Topical Christians

7:30 AM

It’s popular among conservative Christian young ladies to hash out every single courtship conundrum at thirteen, flip out over crushes at fourteen, and discuss everything else ten times over at fifteen and beyond. I am purposefully silent on that issue because every other girls’ ministry, heroine and stay-at-home daughter has addressed it in one form or another. Unless I wanted to write something that would double you over with laughter, I have chosen to stay away from the whole issue.

But there’s another reason why I don’t.

Confession: I have a problem with guarding my heart.

So I’ve probably had a crush on every single eligible young man with whom I’ve come into contact (ranging from five seconds to five weeks to five months and depending on the young man, the energy of my mind at present, and how much I feel like being pathetic). Yes, I’ve had those talks with my mama when I’ve used up every single tissue in sight. Yes, I’ve skipped meals and lost sleep and stood quietly ten feet away from my love, heart banging in my chest, lips starting to form the first syllable of that infamously romantic phrase: I love you.

I’m a girl. I deal with it.

And besides all that, my romantic past has very little to do with the point of this post. I am getting there. Take a seat and hang on for the ride.

When caught in such a terrible sin as feeling my hormones start to pick up speed, I usually grab hold of any how-to courtship book and article out there. I study the finer arts of guarding my heart. I write twenty-two page lists of what I’m looking for in a man. I follow every conservative guideline to the letter. And I constantly pray, “God! Get me out of this! (And maybe let me marry Him?—I mean, Thy will be done.) Amen.”

My problem, as I perceive it, is most certainly of romantic leanings.

My problem, as God perceives it, is more certainly of spiritual leanings.

Trials and life’s problems (like sixteen-year-old crushes, sad to admit) drive us to finding a solution. So we pull out our five-pound topical reference books and exhaust the issue. But I have found that the solution does not so much involve setting up boundaries and praying specific prayers and meditating on certain verses pertaining to that particular issue.

The solution comes when I hang up my problem in God’s hands, rest, and focus on Him. It all comes back to our relationship with Christ Jesus. Obsession about cute guys whose spiritual muscles are sending my stomach for a roller coaster ride—that’s a focus issue. That’s a spiritual issue. That’s an am I going to look to Jesus as the fulfillment of my innermost needs? issue.

What we may need to read is fewer courtship manuals and more practical books like J. I. Packer’s Knowing God or Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. And I have a feeling that for other topical questions, the answer is broader and deeper and always applicable: go back to Christ Jesus. Look to Him alone. Develop a relationship with Him.

When we’re gazing into the eyes of our Savior, fleshly desires leading to sin disappear. When we’re studying His Word, when we’re praying, when we’re continually standing in the presence of Almighty God—that’s when the answers come.

They’re more simple than we think: Christ Jesus alone.

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15 impressions

  1. I'm only(will be 13 in June)..But I understand exactly what you're talking about. I honestly want at least 2 things from the man I marry..
    That he's good with kids and does not drink.(:
    Blessings,
    Meah,

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  2. I thought you were the one who said you could never get married, because the only guy fit was our Marine? ;)

    *hugs*

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  3. Great post, Bailey! Growing up, I had crushes on everyone too, even if the weren't right for me! Thankfully as I got older, God changed my heart and directed its focus to Him. You're right to say that is the only way to get through those girly moments! ;)

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  4. My friend told me about this blog, and I love it! Especially this post; it's so true. Being a human girl, I've had my crushes as well, and would always try to divert my attention to something else. Such as thinking about how dating is rather stupid, and that I should just wait until I'm older. Truth be known, I've never even tried to place Christ in that position, as opposed to my current "future husband." However, I'll be making an effort for now on. Anyways; loved the post! :)

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  5. Hi Bailey!
    This weekend we visited some friends of ours staying at a resort in Tomah, Wisconsin. On the drive home, I was reading when my mom said,
    "Guess what, Julia, I saw Bailey at Wal-Mart today!"
    After the initial, "Are you serious?!" thought, I decided she was joking.
    "You did?" my sister asked incredulously.
    "Well, not really," mom said. "I was just in Wal-Mart when I saw a big family. There was an older girl carrying a baby, and the girls all had long hair and were wearing skirts."
    "Really?" I asked. "That would have been funny if it really was Bailey."
    (I had commented, as we crossed the MN/WI border on Friday, "Bailey lives here!")
    "I even went up and said hi to their mom," mom added.
    I went back to my book, but now I was really curious. I wondered if she really could have seen your family. (Then I would have been bummed that I didn't go with to Wal-Mart!) I know the chances are awfully slim, but I just had to ask if that could have been your family.
    But I suppose it probably wasn't you, because Tomah didn't appear to have a foot of snow. ;-)

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  6. Meah Jessup - I'm not one to discredit the "youngness" of thirteen-year-olds. Thirteen is a crucial year to be thinking about stuff like this. God's blessings to you (and ditto on a guy who loves kids)!

    Bethany - Ain't a young girl allowed to change her mind once in a while? ;o)

    Sara - Thanks for chiming in - it's encouraging to see older girls striving to live out the principles I'm just now stumbling upon!

    Anon - While God's been working on my heart awhile, I came across a book that just cemented in my mind how I wanted to live in regards to love and single life: When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Best. book. ever. Go read it. :o)

    Julia - LOL! I wish it would have been me. Getting to meet you in person would have been awesome. But sadly, it was not...I was cleaning church bathrooms. You would have recognized me by my French braids and soft-scrub-stained shirt. Such a lady. But if you're still in Wisconsin......;o) ;o) ;o)

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  7. I really understand what you're talking about, Bailey. Hmm... as I read about youyr struggle with liking every eligible young man you meet I was thinking "Why does that sound so familiar?". ;) I symphathize as I have struggled with that in the past as well, especially in highschool.

    Can I say, honestly, I haven't read a ton of courtship books simply because I know that I already like to obsess about the idea anyway! I've read "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and "Boy Meets Girl"... and that's about it! I really don't need any encouragement to think about relationships!

    I've really had to trust God as my life has changed after I finished school. This is an insane world we live in and it is encouraging to meet young ladies who, at a young age than me, are "getting it"! And that they are willing to be honest with themselves! God bless you, Bailey as you continue to grow in Christ.

    Rachel

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  8. bailey, excuse my poor punctuation and grammar, but i've had an accident, i thought you might be referring to eric and leslie ludy's book 'when god writes your love story'. you are right, as far as relationship books go, i think that is the best one by far! have you read their love story 'when dreams come true'? awesome book as well!
    ttyl, and god bless!

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  9. Rachel - I think courtship books to conservative good girls are like romance novels to those "other girls," God bless 'em. Good point. :o)

    SammyJo - Aww, sorry to hear about that. :o( Hopefully I'll be reading WDCT this evening, as my friend is bringing it over. Excitement!!!

    And there I prove my own point to Rachel and become a hypocrite. *smacks head*

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  10. Hey Bailey!

    There's been a lot written/said on this topic, and I always feel like 'why should I write anything about it, since I don't have all the answers and others have said just about everything imaginable about it already'...just as you said. But I apprecaite that you'd write this; I think you're totally right on! I, too, have done the whole 'read every possible courtship article available' thing, and while that can be helpful, often it's not for me. It causes me to think more on thoughts I just need to look past and toward Christ.

    Anyway, that's my long round-about way of saying, "great post!" It was a wonderful post. Thanks!

    Amy

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  11. Yeah...unfortunately we're not in Wisconsin anymore, otherwise it WOULD have been fun to meet you. =)

    I forgot to mention earlier how relevant this post was to me. (Take that back: the things you discussed have been such a problem for me at times that I wasn't too keen on commenting. It's a rather sore point for me.)
    I have struggled exactly the same way. I berate myself for turning into a silly, self-conscious, completely silent girl every time I'm around a guy who's remotely close to my age. I can't make myself look him in the eye, much less SPEAK! I am always furious with myself to find that suddenly my throat is dry, my palms are sweaty, and I'm wondering wildly if my hair looks OK. Sheesh.
    The good news is that in the last few years, things have changed much for the better (hallelujah!! ;-) as
    God has started to fill the void more and more. What a relief! It is still a struggle sometimes. It's as though it's hard for me to accept that I'm HUMAN, I AM going to have feelings!

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  12. Thanks Baily )(:

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  13. Ack. I think every girl (as you have already pointed out) has these kinda "problems" (as I sometimes think of crushes, etc. - for myself.)...and it will probably continue until we're married. :P God definately has somebody "picked out" aka: MADE for me, and it's good to remember that through all the hormonal gushings of a teenage mind.

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  14. I love this. You are wise well beyond your years, so don't be too hard on yourself. Being a "girl" is very complicated these days and from what I read in your blog, it seems like you're doing an amazing job at being the kind of girl many can look up to.

    I so wish I had your insight at your age, it would have saved a lot of heartache (I'm 28 now).

    Just find peace in knowing that God has the very best in store for those who love Him and your Prince will come when you're ready. :)

    (big hugs)

    PS. I'd love to have you guest post on my blog...
    http://www.realbeautyblogger.ca

    Blessings, sister.

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  15. I have been struggling with this same thing for the past year or so, and have come to the exact conclusion! Thank you soo much for posting this. it put into words my own thoughts!

    MaKenna Morgan

    ~I found you from Erin O.'s blog, I'm your newest follower!

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