When you saw that sentence, maybe you went "WHAT!! We, like, have power over guys!? Since when?" Or maybe you thought "Yeh, I knew that." Or maybe it was more like "Use my power in a Godly way? What do you mean?" And a slim possibility may be that you thought "Why should I?"
So, first I want to establish that, yes, we have a measure of power over guys. But by 'power' I mean the ability to spur them on, build them up in Christ, and protect their minds and hearts to some extent, OR - as many girls do - to tear them down and erode their hearts and minds. We also have a degree of power over a guy's emotions and heart if he is not purposing to be 100% steadfast for the Lord (and if he is, we have power to make it very hard for him!). It is in that way we have power over guys... power that we must use only for the LORD's purposes.
I *LOVE, LOVE LOVE* the song "Courageous" by Casting Crowns. It urges Christian men to stand up and be courageous (surprise surprise! :D). There is a line that says "Let the watchers become warriors; let the men of God arise!" While this song was written for men, I believe that we, as young women, can play an instrumental part in either encouraging or hindering them from arising. The choices we make about what to do with our measure of power can help either fulfil that song, or bring the men of God further down.
Sisters, we must, must, MUST strive to honour God by building up His men. We must also realise that while we have power, we do not own a guy, his heart, or his emotions.
I'm going to share a story that Sarah Mally told at the Radient Purity Conference that I attended. (All credit to Sarah for the original story, but I'll paraphrase, plus add some little bits of my own.)
Basically it's goes like this: One day a girl (who we'll call Lucy) meets a boy (who we'll call Josh) at church. Josh likes Lucy heaps right away, but Lucy knows that he wouldn't be someone she wants to marry. However, since they see each other every week, they begin to develop a friendship. Lucy likes the fair bit of attention Josh is giving her, especially as her relationship with her dad is not going great. She soaks it all up and begins to look to Josh to meet her emotional needs. Meanwhile, she also justifies the relationship by saying, "We're only friends, nothing more. It's not like we're dating or anything. I really don't have to worry about it." Their 'friendship' continues to develop, and soon they are emailing and chatting on the phone. While Lucy continues to justify their relationship and her actions, Joe is falling in love with her. Then one day at church, he tells Lucy that he loves her. Lucy realises that while she soaked up the attention and justified the relationship (which she intended to be casual) she was leading Josh on, acting like she owned his emotions and, ultimately, had hurt him.
Sarah went on to say that this is a common mistake that we girls can make: encouraging a guy to be interested in us simply because we like the attention and/or power. (Now, may I add that most examples are not as extreme as the story. We may never email or call a guy, and most likely the boy doesn't fall in love. But I know that it is very easy for us to soak up any attention (healthy or unhealthy) that a guy gives us, or selfishly act like we own his emotions and heart, or exercise our power over them and their emotions in a sinful way. Not good (or Godly) at all.)
Now, I doubt that I can give you specific advice on how not to use your power in a wrong way.... because everybody's different! But maybe you can chat about it to your mum/parents. But basically, watch for any hint that you are 'taking control.'
HOWEVER, I can give you some advice on how to use you power in a good and Godly way! But again, every person is different and in a different situation. Maybe you know nearly zero guys... only your brother's friends, really. Maybe the guys you do know are so immature you never interact with them. Maybe you know heaps of guys. Maybe you are close (in a casual way) to a few guys. Maybe you would never dream of being close to a guy now! Perhaps you are shy. Or are you outgoing? But no matter what, we can seek to build up... and prepare to build up!... the guys around us. Here's some suggestions:
- Pray for them! 'What?' you say. But it's true! One of the best ways to build a guy up is to pray for him! If you don't know any guys your age... it doesn't matter! Pray for your dad! Or your brother's friends! Or your future husband!
- Thank them! If you do have contact with guys more often (like you co-opers out there!), thank them for anything nice they do for you. Like holding a door open for you. Or carrying that fold-up table. And don't just mumble 'thanks' - make the effort to raise your head and look them in the eye. Let them know you actually do appreciate it, instead of it just being something that your parents have taught you to say.
- Encourage them! Now, often this is really good, but sometimes it can just come across as too 'forward.' My hints: (1) Think it through well, and eliminate any 'suggestive' words or attitudes. Often it's best just plain and simple.'Hey, I saw you help that lady pick up her change. That was really nice of you.' Keep your attitude, tone and face honest, with no 'hints.' (2) Ask your parents. (Sometimes you can just tell whether it's appropriate or not, sometimes you have check.) They can give you better specific advice than I can! And if it turns out it may be too forward, you can always encourage your brothers and dad!
Having said that, though, if you reckon you're in a good place to encourage a guy... don't chicken out! Your encouragement could work wonders! Especially if one of the guy's top 'love languages' is 'words of affirmation.' (I know that sounds weird, but it just means that the guy feels most encouraged when people encourage him with words.) And if you're wondering what the Bible has to say about encouragement... it says a whole lot! Check out this post for Bible verses and more on encouragement. I would also like to highlight two verses. Deuteronomy 1:38 says: "But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see"! (emphasis mine). Encouraging a guy could do something big! Samuel 19:7 also says: "Now go out and encourage [the] men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall." I know my example is a bit extreme, but the concept still holds! If no-one encourages young men, how will they stand the storm?}]
So, let's make it our goal to:
- Use our measure of power over a guy for the right purposes.
- Never act like we own any part of a guy.
- Pray for guys.
- Thank them.
- Encourage them (if it's OK).
- Check stuff with one or both of your parents (I suggest both). Like how we can behave better. Or whether it's appropriate to encourage a guy. MOTTO: IF IN DOUBT, CHECK WITH PARENT/S!
Yours in Christ,