Watching My Heart
By Mary Elizabeth Hall, Author of Amberly, a thrilling Christian romance
I don’t know about you, but my heart’s a wild thing!
I’m writing this to piggyback on April’s fabulous Feb 13 post (The Power to Create Attraction – http://peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-power-to-create-attraction/). God has truly gifted women with the power to attract men, but like all gifts from God, we’re to use it with care. Society bombards us with messages hyping women who put great effort into attracting men, but the wise woman who seeks to honor God will consider her ways, wanting instead to serve the men around her by dressing and acting modestly. What does modesty mean? It means not trying to draw attention to oneself. When I choose an outfit or decide how to interact with someone, do I seek to please God or men? Do I aim to help or hinder the guys around me who seek to honor God? And—this one can be subtle—does my wild heart ever nudge me to attract someone I shouldn’t?
- Christian guys appreciate women who dress modestly (“Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” – 1 Tim. 2:9 ESV)
“How can a young man keep his way pure?” scripture asks. Do we want to help the guys around us honor God or cause them to stumble? I’m not saying we need to go around wearing potato sacks (which might really attract attention!), but it’s helpful to do a quick “heart check” when choosing your outfit for the day. We need to ask ourselves what our goals are for wearing what we’re planning.
When I was a young business professional, I enjoyed dressing like ads I saw—with skirts that didn’t quite reach my knees, high heels, and tops that were a little on the clingy side (this was in the early nineties—you can probably imagine the look!). I didn’t see any problem with how I dressed, which seemed to be pretty much like the other young women I worked with, because my goal was to look attractive and fashionable—like all the magazines said I should. That’s part of how to succeed in the business world, right? Even though I was a believer and should have been thinking about the effect my clothing choices had on those around me, I was entirely ignorant that I was doing anything wrong.
I honestly didn’t think anything of it until I did a fundraising talk at a factory—and my partner told me afterward the line workers stared at my legs the entire time I spoke! Both she and I found this hilarious at the time (partly because we received a 100% contribution rate from that company!). But years later, when I finally received some good teaching on modesty, I looked back on that day with regret—and repentance. Our Lord didn’t give us attractive bodies to sell stuff, but to bless our husbands.
- We need to train ourselves to guard our hearts (“With my whole heart I keep your precepts.” – Psalm 119:69 ESV)
Men and women have never mingled in society more than they do now, and our crazy dating culture can tempt us to adopt a throwaway mentality while we saunter from one relationship to the next, always on the lookout—like in musical chairs!—for the next attractive prospect. This is really good practice—for divorce! I’m not saying we need to stick strictly to courtship and throw out dating entirely, but we need to consider what kinds of heart habits we’re building while we relate to one another. Every guy you spend time with might be planned by God to become someone else’s husband, so . . . while you’re texting away with Mr. Hot from Archery club about your new favorite memes or hanging out with Pepsi Eyes over double shot mochas, keep in mind you’re probably interacting with someone else’s spouse! One good question to ask before launching into a relationship is whether you’re really ready to think about marriage. If you’re not, do you want to get tagged as belonging to someone and off-limits to everyone else, or would it be better to use these years to learn how to relate as brothers and sisters in Christ? This way, you’ll know how to talk with other people’s spouses later (remember, other dudes don’t magically stop being cute after you get married).
And if you are ready for marriage (which in my opinion means being emotionally, spiritually, and financially ready to take on the responsibilities of managing a household and family), wouldn’t it be wisest to explore relationships under the care of your parents, church leaders, and your most spiritually mature friends? They can help you wade through your emotions, and with this help you can train your heart for the challenges marriage brings—which require discernment, selfless giving, and lots of self-control. We spend years and years preparing for careers, but usually dive into the dating piranha pond with little but movies and our BFFs’ latest status to guide us. Yeek!
If you’d like some help that’s a little better than that, visit sites like Girl Talk – http://www.girltalkhome.com/ and read books like Becoming God’s True Woman by Nancy Leigh DeMoss – http://www.amazon.com/dp/1433503662/?tag=girltalk0e-20
Aaaaand . . . check out my novel Amberly, a thrilling, humorous Christian romance with characters who struggle from page one with the issues we’ve talked about here – it’s getting great reviews and is only $3.99 on Kindle!
Thanks for wanting to honor God. You’ll never regret it.
Remember – you’re not only living your life, but you’re an example for others around you. Live with joy in God’s love, and live wisely!
Mary Elizabeth Hall has been married for 25 fabulous, romantic years and home educates their three daughters at home in sunny South Carolina. They laugh about how they can’t roast marshmallows without experimenting to see how various snack foods burn on a stick. With degrees from Cornell and Syracuse, Mary has a professional background in human services and business management, but she’s found her true passion is for writing, editing, and illustrating.
Website and Blog: http://maryelizabethhall.com/ Twitter: @mryliz