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.
God on Guys
“I feel really guilty because I spend A LOT of my time daydreaming about guys, and I give God less attention.”
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of girls in society today would look at you like you were nuts if you said that out loud. The response would probably be something like, “God? Really?” Let’s face it, knowing God doesn’t always make life easier. On top of everything else we’ve mentioned—confusion, awkwardness, feeling completely clueless — you have to worry about God too!
So let’s go there first, beginning with one of the Beatitudes — or as some of my teen friends call them, the Boy-Attitudes. As Jesus is listing the “Blessed Ares,” he says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Each of the beatitudes has two parts—what we need to do and what God does. In this one, our job is to hunger for doing the right thing, to thirst (as in find yourself dying for a water bottle) for a relationship with our Lord that goes deep. God’s job is to fill that hungry emptiness and quench that thirsty longing so that we don’t even want to do the shallow and the trivial, much less the heinous and the horrible.
And this has what to do with guys?
A bunch, because nobody can distract you from your hunger for righteousness like the male of the species.
“Not long ago I was at my crush’s house (his sister is my friend) and while we were all praying, he was beside me, so we were holding hands. I’ve been going crazy ever since, just because I got to hold his hand!”
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have anything whatsoever to do with guys. They aren’t put here on this earth solely to pull you away from God, no matter what some well-meaning parent may tell you. They’re here, they’re part of your life, and you very naturally want to be part of theirs. It’s just important to put your hunger and thirst for God first, so that stomach-rumbling, dry-mouth longing for a boyfriend doesn’t get out of control. The fact of the matter is, you can have great relationships with guys that actually enhance your spiritual walk. What could happen if you prayed with guys? Volunteered together at a homeless shelter? Went on the same mission trip? Actually talked about your faith — what a concept, yeah? God, in God’s infinite power and wisdom, can use anything (even a former pest), as long as you’re following closely.
This beatitude doesn’t say you have to be righteous every minute of every day. What it does say is that we need to be ravenous for righteousness. We need to be so hungry and so thirsty that we’re trying all the time to have that need satisfied.
And here’s the deal: having a guy like you isn’t going to satisfy that hunger. Being the girl they all flirt with isn’t going to quench that thirst. Feeling confident with your own guy-catching skills definitely isn’t going to make you feel full.
There is nothing wrong with having a boyfriend, having a crush, or enjoying the fun of being attractive (without playing with people’s feelings and hurting them). There is everything right with having healthy friendships with guys just as you do with girls and learning to understand them as people so you don’t always feel weird and awkward around them.
What’s wrong is when you forget the hunger and thirst for being close to God because you’re hungering and thirsting for male attention, or for the ease with which the ever-present “other girls” draw guys to them like the poor boys are in a trance, or for the guy you’re crushing on to at least know you’re breathing.
So how do you strike a balance? You don’t.
The scale is meant to be lopsided. God always has to be bigger, take up more of your time and your thoughts and your intentions. But—and hear me on this—God is in there when you like a guy because that guy is a good person, because you like the way he treats people, because he makes you laugh or makes you think or makes you want to be your real self. God’s in there when you treat guys as people instead of mysterious creatures you have to conquer. God’s present when you resist the urge to flirt with a guy you don’t really care anything about, just to see if you can snag him. When you’re jealous because other girls are getting all the male attention and you pretty much hate that about yourself, God’s there to forgive and turn you around. When your heart gets broken because your guy falls for your BFF, God is already on it, loving and healing and moving you on.
So just like everything else in your life, it’s not God OR . . . It’s God AND. Not God OR guys. God AND guys.
How do you get there? In some ways, that’s different for each individual, but one basic thing is essential for everybody.
Take time every day to talk to God about this stuff.
This is the space where you ask the questions you actually have, not the ones you think you’re “supposed” to have. (There’s that word again). If the guy issue is on your mind now, then for Pete’s sake why would you strike up a conversation with God about what he wants you to do when you’re thirty? God wants to discuss what you’re wrestling with today, this instant. Because if you don’t get God’s help with today’s struggles, you can’t move on to tomorrow’s.
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