I was having lunch with a friend recently and in typical female fashion, our conversation quickly turned to the matter of men. Although the topic was neither new nor earth shattering, it was the individual with whom I speaking that made the discussion seem so surreal. The person across from me was half my age, someone I had known since she was an eight-year-old tomboy who climbed trees and loved playing with worms. Nonetheless, there I sat, interested and engaged as this now warm and pretty young woman intimated about issues of the heart. It’s been said that the core of our existence, the essence of who we truly are, is formed by our relationships with others, and I quickly determined that her exposure to college life and the close proximity of her cohorts was significantly influencing her attitudes about men, as well as how she was beginning to view herself.
I found myself intrigued, and maybe a little envious, of the confidence she exuded in regards to the protocols of dating. She wasn’t the type to be held hostage by her phone, waiting for the next call or text, nor was she opposed to initiating contact with a guy if she was interested in him. Wow, what had happened to the gender roles and rules of my era? Not wanting to seem too outdated or expose my generation gap, I nodded encouragingly and agreeably in an attempt to appear current with these trends. Suddenly and somehow, amidst the chaos and clatter that echoed throughout the Panera Bread, we found ourselves deeply engaged in the subject of choices and what motivates our dating decisions.
We discussed why, in dealing with members of the opposite sex, we often allow someone, based strictly on warm fuzzy feelings or physical attractions, to take our affection or steal our hearts away without making any real investments in us or toward the overall well-being of the relationship. These kinds of people simply take what they want, when they want it, yet our overwhelming desire to be with that person overshadows all sense of reason or rationale. Both guys and girls have been casualties of these types of romances, and those who are lucky can suffice in applying a bandage to their emotional scrapes. For others, however, the devastation can cut much deeper and their wounds require a lifetime of healing.
Because I was older, in typical parental know-it-all fashion, I reminded her that Proverbs 4:23 directs us to safeguard our heart because where it leads, our mind and body are destined to follow. I explained that our actions, both physical and spiritual, flow from our heart and that those intentions, either good or bad, chart our course throughout life. Because of this reality and for the sake of our long-term happiness, we need to ensure that our emotions aren’t easily led astray and that we seek someone who is willing to win our heart, not just steal it away. Having said that and after realizing that I sounded like the Brady Bunch mom, I ordered our desserts and we drifted off into recollecting the young girl I once knew.