Christian Living


Seven Myths That Hurt Young Women

What does God's Word say about fashion, flirting, and dating?

Are you buying into the world's lies about your appearance, your body, relationships or sex? You could be and you don't even realize it. Authors Shannon Ethridge and Steve Arterburn identify several common myths and discuss what the Bible says about them.

Myth 1: How I dress is my business. It shouldnt be a concern for God or guys.

Before you believe that your wardrobe isnt an issue with God, try this scripture on for size: Jesus said to his disciples: Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for [her] to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around [her] neck than for [her] to cause [another] to sin. (Luke 17:1-2)

When guys see something sexually stimulating, such as a young woman dressed immodestly, their natural tendency is to lust after her and entertain thoughts of becoming sexual with her. It doesnt matter whether the guy is a Christian or not. Even godly guys can be visually tempted to lust. If you want to avoid causing your brothers to stumble and fall, youll dress modestly.

Myth 2: All flirting is OK.

You may think its always OK to flirt, but that may be because you dont understand what inappropriate flirting feels like to a guy. Letting a boy know that you are interested in a more meaningful relationship with him is one thing, but inappropriate flirting, which can also be called teasing or seduction, is another. Should you emotionally or physically stir up a guy if you have no intention of pursuing a relationship with him? Is it loving to tease someone with your attentions and affections if you have no desire to fulfill any hopes you may arouse in him? In our opinion, showing a sincere love and respect for others allows no room for acting as if you are interested in being sexual with a guy when, in fact, you are not.

Myth 3: I need to have a boyfriend to feel as if I am somebody.

Having a boyfriend will solve all my problems. Newsflash. If you think you need a boyfriend, you are not ready for a boyfriend. Contrary to the movie scenes you may have witnessed where one character declares to the other, You complete me! no human being can ever complete another. Only God can complete you. Yet many young women try with all their power to find that special someone who will make them feel as if life is really worth living (as if living as a satisfied single person isnt possible).

If either of the above statements describes you, we have some advice for you. Do yourself a favor and get a life! Not the fairy-tale life you are dreaming of where you meet a wonderful guy, fall in love, and live happily ever after in la-la land. You need to live in reality and recognize who God made you to be, and then do your best at being that person.

Myth 4: Guys want basically the same thing from dating relationships that girls want.

Just in case you didnt catch it before, let us say this loud and clear: Guys are motivated by an entirely different set of factors than girls are. Most of the time guys give love to get sex, but girls give sex to get love. Do you see what a dangerous combination this can be? Were not saying that guys are pigs who only want sex. Many know their own vulnerabilities well enough to know better than to take a young woman behind closed doors if they arent able to control their sexual desires. But we are saying that God wired guys differently. They are built for visual stimulation. Their ultimate goal is physical intimacy. Its just how they are made. Its not that they dont value or want emotional bonding; many do. But it isnt their ultimate goal.

Myth 5: My love will save him. I can change him.

Dont make the mistake of dating a guy who needs some major repair work before you could consider him marriage material. Many young women are drawn to a guys wild, rebellious side and then set out on a mission to mold him into the kind of man they really want him to be. We hate to break it to you, but you cant change or save anyone. Only God is in the business of doing that successfully. The research has already been done. A womans love does not change a broken mans behavior. It only validates it. Her love says to him, You are OK the way you are!

Myth 6: I feel so sexually tempted, I must already be guilty, so why bother resisting?

Satan loves to use false guilt, convincing us to cross the line between temptation and sin with thoughts like these:

"You cant deny that you want him! You may as well go after him!"

"Youve already gone this far, whats one step further?"

"He already knows how you really are, so theres no use pretending to be a goody two-shoes!"

Satan uses thoughts like these to cause you to feel guilty, but your guilt is false guilt because you have not yet acted on your thoughts. You have been tempted to sin, but you have not yet sinned.

When Jesus taught that thinking upon sexual things is just as sinful as doing them (see Matthew 5:27-28), He was referring to entertaining sexual thoughts over and over or intentionally fantasizing about someone in sexual ways. There are thoughts that pop into our minds simply because we are human, but we dont have to entertain them or focus on them. We can distract ourselves and resist these thoughts, just as we can resist any temptation.

Myth 7: There's no one who would really understand my struggle.

We believe this myth exists because, fearing judgment, girls usually dont openly discuss their sex lives with other females. Unfortunately, these fears are often confirmed very early in childhood. For instance, one girl tells a friend about her secret crush on a boy in their class. The friend inevitably whispers the secret to two other friends, or worse, tells the boy all about the girls confession. If you went through experiences like these, you may have learned to guard your deepest, darkest secrets from other females.

Some girls grow up with guys as their best friends because they feel so strongly that other girls simply cannot be trusted. Many also find out the hard way that confiding in guys can be more dangerous than confiding in a girlfriend. All a girl can do is betray your confidence. A guy can take advantage of your vulnerability and make you his next sexual target if you arent standing firm in your convictions.

Its our hope that if you know how common these issues are to young women, you wont hesitate to discuss your own sexual struggles with a trusted adult or a mature Christian girlfriend. We believed 99.9 percent of all women face sexual temptations in varying degrees.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has seized you except what is common to [woman]. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Excerpted from Every Young Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge & Steve Arterburn. Used by permission of New Life Ministries.

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