I did something today that is highly looked down upon in the world of research. I read the headline and byline of an article sent across my path and automatically assumed I knew the subject matter at hand. I didn’t. I missed out on the heart of the article and had to re-read it several times before I could focus on the point being made. However, my over-analytical mind had already taken off.
The headline was, “Some girls have been married 60 times by the time they turn 18.” In reality, the article was on third world countries that marry their daughters off as early as they can -12-14 years of age- and by the time they’re 18, they’ve been cast aside, and then remarried several times. It’s an eye opening article. Really. But instead of slowing down to listen to my heart for the virtually sex-trafficked young girls in the world, I focused on what that headline means for American young women. In a culture where the majority can ignore the threat and consequences of trafficking, the reality is, we’re just as much in danger emotionally as they are physically, spiritually and emotionally. All without leaving our white picket fence.
A study was done several years ago to depict what a man looks at for a one night stand as compared to what a woman simply looks for. Not surprisingly, men look at image with a short, noncommittal glance at the woman’s personality. Equally obvious, the woman, despite the fact that she’ll only be with this man maybe twelve hours, instantaneously weighs whether the man would be worth marrying. Even in the hearts of the hard-core tomboy – of which, at one time, I was one – marriage is at the core of the pursuits God has planted in women as a priority. It’s good. It’s beautiful. It’s right.
Where the threat comes in is when we as women take that God-given consideration and spend it on every man we ever converse with, fantasizing down every emotional rabbit trail we possibly can. In essence it’s the accepted adult version of matching our name with theirs and drawing hearts around their name in our textbooks. But, because life has provided sweet insight, that fantasy doesn’t just steal a few giggles. It steals our hearts.
We truly can “get married 60 times” by the time we’re 25. In a world that dares to tell us that’s acceptable because we’re “just women” and “that’s what we do”; I disagree. When we live in the world of what-if we stop looking for the what-now. We miss out on what God is doing in and through us now, because our heads are stuck in a fantasy that may never happen. If it does, it breaks our hearts because it’s not exactly how we fantasized it would be.
Our hearts are at risk, then, of spending so much time on a fantasy anyway, that we don’t realize how quickly our minds can change. When the man that we fantasize about does anything to make us realize he’s human, we start searching for that new man we could essentially see ourselves marrying. Before we know it, we’ve spent at least a quarter of a century giving our hearts a little bit at a time to men that have very little, to no clue at all, that our hearts have been given to them.
Relationship is amazing. True love is a choice which turns into an action that doesn’t always look beautiful. When we as women spend our time mentally giving ourselves to the next “option”, we miss out on the full beauty of when the love God has ordained for us really does occur.
I’m not saying we as women need to deny and be ashamed of our makeup. However, I am suggesting that we as women need to realize the price on our hearts and the consequence of our joy when we start down a rabbit hole of relational fantasy that never ends. The saying, “be true to your heart” is a complete farce. Our hearts change depending on the smallest thing. Be true to your Creator. We were created for one mate. It’s not enough to say we’ve always chosen to wait physically, or that we will choose to wait in the future. We as women don’t come with compartmentalized emotions. If we wait physically, we need to pray for the strength to wait emotionally, spiritually and mentally as well.
Don’t sell your value short by selling it to your imagination. You’re worth more.