I am sure you have heard some form of this statement:
"If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."
Setting goals gives us somewhere to aim. But I have another statement for us:
"Failing to plan is planning to fail."
These two thoughts should go hand-in-hand. It is great to set goals, but it is just as important to make a plan of how you are going to achieve those goals.
I remember when I was in high school that the "Purity Pledge" was a huge deal. Hundreds of young girls in my high school signed the pledge. Most, I am sure, had great intentions. They were sincere. The problem was that there was no plan on how they were going to make it happen. Many succumbed to temptation. So what good was the pledge?
Our mother/daughter date was going beautifully. We were sitting on the couch in the hotel room, drinking our tea and cider, and scarfing down our last donuts. We laughed and reminisced about how the day had gone. It was the picture-perfect scene of mother/daughter fellowship. When we were ready, we started Session 3: Set Your Boundaries.
This session was all about the plan of how to reach the goals and standards she was setting. It was a more practical life application session. Many young girls make a purity commitment, but they fail in making a plan of how they are going to keep that commitment. My goal was to help my daughter begin thinking through practical ways she can keep herself from getting in a situation where she will be led by her heart or by passion instead of by wisdom and the Spirit. She needs to set her boundaries now and make plans now before situations arise.
We began the session in Genesis 24, a bride for Isaac. We had recently went through this passage in our family devotions, so my daughter knew it well. It was fresh on her mind. This made things go very quickly because all I had to do was reference most of it instead of reading the full story again.
As we talked about the passage, we talked about the commitment to only marry "her people"-- someone who is saved. We talked about waiting for God's timing. Isaac was 40 years old! We talked about respecting and submitting to her God-given authority of her parents. (Now, we don't plan on an arranged marriage, but she certainly needs to heed our counsel.) We talked about how the servant took time to observe and the specific things he was looking to see. He didn't pray to see a girl in a blue dress or a girl who was pretty, cheerful, and popular. He prayed to see a girl who was faithfully serving her family, hard-working, and compassionate. (Think about the exact tasks he asked to see!)
A few months ago, I had given my daughter the book "Just Friends", again by Cary Schmidt and Mike Ray. She has read the majority of it.
The book does a great job of explaining the importance of waiting on God's timing and waiting for when marriage is a more realistic prospect before considering boy/girl relationships. It encourages learning to be just friends with the opposite sex. It's a great time in the teen years to learn how to respect the opposite sex as people... as brothers or sisters in Christ. It's also a great time to learn the skill of observation. ("Does this person display the godly character traits in the list I made? Does he make a good friend?")
She and I talked about these things as well as seeking godly counsel from parents and from trusted leaders in her life. If she can seek counsel on developing friendships, then when it comes to seeking counsel for potential suitors, it will come much easier.
We talked about the Scripture "... It is good for a man not to touch a woman." I Corinthians 7:1 We also talked about the temptation that arises to go against that when two people are alone. So then I began to ask questions in light of this verse. I wanted her to answer these questions for herself.
"So, what are you going to do about holding hands?"
"What about kissing before marriage?"
"What about being alone in a room with a boy? Or what about in a car?"
"What about hugging?"
I didn't ask her to give answers, just to think through the questions in light of the verse and the temptations.
I talked to her about how boys think differently than girls. They are very visually oriented. I also talked about how touch affects boys as well as girls... even the simple touch of putting a hand on the shoulder or a hug. It's a connection, an excitement. It's personal.
Then we finished the session with Jeremiah 17:9. The heart will take us into dangerous places and deceive us into thinking certain things are harmless. It will rationalize, minimize, and justify. We must trust God's Word. It says that it is good (honorable, right, pure) for a man not to touch a woman.
As parents, we set many boundaries for her, but when she returns to the States for college we will not be there to look over her shoulder. What boundaries was she going to set to make sure she sticks to her standards and goals?
The session took about 20 minutes, and then it was time for another break with lighthearted talk.
And Session 4: Set Your Affections and Session 5: Set Your Life were waiting for us.
(To Be Continued)
I. Genesis 24
A. vs 1 Abraham old, Isaac around 40 years old, waited on God's timing
B. vs 2 Abraham made arrangements (followed God,) Isaac submitted
C. vs 3-4 A bride from my kindred (not unequally yoked, believer 2 Cor. 6:14)
D. vs 6 Trusted God's provision, had goals/plans/boudaries
E. vs 14 Prayed for a woman of character
(hardworking, compassionate, thoughtful, serving family faithfully)
F. vs 15-20 Time of observation
G. vs 21 watching and waiting
H. vs 26-27 God's provision acknowledged
I. vs 28-49 Authority involved
J. vs 50-61 Submissive heart toward authority
K. vs 67 Only alone together after commitment of marriage
II. I Corinthians 7:1
A. Good: noble, righteous, honorable, pure
B. Holding hands?
E. Impact of touch
F. How boys think versus how girls think
III. Jeremiah 17:9
A. Rationalizes "I can handle temptation." "I am strong enough."
B. Being alone: In room? In car?