'How to Relate to Guys in a Healthy, Sane, and Biblical Way'
by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
Any girl reading this title is probably immediately interested. Mainly because it's something we think about, struggle with, and wonder about often. And I am one of them! My sister recently bought this book written by the Botkin sisters, "It's (not that) Complicated", and we've both been greatly encouraged and convicted by what it has to say.
Relating to guys in a Biblical way is a struggle for every Christian young woman as our world is saturated in the perverse and sensual culture of today. It's hard for us to walk in the malls and not be bombarded with pornographic posters of men and woman. We struggle with purity of dress, purity of mind, and purity of heart in almost any setting, and in this generation, even church.
I want to share with you a couple of quotes from the Botkin sisters' book. They had talked with numerous young men while writing this book, and what these men say is very heart-stirring and confronting.
"God has created men to strive to live up to the expectations that are set for us, and we have an innate desire to impress girls. Most girls have no idea of the amount of influence (for good or evil) that they exert on the guys around them. I've seen it time and time again - the flirtatious girl who encourages the guys around her to foolishness and rewards their folly - and the guys, in this case, sink to the expectations set for them. But while this is true, the reverse is even more so. A girl, by her godly behaviour, can encourage a foolish boy to cease his foolish ways, and inspire a good man to strive for greatness. When a guy truly loves his sister in Christ, he will want to protect her, (physically, morally, emotionally, and spiritually), and he will strive to be the best man that he can."
"I know several guys that a pseudo-pious girl might label "spiritual hunks." They're the knights in shining armour every Christian girl would love to wrangle into a tux for a storybook wedding. The irony is, none of these guys are looking for a storybook wedding. They don't even think of marriage as entailing the big romantic wedding and the to-do of a romantic life. They're so grounded and mission focused that their picture of marriage is one of a blessed co-labour in doing really important things. Working hard! Men, good men, love working hard, and will admire women who love a life of hard work as well.
A man who longs for a life of spiritual significance will not be charmed by a girl who longs for a life of romantic bliss. The two worldviews are inherently incompatible. If you dream of a life that nourishes the soul with purity, truth, and purpose, you will find a life that nourishes only the emotions, sentimentalism, and silly fantasy to be quite distasteful."
"Some girls are afraid that if they pursue purity and modesty in their relationships with young men as far as they should, they will become invisible to us, or at least less noticeable than the flashy, gregarious, shallow girls who circle around us with their endless stream of compliments and teasing remarks. They could not be more wrong. The girl we notice are the girls who are more interested in doing right than being noticed. Men who love God admire girls who are pursuing Him rather than girls who are pursuing us. We really value girls who have a deep desire to know God better and dig into His Word. When we see a girl really pursuing holiness, it inspires us to want to be pure and righteous ourselves and worthy of leading a woman like that."
"When I'm choosing friends (guys or girls), one of the first things I look at is their relationship with their parents. You can learn so much about a girl's general attitude and character from how she talks about her parents to her friends: Is she respectful of their rules, or dismissive? Does she make belittling comments about how "old fashioned" they are, or does she talk about them with reverence? As a young man who is trying to become more respectful of my own parents, I have to take seriously the warning in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that "Bad company corrupts good morals," and stay away from girls how have a contagious mocking spirit. One red flag I try to watch for when I'm in a coversation with a girl and one of her parents walks by - does she suddenly stiffen up, and become less comfortable? Does she try to quickly change the subject of conversation? If her relationship with her parents is not loving or close, that a good sign for me to run."
This next one really stood out for me:
"It is sad to have to say, but I know dozens of otherwise godly, upstanding girls who the guys won't have anything to do with because the girls have developed a reputation of being needy, clingy, and emotionally unstable. Guys avoid these kinds of girls with the same revulsion that girls avoid the lecherous man who stares lustfully at every girl he encounters. The root problem is the same in both of these examples - neither has learned to master their emotions or their thoughts - to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"."
"Sarcasm in a woman is particularly unattractive, even to sarcastic men. The idea of spending the rest of my life in a house with a sarcastic woman is enough to drive me to take vows of lifelong celibacy. Proverbs talks about that, actually."
"Guys appreciate a girl who is emotionally stable and exhibits self control. We can have actual friendship with girl who don't jump to conclusions and misconstrue small acts of kindness as signs of love and devotion. Presumptuous girls can create situations that are painful for us, but we are also concerned about their feelings. As frustrating as can be to receive unwanted attention, it's far worse to be the cause of disastrous heartbreak, even if it's through no fault of your own.
It can feel like we're walking on eggshells when trying to be brothers in Christ to unpredictably hot-headed girls, never knowing if the slightest word or gesture might start an emotional roller coaster ending in misery for our sisters in Christ. Our gratitude f the more self-possessed girls who refuse to indulge in every dreamy whim cannot be overstated."
This next one really struck me and I've never thought about it in this way before!
"Wolves go for the sheep farthest from the shepherd.
One simple way to filter out men is being around your father. Wolves will avoid the shepherd as much as they possibly can, and go for easier sheep, while the good, honourable young men will be trying to spend time with the older men and fathers in their community to get their wisdom, insight, and guidance. Young men who would rather hang with the girls than with the men are predators, even though they may seem far from predatory (and often may not be so consciously). but a dog that just "really likes his sheep buddies! He can't help when he gets hungry and eats one of them...." is a wolf."
This is so true of young women today. Worldy, ungodly men go straight for the young women who are trying to live life independent of their God-given leadership, their fathers and elders. The ones furthest from the Shepherd. The way you live displays what's in your heart and also how much time you spend with the Good Shepherd.
Recently, I have committed to staying close-by my father and brother when around young men, whether out in public or in church. I have found that the young men who respect me are the ones who are interested in interacting with the men in my church, not the girls. These are the young men who desire to live a godly life which is pleasing in the sight of our Lord. I desire the same. Do you?
Let me finish with a few questions Anna Sofia and Elizabeth wrote:
Will God's will or our will be done?
Will we think just in terms of who we should be around young men, or who we are before God?
Will these (single years) be fruitful years, or the years in which we ruined our lives?
Will we point men to their duties, or distract them away?
Will we view boys as people, or as objects?
Will we embrace God's reality, or prefer the men and worlds of our own making?
Will we see situations and people with the Lord's eyes, or with the eyes of the flesh?
Will we build the men of our generation up, or tear them down/
Will we be wounding friends, or kissing enemies?
Will we treat the young men as brothers with all purity, or as sports fish to bait and kill?
Will we be bad girls gone good, or bad girls found out?
Will we walk in the spirit, or walk in the flesh?
Will we hang on to the "old man" in us, or repent and "walk in newness of life"?
Will we follow our hearts, or take control of them?
Will we embrace our parents' involvement, or fight it?
Will we outdo one another in showing honour, or in showing selfishness?
Will we start fires with our words, or put them out?
Will we save romance for marriage, or impatiently look for it outside?
Will the love of Christ rule us, or will we be controlled by the love of the flesh?
Will we stand our ground in the face of temptation, or compromise?
Will we do our husbands good, or evil, all the days of our life?
Will we make the most of our single years, or will we waste them?
Will we put our hope in God, or in men?
The way we answer these questions will reveal who is truly ruler of our hearts. (1John 3:10)"
Be encouraged, edified, convicted, humbled, and willing to change in all these areas so that we can be pleasing in the Lord's sight!