With this post I'm continuing a series I began on being single. The first two posts are listed below in case you want to catch up. Feel free to just jump right in though!
I want to preface this next one with something I read on a post by my friend, Hannah (her blog and post can be found here). I am not looking down on or trying to lessen the joy and blessing of marriage with my thoughts on singleness. In fact, I hope to do the opposite. I have friends who are richly blessed in marriage, and then I have friends who are richly blessed in singleness. The grass is never greener on the other side; each gift has their own challenges and victories. My goal, really, is to talk about satisfaction and contentment in the Lord no matter what your status or station may be. I am not waving the "singleness" flag with no thought for my married friends, and with careless regard to the fact that I may and probably will get married someday. "Singleness" is not an idea to rest in or be comforted by - Jesus is. This isn't a battle cry for independence and a false sense of freedom. These are Truths that have helped me remain content, and that I long to see others taking hold of and believing. Only through a relationship with Christ will peace be found.
Well that was longer than I had expected so let's just move along to a verse that is almost preached at young girls when they are nearing the age of relationships: Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
This verse is not talking about dating relationships. I'm sorry, it's just not. A father is instructing his son to keep wisdom in his heart, to love and cling to understanding, and to heed his instruction. This verse is talking about how important it is to guard what goes into our hearts, and to be careful what we train our hearts to love. In that sense, it can be applied to dating, but how? "Guard your heart" is such an abstract idea.
Several of my guy friends wisely told me this: "Girls should not start liking a guy until he has made it clear that he is interested in pursuing them." Wow. I'll even back it up with scripture. Song of Solomon has this phrase in it three times! "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." That seems pretty clear to me. It's a command!
I'll say it again just so we can really think about this - girls should not start liking a guy until he has made it clear that he is interested in pursuing them. Let's break this down, because let's be honest, we ladies are smart and we like to find loopholes. What do you mean "liking a guy?" Friendship? Encouraged! Admiration? Even more encouraged. Respect? Yes! We should look at the men around us and see the good in them, admire the Lord in them, and respect their Godly decisions. Affection? Hmm, maybe. I think that some relationships with friends can share affection in a brotherly/sisterly fashion with no harm done, but this is rare and you start walking a fine line. Attention? Stop right there.
I think where we fall into a trap is when we start desiring their special attention. Or we start taking time to think about how we can be with them and capture their attention. And then we start daydreaming about consuming their attention. The only thing that should consume our minds and hearts like that is the Lord and his wisdom, his instruction, and his leading.
Why do they call it "wooing?" Because our hearts as women are secure and not freely given away. Or they should be. The man must pursue to get to know a heart, to win it over! When we "like" a guy before he has done that, there is no pursuit, no "winning," no victory for him when he finally gets to his prize. And what a prize it is when he has labored for it! The victory is cheap when it is handed to him.
My last thought on this is that desiring someone's attention gives the devil a foothold in our lives. Our hearts are consumed with this one thing and we no longer have the energy or the time to fight the sin battles that we are meant to fight. This time of undivided attention to the Lord is the perfect time to let Jesus refine us - show us our imperfections and then patiently work through them. Let's not let our attention be divided among suitors who haven't even knocked on our door yet.
This post is part of a series on being a single woman. Please post comments, thoughts, stories, questions, etc. Next post on "holy longings." Thanks for reading!