Jan 7, 2008

Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part Two B: Tickle Me Elmo Goes Berserk!


Well, I must apologize once again for taking so long between the parts of this series. The last month has proven to be a very trying one for me in every way, thus my concentration has not been what it ought to be. Hopefully the delay will prove itself worth the wait as it is much better (in my opinion) both in organization and content than what I would have posted last time. Thus, I have once again had to sub-divide this particular part due to the length. This part will be broken into three sections. Thus, the first was posted last time, this section is the second, and the third will deal with the reciprocation between the male and female actions and reactions. I hope that the third will be posted with MUCH less delay than this one, yet I must simply ask for your patience at this point. I will write each part whenever I can and post as soon as I am (at least somewhat) comfortable with it. As always, I ask that you to continue to pray for me as I sincerely desire to honor Christ in my thoughts, my life, and my writings!

Also, you may (or may not) notice a difference in my “speech” in this post. Well, I guess it always depends on my mood / mindset when I actually sit down to type, but it is also because I think I am dealing with much more sensitive issues this time and I want to make sure that my writing reflects that. Beyond that, I am speaking more to women than men in this one and believe that a little more tenderness is needed.

Oh, and one more “housekeeping” item: Though the interaction has not been what I would desire, I have had several requests for clarification or expansion. I will be including my response to those requests, as well as any that come from this one, at the end of the next post.

Previously in the Series:

*Preliminary: A Confession From the Heart
*Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part One: Intro and Background
*Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part Two: Tickle Me Elmo Goes Berserk!


Female Reactions and Related Problems

Ok, thus far, I’ve been pretty rough on the guys. However, there are two sides to this coin. With the above, the ladies generally react in one of four ways (two of which are related). The first I will only address by saying that they figure out how to be healthy, sanctified, and righteous in the midst of the insanity. How they do it, I could describe to some degree, and will address it indirectly in part 6, but really the bottom line is that Christ is their center, their focus. They derive their worth from Him and trust in Him and His plan and are confident in Him. The other reactions are to hide, to shut down, and to become prideful. These will be addressed below. Please, once again, bear in mind that I am not a girl. These are simply my observations and insights gained through conversation and life with my sisters. Also bear in mind that these three are not necessarily connected or a progression. Often, they will show up together, yet often they will not.

--Hiding (External Withdrawal)

The first way some ladies react is to externally withdraw, to hide, as it were. External withdrawal is primarily prior to the beginning of a relationship (avoidance would be the more accurate term) and can show up in numerous ways. In this section I will address the most obvious, yet ask you to bear in mind that it can be much more subtle than this. Due to the seemingly constant barrage, some simply avoid guys and sometimes refuse to date any. They often stick with only girl friends and stay away from common areas (including hiding in the dorms). I mean, experience has taught them that to show any kindness will almost inevitably bring unwanted weirdness and insanity into their lives. Further, they don’t want to be rude, but in order to be in a common area, they feel compelled to be civil, which means the possibility of unwanted attention. Much of the time, to my understanding, it is not the fact of the attention… it is that it can be overwhelming from even one guy, much less what seems like every guy that you meet. From there, by nature of the frequency, male interest seems less and less sincere as time passes. It is special when a guy or two demonstrate interest, but it can seem completely insincere from a number of guys. So, despite desiring a relationship (in many cases, not all – there’s another one for the guys to get), they are so overwhelmed that they don’t really know what do to. I guess it would be like working at a job that you love, but the boss asking you to do a week’s worth of full-time work in a 6 hour shift (can’t think of a better analogy… suggestions girls?). Thus, they are sort of stuck. They want to remain healthy, but don’t feel like they can in these circumstances. Thus, it is easier to “focus on God and trust Him for the timing” (I will address this later). I can’t say that I blame them, but hiding just further compounds the problems (on both sides). The girls become less comfortable with the guys, who are now seeing the field as that much more narrow. Not to mention that without a “breather” some girls will continue to feel like they are drowning… thus, seemingly never be “ready.” Again, I can’t really say that I blame them. I mean, as a martial artist, even within the context of “friendly sparring” two on one can be a little intimidating, especially if they are bold fighters. To bring it back to the situation at hand, with a two-to-one ratio in any context, especially one so “confused” as what is described above, it would be very hard not to want to simply remove yourself or avoid the “fight” altogether. Thus, for some girls, avoiding guys (externally withdrawing) seems the best way to handle things.

There are a few words I can say to these ladies. First, I am praying for you (no, seriously I am, if you are on this campus or if I know you, I am praying for you). Second, I can understand this reaction in part, but not truly. Third, I encourage you to really draw near to and stay close to Christ. Please understand that I don’t mean this harshly, but you were called to this institution, and you responded. Thus, this is where you are supposed to be. Every place of service and everywhere you find yourself is going to have its unique challenges. In this case, you comprise a 1/3 minority (with my made-up statistics). Until the number of single males and females balances out, you are going to have to face the “constant barrage.” Hiding may seem the best answer, but please recognize what you are doing to yourself. You are isolating yourself and hardening your heart (which leads to bitterness, among other things). It is easier than you think to become so hardened that no one will want to date you even when you are ready. There is an “air” that develops and says “back off” to everyone. If this happens, you will have set yourself up for a lot more trouble later on. A while back I wrote a note that I think applies here. It simply said “it’s hard to hug a porcupine.” (Facebook readers can look it up, for blog readers I posted it three before this one). This is precisely what I was talking about. In the process of putting up walls of protection, you block the very potential of someone being able to come alongside you. Further, becoming hardened is not honoring to Christ and if you do desire to find someone, you may be hiding when he is looking. I mean, yes Christ is in control (you would truly be hard-pressed to find someone who believes more in God’s sovereignty than I do), but that does not deny human responsibility. It is not faith and it is not wisdom to “sit back” under the pretense of “trusting in the Lord.” We are to trust in the Lord and His timing, but this does not mean that we are idle. Instead, we are to be actively involved, listening to the Lord’s direction (as best we can, for all too often our emotions block our discernment). Once again, we have the pendulum. On one end are those that are trying to “make things happen” by their own effort and force, ignoring the Lord altogether. On the other end are those that simply sit under the shade tree, complaining that God is not moving.

In the end, you may not want to date and that is between you and the Lord, but don’t become upset with men that are trying to fulfill what God has placed within their heart, misdirected as it may or may not be. They have no way to know “where you are” until it is too late… it is not their fault, it is simply the result of being human. Yours is a much different type of sanctification, but a very important one. Finally, please realize that, “hiding” is not the same as “resting.” In this section, I am not speaking of “seasons” where it may be wise not to date. Instead, I am speaking in terms of a continuum, where a young lady has decided to withdraw for illegitimate reasons. There may be legitimate seasons for not dating or being available, but they should be infrequent and almost never iron-clad. So, the bottom line from my perspective is that hiding is never the right response… understandable as it may be. Though I could certainly keep typing, I feel very unworthy to speak on this, so I would GREATLY appreciate some female input in this part especially from those that have “figured it out.”

Oh, and one final encouragement for this section… please try to take interest as a compliment. Instead of resenting it or feeling like you are drowning, try (note that word, “try”) to look at it as the blessings of God, confirming your worth in Him. Now, the worth I am speaking of is not worth in the eyes of the guys (though that can be good), but instead, in the eyes of Christ – big distinction there. The simple truth is that guys with the right motives will be seeking a woman of God. Thus, all things being equal, if you are such a woman, it should bless you to know that your relationship with the Lord is so evident that the guys can’t help but want to be around you. Oh, and one more thought, I want to remind you that I am not trying to address the philosophy (or methods) of dating. I suppose at some point in this series I will have to address it a little, but remember that is not my purpose.

--Shutting Down (Internal Withdrawal)

The second reaction I wish to address is shutting down, or internal withdrawal. Internal withdrawal is where, for a number of reasons, a lady will withdraw emotionally (often without realizing it). With internal withdrawal, a lady will go through the motions of relationship, yet the emotions have been “locked up” for purposes of protection. She literally “shuts down” the emotional realm. Unfortunately, it seems to me that these young ladies lock down all emotion, thinking themselves to be “using wisdom” and then can’t figure out why they never feel like a guy might be “the one.” The bottom line is that they are not allowing themselves to feel anything. Thus, the only thing they have left is the mental, which is overloaded, not the primary way they were created, and is never singularly sufficient for making wise choices (for anyone). Beyond that, women were created to be internal and emotional, more so than men. Thus, if ladies deny the emotional, they deny a huge part of how they were created and set themselves up for trouble.

One quick side-bar before moving on to the meat of this section: There can be any number of reasons for this reaction. I will address three in a few moments, yet I think the “guarding my heart” mentality is also worthy of mentioning. To quickly address this one, we ought to guard our hearts, we have a responsibility to, but that does not mean that we close off all (or nearly all) emotion. Emotions are a gift from God and reflect something about Him. Thus, they are good. It is when emotions are unchecked by reason that they are bad (and reason unchecked by emotion is equally bad). This is what it means to guard your heart, among other things in life. Whatever the case, internal withdrawal is usually based on mistrust and / or fear and usually occurs during the beginning, or formative part of relationship, though it may show up later if trust is violated. The sad thing is that it often kills a relationship before it has much of a chance to begin. This is a growth point for the ladies (even though it is often due to damaged emotions and / or genuine fear).

Ok, before I get ahead of myself and lose all literary structure to this post, let me say that there are three primary realms I wish to address that cause otherwise healthy young ladies to internally withdraw. I use the term realm because it is not a simple matter of cause and effect. Instead, it is quite often a complex combination of these realms which she is trying to juggle and can’t figure out. Further, this “juggling act” is usually somewhat unknown to the lady herself. Before I continue, let me explain what I mean by juggling. I think the best way to explain is to use myself as an example, so please bear with me once again as I try to set this up. As I admitted to you in the previous post, I used to be a “mole.” In everyday life, I am quite bold, especially where the Gospel is concerned (and to my shame… sometimes it spills over into arrogance). My primary gifting is the gift of prophecy (and no, I am not going to chase that rabbit right now), thus, I have zero trouble taking a stand or being bold. Yet, until about a year ago, when it came to relationship with girls, I was the polar opposite. I have always had female friends, and that was “safe” so I really didn’t have any trouble there. Yet, when it came to the thought of dating, I was a mole. I have driven myself nuts (or at least more so :) over the years trying to figure out why this was such a big deal to me. There were three primary things that I would look at, in isolation, and try to see if “that” could be the cause. Thus, in the “back of my mind” (or whatever term you prefer for that), these three things would be swirling around. Unable to pin one of them down, I would “pick up” one of the “balls” I was juggling, look at it, and say, “yeah, I can see where this might have something to do with it, but it doesn’t completely explain it. I would then place that one back in “the mix” and pick up the next one. I would repeat this over and over, but never arrive at a conclusion since none of them individually explained the issue. The problem with this method is that my problem was the combination or amalgamation of three different, but related things (this will be explained much more in-depth in a future post entitled “Analyzing Overanalyzing”). Bottom line, juggling is where we take one thing from a complex structure and try to see if that “one” explains the whole. This is logically impossible as one isolated thing can never explain a complex structure. The truth can sometimes be (and often is) revealed when “all three” are seen together. It is when we see all of the issues and the “shape” they collectively make, that we can clearly match it up to the problem. This is sort of like taking a shard from a key and trying to open a door instead of taking the collective whole and then being able to unlock the door. Unfortunately, there is only confusion until we can see how they interact. Thus, I fear for some of my sisters and pray for their healing (as well as my own).

Ok, finally to move on to the three realms, which are: being overwhelmed, having misconceptions of love, and unresolved insecurities (obviously more realms and reasons exist, such as abuse, stress, etc, but again, this is getting long). The first realm is being overwhelmed. I have heard ladies explain this concept a number of ways and still must admit that I don’t completely understand. The bottom line, again, is that women and men are created differently. Generally, men are given boldness so that they can lead while women are geared differently and look to protection first (which is part of the reason men are often more “sure” of the relationship). The best way I can think to explain this is that allowing someone “in” involves vulnerability, which is the very thing girls are often trying to avoid (and we all do to one degree or another). Thus, ladies have to fight somewhat against their nature to let someone in. This is also why guys are sometimes repelled quite quickly even after they are in. Something clicks within her, the panic button, and she forces him out in order to preserve safety (sometimes against all logic and Godly leadership / wisdom – we all have idols and often it is ourselves). I remember countless conversations with one very dear friend of mine who was interested in a guy. He approached her, very boldly, and expressed his interest. I, behind the scenes, knew she was interested in him as well. Even though she was thoroughly impressed with him and definitely interested, she would call me or email me saying she just wanted to run the other way. Herein we also have the classic situation where guys are so frustrated because girls say they want honesty and transparency, yet, when it is given, they “freak out.” Girls want honesty and transparency, yet the very thought that “this may be the one” is so overwhelming and scary, that it makes her want to bail out and run the other way. Thus, she would call me, among other friends, for a “reality check” from time to time. During these conversations, she would be noticeably distraught and a little frantic. Thankfully, she is also mature and rational, as a rule, and she made herself stick with it. Today, they are doing quite well, and I have no doubt that the Lord has put them together. Yet, even now, she still panics once in a while. My point with this is to help both the guys and the girls to gain a little insight into how difficult this can be for the other side. For the girls, to realize that this is fairly normal, yet it must be worked through, in Christ. You must let someone in if you ever hope to be in a successful relationship. I realize that this is very easy to say and quite another thing to actually live out… yet, you must. Thus, I would encourage you to draw near to Christ, gather some faithful counselors, and talk to some older women that you trust (Titus 2, among others). If you are in a relationship, make sure you have solid reasons for ending it before panicking and throwing away something potentially very good (again, bearing in mind our tendency toward self-deception). Bottom line, some confusion and a “lack of peace” do NOT equal God telling you it is not His will (and neither does a lack of anything). Also, realize that to a guy, it seems a contradiction to request honesty and then run the other way. You made a request, he honored it, and if you do this, he is being punished (in terms of his perspective). Guys just can’t grasp this. To the guys, I dare not say that I have this figured out, so I encourage you to simply love your sisters in Christ. Love them and look to their benefit above your own. This means putting their feelings and desires above your own and protecting them even above yourself… this is true love and Godly leadership! Also, it really helps to “study the other side.” In the end, if this happens, you must love her anyway and just pray for the Lord to heal her heart. As to the honesty and transparency… I wish I knew the answer to that one. They do truly want it, yet in doses. This will vary from girl to girl and situation to situation and some can handle more than others. Girls, once again, I ask for input!

The second realm is misconceptions about love. I will not address this in-depth here as it actually belongs more in the next part of the series (part 3). For now, I will simply say that the idea of romantic love, as opposed to Biblical love, tears people apart and ruins many good relationships (existing and potential). The bottom line, Biblical love grows over time and involves getting to know someone. It may involve the “butterflies” or whatever, but is not primarily composed of these things. Emotions are fleeting and fickle, love is enduring. I mean, I get “butterflies” on a rollercoaster, but that doesn’t mean I’m in love with it (and yes, I am being sarcastic). Further, there is a big difference between love and infatuation and it seems infatuation is what so many actually seek. Further, genuine love is accepting the faults of the other person, not being blind to or denying them. In fact, the deepest and purest love is a matter of deep knowledge of (and thus comfort with) the other person, which will lead to excitement IF it is allowed the time to grow (Gen 2:25 among others). As usual, we seem to have our paradigm backwards.

The third realm is unresolved insecurities (or more accurately, evaluative judgments not yet grounded in Christ). This is the most tragic realm of all to me. We all carry insecurities and feelings of being unworthy. However, I think this is an area of struggle that girls are much more prone to than guys (and at a deeper level). Guys generally find their worth or identity more in the external, in what they can do (quantitative). Girls generally find their worth or identity in who they are and how they look, in the internal (qualitative). Thus, sometimes when a girl is with a great guy, she feels very unworthy of him, as if she can’t measure up. To make it worse, she doesn’t know what his expectations are, so she doesn’t even know how high the mark is (again, enter overwhelming). Thus, she is always wondering and thinking something like, “when will he figure it out and get rid of me?” (oh, and btw girls, some guys struggle with this too). Thus, sometimes, she will make the assumption for him and withdraw in order to protect herself from being too attached when “the inevitable” happens. My sisters, this breaks my heart!!! To make it worse, some immature guys act in ways that reinforce this type of thinking, especially in terms of conditional interest / love. Anyway, the point is that much of the time girls don’t seem to realize how incredible they truly are. She assumes she is not worthy of a particular guy, could never possibly be the helper he needs, and shuts down in order to “protect” them both (and yes, I realize I am being repetitive, at least this time). The tragedy in this literally brings me to tears. First, that one of my sisters does not see her true value in Christ. Each of you are uniquely gifted and created in the Lord. Your value is not decided by yourself or by men, but by the one who created you… you are a beloved child of God! Second, it is the nature of Godly men to “lift up” women (read the book of Ruth). Thus, if he values you, then he has made his choice. Provided he has a decent level of maturity, it is not that he is settling, he is choosing. Thus, he chooses you, with all of your blessings and faults. This means that he is unconditionally choosing to discover who you are in Christ. Part of what it is to be a man of God is to be able to lead, help, and protect the women in our lives… especially / ultimately our wives. A while back I was speaking with a female friend of mine about this very thing, we learned a lot from each other. She was warning me about insecurities and I think my response summarizes my heart (what I am trying to communicate) quite well. Speaking in terms of my as yet hypothetical future wife, I said, “I understand that she will have past hurts and be in need of healing, but that is part of the beauty of how God has created us. As a man, I get to help her heal… I look forward to that!” Now, I don’t know exactly how many guys feel this way, but I do know that they exist (so be encouraged ladies). The problem is that “he” will never be able to help “her” if she won’t let him in! May the Lord grant us all wisdom, patience, love, and understanding (and smack us over the head with a 2x4 when we need it)!

---A Few Closing Thoughts on the Three Realms

So often when we are trying to figure things out, especially things as personal as relationship, we tend to either shut down emotions or rely on them entirely. Neither option is Biblical… shutting down emotions is not the same as dealing with them. Though the end result may be that you are not upset, it is not faith, it is not maturity, and it is not Christ-honoring (just like refusing to speak to someone is not the way to handle being upset with them). It is an act of escape, not an act of sanctification, much less is it allowing Christ to rule and reign in our lives. When our emotions are so heavily involved, (whether we realize it or not) our perception is greatly altered (for example, the flowers to the right may be pretty, but they are not real). This is further compounded by stress and other things. Thus, sometimes in these circumstances when we attempt to seek the Lord’s will, we are asking but not truly listening; and then confusion results, due to our internal struggle. Further, love is not all about the mental and yet it is not all about the emotional. If we don’t allow any emotion, we will never “feel in love” (much less actually give someone a chance). Now, if you combine these three things at any level (overwhelmed, misconceptions of love, and insecurities), you have one confused individual. Add to this the pressure and “fast pace” of much of the seminary dating and it is not so hard to see why some ladies tend to shut down and withdraw internally. Marriage should be the ultimate goal for those called to it, but we must be careful not to think too much of it too quickly and thus skip over the beginning steps. This particular person may or may not be “it.” But, forcing someone to fit into a marriage paradigm too early will crush ANY relationship, no matter what potential is there.

The thing that is so sad to me is that often we all shut out the very one that might be able and willing to help. I wrote a note a while back for one of my sisters addressing this very thing (though I didn’t tell her it was for her). It is entitled, “The Frail Rose.” The most frustrating thing for a man who desires to help, is the realization that she has shut him out emotionally. No matter how true what he says may be, he realizes that she will never hear a word he says until her heart is softened. He further realizes that any attempt on his part to help will only result in her pushing him farther away, as she will never trust his motives in this state. The even more saddening realization is that she may never allow him back in and it may have had nothing to do with him (directly), but is due to pain, fear, pride, and sin (or some combination thereof). She is unintentionally denying the good that God is trying to bring into her life (as we all tend to do so often).

One final (and admittedly strong) exhortation to my sisters in this section: You are surrounded by Godly men and you will not always have such godly men around you, much less so many. I am not saying you should settle (you certainly should not if your reasoning is truly Biblical), but withdrawing because you are overwhelmed is not healthy. This drives a wedge between you and the guy, which causes emotional distance, which ends in a downward spiral. Thus, go figure, you no longer feel like there is a future for the two of you. You then conclude that you were right to withdraw. Yet if these are the reasons, you probably weren’t. What you have basically done is rejected the good that God has tried to bring into your life, and then blamed the distance on the good, not the reaction. You have done it to yourself. Thus, you continue in this pattern, frustrating yourself and others around you… all the while wondering when is God going to bring someone into your life. He just tried and you rejected him! Now that I probably have every lady reading this upset with me, let me qualify... I am not saying that every single instance where you feel it is “not right” falls into this category. However, I am saying to check your motives, the problem is where withdrawing is the result of a complex of the three realms mentioned above (or others) instead of the genuine leading of the Lord. As always, I would remind you of our human tendency toward self-deception… we can “make” anything legitimate if we want to and so often we stop our ears to the Lord when we are confused (so let us search our hearts).

I am including this next paragraph as more of a reflection than necessarily part of the series, thus the difference in language and direction. I find myself overburdened sometimes in talking with and praying for my sisters in this area. Most women were not created to be alone (likewise with men). Yet, so many are alone and they have to fulfill the role of both the man and the woman, something for which they were not created. Thus, they may appear very strong, yet they admit that their strength is only “as strong as glass.” They hate it so very much, yet they have no option. Thus, especially in times of confusion, they need a strong leader to listen to them and then say ok, here’s what is going on, here’s what we need to do, and then take them by the hand and say let’s do it together, I am here for you and with you. Yet, there is no one to do that (at least right now). The fact that some of my sisters are in this position truly breaks my heart; I am literally in tears as I am typing this! It breaks my heart because I see so many of my sisters, whom I love very much in the Lord caught in these types of situations. I see (at least to some degree) what needs to be done, what needs to happen, where the growth points are, where they need to be healed, and yet, I am a man under authority and it is not always my place to help beyond a certain point. It feels like watching someone drowning in the water, seeing the life raft, having the ability to throw it in, yet not being able to because it is not my place, I do not have the right or authority to help them. Thus, I listen, encourage, sometimes exhort, and mostly pray for them, all the while not having the liberty to truly help them. To those ladies that I have spoken with, please don’t misunderstand this section. You are not a burden to me, I love being there for you as much as I am allowed to be and nothing thrills my heart more that talking with you, praying for you, and helping however I can to bear your burdens… it is my joy, my privilege, and my heart! You truly have no idea how much I love and care for you in Christ! My point is that I constantly have to fight the temptation to step in where I have no authority. You see, that authority belongs to your future husband. There is a bonding that takes place when a man “takes a woman by the hand” and leads her and only a foolish man would violate this. Now understand that I am not saying that I / we can’t help at all, but there is a level of intimacy and leadership that must not be violated (this is why when I am counseling, I only help so far). Thus, I long for the day when I can finally use the giftings the Lord has blessed me with, take my future beloved by the hand, and go to the throne of Christ for healing! Finally, to all of the ladies, be encouraged that there are Godly men around (among whom I would love to be counted, yet dare not count myself) who are ready, willing, and able to help, lead, and love you!


I have much to say on this one as I have seen it all too often, yet I want to season my speech with grace and love. So far in this part, I have discussed things that are quite troublesome and need to be corrected, yet are at least somewhat understandable as they are the result of a need for healing. Thus, in the above sections I took more time to try to explain the “whys” so that there might be more understanding. Though pride can come from a need for healing, it is a much more serious issue. Thus, in this section, I will continue to try to exhort, yet you will notice a difference in its treatment.

Ok, for this one I will go back to the supply and demand analogy. When supplies are limited and demand is high, two things happen. The first is that people go crazy (tickle me Elmo goes berserk), which we’ve already discussed. The second is that the price goes up. With so many Godly young men asking a girl out, or at least demonstrating interest, it is easy for pride to enter the picture. At this point, I must say that this observation is not directly from me. Though I recognized it in part, I had no idea how deep and wide-spread it is. One dear sister in Christ and I have spoken about these things on a number of occasions and she kept telling me “it’s pride Aaron, just pride.” I really didn’t understand for a long time. We are (or at least I am) so conditioned to think of men struggling with pride that we sometimes forget ladies fall to it as well. Also, since it is a human condition, women fall to it just as deeply… though maybe not in the same ways. I have discussed and observed three basic types of pride in the women here, which will be discussed below. Of course, I am not saying that all of the women here are necessarily prideful in all or any of the following ways… once again, speaking in terms of the grand scheme and the big picture of possibilities.

Ok the first form of pride is the “pearl necklace.” As this sister has explained to me, and several others, some girls pride themselves in the number of guys that they have interested in them. They will get together, or even in general conversation, brag about how they have this guy and that guy after them and they just can’t make up their mind who they want and so on and so on. This is the most offensive form of pride. Be sure to note that there is a BIG difference between sincerely not being sure, and becoming prideful about the decision. Also, it is only ok to be “making up your mind” for a short period of time, assuming more than one guy approached you at about the same time. It is an entirely different thing after you are in a relationship or after a period of time. Anyway, the exact quote (from my female friend) is that they “wear them like a string of pearls,” showing all of the other girls, and even the guys, how “worthy” they are. Thus, they “string along” a number of guys refusing to settle for anyone but the best, inciting competition and all manner of ungodliness (sometimes even holding out because there is probably yet another “better” one). They continue doing so, feeding their self-worth, engorging themselves in attention and pride.

I have to be very, very careful in the way that I address this one because to be quite honest, it really makes me upset (and thus, I must remind myself of my own pride). There is SO much wrong with this one, but I will address this very briefly as I don’t want to speak too harshly. First, this is the antithesis of Christian love and reveals a very carnal mind. This type of girl is using other people for her own gratification. This is not self-sacrifice, this is self-aggrandizement… and is a direct affront to God. It is bad enough to be prideful within yourself, it is another to use and hurt others to feed yourself. Second, she is proving herself unworthy in that she obviously sees him not as a brother in Christ, but as a toy, an object put on this earth to please her. The fact that she would play with her brother’s emotions and heart in this manner proves her to be the most contemptuous of women, having no regard for his wellbeing before Christ, but only her fleeting pleasure. Third, she is flaunting supposed “success” before her sisters, stirring up envy and jealousy (especially among those that already feel unworthy or don’t seem to have anyone interested in them). This too is deeply disturbing and proves her worthy of no one, not even the least of all in that she has no honor and no respect for anyone above herself. So, now, she is hurting and upsetting both her brothers and her sisters.

The second form of pride is the idea of “holding out” because there’s bound to be someone better. This will be addressed much more in the next part (part 3), though from a slightly different angle than the scope of this particular post. Nevertheless, this is where a lady, no matter how good the guy, refuses to settle for anything less than perfection. Now, if you ask her, she would say she doesn’t expect perfection, yet the moment she sees anything “wrong” with him, she moves on to the next guy. This is the most foolish of all the forms of pride (if it were actually possible to rank them). I’m just going to say this plainly… she needs to grow up. To use the cliché, there has only been one perfect man and He’s engaged and returning for the church! One last repetitive thought on this one… if you are here at the seminary and you are a single lady, you will never again be surrounded by so many Godly young men (and I would say the inverse to the men… you will never again be surrounded by so many Godly young women). Again, I will be addressing this much more in-depth in the next part, so forgive the short nature if its treatment.

The third form has already been addressed indirectly, but is worth mentioning. It is the idea that everyone is interested. This is probably the most subtle (and thus common) form of pride because, quite frankly, the ladies are in short supply and are therefore in high demand. Yet it is sinful to assume that every guy that is around you or that smiles at you is “after” you. As hard as it is, you must do as one of my other sisters has told me she does. She does not assume anything until he explicitly tells her. Thus, even though her “spidey senses” may be going off, she checks herself the best she can, and just acknowledges him as a brother in Christ. Beyond this, work on general and genuine humility. You must find the balance between seeing yourself as valuable and seeing yourself too highly. The best way to do this is to pray that God would help you see / perceive through His eyes. Thus, you will see who you really are in Him, yet be reminded (and humbled) by seeing yourself as you are outside of Him. Where pride is involved, other things naturally result, the least of which is, thinking too much of yourself, ignoring guys, and treating them poorly simply because they are guys. This is damaging to both yourself and your brothers and most importantly, it is not honoring to Christ.

--A Few Closing Thoughts

Now before closing, let me be clear; there is nothing more sinful in the female responses than the male response, or the other way around. Again, we all have our own particular weaknesses and some of them fall on gender lines. Thus, I hope that you will realize that I am not trying to be any more harsh on one side or the other (and I hope that I am, in fact, not being).

Also, there are many, many brothers and sisters on this campus that do NOT fall into the “bad” things that I have described thus far. There are many very Godly young men and women on this campus that truly “get it.” I would love to publicly praise them all, but I could never remember all of their names and wouldn’t want to leave anyone out. I guess the best example I can think of (though there are many) is one time a while back when a single young lady walked into the laundry room in Fuller Hall where a few guys (including myself) were sitting there talking (about what else :). We quickly changed to some random subject and she, knowing one of the guys, walked over and joined the conversation for about a half-hour. It is sad that I was surprised, but it sticks in my memory quite well because she was “just a sister” and wasn’t acting weird or making up her mind to come back later. No, she knew the one guy, heard a conversation, introduced herself to us, and had a good conversation with some brothers in Christ. She may or may not remember this as that is simply who she is, but it was encouraging. May God continue to lead, guide, and heal His children!!!


Lisa of Longbourn said...

I want to start by saying that I’ve thought a lot about girls and relationships. Guarding hearts, preparing hearts, responding to guys, the ideal relationship… But no one has ever directly asked me out or verbally expressed interest to me. So this comment is hopefully an insight into what’s going on inside a girl, and how she looks at life. But it isn’t necessarily the voice of experience.

Transparency doses. Yes. I think that’s right. And it might be a good idea after a hefty dose has been administered for the man to step back for a while and give her some time to process. If a guy is being intentional about that, it won’t seem like she’s avoiding him, and she won’t feel over pressured.

If the two people before were blurry silhouettes, now they’re coming into focus, and it might be that they are finding out they don’t match like they thought they might. Like say a guy is honest with me and tells me that he struggles with trusting God in big decisions. I’m looking for a man who can lead me in that area, and I might be discovering that though he is a great Christian man, we aren’t complementing each other like pre-married people should. So either the man or the woman could express that and back the relationship away from romance. That’s the point of dating and part of the point of honesty.

I had another thought, about girls’ reactions. You said sometimes girls are so overwhelmed by interest from one or multiple guys that they don’t know what to do. “Do” is only half the problem. They don’t know what to feel. Girls, like you said, are made to respond to interest and attention, and especially if it’s unexpected, they don’t know what to feel. I think the reaction is usually reciprocation, but then if they’re not sure that a guy is deeply interested (maybe he’s just machine-gunning them), they should be careful. And they don’t really know him, maybe, and so they want to observe. They need time to develop a little bit of a relationship to tell what’s going on. But then if they do develop a relationship, and he’s excited by success, things could move too fast and the emotions could get out of control. I guess this blends into the guarding your heart section. In my experience emotions are a steep slope. Once you open the door, closing it again is really hard (even after only a short time). As Jane Austen said, “A lady’s imagination is very rapid.”

And I know that this is going to venture into the “what relationships should look like,” discussion, but it is probably best if a girl gets a chance to observe trust-able behavior before she’s hit with a request for a date.

A few years ago I realized that not assuming more than is explicitly stated helps the other way from what we generally are tempted. Usually I’d be tempted to assume a guy liked me. But it helps to not assume that a guy hates me, either.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

A-Hawk said...

@ Lisa,

Thanks once again for your comments. As I have said several times, it really encourages me to keep going when I get feedback, especially from a young woman (as that is the perspective I am obviously missing). I am also glad to know that someone is actually following the series :-)

First, let me try to encourage you as a brother to a sister by saying that is a shame (in reference to the interest comment). I obviously don’t know you at all, but from your comments you seem very intelligent and very much in love with the Lord. I am sure many factors are involved, but unfortunately one of them may be that it seems many guys don’t appreciate strong, intelligent young women (and they need to grow up). Even if that is part of it, be encouraged that some not only appreciate it, but also desire it. Also, remain as you are and don’t hide yourself… the right one WILL appreciate it. I hope that doesn’t seem weird, and I don’t mean to blame it entirely on the guys, again, I don’t know you. However, I do know many of my sisters around here and it seems I am always having that very conversation (I will probably write a post about it at some point). Anyway, to get back to the main point, yours may not be the voice of experience, but it is the sincere voice of a sister. Further, there is something to be gained from all insight (in my opinion).

Ok, now that I have gone on, let me interact a little. Yes, I agree that processing time is exceedingly important and greatly appreciate your insight. To add to this (and thus the discussion), from the male perspective it can seem like a game of shells (and some guys are just plain oblivious). What I mean by this is that, though processing time is important, each and every girl responds differently. Very, very few girls will tell a guy that she needs time, how much, the timing, and so on (unless it is “the end”). Thus, it can seem like there is a “magical” or “hidden” code that we are supposed to decipher. If this is missed, it can separate either quickly, or like a slow poison. I think this (other than ignorance) is why it seems so many guys don’t back off, because it seems hopeless to figure out. It is even more difficult because you simply don’t know the other person in the formative stage and you will never get beyond it if you can’t figure it out. Bottom line, guys need to try very hard to read girls and be sensitive and girls need to figure out a way to help him read her. Transparency and respect on both sides! Anyway, lest I be misunderstood, thank you so much for adding that comment, I am agreeing with you whole-heartedly. I wrote what I did to sort of “jump off” of yours and attempt to add to the overall discussion (by trying to explain the “why”).

Totally agree with you on the silhouettes paragraph. Also, as to the “do” comment: yes, I totally agree with you (and don’t want to seem simply agreeable, I really do). Though I used the word “do,” I meant it in terms of “how to handle it,” for which you aptly used “feel” (we are saying the same thing, just using more typically male and female language – how appropriate :). Anyway, thank you for fleshing that out a little better as that is precisely what I meant.

I am not sure I am totally following you on the “the reaction is usually reciprocation.” If you mean reciprocate interest… I am not sure I totally agree or totally disagree. Some do seem to reciprocate and yet some seem to shut down… I’ll have to think about that one. I do agree that we all need to be careful, yet not so much so that we wall ourselves in. Also, very good use of the quote.

Yes, that is part of the “what they should look like section,” but yes, that is my greatest contention, that he must at some level demonstrate trustworthiness first. And yes, it is best not to assume either way (and you should never assume a guy hates you).

Well, once again I have typed way too much (yeesh). Thanks again for your input and insights and please don’t hesitate to disagree if you feel I am “missing it” somewhere (and that goes to any / all that read). As I have said many times, I would rather the body be edified, encouraged, and built-up and me look like a fool than for me to look good and the body to be lacking in some way.

Blessings in Christ from the rambling fool,

Aaron Hawk
2 Cor. 4:16-18

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I think with regards to "interest," that it is because I have been praying for years that my heart would not be deceived into falling for the wrong guy. Whatever trouble with crushes, I think I would be much worse if I was in a position to respond to interest from a guy. So I'm ok with it.

To quote Amy in Little Women,
You only need one, if he's the right one.

More comments later. Gotta go.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Lisa of Longbourn said...

My only further comment at present is that what I meant by reciprocate was emotion, I guess.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

A-Hawk said...

@ Lisa

Ah, that is a very good and righteous prayer. I suppose that would be more emotionally taxing and either way I am glad that you are ok with it.

Admitting that I am ignorant of the situation and that I am seeing through the lenses of what I do know (in the general sense, including the situation here), allow me a moment of “general encouragement”… I exhort you to keep that very important prayer, and to mean it, yet be careful not to build too many “walls of testing.” It is true that you only need one guy, but even a knight has to be able to find a way in. Again, I am not saying that is what you are doing at all (how would I know), so please don’t misunderstand… it is just that I see it so much (and this provides me another “soap-box moment” to flesh-out the discussion). In truth, I guess I’m just repeating what I have already typed in the post :). For a girl, she defeats herself with too much protection or none at all. For a guy, he defeats himself with overlooking or looking too much. I confess my own issue to sort of prove my point… in the past (and possibly the future, though I hope not), I have fallen to overlooking (thus the third line in the song http://a-hawk.blogspot.com/2007/08/i-am-human-forgive-me.html ). I overlooked one sister for quite a long time and it grieves me to this day.

Emotion is a guarantee for sure, but what kind is the question (rhetorically). Again, I am speaking of generalities (and to my theoretical other readers), not you in particular. I really hope I’m not coming across poorly (I too can lack tact sometimes ;). Further, this is very personal to me right now and I am tired from being in class since 8 this morning (so again, admitting both my faults and bias). Thus, hopefully I have not offended you unintentionally.

Thanks again for the input / clarification and I look forward to whatever comments you have in the future. May the Lord continue to bless, encourage, and lead you!

A truly “simple” servant,

Aaron Hawk
Proverbs 18:14 - 14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

A-Hawk said...

Oh, ps guys, as to the overlooking comment on my part… to be perfectly honest, even though it is a fault on my part, I think the Lord has purposely kept me blinded until recently as well… I am actually fairly sure of that!

A-Hawk said...

Hey guys, many of you know that I post the same things on Facebook as I do here (and I have gotten a few comments). I included the comments already made from this post on Facebook (from the blog to Facebook and using only first names with no linking) to aid the discussion there, since I thought they were quite helpful. Thus, I will to the obverse here and include a comment made there (is this confusing enough yet :), along with my response. Blessings in Christ to all of my brothers and sisters!

Nick's comment:
Wow, this discussion is akin to Part Two: B, Section ii. Thanks for posting it, Aaron! I agree with Lisa's comments 1a and 1c, and your second 10:18 response, regarding how ladies often need some time to process before they can fully respond to a dose of transparency, and also that this does serve to keep the man from becoming "excited by success," so that the relationship stays healthy. I will say that even if the lady doesn't quite know the details of what she would need in order to sort things out, if she tells him flat out "I need some time," that ought to make it clear to the guy that he needs to step back and give her space until she's ready to move on. I apologize if I'm now stepping into the "this is what it should look like" area, but I think being clear about this could help avoid confusion on his part and pressure on hers.

My response:
@ Nick, thanks for your comments and encouragement. Yeah, you know me, I don’t email, I send books! Yes, I agree with you. I especially agree with being clear, the problem is that it seems very few girls do this (and many guys are not either). It seems (note the word "seems") that instead, many girls hold it in until they are overwhelmed. Also, there is a real sense in which when she does back off, she naturally looses whatever affection might be there due to distance, time, and frustration (especially internal). However, either way, if a girl says she needs time, it should be given. Also, this is where it really helps if the guy is aware and can limit himself. Yet at the same time, I have learned, if he limits himself too much, she will think he is not truly interested, as Lisa referenced at one point (again the shell game).Thus, in his attempt to protect her, he drives her away (thus, essentially shooting himself in the head). This is where I hate typed responses because we are probably saying the same thing. Also, I am purposely playing a little devil’s advocate so that the discussion can be more full, yet I also run the risk of being misunderstood. Thanks again!

Oh yeah, and with my above statement, of course though it can seem hopeless (and a miracle that any two people ever find each other), ultimately we must remind ourselves that Christ is both good and in control!

As always, I pray the Lord would lead, guide, and heal us all!

In Christ,

Aaron Hawk
Proverbs 18:14 - 14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

A-Hawk said...

Hey guys, just thought I’d include yet another tidbit. I was talking to another female friend of mine (via email) and we were discussing a situation where she is advising a male friend of hers. She didn’t know about the series, but was giving him some general advice and encouragement. Anyway, I am including this because it is an unashamed, honest female perspective and so perfectly illustrates what we’ve been talking about. Also, for the record, yes, I specifically asked her if I could include this and she gave me permission :).

From my female friend to her friend:
“…she could be just nervous. From the mind of a female lol : Sometimes we can be so insecure with ourselves that a great guy like you will absolutely terrify us. We get nervous and self conscious that we wonder if we would even be good enough. I think maybe that is why you hear about some girls who usually flock to the bad boy types. We also put up a barrier around ourselves sometimes avoiding eye contact and things like that. Thats why it is so important to first love yourself before you can love anyone else.”

A few comments really quick… oh my sisters, once again it breaks my heart to hear this. I know it, I have heard it before (and seen it), yet it breaks my heart so very much (to the point of tears). My sisters, if you are honest with him and don’t hide who you really are from him, then he will make his choice. It is up to him to decide if you are “good enough” in the same way it is up to you to decide if he is “good enough” for you. I understand not wanting to go too far if you feel unworthy, yet you are defeating yourself by assuming that you are not (and killing him when you do withdraw). If you never take that risk, and yes it is a risk, you will inevitably end up with someone who does not appreciate you and will not love you the way you deserve to be loved and ultimately is not worthy of you. This is like taking a job a minimum wage when you are qualified for a job at $50,000 a year, simply because you are nervous. Again, this is quite self-defeating and truly breaks my heart.

Also, let me give another encouragement and / or piece of advice. Now, here I only speak of “honorable” men. There are certainly those that are not honorable and don’t have pure motives. Yet, again, I am speaking of honorable men. An important thing to realize is that honorable men have usually observed you in one way or another already. Thus, they have already deemed you worthy and desire to get to know you better. This does not necessarily mean that he is sold down the river, but he has already made his choice in one manner or the other.

I can’t remember if I have included this before or not, but there is another related thought to share. Each side, the male and the female, has its own unique blessings and curses. For the men, it is both blessing and curse to lead. We are called to lead, yet we don’t know our “audience” until it is too late (and we bear blood on our hands so to speak if we mistreat a sister). For the women, it is the constant tension of feeling trapped and waiting. I could go on and on about that (and probably will at some point). However, the point that I am trying to make is that quite often the man has taken some time (often considerable time) to observe you and try to get to know who you are before even talking to you. Thus, he has had some level of “build-up” before you were even aware of the possibility (or at least before you were sure). This becomes interesting (and sometimes dangerous) because he has had time to sort through things and then you are hit with everything all at once. This is also why men are usually much more sure in / of the relationship (aside from the confidence form the Lord so that we can lead in the first place). Ok, I may seem like I am rambling and I guess to some degree I am, yet the point that I am trying to make is that you have already impressed him before even going out. Thus, try to take encouragement in this… he has already deemed you worthy and good enough. I realize this is easy to assent to mentally, yet, when you are in the situation not so much.

I will repeat this later as it belongs in the series at a different point, yet it flows so naturally from this encouragement that I will include it now. I was asked the other day what the “one thing” I want people to take from this series. Well, for the girls, it is definitely that you would push through the fear, hard as it is, and allow Christ to truly lead you from there. This means accountability and leadership from someone you trust (and honesty), preferably from someone older and wiser than you (otherwise, what good is it). For the guys, it is harder to say… I guess the most important thing for now is to remember that each and every girl is unique and has her own “rules.” I am sure that this is the “one thing” for the girls, and somewhat less sure about the guys part… though for now, this will suffice.

Continually praying for the Lord to help, lead, guide, and heal us all!!!

Sincerely in Christ,

The Rambling Fool
-Aaron Hawk

A-Hawk said...

Hey guys, once again adding some comments from the Facebook side of things. I believe they help flesh out the discussion quite a bit more and even illustrate some of what I have addressed (and even get into a bit of the upcoming posts).

I promise the series will continue, as I think I said before, I sort of wish I had just waited until I was finished with the whole thing before posting any of it, but it is too late for that ;). That said, I hope to have the next section up very soon, but again, the semester comes in quick as lightning and hard as a mallet to the head. I also have a lot going on personally right now and could use some prayer. These are the reasons for such delays… believe me, I am eager to continue the series!!!

PS – if any of you are on Facebook, look me up “Aaron Hawk.” I am under the SBTS Grad network as well as Louisville. Just put “A Simple Servant” or something obvious like that in the friend request. Lots of stuff on there that is not on here ;)

Oh, and one more thing… forgive the formatting… Facebook only allows so many characters per comment :-(

Comments via Facebook

Megan wrote
at 11:22pm on January 24th, 2008
Here's something that goes along with the point that by the time you're on a date, the guy has already decided that he likes the girl. Because he likes her, the guy seems to generally consider things to be going well unless he finds a big red flag and rules her out as "the one."

That's not how girls think.

Girls are waiting for guys to give them evidence that they are the right guy. Girls aren't just content to wait until there's something to rule a guy out, they're waiting for the guy to prove that he should be ruled in in the first place. So a colder-than-anticipated reaction doesn't necessarily mean that a girl is afraid that a guy is "the one," it might just be that she hasn't discovered whether or not he is yet. Or she might just not be interested in a relationship even if he's a great guy.

Erica wrote
at 12:35am on January 25th, 2008
Aaron -- Good point about every girl being unique and playing by a different set of "rules." There have been many times that a guy has said or done something I thought was sweet, but would have offended another woman (and vice versa).

Megan -- I'm a little confused about what you meant by a "colder-than-anticipated" reaction from a girl who has not yet decided that a guy is right for her. Wouldn't a cold reaction hinder the process of getting to know someone in the first place? There's a certain amount of wisdom in not giving away all of your feelings immediately, but "coldness" is usualy equated with rejection. Why reject someone you're not sure about?

Megan wrote
at 1:20am on January 25th, 2008
Erica, I meant that because guys typically ask a girl out with the assumption that she could very well be the one, they might be inclined to think that, after a couple of weeks, if the girl hasn't decided the same thing, she's closing herself off emotionally. It's not necessarily "coldness", but it might not be the warm response the guy was hoping for, particularly if he thinks she's great. In reality, if she hasn't explicitly rejected him, it's possible she just hasn't decided he's the one she wants to follow for the rest of her life.

Megan wrote
at 1:24am on January 25th, 2008
I think this point makes sense as an outworking of biblical roles; men are called to lead (and love, of course), but it's possible to lead someone with whom you disagree. Women, however, are called to follow, and it's pretty difficult to follow someone whose opinion you don't respect. Therefore, men might think the whole budding relationship is going wonderfully because the lady is a caring, nurturing, godly woman who hasn't said anything heretical, while the woman is thinking, 'Is this a man whose judgment I can trust? Would I trust him to raise my children?' I'm not saying guys aren't concerned with those issues, but as the leader, they are ultimately responsible and don't have to submit to their wife's opinion.

Aaron Hawk wrote
at 1:58am on January 25th, 2008
Hey, after typing a response, I walked away for a few minutes to get ready for bed and when I came back… there were more comments. I am tired and (as stated) going to bed in a minute, thus, I haven’t read the newest comments and will respond later as I don’t have the energy to write anything more right now.

Thus, the following applies only to the 11:22 post:

@ Megs: Interesting... Thanks for the comments.

Yes, in general I agree that is how guys think, though not all. As to the girls, that is certainly a point that I left out. I do think however, that it proves the point that every girl is different. In conversation with many sisters, it was the fear thing. Also, yes, girls are generally looking for evidence, the “is he” that you referenced. I have lost count of the number of times a female friend has asked the “should I give him my heart” question (which for reference guys, comes several times at different stages). Yet often there is a little fear even there.

Aaron Hawk wrote
at 1:58am on January 25th, 2008
There is a big difference however in the basic wiring of being skeptical first and looking for evidence (which I agree applies to most girls) and not waiting because he hasn’t proved himself. Now, you didn’t mention a timeframe, and in truth that will vary, but girls need to be very careful not to “cut and run” too soon. You see, the question is how is he to give evidence before he knows anything of what she is looking for in particular? If she is not content to wait very long, then how can he possibly demonstrate anything other than simply trying to figure her out? Thus, if she is looking for evidence and he is trying to figure out what she wants, nothing happens and both sides risk misunderstanding the other.

The thing is that it literally becomes an impossible balance for the guys sometimes. Some girls want lots of affection very early, some don’t. Some girls want to know exactly what he is thinking, some can’t handle it (and some have the wisdom to know that). Some want to know why he is interested and some just want a chance to adjust and sort through things before going “too far.” I could go on and on, but you should be able to get the point. With this, some guys, myself included, sort of go into “neutral” because they are not sure about what she wants. They are afraid to show too much, talk too much, and so on simply because they are not sure what exactly she is after / what is helpful. If he does too much, she might think him desperate. If he does too little, she might think him indifferent.

Aaron Hawk wrote
As soon as the guy has an idea of the direction, then he is usually comfortable approaching one way or the other. Yet, until then, he doesn’t want to push too much. Thus, in trying to respect her, he may in fact be sending the wrong signal (again from the male perspective… the shell game).

Aaron Hawk wrote
at 1:59am on January 25th, 2008
Also, I am sorry if I miscommunicated something; nowhere did I intend to imply that all girls are trebling in fear, nor do I think that I did. In the male section, I have yet to address anything but the negatives, but that does not mean that is my only opinion. Because of time and space (and the ever present need for sleep), I have to make generalizations that I feel are the widest.

Sincerely, thanks again for your comments, they are quite appreciated and have helped to flesh out the discussion a little more (as all of the comments have)!

@ Erica: thanks so much for sharing from your own life once again. Your input is always helpful. The Lord has gifted you in many ways and I always look forward to your perspective :)

A guy named Phil made some comments that were inappropriate, thus my following comments were in response to his.

Aaron Hawk wrote
at 9:35pm on January 25th, 2008
To Mr. Brett,

Wow, I am honestly not sure what to say. I guess first, thank you for being willing to comment and thank you for being so honest with how you feel. However, the way in which you spoke is the antithesis of Christian love. Part of the whole point to the series is to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Please make sure that you season your speech with grace and sanctification. Bottom line, you need to repent for the way you spoke to my sister (and yours, if you are in Christ). I cannot and will not tolerate anyone abusing or mistreating one of my sisters (intentionally or unintentionally), thus, I have removed your comments.

Aaron Hawk wrote
at 9:36pm on January 25th, 2008
That said, though the way you spoke was not necessary, you did have a few valid points. Thus, if at some later point you wish to share your thoughts please feel free to do so with the following as qualification. I would encourage you, in general, to think through your comments before leaving them or speaking and see if you can find a Christ-honoring way to word them. You seem to be an observer and Christ can use that, but you must honor Him in the way you do it. Remember, we are to build up, not to tear down!!! May the Lord lead and guide you and draw you ever-closer in sanctification!

Phil wrote
at 5:15pm on January 28th, 2008
Aaron, you are right. I am sorry to you and to Megan. I am a Christian, just not a very good one sometimes. I am really realy sorry though, again you are right, I didn’t act like a Christian with what I said. I think the series/ comments just really is close to me because I was dumped a not long ago cause she said she didn’t take me serious like I was not really interested you know. I was! So, the comments just really hurt, but she is right (Megan) that is what happens sometimes. I just didn’t know how to be open and I guess I just sort of exploded. Again , I am very sorry.

I guess I can try to reword thigns, and I have thought about it a little more. It is not fair for a girl to expect a guy to prove himself if she doesn’t tell him what she wants and really true if she is not acting like she is interested. How am I supposed to know?! I think this is dishonesty for her to act like that and expect me to realize she wants me to prove something. She is not saying and doing the same thing. Yeah, the one comment really upset me. Why is someone going to go out with someone if they are not interested in them. That just seems mean. Maybe a casual date or coffee opr whatever but not dating.

I also wanted to say that guys are told that they are always assuming that this particular girl si the one. I guess some do, but most of us I think just want to take time and get to know someone and see. The timeframe that was mentioned is just ridiculous (sorry, I am not tyring to be mean I just don’t know how else to say it). No body takes off their masks right away. We all wear masks, even upfront people do. I have one side of me that I show everyone another that I show peole that are close to me and another that I show to the closest. It isn’t that I’m different it si just different pieces of who I am.

So like I used you as the example when I first met you verses now. I thought you didn’t take things serious because you are goofing off so much. But then I saw that you are a deep thinker. If someone only sees me one tiem or for a couple weeks they don’t know me. If I date a girl even if I’d known her a long time she doenst know anything about how I act in a relationship. If she acts like she is not really interested I don’t know what to do and I think she is telling me to leave her alone.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is stuff like a girl trying to think about whether he can raise children and all in such a short period of time. I mean, we are all tired of being single, but we have time to figure stuff out why are we trying to rush huge decisions. That just doesn’t seem smart, it seems the opposite. Again, there is some major rushing going on and no one can match up to a standard like that.

Oh, and to answer your email Aaron, we have met only a couple times in social groups and I read your stuff, so you probably wouldn’t remember me. I do want to say again how sorry I am… you were totally right and thank you for saying it.
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Megan wrote
at 10:22pm on January 28th, 2008
Mr. ****, thanks for the apology, although I'm not entirely sure what it was for, as I didn't read your original comments. Not knowing either who you are or what you have been through recently, I can assure you that none of my comments were intended to hurt you in any way.

I feel that you misunderstand the point of my comment; it is not about women saying one thing and doing another. I was just attempting to clarify the different ways men and women approach relationships. Also, I clarified later what I meant by men proving that they could be the one for a specific woman, but let me say this again. I do not mean that men need to prove they are the smartest, bravest, most caring man that exists, as that would be impossible. I only meant that women are trying to figure out if this a man whose judgment they can trust.
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Megan wrote
at 10:22pm on January 28th, 2008
Additionally, time lines are different for everyone.While most people wouldn't make decisions about marriage within a few weeks of dating, questions of marriage and child-rearing are important, and women will probably think about them early on in a relationship. I don't advocate rushing into engagement or marriage, but I do think that women and men should spend time thinking about and praying for wisdom about what kind of person they would want to marry.

And finally, I did not say women should date someone they aren't interested in. It is quite possible for a woman to be interested in continuing to date someone without knowing for sure if he's the man she wants to be with the rest of her life, as that is the point of dating. I agree with you that it is dishonest for a woman to continue dating a man who she is not interested in.

Beau wrote
at 11:12pm on January 30th, 2008
This is a great post, and there is so much to discuss here, but I would like to focus on some things that Megan said on the 25th. Megan, you are exactly right in that a godly lady must be very cautious as she is being pursued by a Christian man. She should be led by the Spirit and have great discernment as she is praying and meditating concerning whether she should be with a certain man. Next to accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, determining which man to be with and eventually marry may be the next most important decision she will ever make. I applaud the cautiousness, the discernment, the prayer, and the meditation involved. However, this is a decision that must be made over time. I do not think that this is a decision that she should be able to make after a very short period of time. You can’t fully determine whether or not you should marry someone after a few dates, and I think determining whether someone is “the one” after such a short period time is implausible.
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Beau wrote
at 11:15pm on January 30th, 2008
In such a short period of time, guys do not know whether or not the girl is “the one.” We are still getting to know the girl, and we do not have enough essential information to determine whether or not she is “the one” after such a short period of time. It could be months before a person really knows whether or not the person he or she is with is the one that God desires him or her to marry. It takes time. There is no need, and it is unwise, to make such a rash decision. Unfortunately, at Boyce and Southern, there are too many cases where two people date and make rash decisions about whether or not they should marry someone after only a short period of dating. Honestly, that shows a lack of discernment and patience, and it is very unwise to make such a rash decision. Take your time. If you are with the person and if the relationship is going well, enjoy it!

Beau wrote
at 11:25pm on January 30th, 2008
Also, Megan, I think that it is awesome that Christian women have high standards when looking for a godly mate, as long as the standards are not unreasonable. I have standards, and on some of them, I am will to “give,” and on some of them, I am not willing to “give on.” So, it is great to have standards. However, I take issue with what you said concerning that men must prove themselves to women. I do acknowledge that many ladies have that perspective, and yes, through his godly, gentleman-like behavior a man must reveal to a woman that he is worth of her care, affection, trust, desire, heart, and love, and she needs to know that he will be sacrifical towards her with a servant's heart. However, using "a man must prove himself" type of terminology in relation to pursuing a mate can be perilous for both parties.

Beau wrote
at 11:28pm on January 30th, 2008
If men had a “proving themselves” attitude, it could be very dangerous and detrimental to the relationship. First, if a man has to prove himself, it places a lot of pressure on him. He will be overly aware of his actions to an unproductive extent, and that is detrimental to the relationship. When he is with the lady, he will experience so much pressure that the relationship will be very anxiety provoking, uncomfortable, and not fun. If a guy is constantly feeling pressure to prove himself, with the possibility of a mistake or fault leading to the end of the relationship, he will not want to be with the girl because it is stressful, uncomfortable, not enjoyable, and damaging to his emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Furthermore, if a girl is being cold to him, or if he perceives her to be cold, on the date, he will interpret that as rejection, and he will not go out with the girl again.

Beau wrote
at 11:30pm on January 30th, 2008
Even if she has feelings for him and desires another date, if he experiences the girl as being cold, he will not go out with her. What guys wants to be with a lady that constantly treats him coldly? Also, if a guy feels like he has to prove himself with the consequence of rejection due to imperfection, the relationship will not be genuine. The relationship will be shallow and lack depth. A guy will feel like a salesman, constantly trying to prove and sell himself to the girl. He will try to be perfect and try to be everything that she idealizes as perfection. This is dangerous because the guy will not be able to be himself. He will feel like if he is himself, the girl will find imperfections in him and then reject him. In a relationship, a guy must be free to be himself, revealing all of his tremendous traits and his faults. He needs an accepting, encouraging, and loving godly woman who will stand by him through thick and thin.

Beau wrote
at 11:40pm on January 30th, 2008
If a guy dates a girl, and if she discovers that she does not want to marry him, that is okay. Yes, the guy will be hurt, and the girl will probably be hurt too, but they will both move on. The relationship does not need to contain an abundance of pressure. In dating the guy and girl should be themselves without the pressure of having to “perform” in front of each other. My main is that the guy and girl should seek Christ, have fun, be themselves, and not rush : )

Also, Megan, I have a question of clarification for you. In one of your posts, you said that women "are called to follow, and it's pretty difficult to follow someone whose opinion you don't respect." I hear what you say, but what exactly do you mean? I know that you are not saying that a woman must agree with every opinion that the man has, but what are some opinions, in a woman's view, that the couple must share, and what are some that are acceptable to have differing views about?

Beau wrote
at 11:41pm on January 30th, 2008
I hope that you have not found my posts offensive, Megan, because that is not my intent. You are a wise sister in Christ, and my goal is to encourage you, challenge you, and learn from you. : )
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Megan wrote
at 5:33pm on February 1st, 2008
A couple of clarifications:
• I used the term "colder-than-anticipated" to contrast with the idea of a warm reaction. A word perhaps more closely in line with my meaning would be "reserved". If a girl is being completely cold to a man, she probably is rejecting him; my point was that men should not despair when faced with a reserved attitude, particularly if they are at a place where they would have a warm reaction to the thought of continuing in the relationship.

• The hypothetical time frame thrown out on the 25th was only meant to illustrate that, in my own observation, in the conservative Christian environment, men tend to be more quickly sure of things in a relationship than a woman. As I said after that, I certainly would not advocate making decisions about marriage in such a short time; I will further say that it is entirely possible in some situations to know in such a time frame that there is no hope of a God-honoring marriage.
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Megan wrote
at 5:33pm on February 1st, 2008
Additionally, I do not mean to imply that a man should put pressure on himself to be perfect, as that is clearly an impossibility; I'm sorry that my terminology has caused so much confusion. I do not mean that a man must prove himself by slaying a dragon and carrying groceries for little old ladies, I mean that by displaying his natural character and decision-making process, a man will demonstrate whether or not he is right for the woman. This can, of course, only be done if he is being himself, and not being overly concerned with how he appears to the lady in question.

Megan wrote
at 5:33pm on February 1st, 2008
If a man adopts the attitude described in your post at 11:28, Beau, I would not be surprised if he received a cold reaction, as he is clearly more focused on his own insecurities and fears than he is on the character and qualities of the woman he is pursuing. Many (of course, not all) women are able to perceive when a man is preoccupied with thoughts of himself, and that sort of attitude certainly does not demonstrate the wonderful qualities of a godly man your 11:25 post outlines.
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Megan wrote
at 5:34pm on February 1st, 2008
In an attempt to clarify the confusion caused by my words, I offer an analogy. Perhaps some reading this have taken a course before where you start out with 100 points, and you lose points throughout the semester before reaching your ultimate grade. Perhaps you've taken a course where you started out with zero points, and had to earn points if you wanted to receive a good grade.

In discussions with older, wiser Christians than myself, including both men and women, and with the understanding that men and women see the world differently through our very different natures, designed by God to compliment each other, I have come to the conclusion that men often (and of course, not always) think in terms of the former, while women think in terms of the latter.

Megan wrote
at 5:34pm on February 1st, 2008
A wise man who has been a father to me in many ways my own has not explains it this way: a man goes out looking for a woman, and when he finds the right one, she becomes the woman. Women are looking for the man, not a man. This does not mean a man has to prove that he is without fault, because as fallen creatures, none of us is. It simply means that women and men approach relationships with different perspectives.

Again, I do not put these thoughts forward in a public forum to create pressure for men to perform to some unknown-to-them standard.

Megan wrote
at 5:34pm on February 1st, 2008
And to finally address your specific question, Beau, I mean that if I don't respect a man's judgment in general, my rebellious nature would make it difficult to submit to him when something troubling occurs and I think I would make a different, and of course in my opinion better, decision. However, if I trust his judgment in general, knowing that he makes good decisions and certainly considers the needs of his wife and family, then even if my opinion is different, I will trust him to make the right choice.

The following specifics are my own views, and cannot be generalized to all women! I present the following thoughts only as a case study.

Megan wrote
at 5:34pm on February 1st, 2008
I am looking to align with my husband's views on theological issues, particularly on reformed theology and the nature of God as revealed in the Bible; if we had divergent opinions, what would I teach my children? Daddy's right or Daddy's wrong?

Outside of theology, I would say I wouldn't compromise on the need to discipline children or on certain political ideals. Also, I think it would be a recipe for much pain and suffering to fail to consider his opinion on how clean a home must be and exactly whose responsibility it is to keep it that way.

Megan wrote
at 5:35pm on February 1st, 2008
If I happen to end up dating a man whose opinion on financial planning, family size, decorating schemes, favorite movie genre, and preferred arrangement of toilet paper on dispenser doesn't align perfectly with mine, as long as I feel that he won't be dictatorial in his decision making, that he will consider my opinion seriously and be judicious in his leadership of our family, I would be comfortable with that. That said, if our opinions of the above were at complete opposite ends of the spectrum, it would certainly be something to consider carefully.

Again, I apologize to all reading this about any confusion caused by my choice of words, and hope that this post provides clarity.

Phil wrote
at 3:17pm
Megan, Im sur e you didn't mean it personally, I was just really not smart that day and I am glad that Aaron deleted my comments... really, I know you didn't mean it toward me, I was just upset and it seems like some of the same things somtimes where we are not given a chance as guys and we cant prove anything if we dont have a chance. it is so frustrating I like Aaron's thing about shells and as guys we just dont like games but it seems that way so much of the time. reallly though, i was only reacting to you i konw you didnt mean anything by it

A-Hawk said...

Well, at long last, I shall add a few comments that I have had to put off for several reasons. First, let me say thank you to everyone for the interaction. It blesses me that we are able to actually talk through these situations and try to help each other understand… so often in life that is lacking and instead of seeking clarification, we go to frustration. Again, thank you all for the honesty and love in your comments.

As to other things,

I like Meg’s “points” analogy and I do agree that those are generally the two angles that the respective sexes come from. It is sort of funny and sad sometimes how alike, yet entirely different we are at that same time… it is truly baffling. I also appreciate the fact that you said not all men or women fall into those categories, though they generally hold true. Though the majority of men probably do operate on the “a woman” or the “start with 100” system, as you said, not all.

Again to use myself as an example (or case study as you put it), I am one of the “odd” men (as usual, any that know me are either laughing or nodding their head). Though I have never thought of it in the exact terms you put it, I am looking for “the” woman and women generally start at zero with me (I only know a few other men that operate this way). It is not arrogance or anything of the sort, it is the fact that I have to know the person’s character (among other things) before I even develop interest. Thus, I -think- I understand now what you mean when you said “prove” (which is the term that I think set everyone on edge, including me at first :).

In regard to the above, I do not know whether this is simply because of the way the Lord has wired me or because of being raised by my wonderful mother who taught me to develop discernment and to look beyond the surface. I am sure it is some combination of both, but whatever the case this is how I think. Something you will hear me say time and time again if you are around me is that I am an observer first and then a doer. I have found that it is better in almost every circumstance in life to observe and learn first and then act based on Biblical principles and the knowledge gained through observation. This applies to most every aspect of my life, including relationship. To flesh this out, I don’t even develop mild interest until I know someone, at least somewhat. The stereotypical example of what men are looking for is the prettiest woman that is not a total heretic. While that may be true for some, it could not be further from the truth for me. To me, I understand that in the grand scheme, beauty is vain and temporary. Don’t get me wrong, I am a guy in every sense and I appreciate physical beauty quite a bit, and I would never be interested in someone I didn’t find attractive. However, physical beauty is fleeting and does not in any way compare to who that person is and holds no real eternal value (2 Cor 4.18 by extension). The true blessing is when you find both… and for me it is necessity. Thus, physical beauty may be enough to catch my attention for a moment, but without substance it is NOT enough to keep it!

To me the bottom line is her character, who she is in the Lord. Again, I am not expecting perfection by any means, but the proper posture must be there and there must be some sense of observable history / stability in that posture. Thus, when I look at a woman I am looking to see her character, where she is with the Lord. This can be seen by observing (in no particular order), if she loves the Lord for the sake of His name and Glory or because it is the thing to do, whether she is teachable or divisive, how she thinks, how she will react when trouble comes, whether or not she will die, survive, or flourish in future ministry, if she is strong enough to share her opinion (and if she has one), whether she has the strength to help me watch my spiritual growth and lovingly point out when I am faltering, if she has the sensitive spirit that I need, if she is generally a discerning person, if she seeks transparency, how she will care for me and our future children, if we agree on major theological issues and if not is it ignorance (on either side) or actual disagreement, and of course other normal compatibility issues. Anyway, I could continue but these are a few examples of things that guys like me are looking for. Also, these are obviously the “me” things… there are other questions that come into play where I also have to discern whether or not I would be good for her. It must be both ways; otherwise it is not marriage that is being sought, but self-worship. That is a despicable use and abuse of our sisters and is not honoring to the Lord!

Now, being blessed with whatever form of perception I have, there are many ways, often very little ways, of determining these things. Many of them are apparent within a very short time of knowing or talking with a person. Some of them simply take time to discover. History can be quite helpful in determining how a person will react, though it is not decisive because people grow (hint: listen to the way they tell the story and the insights they give / lessons learned). Either way, time is needed so that perceptions can be checked if we are to make wise choices.

Thus, for me, I observe first and then move forward. Only then is my heart given and only then I see in the light of the 100%. At that point, some of my previous comments take full effect and it is a matter of my choosing with all of the faults and blessings; not in blindness to fault, but in choosing the good.