A single mistake (reprint)

young womanTo the single girls who love God:

There’s something I should say, but I don’t want to. Honestly, I’ve avoided the topic, but yesterday someone asked me point-blank. And so the time has come, even if I’m hesitant, to reassure single ladies everywhere: It’s okay to want a boyfriend.

Really. It’s perfectly all right. Wanting “relationship” status doesn’t make you weak or superficial or dissatisfied. It doesn’t make you desperate. In fact, the desire makes sense, according to Genesis: Eve was literally made to partner with Adam (Genesis 2:18). Today, her DNA still flutters in girls’ hearts. Estrogen likes testosterone. Testosterone needs estrogen. And it’s Biblical.

But yet, while knowing this truth, I’m reluctant to bring it up. I don’t want to discuss Adam and Eve, Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Mary. Instead, let’s chat about Paul and the perks of being single. 🙂 So, what’s my hang-up? Why not promote the True Love Relationship Plan?

Here’s why, sweet sisters of mine:

  • I don’t want you to rush. Young love can be foolish.
  • I don’t want you to be distracted. Young love can be consuming.
  • I don’t want you to compromise. Young love can be damaging.

The stakes of dating are high, for sure, but God has shown me this: Ignoring the issue doesn’t do you any favors. It sends the wrong message, that all boyfriends are trouble. It suggests that wanting one equates to spiritual immaturity. And that’s just not true.

You deserve more credit than I’ve given. Maybe you’re different. Maybe you’re immune to dating disasters because your spiritual head’s on straight: Your love for God is deep, a steady reliance on His direction. You know that worth comes from a Sovereign Creator, not an attentive boy. And until a guy shows up with the same convictions, you’re going to wait.

If this is you, little sis, then consider our dialogue open—Guy topics are officially on the table. (Smiles, everyone!) Acknowledge the desire, study God’s clear instruction. Pray about your Someday Boy, even. It’s perfectly okay.

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When Channing and Tebow show up

man twoLet’s say you’re at a Bible study or volleyball fellowship. And life just got way better ‘cause he’s there. The eligible one. The beautiful one. Best of all, the Jesus following one. You can’t even breathe, unless it’s to suck in when he walks by.

We’ll call him Channing because he’s gorgeous like the Hollywood hunk: He has the my-girlfriends-will-be-so-jealous-of-us kind of face. He also has the Ryan Gosling “Hey, girl” kind of smooth. This is not an average looking guy. This is someone who’d greatly improve the content of your Instagram pics. Unfiltered.

Better still, his last name could be Tebow. Like the football star, he’s a God guy! Under his arm is a Bible that’s worn. (Worn, people!) Under the other is something else really spiritual, like a guitar for the praise band or a prayer journal. Rumor has it his heart bleeds for poor children. You believe it. He is, after all, wearing TOMS.

But there’s trouble on the horizon. Every waiting-for-her-dream-guy chick within a ten-mile radius sees him, too. And she’s coming hard, sister, toward the answer to your prayers.

I get it, the hysteria around a Christian cutie, especially when there’s a drought of Jesus boys. My Channing Tatum/Tim Tebow was a Rick Springfield double, which was like, totally 80’s. He was my Jeremiah 29:11 come true—or so I thought. Too bad every girl at church felt the same way.

After the hormone dust settled, I had a few battle scars. But I also learned something. Want to know what the Rick Springfield Debacle of ‘82 revealed? “Relax, Christian girl in a boyfriend funk. There’s more than one of his kind. And forcing God’s plan for your love life ain’t good.”

You see, Jesus girls don’t need to fight for a guy. Snagging him shouldn’t be stressful. Sure, we’re picky—God’s standards are high—and maybe inventory is low. But trust this: When it’s time (and God’s clock is accurate), love will be natural, gradual, and right.

So are we clear, my giddy Channing/Tebow admirers? When he appears, no panicking. Promise? Or killing off the competition. Or purchasing a pair of TOMS. By all means notice him (ha!), giggle over him (lots!), and trust God to do His matchmaking thing.

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Girl traps, part two (the boy factor)

coupleEverywhere I look, traps appear. And girls fall into them, tricked in a thousand ways. So when I recently chatted with some Christian teens, we faced three snares head on.

One potential trap—boys—was a hot topic for sure. Girls sat up straight, craving Testosterone Wisdom, mainly because they believed this lie: “A boyfriend solves everything.”

I asked them how a boyfriend would make life better, easier, happier:

  • “My social life would improve.” ~Tessa
  • “I’d feel better about myself. It’d mean I’m pretty.” ~Jen
  • “People think you’re weird if you’re not in a relationship.” ~Maya

Hmm, sounds like a lying trick of Satan! Time to bust up the lies and climb out of the “gotta have a guy” trap:

Truth #1: Desiring a boyfriend is okay if it doesn’t consume you.

There’s nothing wrong with thinking about the right kind of guy. It’s actually normal. But life is more than boys, and whether or not he’s on the horizon is unrelated to how you look, who you are, or what the future holds. Beware if you’re thinking, “I should have a boyfriend right now.” IT’S A TRAP.

Truth #2: Desperation for a boyfriend can cause you to settle.

I’m not saying you’ll deliberately pursue a guy who treats you badly. But when girls feel pressure to date and a boy is interested, it’s easy to overlook deal-breaking flaws. Beware if you’re thinking, “I can live with this. He’s not what I prayed for, but he’ll do.” IT’S A TRAP.

Truth #3: Devotion to the wrong guy can cause you to compromise.

Too many girls who date know the relationship is unhealthy, but they’re so afraid of being single that they stay. They can’t imagine life beyond the break-up, the unknown. Beware if you’re thinking, “We’ve been together too long to back out now.” IT’S A TRAP.

So what are the boyfriend traps that could make you vulnerable? Ask your Heavenly Father. Search scripture for clear instruction. Talk with a Godly woman you trust. Most of all, remember the treasure you are and the beautiful, trap-free life your Savior offers: “You are a chosen people, God’s very own possession …He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9, NLT)

Want to see part one of Girl Traps? Click the link below for last week’s post:

https://worthydaughters.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/girl-traps-part-one-the-attention-spotlight/

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Boys, blondes, and bears (reprint)

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comToday’s topic is about boys. You need to know this because at first it won’t seem that way. Just trust me. And keep reading.

We rented a mountain cabin, and my niece was on a bear hunt. So Olivia and I searched for tracks. We listened for growls. We even prayed for one to appear, but after three days, nothing.

Vacation over, we headed down the mountain. I looked out the car window, and there in the ditch I SAW IT. Up close was the huge hiney of a…Well, you know. His head was buried in a bush, but I’d know that backside anywhere. I couldn’t breathe. Had just enough air to pant, “B-B-B-Bear!”

Brakes screeched. I smiled at our answered prayer. Then suddenly a head turned toward us. It looked into my eyes. And I thought, “How strange! I never knew bears looked like cows!”

And this, friends, is when I lived up to the blonde stereotype. To my credit, the cow’s tail wasn’t visible. Neither was the bell around its neck. And for a split second everyone in that car, brunettes included, thought BEAR, not MOO.

Have you ever suffered from mistaken identity? Specifically, have you ever thought a boy was an answer to prayer, but then the disappointing truth surfaced? If so, I’m sorry. Please know that not all boys are cows wolves in bear’s sheep’s clothing. But be careful—It’s a jungle out there! Here’s what to remember as you search for what’s real:

1)   Study scripture to see what a Godly boy looks like. It’s the key to spotting counterfeits quickly.

2)  Ask God to whisper truth in your ear. You’ll be amazed at how the Spirit will reveal, direct, and empower.

3)   Believe the real deal exists. Maybe they’re rare, but guys out there do uphold God’s standard.

4)   Know that God hears your desires. Tell Him what you’re looking for. Then in the same breath, thank Him for perfect timing.

5)   Be the kind of girl who attracts the right boy. He notices the one who honors God, respects herself, and loves others.

And when he appears—an authentic one, I mean—enjoy the blessing. Laugh! If you flirt with spinach in your teeth, Tweet it. If his truck horn sounds like “Dukes of Hazard,” sing along. And if you mistake a cow for a bear, by all means, tell the world. 🙂

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When hanging on hurts too much

getting stuckYou’ve dated him awhile. There’s history, things only you two share. But even though you care for him, something’s off. You’re just not happy. It’s stressing you, draining you, changing you.

So what’s a girl to do? Wait it out? Pretend everything’s fine? Granted, it’s tough to throw away the investment—time, energy, your heart. But know this: Even though it might be hard, you can. (And maybe you actually should.) Don’t let these lies keep you stuck in a dead-end dating relationship:

“Being with him beats being alone.” Sweet girls with holes in their hearts—daughters left by daddies, girls who don’t feel special—can sometimes cling to second best. But God says you’re worth more, that He’ll fill the void and give purpose. You’re not alone and even without a boyfriend, you can feel satisfied and whole in Christ. Ask Him to show you how. (Joshua 1:9, Jeremiah 29:11, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

“We’ve been intimate, so I can’t leave.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. If you’ve been physical with a boy, scripture does show the way out through beautiful forgiveness. In fact, God will forget the whole thing and help you start over! (And the one-day husband He’s preparing will forgive you, too.) So don’t hang on because of s-e-x. In fact, that’s a really good reason to r-u-n. (Isaiah 43:25, 1 Corinthians 6:18)

“I’m his only link to Jesus.” If you’re dating a non-Christian, please don’t fear you’re his only spiritual lifeline. Rest easy; you’re not. First, God won’t ask you to ignore scripture—In this case, the why-nots of dating unbelievers—for the sake of sharing Christ. Second, God is pretty creative when it comes to revealing Himself. Third, God wants your boyfriend to believe. Of course, pray for him. But scripture says it’s best not to date him. (Psalm 27:17, 2 Corinthians 6:14)

“It’s easier to stay.” Sometimes just the thought of breaking up is stressful. Will there be tears, regrets, explanations? But if your heart says go—And let’s assume your God-honoring heart is praying—then do it. Be kind, honest, and respectful, steering clear of drama. It’ll be an eventual gift to him and one to yourself as well. Who knows where God wants to take you next? And you’ll be ready for the next chapter. (Isaiah 43:19, Matthew 7:12)

Cheer up, weary girlfriends: If you’re hanging on for the wrong reasons, it’s okay to walk. After all, you’re dating, not married.  After all, you desire God’s best. And after all, HE is always enough.

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When true love doesn’t wait

white-flower-on-black-backgroundThe guilt is tough for church girls. They didn’t see it coming, never dreamed they’d be here, feeling this. Some used to mock classmates who slept with guys. Others gushed about True Love Waits, sporting purity rings. Save sex for marriage? Well, certainly! But then, somehow, they didn’t.

Becky knows all about it. She says, “This is my story, sad but very honest.”  She describes her teen years with Christ, her involvement in ministry. But then it happened: “I got this boyfriend I thought was the best thing. Pretty soon, I was not a virgin anymore. Then from that day on I began hating myself.”

Two years later Becky still can’t shake it. Has she asked forgiveness? Oh, yes. Does she believe God is merciful? Yes again. Becky knows He “removes our sins as far as the East is from the West” (Psalm 103:12). The problem is, she hasn’t forgiven herself.

I get it, the torturous thoughts: Disappointing God, betraying yourself. Crossing a line you can never get back, wondering who you are now.

But listen to Cassie, a Godly mom who’s been there: “Initial guilt shows us what to confess. That’s a vital part of returning. Then remembering the sin keeps us from repeating it. But we don’t stay there in agonizing pain. Day by day, as we walk with God, He does heal our hearts. We mustn’t hold ourselves prisoners forever. God wants us to live in victory, with our heads raised.”

Heads raised in freedom? Absolutely:

1. The purpose of the cross is so you don’t keep paying. It actually seems ungrateful to wallow, like Christ’s one-time gift wasn’t effective enough or appreciated enough. Take the grace.

2. God has a purpose, and you haven’t ruined it. There’s a lot of life left, and He wants you to enjoy the blessings. Yes, I said enjoy. And blessings. Take the purpose.

3. God’s bigger than your sin. Can He send a husband who’ll understand your past? Can He find a way to use this for good? Yes and yes. Take the possibilities.

4. You’re not the same as before; in some ways you’re smarter: On to Satan’s ploys, sensitive to others. Salvation means something, hope is real. Take the wisdom.

Reach for your perfect future in Christ. It’s not Plan B; it’s full of Him! Pray with confidence, sing with praise, meditate on Scripture. Relief has come, restoration’s begun, and unfailing love awaits: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:12).

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Avoiding Mr. Wrong

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mr. Wrong. Wait, this doesn’t sound right. 🙂 Actually, I’ve been thinking about girls who cry over cruel boys, inattentive boys, manipulative boys, ungodly boys. I’ve wondered why perfectly intelligent girls attach to them, love them, hang on for too long.

And then I remembered my own Mr. Wrong. He was exciting at first—interested in me, nice to me. But the story was set for disaster: When a girl wants to feel pretty, to have a social life, to grab any hint of happily ever after, any boy might do. (Even a bad one, and especially a Prince Charming poser!)

Please hear this: Father God has beautiful plans for you, and none of them include even five minutes with Mr. Wrong. That’s where insecurity lives, compromise thrives, and memories haunt.

Keep reading, little sister. Several friends are joining me for a crash course in avoiding running like the wind from harmful guys. Take notes, and save yourself some heartache:

Ann saysMr. Wrong: He makes you doubt yourself, change yourself, or hate yourself. Mr. Right: None of these, ever. He’s secure like that.

Natasha says—Mr.Wrong: He’s the center of your world. He wants to be your everything, and you let him be. Mr. Right: God is his center, and he wants the same for you. He’s spiritually solid like that.

Kellie says—Mr. Wrong: He makes weak excuses, then you defend him when friends or family ask questions. Mr. Right: No excuses are necessary because he’s hardworking and respectful. He’s honorable like that.

Marisol saysMr. Wrong: He keeps a tally of your mess-ups or breakdowns, then uses them to shame you. Mr. Right: He smiles as God transforms you, then encourages with words and actions. He’s supportive like that.

Deborah says—Mr. Wrong: He can’t decide if he wants to be with you. He’s back and forth and keeps you guessing. Mr. Right: He’s all in and not afraid to tell you or show you consistently. He’s committed like that.

How ya feeling, little sis? Armed and ready to keep bad boys away? Nodding ‘cause you’ve dated one? Or deflated ’cause you’re dating him now? Whatever the case, here’s sweet truth: God, the perfect Mr. Right, offers wisdom, strength, newness and hope. He’ll keep you on the right path or help you exit the wrong one. Ask Him. Then trust Him. He’s faithful like that.

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