We’ve all been in this series long enough that I’m going to cut the chitchat and get straight to the nitty gritty (unless of course you haven’t been in this series; in that case, check out parts one, two, three, four, and five).
woman lady girl. So my experience in a relationship (or not being in a relationship, as is the case for this whole series?) is going to be different than a man boy guy’s.
Now, for some, this post may seem very hard. Our culture has a very boys-chase-girls, girls-chase-boys mindset. Anyone can chase anyone. But for Christians, our approach to anything cannot be like our culture’s. With everything, we’re to look to the Bible and look for God’s design.
As has been discussed at various points throughout this series, I wanted The Guy to notice me. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to try my hand a flirting with him. I wanted to give him hints that I liked him.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t tell him that I liked him.
I didn’t hint that I liked him.
I didn’t flirt with him.
I didn’t try to compliment him (even though I was heavily in the he-is-so-amazing boat).
There are two reasons why.
Reason #1: I didn’t have the confidence or self-worth to put myself out there.
For those of you who feel like this post is a no-brainer, don’t mistake a lack of self-worth/confidence for maturity. That’s what I did at first. I thought to myself, “Of course I would never try to make something happen with The Guy, not matter how much I want to. Of course he has to come to me.”
But it wasn’t trust in God behind that or understanding of God’s design for relationships or much of anything holy or biblical. What was behind it was fear. What was viewed by others as maturity was just fake maturity.
Girls pursue guys out of a hurt or a fear (Boat #1). Girls don’t pursue guys out of fear (Boat #2). And some girls don’t pursue guys because they trust God’s wisdom more than their own wisdom or desires (Boat #3). I was not sitting in Boat #3 like I thought I was; I was sailing around in Boat #2.
Girls who chase guys often have deep wounds and fears centering around self-worth, confidence, body image, insecurity, loneliness, unworthiness, etc..
Girls who don’t chase guys often also have wounds and fears centering around self-worth, confidence, body image, insecurity, loneliness, unworthiness, etc..
Some of the same root issues, but a different response.
Some women are pushed to take the lead, to initiate, to take their clothes off, to text first, to be louder, to be considered more desirable physically, to give and give, to chase and chase by fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of being alone.
Some women are pushed further into themselves, to put more clothes on, to be silent, to stand by, to be doormats by fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being undesirable. Fear of being unwanted.
Neither is firmly rooted in who God is and who he has made her to be.
This is what kept me to myself at first.
Friend, if this is you, please don’t despair. And please don’t stay there. Confess your fear to someone (someone like we talked about in the last post). Pray about it. Ask Jesus to bring healing to the parts of you that this world and sin has broken—your body image, your insecurity in your personality, your passivity, your fear of others’ opinions. Ask God to reveal what is at the root of why you do not (or do) pursue guys. And ask him to be so kind as to heal it and give you the grace to turn from lies.
Reason #2: I knew it was The Guy’s job to pursue me, not the other way around.
It took a while for the truth to root down in me and reform my motives. In order to understand for myself more why I was to be pursued, to be chased, to be wooed, Jesus led me into a deeper understanding of marriage.
Paul says marriage was created as a way to show the glory of the mystery of God’s love for his Church. So many mysteries and glories lie revealed in marriage. Two people becoming one flesh (an echo of one God who exists as three Persons). A husband leading, protecting, cherishing a wife—an image of Jesus leading, protecting, and cherishing his elect. Marriage is the closest relationship two humans can share. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical union.
Almost always, lust is seen as the marriage destroyer. And it often is. But there is a more subtle (and I daresay more dangerous) destroyer—passivity. Specifically—a husband’s passivity.
This is one of the most fundamental things sin has broken in God’s design for men and women. Not just sex—though that’s gotten plenty messed up too. But what’s been most deeply broken is how men and women relate to each other.
Look at the Bible and see it everywhere.
Adam was with Eve when the serpent tempted her. He was at the tree with her. He heard the serpent’s words and Eve’s response, and he did nothing. He let Eve eat of the tree without rebuffing Satan’s lies. He let Eve hand him some of the fruit as well.
In a lot of ways, Adam didn’t fall; he let the fall happen to him. He didn’t do anything. He was passive. He watched Eve buy into a lie that destroyed them both.
From there on out, a man’s biggest struggle with sin has been and will be a struggle against passivity.
Abraham was promised by God that he would be given a son to carry on his line. Abraham believed, but then after it didn’t happen for a long time, his wife, Sarah, took matters into her own hands. She told Abraham to sleep with her maid, and instead of leading Sarah back to God’s faithfulness and telling her he was going to trust God, he let Sarah lead him into sin. He slept with her maid (the ultimate defilement of the marriage bed of God’s design), Hagar, who then had a son, and both Hagar and her son had a dysfunctional relationship with the rest of the family for the rest of their lives, a rift that went on the span generations. God was sovereign over it and used it, as is his way, but what if Abraham had stopped it in the beginning?
Eli was a priest in the days of the prophet Samuel (right before the nation of Israel asked for their first king). He was a nice dude and raised Samuel to serve God. But Eli had two wicked sons who sinned heinously, openly, again and again. Eli knew of their sin and the destruction it wreaked, yet he did nothing. He just kind of sat there. He didn’t rebuke them as their father. He didn’t rebuke them as their high priest. And in the end, his sons met death because of their sin. Eli was warned, and he still did nothing. He didn’t lose his sons because he didn’t do anything.
David was also passive. In a sickening account, one of David’s sons raped one of David’s daughters. If that wasn’t bad enough, David did nothing. There were no repercussions. Everyone kept on living together like a big happy family. But David’s son Absalom wasn’t so passive. Absalom (the full-blooded brother of the girl raped) took revenge on the half brother who sinned so terribly against his sister and murdered him. And so David’s household spiraled and tore itself apart. Because David sinned in passivity and didn’t call out sin to be sin or seek healing and restoration for his family. His passivity ended in rape, multiple murders, and a ruined family. What sin and pain and destruction could have been avoided if David had actively led his sons?
Now let’s see the outcomes of men who weren’t passive.
Peter was assertive. And I’m not just talking about how he’d always say stuff off the cuff in the gospels. In Acts, there’s an account of a married couple who sold a piece of land and pretended to give all the money to the church when they actually kept some back for themselves (so they lied). Full of the Holy Spirit, Peter tested them, gave them a chance for an out. When they decided to continue in their lie, still full of the Holy Spirit, he called out their sin in front of everyone, and the Holy Spirit struck the couple dead for their sin. And the church was protected (at least for a time) from what the seeds of their sin could have done to the church. If he had done nothing, said nothing, that seed of stinginess, of lying, of greed, etc. could have taken root in the church. Who knows what evil could have grown out of that? One thing is certain: destruction.
Jesus. Jesus chases after his own. He initiates relationship. His is gracious but not passive. He calls out sin. He encourages and leads. He is upfront. He says things that are uncomfortable. His whole life on earth was an act of initiation, of coming down, of bending down, towards, to get to his people. If Jesus was passive, he’d wait for us to come to him. But he came to us first.
So when it comes to The Guy.
If he’s passive in the beginning, the relationship will be shaped and marked by his passivity. He won’t lead you away from sin. He’ll let things slide—not in a gracious way, but in a passive way. Grace acknowledges sin as sin and sets it aside. Passivity is silent and doesn’t want to rock the boat. It is marked with laziness, the fear of other people’s opinions (aka: the fear of man: aka: a misunderstanding of God himself), or lukewarmness.
I’ve seen it happen where a guy doesn’t like a girl. The girl hints at her affections. The girl liking the guy suddenly makes the girl appealing to the guy. He kind of seems to initiate and lead, but areas of deep passivity remain. And sin and hurt is harvested.
For me, I’ve come to truly trust God with my future, and part of that is trusting that if I ever marry, the
man boy guy that he gives to me will not be passive. And one of the first markers of that will be that the dude will come for me. He will pursue me. He will woo me. Then I’ll flirt and be awkward and tell him my mind and my heart and be open to him. And I know now that I’m worth being pursued.
The Good I’ve Seen:
I see an incredible model of what a man pursuing a woman should be really clearly in my brother Luke (I’ve gotten a front-row view of his dating, engagement, and early marriage).
He initiates with Emily (my sister-
in-law) so well. He is gentle. He isn’t afraid to press into the hard stuff (or if he is, it doesn’t control him/keep him silent). He pursues her, loves her, cherishes her, wants the best for her and is willing to be uncomfortable and put in the work to see her get the best because he wants nothing less than the best for her. He tells her the truth when she’s hearing lies.
When she isn’t acting herself, he doesn’t let her hide away or bury stuff she’s always buried. He has proven he will be gentle with her, so she can feel safe (or as safe as she’ll ever feel) to be fully honest. He stays up late when they both have to wake up early so that they can go to bed at peace with each other. He doesn’t let stuff sit or fester. He doesn’t leave things unsaid. He doesn’t let her leave things unsaid. He’s crazy for her. He pursued her right from the beginning.
And Emily? She is a force of her own, one to be reckoned with. She’s a leader among women, full of the Holy Spirit and his good fruit. Her heart is wholly devoted to God, and her wisdom is peaceful and gentle. She’s a catch, as the kids would say. And instead of trying to snare a husband, she just followed God. And when she liked Luke and didn’t know what the future would hold, she chose to lean on the wisdom of Jesus instead of her own.
And when they started dating, instead of forcing her own way or being consumed by fear, she let him lead her. She trusted Jesus. And she trusts Luke. Like, a lot. She loves him. She encourages him right back. She tells him the truth. She responds to him. She is a well of gentleness and meekness and joy. She is kind to him and patient with him and laughs with him. She doesn’t belittle him or poke at him. She rejoices with him and in him.
He sharpens her, and she sharpens him.
He loves and builds up the woman in her, the woman God made her to be. She loves and draws out the man in him, the man God made him to be.
For me, I’d have to say seeing their relationship unfold has perhaps been the single most influential thing to how I now view and value romantic relationships. Luke and Emily aren’t perfect, but dang they did it well, and they’re still doing it well.
Let’s wrap this up.
Does any of that not make sense? Do you have any questions or confusions? As per usual, feel free to comment or contact me directly.
p.s. – I think we’re finally getting to the end of this series! Next week I think we’ll be talking about The Need To KnowTM. if anything will ever come of the crush.
p.p.s. – I know that this could be a little controversial. Even in the Church there isn’t agreement about what man-woman relationships should be, but after following Jesus for over fifteen years, this type of model is the one that I believe most follows the path God intended for marriage.
p.p.p.s. – a shout-out to Luke and Emily for being The BestTM and also consenting to me fangirling about them on the internet.
Oof, Rosalie!! This one hit me hard with conviction for sureee!!! 🙈 I definitely struggle with knowing when to “put myself out there” and when to sit back and wait. A dear pastor once told me that most guys are fairly oblivious and they need the ladies to “drop their hankie” as he put it haha So to just send them a lil signal that they’re interested and then stop and let the guy do the rest. So basically, he told me that if after I send up my lil smoke signal, the guy does nothing, move.on. ‘Cause male passivity is real, like you so tactfully pointed out, and it doesn’t set a good precedent for any possible future relationship. I really appreciated how thorough and well-thought-out your analysis was of that!! The way you went through specific Biblical examples really solidified that reality in mind so thanks muchly!!!
P.S. The whole Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, fiasco reminded me of exactly what you’re talking about!! When Sarah told Abraham “give me children or else I’ll die”, that’s basically what so many of us girls are saying when we chase after guys in a sort of frantic desperation: “Lord, give me a man or else I’ll die”. That sort of spirit and attitude is not attractive to a real godly man and, you’re so right: it oftentimes reveals a deeper heart-issue that needs to be addressed. Stellar article once again and I can’t wait for the next installment!!! :)
Wow. I hadn’t connected those two passivity pieces, but that’s a really good point and definitely something for me to be more aware of. Thank you!
This series has been awesome so far, and I look forward to the next installment! :)