Boy Crazy

By The Whatever Girls

I spent the majority of my teens and 20s swooning over countless young men. I was boy-crazy.

Perhaps a certain boy is on your mind 24/7. Maybe you believe that having a boyfriend will make you 100% content and satisfied. If so, I pray you’ll consider reading Paula Hendricks new book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey fFrom Neediness to Freedom. What follows is a portion of my story and review of the book.

By the time I finished reading the fourth paragraph (not the fourth chapter mind you, but literally the fourth paragraph) of this book, I was hooked.

On page 18, Paula confesses:

“… I wanted off my merry-go-round ride that never stopped its perpetual spinning. It went something like this:

Spot a cute boy (we’ll call him Boy A).

Dream about Boy A.

Do whatever it takes to make Boy A notice me.

Even though Boy A doesn’t pursue me, hang onto my dream of Boy A…

Mend my broken heart by hating Boy A and finding another cute boy (Boy B).

Replace Boy A with Boy B.

Dream about Boy B.

Make sure Boy B notices me.

Hang on to my dream of Boy B until he…

Move on to another cute boy—Boy C.

The truth is, I went through an entire alphabet—and more—of boys over the years.”

I so get this.

My list of dream hunks spanned the entire English alphabet, as well as the alphabet of several foreign languages. By the time I entered my late 20s, I wanted to be married like everyone around me. I found myself on this same merry-go-round of thinking and feeling. I was incredibly unhappy, and God’s presence seemed to elude me no matter how hard I prayed or no matter how hard I tried not to “like” another boy.

Is there hope for those that day dream about a boy after boy? Is there hope for those who need to have a boyfriend ALL the time (and who will do anything to get one)?

Absolutely.

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, is full of wisdom and encouragement for young girls who want to break the habit of moving through an alphabetical list of love interests, and for those wanting freedom from heartache and hopelessness. I love how this book combines snippets of Paula’s personal journal entries with solid Biblical teaching. Paula addresses issues such as temptation, beauty, jealousy, and the danger of forcing a “happy ending” in an honest, wise, and sometimes, humorous manner.

Teen girl, if you feel rejected or guilty for having boys constantly on your brain, or fear spending the rest of your life alone, you are more normal than you think. You are NOT beyond the saving and redeeming work of God in your heart either. I am proof of this.

Over time, my need for male attention decreased as my desire for God’s affection increased.  When God decided it was time, He brought my husband into the picture. Was I perfect in every way when I met Chad?

No way.

Yet, God helped me find deeper security and contentment in His love for me so I could freely love the husband He has given to me.

The merry-go-round in my mind has ceased…

How did Paula’s journey from “neediness to freedom” end? Did God finally bring Mr. Right into her life? You will have to read the book to find out! I believe the final sentences of this book will truly inspire your heart –especially if it is occupied with Boy “C” or “Q” or “Z” right now.

Questions to Ask Before You Date

 

by Ignite your Faith
Ever wish you could predict whether or not a dating relationship will work out? Here are some great questions to ask yourself.

Questions to Ask Before You Date

Ever wish you could predict ahead of time whether or not a dating relationship will work out? It would save a lot of headaches and heartache, wouldn’t it? While you can’t predict the future, you can make choices that will help guide you to relationships that are both exciting and honoring to God. Here’s how.

As you think through potential dates, ask yourself these questions:

1. What’s my first impression? “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That’s how the old saying goes. True, first impressions aren’t totally accurate. But until you get to know a person, you must depend on first impressions. Who do they hang around with? What kind of parties do they go to? Do they drink, smoke, use drugs? This kind of “first impression” information is very helpful as you think about who you will or won’t consider dating.

2. How well do I know them? It always makes sense to go out with someone you’ve known for a while rather than a stranger.

3. Do they treat others with respect? Ever been around a girl who can’t do anything but put down her boyfriend? Ever spent time with a guy who likes to brag about how far he got on his last date? Not exactly the kind of people you want to trust with your self-image or your reputation.

4. Do our values clash? Are the things most important to you also important to them? Are you headed in the same general direction in life? (For instance: You value good grades and plan to attend college; your potential date regularly cuts classes and has no plans for life after graduation.) Do they have decent standards when it comes to the movies and TV shows they watch? Are they committed, growing Christians who seek to live what they believe? You may be thinking, But, hey, I’ve heard opposites attract! Not a good dating rule to live by, especially when it comes to values, moral standards and personal beliefs.

5. Do they keep their promises? If they’ve been in a serious dating relationship before, did they flirt with others or cheat on the person they were dating? It’s good to keep in mind that a promise breaker can quickly become a heartbreaker, too.

Questions to ask before getting serious:

Let’s say you’ve asked the right questions and you’ve been careful about the people you date. In time, you’ll probably find yourself liking one person a lot. It looks like it’s getting serious. If you find yourself moving in this direction, or if you are already in a serious relationship, here are other questions to think through and to talk about together:

  • Is our relationship about mutual trust? A relationship can’t survive without honesty and openness. If lies creep into the relationship, it’s time to get truthful, or call it quits.
  • Can we be ourselves when we’re together? If you have to be somebody you’re not, or if either of you feels you must put up a front, then you’re in the wrong relationship.
  • Are either of us overly possessive? Words and phrases like “smothered” and “jealous” come to mind. If one of you can’t move without the other one knowing it, then possessiveness is a big problem. If this happens, both of you need some space, and maybe you even need to back away from the relationship. These traits are red flags that your boyfriend or girlfriend may become abusive.
  • Do we regularly have good conversations? Chat room-type chatter is fine. But now and then you need to have a conversation that goes a bit deeper—that lets you know each other’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams.
  • Have we set physical limits? This question is extremely important and often difficult to answer, especially if a relationship has already become too physical. To avoid pushing the limits beyond the point of no control, you need to set agreed-upon limits early on. You also need to know why you need limits. More questions worth asking: Do both of you understand why God wants people to save sex for marriage? Do both of you clearly understand why sex outside of marriage is so destructive? If you break up tomorrow, would you end the relationship with no regrets about your physical involvement? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, please talk with your youth pastor or someone else who can give you guidance in this critical area. For help, see God’s Plan for Sex.
  • Do we have dates that include our friends? If your friends or family complain that they don’t see you anymore, your relationship has gotten way too exclusive.
  • Do we plan how we’ll spend our time together? With “nothing to do,” it’s easy to fill up your time by becoming more physically involved than you should. Do your best to begin each date knowing how you’re going to spend your time together.
  • Do we have a good understanding of what forgiveness means? People mess up. That’s just the way it is. That’s why it’s important to forgive each other. Holding grudges because you’ve been wronged kills a relationship. On the other hand, no one should say “forgive me” when they really mean “accept my faults and don’t expect me to change.” If you want to regain trust, if you want to keep the relationship healthy, then changes must be made. The Bible calls these changes “repentance” (Acts 26:20, NIV), and it means that you will, with God’s help, stop doing the behavior that got you into trouble in the first place.
  • Can we disagree agreeably? Can you handle disagreements without screaming, sulking, or slamming phones or doors? And what about compromise? A relationship isn’t about winning, it’s about wanting what’s best for each other. If either of you must always win, you’re in a no-win relationship.
  • Do we keep God at the center? Jesus Christ needs to be the center of each of your lives and of each of your relationships. This obviously means being able to have good conversations about what God is teaching each of you. It also means that each of you is committed to personal spiritual growth. And it means having Christian friendships (apart from each other) that hold you accountable and help you live out your faith. All in all, an exciting faith adventure is key to an exciting dating relationship.

No relationship is perfect. But good relationships seek to put God first. They’re encouraging. They’re supportive. They build up instead of tear down. And both partners in a good relationship try their best to demonstrate Christ-like love.

The Right Right and Wrong

 

by Josh McDowell
Morality isn’t relative, and right and wrong aren’t negotiable.

The “Right” Right and Wrong

Bible Reading: Proverbs 16:25

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 16:25

“You can’t tell me what’s right and what’s wrong!” Stephanie snapped. ”I’m al­most eighteen. You can’t push your morals off on me. Just because it’s wrong for you doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me!” Stephanie stormed out of that confrontation with her parents to find her own version of “right” and “wrong.”

Stephanie has bought the lie that says, “Right and wrong, good and bad-it’s all relative. You need to find what is right for you. You need to define your own moral­ity.” Stephanie isn’t alone, of course. Most students entering college today believe that truth is “relative,” not “absolute.” They think it varies in different places and times. What that means is lots of people—including students your age—think they can decide for themselves what’s right and true for them.

But morality isn’t relative. Right and wrong aren’t negotiable. C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity: “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right or Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be com­plaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson.”

It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than a multiplication table is.

Paul pointed out that even those who have never heard of the Ten Command­ments … demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right” (Romans 2:15).

Even so, lots of people insist that what is wrong for you isn’t necessarily wrong for them. They’re like Pontius Pilate, who muttered the famous question to Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). The ugly irony of Pilate’s question is that Pilate pre­tended to give Jesus a fair trial, and all the while Truth was standing right in front of him! Jesus-who had unveiled himself as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)-was the answer Pilate sought. But Pilate failed to recognize Truth in human form. The best way to know what’s right and wrong is to grow in your relationship with Christ and your knowledge of his Word.

REFLECT: Rightness and truth originate in the person of God and his principles for living. How are you learning more?

PRAY: Father, help me draw close to you so I can know and feel the difference between right and wrong—and tell the difference between truth and lies.

When Love Is a One-way Street

 

by Josh McDowell
Do you treat people who trash you as kindly as God treats you—even when you reject Him?

When Love Is a One-way Street

Bible Reading: John 1:10-13

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself2 Timothy 2:13.

How do you treat people who trash you?

Let me guess. Maybe not quite as kindly as God treats us when we reject him?

See, God loves us whether we receive that love or not. You probably know that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes…” (John 3:16, NIV). The key word there is whoever. When God gave his Son, he knew that some would believe and others would not. John wrote, “Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted” (John 1: 11). God knew that a sizable chunk of humankind would stomp on his gift of salvation and hoof it away from him. Yet he keeps on loving us.

If you ever doubt that God’s love persists even when we snub him, consider how Jesus displayed love. He knew Judas would betray him, but he loved Judas and called him to be a disciple anyway. When the crowd cried, “Crucify him!” Jesus responded, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23 :34). Christ died for all, even those who turn their backs on him. Think about it: Even your freedom to choose for or against God is a gift from him. He wants you to love him, but he won’t make you.

If giving with no demand for payback is how God loves, that’s what true love looks like. That’s the love God commands you to show in all your relationships.

When you decide to love like God loves, you might face the same rejection Jesus did. You might do to others what you hope they would do to you, only to have your kindness ignored or even tossed back in your face. Suppose you volunteer to feed, exercise, and even pick up after a friend’s dog when your friend heads out of town. That seems like the loving thing to do. But when you ask your friend to do the same for you, she claims she doesn’t have the time to look after your big, slobbering, mess­ making doggy.

That’s the kind of treatment that tempts you to quit looking for opportunities to love your friend. But genuine love doesn’t give with a payback in mind. Love gives because it cares about the health, happiness, and growth of others-period. Whether or not its actions or words are appreciated, love keeps on giving. If you refuse to love because someone ignores your love or even mocks it, you’re not loving with the love that comes from God.

REFLECT: When have you loved someone and felt that your kindness was rejected? How did you handle it? In that kind of situation, how can you love like God loves? Are you asking God to help you love as he loves?

PRAY: Lord, help me to love and to keep on loving—like you do—no matter what.

Can We Regain Control?

Can We Regain Control?

by Ignite Your Faith
Although it’s not easy to take a step back from a sexual relationship, it’s possible. Tim Stafford discusses why you should work at building a relationship that first honors God.

Can We Regain Control?

We haven’t had sex, but we’ve gotten close. Is it possible for us to have a godly relationship again?

Q. My boyfriend and I have been going out for about a year, but over the last few months we’ve gotten ourselves into a big mess. Whenever we see each other, we start to feel sexually aroused and, unfortunately, act on our desires. We haven’t had sex, but we’ve gotten close. We know what we’re doing is wrong, but we can’t seem to stop. Our relationship used to be so godly and pure. We know and love the Lord with all our hearts, and have really encouraged each other in our spiritual walk. I don’t know where we went wrong. Is it possible for us to have a godly relationship again? Is this God’s way of letting us know we’re not right for each other?

A. It would be impossible for me to say whether or not God feels you’re right for each other. Yet I do believe you’re both experiencing sexual feelings that are very normal and human. Sexual feelings are a natural part of a loving relationship. But God is very clear that we are to control ourselves sexually. God wants us to learn how to resist temptation—to be thankful for our sexual nature and yet be able to avoid its misuse.

Is such a thing possible? Yes, though not easy. You’re dealing not only with your own sexual urges, you’re also dealing with the ideas planted in your mind by our sex-worshiping society. Most couples aren’t strong enough to resist those ideas by themselves. With the help of others, however, it’s possible to go against the tide.

You need to find someone who will pray with both of you regularly, talk with you about your struggles and check in on how you’re doing. I’d recommend you find somebody older—someone you can relate to, and whom you trust to keep confidences, like your youth pastor, or a trusted older sibling. Ask God to help you find the right person. Knowing you have to report back to a third party can be a big help in controlling your sexual urges.

You also need to surround yourselves with friends. In the next few months, try to avoid being alone. Go on group dates, spend time with your families, take a younger sibling to a movie or out for ice cream. If you can’t resist temptation, avoid it.

Finally, I would suggest the two of you put aside all physical contact for a while. That means no hugging, no kissing, no back rubs, nothing. Then, start from square one again. Treat each date like it was your first date. Do no more than you would have on your first date.

It’s never easy to step back from a sexual relationship. It’s like climbing back up a waterfall. But it is possible. And as you work at building a relationship that honors each of you and God, you will experience a joy greater than any of the physical pleasures you’re giving up.

What’s on Your Wish List?

 

by Josh MNcDowell
How happy are you with what you have? Are you letting Christ be your most prized possession?

What’s on Your Wish List?

Bible Reading: Luke 12:13-21

Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own. Luke 12:15

Sixteen-year-old Zachary had it all. When his bedroom-based dot-com started making him money, he dropped out of high school to run a business that gave him a big-buck paycheck. He soon could buy almost anything he wanted. He sloshed through the mud in his own SUV. He whizzed over the snow in his own snowmobile. He sped across the lake in his own speedboat.

At first, Zachary’s friends envied him. Then business dried up and Zachary lost it all-the boat, the snowmobile, the SUV. Worse, he didn’t know what to live for any­more. He had been so wrapped up in accumulating stuff that getting more and more of it had become his goal in life. Zachary thought that buying the right things-and having enough things-would bring him utter happiness.

So what’s on your wish list? Exactly how much does it take to make you happy?  What kind of car or entertainment system or other collection of toys would stuff you so full that you wouldn’t want anything more? Can you imagine obtaining every­thing on your wish list -so you could finally say, “I’ve made it. I’m happy”? Or would you start a new bigger-and-better list?

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, sounds like a man who had it made. He had what it takes to be happy. He exults, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). Not only that, but his brief letter mentions joy or rejoicing seventeen times! Paul had it all.

But wait a minute! Paul was in prison when he wrote all those words about joy and happiness (see Philippians 1 :12-14). By any measure we would use, he had noth­ing. But he was happy. That’s why later he could write in his letter, “I have learned to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost noth­ing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need” (Philippians 4: 11-13).

Real joy has nothing to do with the things you accumulate. The reason you can be joyful-whether you’re wealthy or poor-is because you can have the peace and contentment that come only from Jesus Christ. And here’s why: Christ is your most prized possession. You can’t lose him. He can’t be stolen from you. He can’t be bro­ken. He won’t go out of style. And knowing him can give you joy that no mere thing can bring.

REFLECT: How happy are you with what you have? How are you letting Christ be your most prized possession?

PRAY: Jesus, teach me to be content with what I have. And help me realize the joy of knowing you.

That’s Not Fair

 

by Josh McDowell
Help us, Lord, to value others by our just actions.

“That’s Not Fair!” A Family Devotional

Acting justly protects us from guilt and provides us with clear consciences. 

Bible Reading of the Day: Read Proverbs 2:6-11.

Verse of the Day: “[God] grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity” (Proverbs 2:7).

“It’s your turn to do the dishes!” Joel protested to his older sister.

“Look,” Kathy said, “Evan’s going to be here any minute to pick me up for our date. I don’t have time to do them.”

“Well, I’m not going to do them!”

“Yes, you are! When Mom and Dad are gone, I’m in charge. If you don’t do them, they’ll be mad at you, not me.”

“But that’s not fair!” Joel’s angry tone had turned to a whine. The doorbell rang.

“I don’t have time to argue,” Kathy said over her shoulder as she walked toward the front door. “Just do the dishes!”

Kathy cast one last look into the kitchen as she closed the door behind her. She saw her brother standing beside the sink, an angry look on his face.

He makes such a big deal out of everything, she told herself as she got into Evan’s car. It’s not like he can’t do the dishes to help me out just this once. I’ve done lots of things for him.

Kathy and Evan didn’t talk much on the drive to the movie theater. Her mind was still on her little brother’s frustrated form in front of the kitchen sink, which was piled high with dishes. He’s right, it’s not fair, she thought. I should have done the dishes instead of talking to Brittany on the phone after dinner. She began to feel guilty, but shrugged it off. I’ll apologize to him later.

She said nothing to Evan as they got in line to buy tickets at the theater. She still couldn’t shake her feelings of guilt over the way she’d treated Joel. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Wait,” she said just as they arrived at the ticket counter. “I need to go home.” She quickly explained the situation to him and was relieved that he seemed to understand.

As soon as she arrived home, Kathy announced to a shocked Joel that she was going to do the dishes. “And,” Kathy added, “I’ll do the dishes tomorrow night, too.”

“Wow!” Joel said. “How about doing my homework, too?”

“Don’t push your luck,” Kathy said, as she pointed the sink sprayer in her brother’s direction.

TO DISCUSS: Have you ever felt guilty for treating someone unjustly? How can treating others fairly “fill you with joy”? How can acting justly give you a clear conscience?TO PRAY: “Help us, Lord, to value others by our just actions.”