Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meet Emily and Samantha

Spiritual Lessons


Image result for The back of a young woman's head with hair in bun Meet Emily.  She has grown up in a conservative Christian home.  She's a young woman who grew up with the idea that girls are to keep their heart's pure, to guard their heart.  Close friendships with men are out of the question.  She feels awkward talking with guys, even making eye contact can be uncomfortable, and she most determinedly alludes any "one on one" conversations with men.  She is keeping her heart whole, for one man.  She would never dream of texting or emailing guys, and avoids Facebook for that very reason.  She is guarded and safe. An un-tampered garden.  She's a maiden, a virtuous woman, someone a man would dream of winning someday.

Image result for The back of a young woman's head
And meet Samantha.  She is the same age as Emily, also growing up in a Christian home.  But when it comes to men, Samantha has a totally different viewpoint.  Guys can be friends just as much as girls.  In fact, she has some really close guy-friends that she shares her heart with (more than some of her girlfriends).  Texting and emailing guys is no problem; in fact she goes out to coffee with them and get's plenty of friendly, quality-time with her guy friends.  She's free, she's open. An untrammeled garden. She's a chum, a buddy, a safe "sister" in Christ.

  Both young women are sincere and most likely have good intentions.  Emily and Samantha are "fictitious", but I know plenty of girls on both sides of the fence.  You want to know what Emily and Samantha have in common other than sincerity and good intentions?  They are both unbalanced.

I recently talked to a few young women on this subject and it surprised me the controversy and struggles young adults face when it comes to guy-girl relationships.  Some girls I know almost have a "man-phobia" that is so close to the stereotype feminists give to us "conservative goody two-shoes". These would be the "Emily's" in Christian society. The "wall-flowers" we are warned about in helpful Christian guides to finding a mate. (That last sentence is sarcasm).
Then, there are the "que sir ra sir ra" women who enjoy their guy friendships and haven't given emotional and mental purity much thought.  Yet more commonly, I have come across Christian women who have found liberty in breaking their old standards and finding freedom in exploring friendships with young men. Both cases would be more "Samantha's".  They believe they've matured and now can have practical relationships with guys without the "inevitable silliness" that once haunted them.  Some of their guy friends can relate to them better than their girl friends. Men have such a more practical outlook and objective advice.  Going out to coffee never hurt anyone and doesn't have to be labeled a "date".

It never occurred to some of these ladies that there might be a third option.

Can we be meek without being shy and socially awkward?
Can we be passionate and courageous, without being brash or inappropriate?
Is it possible to be pure and confident?
Is it possible to "be friends" with young men without compromise?
Do you think we could communicate with men, without putting our heart (or theirs) at risk?
Do you think we might be able to be virtuous and untrammeled?

YES! Absolutely.  We don't have to be an Emily or a Samantha. There's a middle road.  It's called being balanced.

What does this look like practically?

I am not going to claim to be an expert in guy-girl relationships.  I have (almost) 24 years of singlehood experience under my belt, and depending on who you are, that's not too much. But I can share what I have learned, what other's have tried to teach me, and what I've observed.

Not too long ago, I was more of an Emily.  Only because I was terrified of my unruly heart.  Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am normally very comfortable around people and love to tease and make people feel at ease.  Unfortunately this has served me not-so-well when it comes to guys.  Here I thought I was being kind, and they thought I was being flirtatious.  Over the last six years I've swung from Samantha to Emily, back to Samantha and then more of an Emily... And now?  I realized there's such a thing as being in the middle.

Every young woman is going to have specific convictions for herself, and parent's guide lines vary from girl to girl.  I know some of my own personal convictions may not apply to every young woman.  God puts certain restrictions on people depending on their strengths and weaknesses.  Romans 14:14.  That being said, I believe it's safe to say this:

You can be a guy's friend.  Young men do not have to be ignored in order for you to have a pure heart.  Brothers in Christ are a gift and should be cherished.  But we also can remember that Charity vaunteth not herself, seeketh not her own, is not puffed up.  Charity is kind.  We can be kind, polite, friendly, but obviously their friendship will be (should be) different than our girl-friends.

I avoid appearance of evil.  For that reason I don't text guys.  Is it a sin to text men?  I don't think so.  But this is a personal conviction of mine.  Emailing.  When I email a guy I make sure to include another person (normally my brother) in the recipients.  I want to be held accountable.  I only "chat" online in group hangouts.  It's a safeguard.  I have had plenty of conversations with young men, even outside a group, when I was at church, or in my home where we could be seen and interacted with.  I've debated, laughed, prayed and cried with young men in groups.  I've climbed mountains, shot guns, gone on car trips, went to the movies, sang, went skiing, played volley ball, written scripts, had snow fights with guys and my brothers.  I am totally at ease speaking with a young man.  Eye contact is not only polite but also portrays your confidence level and who you are.

I don't sit close to or touch a guy.  But I will shake his hand.  I am not squeamish about male "cooties"  but neither am I so familiar that I would hug a guy.  Even my friend.  This is called balance.  You cherish your male friends and you will be happy to be a friend while looking after their heart.  Being concerned that you are modest, without being paranoid.  Confidently befriending them, while offering no temptation.  Being a sister, without going beyond.  This is balance.

I hope somehow this was an encouragement to your heart.  Be confident sister, be meek, be kind-hearted.  Better yet, just allow Christ to be Himself in you and you will find that you are suddenly at ease with who you are and you will care so much about others it will almost be impossible to be a stumbling block.  He will show a sensitive heart when to "go ahead", and when to be reserved.  Balance.

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  1. I love this post Toni! I think it was spot on. I appreciated how you applied yourself in this. Admitting your struggle from "Samantha to Emily". And giving contrast at the end. You CAN be balanced. What a blessing. When I first read the two different perspectives...I thought to myself, "I'm not either of them". And then laughed later realizing that maybe that was a good thing. :) Thanks for sharing this Toni.

    1. Thanks Nay. Glad you got something from this.

  2. That was a timely, well written, thought provoking post. I enjoy getting a christian woman's perspective on these matters. My interest has been piqued to study more on what the scriptures say about how men and women should interact. Do you have any you could suggest? Where do you get your code of conduct from? I appreciate any pointers! Thanks.