Ah, boys. Those creatures who, at the beginning of my life, I loved to run with and make believe with and beat at table games. The ones who taught me how to correctly shoot hoops, challenged my pride when I was ready to give up in a game of tag, and got away with a whole lot in front of gullible me. Then, naturally, as I entered my teen years, things began to change. There just wasn’t that same chummy friendship anymore. We had different interests and different lives.
I remember the year I suddenly discovered that I had a power common to every woman in the world. Not to beat a boy at Uno or make him laugh at my knock-knock joke. No, I had the power to make a boy look at me, talk earnestly with me, and even pick me out of a crowd. It has taken many years for me to come to terms with that power, for it is really something I’d rather not have to worry about. And yet, the fact of the matter remains: God created man and woman to choose a partner and covenant together for life, based on not only His will and the guidance of authorities, but also on attraction and love. Brandy, one of our readers and followers had this question over our blog anniversary week:
How do you keep your attraction to boys on the "downlow"? What steps do you take to make sure you are not wrapped up in every boy that may be interested in you...keeping your mind on what God has in store for you now and waiting patiently for what He may have in store for you in the future? I guess I am assuming this is easier for you than other girls your age because your blog is rarely about boys or love, which is something on a lot of girls' minds at your time in life. I think your answers could be useful/helpful in training up my daughter.
After I discovered my new power, I tried it out, like a tadpole who has just sprouted legs and is wondering what in the world they are used for. It only took a few tries, however, to realize that my power was not worth wielding—it could not only hurt someone else, but also me as well. I came to recognize flirting and close relationships with men as selfish. So as I’ve struggled to keep my emotions in check, I’ve found a few helpful practices along the way.
Talking with My Parents
Phew! I know, I know—it’s harder than it sounds. But as I’ve opened up with both Mama and Papa about attractions, I’ve actually become less embarassed about the whole thing. It is not wrong for me to be attracted to someone, but how I handle that attraction brings the opportunity to err or succeed. My parents keep me accountable in my interactions with young men, and that is a powerful incentive as well.
Scripture instead of Fantasy
Perhaps I’m the only one, but the writer in me loves to compose the perfect romance story with me as the perfected heroine. My mind is always busy on something, whether my taxes due in one week, my latest teaching conundrum, my college assignment, or my very own fairy-tale. If I train my mind onto the things of God instead of the things of the world, however, God has a powerful way of honoring that choice by reducing my temptations and revealing Himself to me. What can be a stumbling block becomes a magnificent opportunity for fellowship with my Creator.
Avoiding Close Relationships with Men
I’ve written at length about this before, so I hope you read "An Honest Heart" if you haven’t already. It’s also worth mentioning that I do not subscribe to “dating” as the world defines it, and you can read the series Lauren and I wrote last year about this starting here. To summarize, however, I don’t believe that men and women should be close friends. We should treat members of the opposite sex as if they were taken, because they most likely will be married someday.
I do think about boys and love, and I certainly hope to get married. However, I always have to come back to Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
It is not virtuous for me to flirt with men. Gossiping with girlfriends about crushes or handsome celebrities is not of good report. It is neither lovely nor pure for me to dwell on guys in my thoughts. Because of this, there is a regular, purposeful choice in my heart to keep my attraction to boys on the “down-low.”
Brandy, you asked a tough, but wonderful question. I am by no means qualified to give you advice on mothering your daughter, but I hope that by answering this question from a daughter’s perspective, I have helped you and the rest of the daughters and mothers who read!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.