Thursday, March 19, 2009

Questions About Crushes, Attention, and Other Stuff!

Today I have decided to take some time and answer some questions that I have been getting. I apologize for taking so long to respond... you can read about our trip to CA on my www.homeschoolblogger.com/Liveforeternity blog.

Alrighty, here is the first comment that I'm going to reply to (I've edited it somewhat so that it only contains what I'm going to respond to). The comments will be in red, and my replies in blue.

"I've always told myself I wouldn't date until I was at least 17, my parents had no influence on it whatsoever, that's just the peg I put in place for myself. I don't necessarily think I will marry the first person I date (although my sister is happily married to her boyfriend from her senior year in high school) so it's not like once I'm 17 I think I'm going to be seriously dating...
but leading up to, I have a very good friend that we have talked about dating when I'm ready, not in a "I'm so in love with you!" way, but we both have feelings and have been friends for a while. We hang out occasionally, but if we're the only ones, it's somewhere public or at my house where my parents are there to supervise.
Is this not of God because I'm not of a 'marrying age'? I've been trying not to think about him as much, because I know it can be a distraction from God, but if I have the intent of doing what God wants me to do, and doesn't get physical or anything... is it wrong to have a crush on this boy?
Oh, and I forgot to add, I will be 17 in about half a year."

Hello! You have asked some very good questions! I am going to do my best to answer them, but first of all, here are some questions that I want you to pray and study about.
1. What do you think is the purpose of dating? Is it to find a spouse or is it more 'recreational' (since you don't expect to marry the first person you date)?
2. Is this friend a godly young man according to scripture?
3. What is the 'marrying age' according to you?
4. Is the expectation of someday dating him clouding your judgement of his character? What do your parents (more importantly your father) think of this young man?
Ok, that was your homework (and I'm going to give you some more in a minute). ;-) Now I'm going to try to answer your questions.
So, you have a very good friend that is a young man, and you have talked about dating when you are ready. Your question is "is this not of God because I'm not of a 'marrying age'?" Well, obviously I can not tell you what God's plan is for your life, but let's think about it for a moment ok? You are 16, and you are not planning on beginning to look for a life partner until you are at least 17. I don't think that it is wrong for you to have a crush on this young man, in fact I think it is perfectly normal and I would be surprised if you did not have a crush on a young man who is willing to pay attention to you. In this situation, I would say that you should stop trying NOT to think about him. Instead, I want you to go through Scripture (or even just Proverbs) and come up with a list of, say, 20 characteristics of a godly man (doing a word study on 'righteous' is a good place to start in Proverbs). Then, when you have the list, I want you to think objectively about this young man and evaluate him according to your list.
This is a good way to deal with any crush you might have. If he is a godly young man according to Scripture, than you may want to consider dating/courting when you are old enough. If not, than you can save yourself a big heart ache by recognizing the fact now instead of later.
I hope that helped, if you have any more questions, or if you want me to clarify something let me know. :-)

Ok, the next question is one that a lot of us have struggled with in the past (or still do struggle with).

"Dear Joy,

How can I stop thinking about making myself sexually attractive for boys? I HATE these thoughts!
and about doing stuff to get his attention?"

Dear friend,
I believe that at some point every young lady struggles with this, so know that you are not alone. The way you are feeling is normal, and can be used to God's glory someday when you are married.
However, I know that living with these thoughts and desires can be really miserable and unhealthy. Before I give you some ideas of what you can do, I want to explain something to you.
When someone learns something new, let's say how to play an instrument, their brain actually develops new 'pathways'. The more they concentrate on playing or thinking about this specific instrument, the more defined and easy to travel these 'pathways' become. If they were to stop playing the instrument and move on to something different, the pathway would become smaller and harder for your mind to find. That is why when I take a break from playing the piano, I cannot sit down after a year and play just as well as I used to be able to.
Right now, your brain has a very wide and easy to travel pathway about being sexually attractive and getting attention, so that your mind will automatically go down that road when you are not specifically thinking of something else.
This means that you have trained your mind (not purposely, but it is trained nevertheless) to think along these lines, and to always be open to an opportunity to be more attractive or get attention.
What you need to do now is to re-train your mind. Your goal should be to make a different pathway the one that your mind goes down automatically, and make the 'attractive/attention' pathway smaller and harder to access.
Ok, now that I have explained that, I am going to give you a couple of ideas on how to do that.

1. Cut out things that make you feel especially 'sexy'. Start noticing what makes you feel this way. You might be surprised by what you notice. It could be anything from movies and music to clothes, makeup, and hair-styles. When you notice something, just take a break from it for a while.

2. Start reading your Bible more often, and training your mind to see things through your 'Bible pathways' instead of through your 'sexy pathways'. I like to read at least one chapter in the morning before I start my day, and at night right before bed. That way it helps me carry it through my day.

3. Listen to some Bible songs (Hide 'Em In Your Heart songs are a really good choice). Then, instead of finding yourself humming a song that is really not helpful to your mental purity, you will find yourself singing "I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You."

4. When you find yourself thinking of how to get someone's attention, or how to be more attractive to him, pray. Picture your mind as an airport, and the thoughts as airplanes trying to land. When one comes that you don't want in your mind, send it off. For the first week (or probably month) you will probably have to do this over 100 times a day, but it does get easier and less frequent when you practice.

5. Don't be too freaked out about it. When you start getting frantic and saying "I'm not going to think about this! I'm NOT going to think about this!", guess what your mind will start thinking about?!

6. Sometimes talking to someone, like your mom or another woman that you can trust to give you godly advice, can really help even though it will be embarrassing and hard at first.

And last of all, don't punish yourself when you do mess up or something. Jesus died to set you free. He has already taken the punishment for sin, and He has broken the bondage to sin that you were in.
I hope this helped you, if you need me to clarify anything or if you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask! :-)

Ok, I think that's about all for now. As always, if you have any thoughts that you'd like to share, just leave a comment! :-) (And don't forget to vote on the new poll!)

4 comments:

Hannah L. said...

Wonderful answers, Joy, as always! I appreciate your blog so much!

Hannah

Brooke said...

Great responses, Joy! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for posting.

Blessings,
Brooke.

Anonymous said...

Thank You!:)

Anonymous said...

Joy,

Thank you so much for these posts and the time you took to answer these questions in more depth. Even though this post is a couple years old, this topic is very relevant in my life right now. Aside from the fact that I am 18 instead of 16, I am in the exact same shoes as the girl in the first post and I could not have worded these concerns any better. Thank you so very much for the questions and the study of Proverbs you suggested. I am excited to continue in living my life to glorify the Lord and I pray that you continue to do the same. Thank you yet again for these blogs. God bless