So after my last post I have received quite a few phone calls and e-mails from people who wanted to make sure I was alright. Apparently I have a flair for the dramatic…and there might have been a little “that time of the month” mixed in there too. 🙂 But don’t worry, I’m fine. Everyone has bad days and bad weeks, but things have smoothed out. I’m really grateful that so many people are concerned. It means a lot!
But it got me to thinking–have you ever noticed that when it rains, it pours? It seems like bad things often happen all at once. Why is that? Is God trying to tell us something? Is He he trying to wake us up or open our eyes to something we have become blinded to? That’s what I’ve been asking myself all week–what am I supposed to learn from this string of uncomfortable situations? Aside from what I talked about in my last post, is there something about me, personally, that God is trying to communicate? Is there something He wants to change in me, or some way He wants to refine me? What is God trying to say???
To some extent, I believe there is something about me that God wants to change, and it took a week like the one I just had to realize it. Although I did not do anything wrong in those specific situations, I realize now that I still could have prevented them. Why? Because like I said, not all men are dogs, and it’s generally pretty easy to discern which guys are men of integrity, and which men are not. I chose to be friends with the ones who were not.
Looking back, I realize that I was friends with a number of those guys, not because they spurred me on toward Christ or built me up as a woman of the Lord, but because they made me feel pretty or they laughed at my jokes or they served my self-esteem in some kind of way. Most of us all have at least one guy friend like that–the guy who you secretly know probably won’t make you a better person, but you always feel more attractive after spending time with him because he’s so charming and he always says the right things. But the problem is that the center of these friendships is rarely Christ–the center is usually *you*. Your guy friend makes you feel better about yourself, and that’s why you keep him around. What’s more is that he’s Christian, so you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that it’s “ok” to spend time with him. I mean, it’s not like you’re doing missionary dating. It’s totally harmless fun, right?
But it’s not, because two negative consequences result from these kinds of friendships. First, these friendships will often pull you away from Christ. When you get that kind of attention from guys, the attention can act like a drug, because you depend on it to make you feel better, which means you have to keep returning to guys for that emotional “high.” And the more you return to them, the more addicted you’ll become to their attention…so addicted that you might end up compromising yourself to get more of the attention. It may start out as one on one time, then it turns into cuddling on the couch every now and then, and the next thing you know you’re kissing him whenever you hang out each week. You’re not dating–you’re just friends, but you keep going back because he makes you feel beautiful for a brief moment. But no matter how you get the attention, even if it’s as innocent as going out for pizza together, the ultimate result is that you’re turning to a guy for fulfillment instead of Christ.
The second result of these friendships is that the guy will either grow stagnant in his faith, or fall down with you. The reason for this is that if we are not holding high standards for guys, then they’ll never be challenged to strive for more. We get so frustrated that guys aren’t more solid, but part of the reason they remain so is that we settle for not-solid guys. There’s no reason for men to grow spiritually if they can date women who are spiritually resigned to mediocrity….or even better, they can get a lot of the benefits of a romantic relationship through your “friendship,” without any of the commitment. So if we want to receive better treatment from guys, then we need to be the kind of women who require it. If we accept un-Christlike behavior, we should not act surprised when guys treat us in un-Christlike ways.
So today I challenge you to think through your guy friendships, especially the ones closest to you, and examine why it is you are friends with them. Hopefully most of them do push you toward Christ, and do honor you as a woman of God, but if you discover one or two (or even ten!) guys who you are friends with largely because of how they make you feel, then I would encourage you to ween yourself off of those friendships. Our self-confidence doesn’t need the shoddy crutches of cheap friendships, because we’ve got the solid cross of Christ holding us up.