my job, and I couldn’t just focus on worship. Jesus and I would still have conversations, but they were usually me praying for (or with) a teen or asking His guidance in the ministry. We lost our one-on-one relationship. I learned that like my relationship with my wife, I needed to start scheduling “Date Night with Jesus” where we could be together uninterrupted, not talk about the kids (the teens in my program), and just focus on us. I’ve responded to God’s invitation to spend an eternity with Him, now I just need to invest in Him on a consist basis so that we can be more than just two people who work together and know a lot of people in common. We are committed to each other as best friends.

 

So when was the last time you had a “Date Night With Jesus?” If it’s been awhile, maybe you should schedule one. I’m sure He has a lot He’d like to tell you.

 

In Christ,

Gary Foote

 

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