The Book Stop Blog is featuring excerpts from chapter 1 of The Whole Guy Thing: What Every Girl Needs to Know about Crushes, Friendship, Relating, and Dating by Nancy Rue and available from Zondervan.
In my years as a high school teacher, workshop director, youth group leader, speaker, blogger, writer, mother, aunt, and friend, I’ve gotten to know many (and we’re talking many) girls who don’t want what society’s telling them they ought to want, but who at the same time wrestle with the rules their church and/or parents are laying down. Like you, perhaps, they:
- really like boys and at least want to be friends with them, but aren’t sure they know how
- want to get to know guys but they’re afraid to, because they’ve been told that it could lead to sex (or that it always does . . .)
- enjoy having guys like them but wonder, “Is this okay? Is it godly?”
- see girls getting all strung out over boy-girl drama and wonder, “Does it have to be that way? Can I have a healthy relationship with a guy at this age?”
- want to honor their parents but don’t exactly agree with their rules about boys
Those girls just aren’t sure how they’re “supposed” to think and feel. There’s your trouble right there: the ever-lurking “supposed to.”
Our society tells you you’re “supposed to” be a sophisticated boy magnet by the time you’re thirteen. They (whoever “they” are) tell you that, because it’s your effort to be sophisticated that sells the movies, videos, music, makeup, clothes, hair products, magazines, and birth control they’re selling.
The adults in your life may tell you you’re “supposed to” put off all thoughts of guys until you’re marrying age because they’re afraid for you (and sometimes rightfully so) and are trying to shield you from being hurt. Their motives are a whole lot purer than the world’s in general.
But what both sides tend to forget is that no one can tell you what you’re “supposed to” feel about boys at your age, any more than anybody can tell you that you’re not “supposed to” ever get jealous, or angry, or confused, or have an upset stomach. It’s not just about what you feel anyway. It’s about what you choose to do with those feelings.
And that . . . only you can decide.
When you get that first flutter in your stomach that tells you, “I have a crush on him,” nobody is going to swoop in with the butterfly net.
When a boy plops down next to you out of nowhere and says, “Hi, I’m Jason,” nobody else is going to be in your head figuring out what you want to say back.
When a guy leans in to kiss you, no set of rules is going to unroll between you with “No Kissing” highlighted.
We adults may say to you, “Do this, don’t do that — and you’ll be fine,” but we’re fooling ourselves. You will be the one making the decisions. You will be the one in charge of your behavior.
And yet not totally. You’re going to find just a few basic truths in the following chapters, and here’s the first one:
Basic Truth #1
You’re much more likely to make true, authentic choices when you have a relationship with God.
You aren’t in this by yourself. When you really think about it, it only makes sense that because God created the hormonal-development-normal process that put you here in the first place, God is going to be there to get you through it. God has never been known to put something in motion and then abandon the people it’s happening to, expecting them to fend for themselves. (Hello — forty years in the wilderness anyone?) In fact, the Lord is so in there, it’s pretty much impossible to do it without him.
That’s so much of what this book is about. It’s here to help you form the foundation with God, which will naturally help form a foundation for your future with men (and everything else in your life!) starting from right where you are at this moment. Here’s what you’ll find in these pages:
- As I just mentioned, the basic truths you’ll want to use to make your decisions, whether you’re a committed Christ-follower or still finding your way. Jesus doesn’t say anything directly about teen guy/girl relationships in the Gospels, but there’s still great guidance in there for you to build on, especially about the all-important, has-to- come-first connection with God we just talked about. We’ll delve into that in the features called God on Guys.
- Quizzes and questions that give you a chance to figure out where you are in each area. You have to know where you stand before you can go forward. More than that, you’ll need to accept where you are, even if you’re going to move in a different direction from here on. Look for that in What’s Going On with Me?
- Honest talk on the major relationship topics teen girls ask me about. It’s impossible to make wise choices without the right information. By the way, you might want to reassure your parents that you won’t find explicit sex education here. I’ll leave that to them. You’ll find all other major guy subjects in the Guydlines feature in every chapter. (That’s the feature you’re reading now.) When you see quotes from girls in italics or I tell you a story about one of them, that’s all based on true stories. I haven’t created any fictional scenarios (I thought I ought to say that since I do write fiction!) or put together several girls’ stories into one.
- Suggestions for ways to apply what you discover here to your own situation. It’s one thing to read about all this and a whole other thing to actually practice it. In Making It Real, you’ll get inspiration that will help you move forward.
- Guidance for talking to your parents about boy issues, especially if you disagree with them. There is a way to honor your father and mother, God, and your own integrity all at once. I’ve got your back on that in Mom, Dad . . . Now Don’t Freak Out.
- Space to get your questions, your struggles, your inner wrestling matches out there where you can look at them. You’ll see a prompt in each chapter under If I’m Totally Honest . . .
- Actual input from guys I’ve interviewed, so you can gain insights into what’s going on with them. It’s a no-brainer that the best way to figure out what guys think is to ask them. Of course, they aren’t always comfortable actually telling you, the potential girlfriend, so I’ve done the asking for you. Their answers are scattered in What the Guys Say.
- A brief recap of what each section says just in case you need a quick refresher, or you’re just not sure what I’m talking about. Each one is called The Twitter Version because it contains less than 140 characters. Life is short, after all.
Just to make sure we’re clear, here’s what this book ISN’T:
- It ISN’T a list of everything you should think, do, and say when it comes to boys. You’ll just read honest infor- mation so you can wisely take it from there.
- It ISN’T even my opinion on what philosophy every teen girl should embrace when it comes to her relationships (or lack of them) with boys. You are all different. Your practice of the absolute truths will be unique to you, because that’s part of God’s infinite variety.
- It ISN’T a Book of Judgment. If you’ve already made some mistakes in the guy department or if you have thoughts you wouldn’t tell your best friends, you won’t feel like a finger is being pointed at you as you read this book. You’ll have a chance to shed any shame and start fresh, which is the whole Jesus thing to begin with.
If you’re still with me, let’s start with a look at where you are with guys right now.
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