My dearest twenty-one year old girl,
This letter may come as a hurtful surprise to you, but please, keep reading. I know that right now you don’t understand boundaries between a man and a woman. You’re not even sure yet why, when and how they exist. And right now you’re naive to the fact that in friendships, emotions and pasts and physical touch can be confusing and messy and lead down hurtful roads. You’re a “guy’s girl”. We all know one—the kind of girl who thinks that most women on this earth except for her are catty and jealous and can’t be trusted.
There’s a reason why, right now, I’m referring to you as a “girl”.
There is an unhealthy balance in seeking out more friendships with the opposite sex than your own. Let’s be honest—guys and girls were made opposite sexes for a reason, and it wasn’t to just be friends. Is it possible to maintain friendships with each other? Absolutely. But we should learn our limits in those friendships, especially in those crucial teens and twenties when we are figuring out ourselves and the world around us.
Darling—no man, no matter how good of a friend he is to you, should be the one you confide in about all the turbulent places this world will take your sweet heart and mind. He cannot be your validation when your self-esteem has been challenged, and he will not be able to speak into those inherent longings inside you that only a woman would understand. Remember that who you need to be filled with is the One who made you, not the one standing in front of you.
While you are not responsible for the choice a man makes to lust, don’t intentionally drive a man in your life to do so. And if you find out he is struggling, don’t bring him down or punish him. Encourage him to seek help and show him grace.
That guy you’re talking to whose heart is wrapped up in or committed to someone else? Take a step away, love. Offering parts of yourself to someone who can’t offer anything back will only hurt you in the long run. It is not up to you to change his heart.
Be wary of what you post online and how much of yourself you’re letting the world in on for free. Those photos of yourself and the guys you’re with do not do justice to the heart beating inside of you. Think of everything you want to give your future husband and don’t give those things away to people who aren’t him. When you meet that man who you want to spend the rest of your life with, you’ll want him to trust you with other guys and know he is getting all of you.
Now here’s one you’re really not going to want to hear— If one of you in an opposite sex friendship is dating someone, don’t spend ample time alone with each other. And don’t seek out the wrong kind of relationship advice from your opposite sex friends. You know the type—when you really only want to hear what will validate you and not what is best for everyone involved.
Love your brothers as Christ would—equally and unconditionally. Respect their hearts and the place they are in, but show the same care and give the same encouragement to all.
If one of your friends is struggling, walk with him in encouragement, love, and lack of judgment, but also direct your friend to mentors, counselors and disciplers who have the wisdom and experience to establish long-term help.
Recognize spiritual warfare in one another and pray against it. Fight for each other’s hearts in Christ.
Seek out other ladies. Surround yourself with strong women who have been there and done that, or who can speak true feminine wisdom into this season of your life. Don’t boast in “men just understanding you better.” Men and women were not created with the same hearts. Cherish the femininity in yours and find good women to share it with.
And remember that you are worth so much more than what you’ve already lost. Your God is the Father of redemption, and you are one of His delivered. Let your friendships with the men in your life reflect that always.
Yourself, four years wiser
[Because sometimes the very words we need to hear are our own]