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[The following was a letter to my daughter, Claire Love Johnson, when she was 9, but if you’re a passionate, intense sort of person who feels deeply it just might be to you too.]

dna-dan in real lifeDear Claire,

I just finished watching Dan In Real Life. It’s a “grownup movie” so you won’t see it for a while. Actually, you wouldn’t even like it right now, but I saw you in it. Well, not really you, but someone who reminded me a lot of you.

The movie tells a truly heart-touching story of a man longing for that special someone.

Actually, he already had that special someone and he married her, but she died,  leaving him alone with their three daughters.

His middle daughter is the passionate one. Just like you. Only she’s a teenager. And she’s in love.

You’ll be a teenager someday, and you’ll be in love someday too. And if your feelings for your “first love” resemble at all the feelings you experience when you skin your knee or open a gift you really wanted, you’re going to feel very very deeply for that boy.

You’ve always felt deeply. It’s the way God made you.

The girl in the movie believed she was in love after only 3 days. And later, her Dad experiences the same instant connection with a woman he meets.

How do you know if you’re in love?

Well, it COULD happen in 3 days, but it probably won’t.

And it’s not worth the risk, so when you start having a strong attraction for some boy, take it s l o w. In fact, be prepared to give those strong feelings at least a year to prove themselves.

Here’s the deal. God gave you that passionate heart for a reason. In fact, your Mom and I KNOW God has HUGE plans for your feelings and emotions.

But don’t forget someone else has huge plans for your feelings and emotions too, and they aren’t for your good. Of course, I’m talking about God’s enemy (and ours).

Satan wants to take all good gifts given to us by our perfectly-loving and graciously-giving God and use them to destroy us.

Actually, he only need tempt us to misuse those gifts ourselves. And the misuse of God’s good gifts brings destruction. Every time. Just ask Adam and Eve.

All of that to say, feel deeply, my dear Claire, but don’t let your feelings rule you.

In 1 Cor 6:12, Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved (or mastered) by anything.”

How can you tell if you are misusing your passion. Or when it has enslaved you?

That’s not so easy to tell, but…

When it comes to knowing whether you’re really in love remember the first adjective used to describe love in 1 cor 13. “Love is patient.”

1 Cor 13:4 says a lot about what true love is, but the first descriptor is “patient.” Isn’t that interesting? Love is FIRST and FOREMOST patient. That’s the very thing that the romantic love found in the movies (including the one I saw last night) isn’t!

My precious Claire, we picked out your name (which stands for pure love) before you were born, but even before that, God knew you would be a girl, and one day a woman, who would love very very intensely. With all that intensity though, know true love is patient.

True love won’t seek to MASTER you.

True love will appeal to your BEST nature. True love will INSPIRE you.

You inspire me, my sweet Claire. And I know someday you’ll inspire another man. And what God will do through the two of you together I can only imagine.

Wait for that man.

At least more than 3 days.


Your Dad

[Are YOU a parent? YOU can empower your own kids to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE they fall in love! Check out our PARENTAL GUIDANCE (PG) page.]

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better?  And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!