Let me start off with saying how incredibly faithful God is! He absolutely, constantly, and consistently blows my mind on a daily basis! It's so intense and the closer I get to Him, the bigger and more marvelous the mystery of Him becomes. I'll never ever come close to understanding Him, His perfection, His love, His everything.. on this side of heaven at least. I cannot wait to dance madly before my King and sing for all eternity about the wonder of His majesty(: What a perfect day it will be, the day I throw off the restraints of this earthly human fleshly body, and instead am given a new body for eternity in heaven! I love my God with all that I am!! Ahh(:
That being said, He faithfully challenges me, stretches me, and bumps my standards ever higher. It's not like I want to live with super high standards, rather everything in me cries out yes Lord!-show me You! Whatever brings me closer to Him... that's how I want to live! I want to live the way He designed this life to be. I don't care about what the world thinks, or how they think we ought to live.
It never ceases to amaze me how far I've come in this life. He has kept my heart safe and I know how blessed I am that He has kept me from some terrible and wasted years. In my own selfishness, He never gave up and continually brought me to a place near Him. It was there I saw my own disgusting selfishness!
And ever since, and every day from here on out, I pray that every shape or hint of selfishness in me would be completely shattered and taken away!! Selfishness is the opposite of what Christ calls us to... He calls us to a life of radical abandon for Him!-for His love!-the cross!-salvation!-for people! To pour out our lives as a living sacrifice for His cause... the cause of bringing others back into a right relationship with Him. We're to live where others simply taste and see the Lord is good through us, because of our passionate love for Him! Because we love Him, this should be the most natural thing in the world! And to me it is... oh goodness His love is unending, and He pours Himself into me and I can't even contain it, nor do I want to! I want to share Him with every single person any chance I can. Whether it's a deep talk about the Lord with a believer or even an unbeliever, to speak truth in someone's life, or give them grace, to befriend the hurting, the lonely, the lost! To smile at those around, to be kind any chance I get. Every interaction I have with people I want them to walk away knowing there is something crazy about me... to know there MUST be a God and to simply touch every life I possibly can!
So then, what about habits? What of honor? How should it be?
The way we live today sets up how we are going to live tomorrow, and the rest of our lives. When we start to do things we're bound to repeat it!! It's like that phrase being "stuck in a rut." Ah! I never ever want to be in that place, I want the Lord to shake me up daily, convict me, change me, and mold me to be more like Him every day for all my days! I don't want to fall into bad habits at all.
Though there a about a million "habits" I could refer to, I want to touch on one in particular... simply because I've talked about this with different people lately and it's very much on my heart. Bear with me, because I'm praying the Lord would give me the words to say and the clarity to convey what I'm thinking, feeling, and have been learning ever more.
I think there are definite habits with our interactions with people. With both the same gender, and opposite gender. I think there is a beautiful design, and a perfect balance God has created! And at the same time it is so perverted and twisted in our culture... it is so skewed and so forgotten. How depressing! We've lost beauty, mystery, restraint, and a perfect order to life. We're so selfish!! We are SO selfish!!!!!!! Can I just say... WE ARE SO SELFISH!
What do I mean? I mean friendships! We are such a self-seeking generation. Here we say we love the Lord, and maybe we mean it with all our hearts... but we say this while living with a very fleshy selfish heart. I for one, have no desire to remain in my flesh, to remain in selfishness... because in my own life I have seen how selfishness keeps the sweetness of intimacy with my dear Savior at bay... I see how it tarnishes and keeps away so much God wants to give me.
So what of friendships? I think that guys and girls are VERY different, and that it is so beautiful that we are! I love it! Because of that difference, there is a balance. We both reflect God in different ways... we teach each other things. But with a balance. I think that friendships with the same gender are a HUGE blessing from the Lord... my sisters in Christ can call me out when I'm doing wrong, can encourage me and there is no confusion about the meaning, they can speak truth in my life with authority the Lord has given and they understand!-not to mention we relate the same, so duh it's perfect from God. Same goes for men with other brothers in Christ. Then on the flipside... whew... I think that it is VASTLY different the way our interactions should be!!
There is a book I read that proclaimed one of the most profound statements about guy and girl interaction... "Anything that you wouldn't do with another guy after marriage is something that you shouldn't do with another guy before marriage."-Leslie Ludy (emphasis added). Can I just say... AMEN! and Woah! What if we all took that mindset?!
I explained it like this to someone: What if you have a lot of guy friends before marriage, what if you have an inside joke with a guy... you laugh and have good CLEAN fun. No big deal right? Wrong! Imagine this: What if you're future spouse/fiance/boyfriend(which dating is DUMB I'll save that for another day;) has a lot of girl friends. What if you're in the same room with them and you're hanging out with all your good friends and he is across the room laughing, whispering, and talking to another girl about THEIR inside jokes! How would you feel? If you're married, you're like WHAT THE?! Weird! A man isn't supposed to have that level of familiarity with another woman after marriage, even while being engaged, or if you're dating... because he's not treasuring YOU his woman and has his attention focused elsewhere. So then if that is a weird thought... and we see how strange it is... why do we do it before marriage?
If I'm not going to want my husband to have close girl friends and share parts of himself with them, why would I do that to him? If I'm not going to flirt or "be friendly" with all the guys I know AFTER marriage, why in the world would I do it before? "Oh it's no big deal! It's not like I know who he is now!" Wrong again!! It is a big deal! The habits we form now are going to stay with us, so are we going to create God-honoring habits, or are we going to create selfish ones?
So let's take it a step further, because I love doing that(: So obviously there are boundaries and maybe you can say, you've got a good point Leah. But, there is so so much more! Not only are we not to supposed to not flirt or have inside jokes with guys... I don't think we're supposed to be best friends with every guy, just one, only the one God has set apart for you in marriage! Now you may not agree here(: But I firmly believe this! If you're getting close to guys, and think it's ok with having best guy friends... take a step back and ponder why. You're sharing your heart with them, whether you're talking about God, life, laughing, school, stress, joyful things, etc. And let me ask you this, why would you share your heart with a guy who hasn't shown ANY inkling about guarding, protecting, or honoring your heart? Because you're friends and that's what friends do? GIRL friends with other GIRLS maybe, GUY friends with other GUYS perhaps... but not mixed. Or perhaps when you're upset you turn to a guy for comfort, you lean on him and he is there for you.. perhaps he even is godly and lifts you up with scripture, how is that wrong? It's not like it's a bad thing, that's how it's supposed to be... within marriage!! And if we go to our guy friends now for comfort or to "vent" we're depending on them... not God. First off, a guy can speak truth into your life, sure, he cane make you see things different, sure, but can he give you a peace that transcends all understanding?! Nope! And if we depend on guys... we're defacing the value of our relationship with our future spouse. How is it going to be different? How is it going to be special?
Yeah, this is extreme... but everything about our life in Christ is called to extremity! It's not like He makes these type of boundaries to laugh at us and our frustration... rather He is guarding our hearts! I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure in my own life and everyone I see pretty much has no idea what's going on between guys and girls. It's beautiful! It's part of how God planned it. But we confuse and muddle and mix up this beauty with our own selfishness.
I could go on with a million examples, but why? I think you get my drift.
There is a level of intimacy God has designed with our interactions with everyone. With Him, it is the sweetest and most beautiful, exhilarating, satisfying, AMAZING intimacy... His Spirit dwells within us, our soul responds and takes delight in the Lord! For us girls, we have our sisters in Christ... woman who are supposed to look out for each other, love each other, rebuke and call each other out so we can keep each other accountable, cry with one another, have the bonds of that best friend who is going to be with us through it all! And catty christian girls who tear one another down is SO depressing... and that is for another blog post, ha. Then with the men in our life, what of them? God has blessed us with godly Christ-like brothers... thank You Father! It's not wrong to have these, they are definitely a good thing to have in life!!! Sometimes you just need a man to help with man things, and if you don't have a dad or blood brother, God has the guys in the church there to be there. But not to have close friendships with. It's great opposite gender interaction... but the deepness should be closely guarded. Flirting is stupid and self-seeking. After all, when you flirt (whether you realize it or not) the underlying motive is for you to direct attention on yourself, you want to be noticed by the guys you're around! SELFISH. We're supposed to be building our brothers up and always directing the attention to Christ with our words and actions.
And then, oh my dear friends... then there is the exception! :D There is the perfect design and perfect plan to satisfy our deep human desires... because God doesn't ask us to give stuff up to be mean or hold back His blessings... He wants us to vigorously guard our hearts for ONE man... so that all the love and initimacy between the two of you can be sweet, precious, different, special, heartfelt, and last a lifetime! One day, if the Lord wills, there is a man who you can share everything with, without restraint, without guilt, without it being wrong... you can connect spiritually, emotionally, and physically with him on all of the deepest levels... and spend a lifetime cultivating and deepening that intimacy!! God doesn't want us to guard our hearts for just ourselves, but for our future spouse!
And that's how we live with honor! When we create and cultivate habits that are pleasing to the Lord now, they will honor our future spouse now and forever after. That is how it should be!
Also, as a bonus... when we're thinking about someone and what we can do before marriage physically (assuming you KNOW you are going to marry that person)... most people think of purity as a line and want to know WHERE that line is. If you're thinking that way you need to get on your face and ask the Lord to forgive you for such a selfish attitude!!! YES I said it!! Another favorite quote, "How far is too far?- How far can we possibly go to honor God in this area of our lives?" Woah! When we're thinking about what we're allowed to do before marriage, what's "ok" and what's not... we're diverting our attention on our selfish man.. not putting our thoughts and longings before God, not doing His will, doing our own selfish thing.
And I also believe that the words I love you are some of the most important words people can say. Yes, there are different types of love and maybe we can love our brothers with friendship love... but saying that to them is DUMB and definitely skews the line. In my mind it's just simpler to NOT say that to guys! Haha(: However I love telling my girl friends how much I love them, cuz I know they are a blessing from God. But if a guy tells me that, even as a friend I'm not going to say it back. That's something I'm saving up to tell my future spouse, Lord willing, for our entire life together!! Also, saying I love you when you're dating is SELFISH too! Do you know you're going to spend the rest of your life with them? Maybe, but until you say I do, that's not your promise to give away. Those are sacred words a man and a woman share.
So with all this new information, it may just seem like a lot of regulations and restraint. Yes to restraint!-but simply because restraint is good. But if everyone lived like this... it would infuse an OLD yet new to us breath of fresh air in romance... the mystery would return, the pursuing would be a sweet time, winning of a woman's heart wouldn't simply mean asking her to be your girlfriend or going on dates... it would be somothing simply, sweeter, more innocent. Something absolutely mind blowing that satisfies that longing in us ladies to be cherished, and satisfies for the guy of conquering and winning and all that entails manliness! He is protecting, pursuing, and guarding something of great worth... and he will cherish it if isn't just handed over to him on a whim! I want a beautiful God-scripted romance!!! I want my love for my man to reflect my love for Christ, I want it to be an outpouring!!
I never intended this to be so long, but either way I'll just have to continue blogging to keep speaking my heart!!:D
Let me just say this though, I don't know everything... nor do I claim to have a magic formula. I just feel so blessed and humbled that the Lord has completely changed and revolutionized my heart towards all this!!! Above all I want to be led of the Spirit, to honor God, and glorify Christ in all I do! And as I grow closer to Him... He constantly changes me, my heart, my thoughts, and my standards. I don't mind one bit because anything that is going to bring my closer to Him I want it with every fiber of my being! I love Him more than life itself!!!!!!
P.S. I forgot to mention this!!!!! Since we're supposed to be careful with our interactions with guys... and we minister to other ladies and whatnot, I just think it's SO cool that God has this perfect fit!! When we're together with our husband it's this crazy design... you both minister to your own gender, the way it's supposed to be.. and you're a team for the Lord, when he sees opportunities but can't pursue it because he's a man, that's when he can step back and you come forward, and same with him... when a brother needs truth spoken in his life, it's not your place as a girl to do that... you can step back and let HIM do it!! It's this awesome balance! and ahh! I can't even describe how amazing this is.. it blows my mind! That's why it's not a big deal if you step back as a girl... because then men can step up!! WOO! I hope that makes sense?! :D
P.S.S I forget this point as well... ahhh! I hate forgetting stuff haha! BUT when we as women are guarding our hearts and not giving them away freely to every guy friend... one day one will come along and pursue your friendship... and if you know it's of the Lord then that's def ok!! Because if you are guarding your heart... and that one guy sees you're giving him the go ahead... it's so much more legit than if you just talk deeply to every guy! He knows what's up... he knows how much you love Christ... he'll know he's got to WIN that best friendship and heart(: Oh yeahh! Haha being a girl is SO fun!! :D But yeah... another blog on THIS to come soon?! Perhaps haha(: And that's my prayer... that I don't give my heart away even if friendships... that when the right man comes the Lord would give me clarity and wisdom... that I wouldn't be good friends with a guy because he's godly... but because he's the one God has planned for me!! I pray that the Lord would give my man wisdom on how to win my heart, because I'm not going to tell him haha(: But friendship is the first and most important step. Wow I seriously need a whole blog about this one! hahaha! I can't wait for this day! Whether it's far or near, close or not... it's going to be sooo Christ-centered it will blow my mind(: