Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: When you listen to lies, it causes a lot of pain.

Teen: I ended up in a two-year relationship with a guy who had convinced me that he would change. In his past, he had done drugs. I told him from the very first day I met him, I was not going to tolerate that.

For two years I believed that he was going to change. I’m not saying that I don’t believe people can change. But behind my back he was still smoking pot. He was still doing those things.

That ended up hurting me in the long run because I believed his lies. I’ve always been a fixer, I guess. I guess I felt like I was his accountability because when he was with me, he wasn’t going to do those bad things. But even though he was with me, he was doing it behind my back.

So I guess I felt like I was fixing the situation by staying there . . . and I wasn’t at all.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Lies Young Women Believe, for Thursday, February 8, 2018.

“I have to have a boyfriend.” This idea has led many young women into some bad choices. It’s just one the topics covered in the newly-updated book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. It’s co-authored by Dannah Gresh and the host of Revive Our Hearts, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Today Nancy and Dannah will explore the truth about dating relationships.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I’ve talked to a number of twenty-something women in the course of working on this book. One of them on our staff came to me and she said, "Nancy, this is the entrance for so many other lies. It’s this sense that if I don’t have a guy paying attention to me, desiring me, that I am inferior. I am worthless."

I think there is something in this. God made men and women different; He made them both, and He made them different. There is something in the heart of a woman that longs to be desired. So, teen girls, as that starts to be awakened, those desires start to be awakened, they tap into this.

But again, it’s not just teens. As women, we go through our lives wanting to know, “Is there a man who cares? Do I matter?”

You can have all the girlfriends in the world, but if there’s not a man who thinks you’re special, then you feel, Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Those seeds are planted very young.

Woman: I was wondering about dating, and if it’s your maturity level or if it’s your age?

Dannah Gresh (conference): It’s your parents. (laughter) That’s a really good question. It's probably a little about both . . .

Leslie: Dannah Gresh spends lots of time interacting with teenage young women.

Dannah: When we surveyed the young women we talked to in these discussion groups, about two-thirds of them said, “Yes, I really don’t feel value unless I have a boyfriend. I feel like something is wrong with me.” That’s a lot of young women. Now, you might think it’s higher or you might think it’s lower.

What was a little shocking to us is we were real careful about what kind of school type these girls were from. Were they public-schooled? Were they Christian-schooled? Were they homeschooled girls?

Dannah (conference): How many of you are homeschooled? (cheering) How many of you are Christian schooled? (cheering) How many of you are in public school? (cheering)

Dannah: We wanted to see if there was a difference in the lies that they’re believing.

In many of them, there were. However, in this particular area, the level of bondage to what they believe about the value that a guy can bring to their life was very much the same no matter what school type they were. That was shocking to us.

Leslie: According to Dannah, when a young woman gives in to this lie, it can begin to show in the way she acts around guys, or in the way she dresses.

Dannah: She may even, if her parents want her to dress a certain way, she may rebel against them behind their backs. I know of a young woman who comes from a home that really teaches modesty and purity—beautiful, young fourteen-year-old girl—got to school and took off all the clothes Mom put on her that morning because Mom said, “No, you can’t wear that.”

Well, the daughter thought, I’ll just layer up until I get to school, and then I’ll take it all off.

So was that girl looking for anything sinful to happen? I don’t think so. I think she was just trying to go along with the crowd, and she wants the attention of a guy.

Leslie: So what’s at the heart of this desire common to many young women? Nancy says there’s not just one answer.

Nancy: Well, it’s a highly-sexualized era, and that’s at play all the time. The amount of media exposure, which is another whole area we deal with, is fueling and feeding this.

But you know, so often Satan’s lies and his traps are him offering to us things that God would want to give us but before God’s time or apart from God’s way. So it’s a legitimate desire fulfilled in an illegitimate way.

God did create women and men to partner, to go together. He created marriage. He created women to be attracted to men and men to be attracted to women. He wants there to be the beauty of fulfilled, complete physical, soul, emotional, spiritual love and oneness in that relationship.

And in its time when it’s time, as the Song of Solomon says, “to awaken love,” that’s a beautiful thing. That’s a gift from God.

But I think the lie is and the deception is, “You have to have that now,” or “You’re ready for that now.”

And what happens then when it’s thirteen, fourteen, fifteen-year-olds . . . How many letters have I received from grown women saying, “’I had to have a boyfriend’ led to ‘I have to have a husband.’ It wasn’t God’s time. It wasn’t God’s person. I forced it, made it happen and now here I am, three marriages later, heartache, heartbreak, broken pieces strewn all over the planet of our lives. Oh, I wish I had waited for God’s time and for God’s best.”

I think that's what we are wanting to say to girls. There's nothing wrong with those desires, with the natural attraction. That's a good thing, but let it be fulfilled in God’s way, in God's timing, and in God's progression. If you will wait for God's best in His timing in your life, it will be beautiful. It will be wonderful. It will be a blessing. It will be a gift. It will bring you joy. It will bring you happiness.

But if you insist in having it your way and in your timing, it's going to bring you heartache and sorrow.

Leslie: Another common lie Nancy and Dannah address in their book Lies Young Women Believe is one that says, “It’s okay to date whoever I feel like dating, even if he’s not a Christian.”

Dannah: This was a really difficult lie for us to navigate through because when we met with these Christian young women across the nation, they said pretty much across the board, “I intend to marry a Christian.”

But then when we got under that truth to how is their behavior living that truth out, they would say things like this: “I really want to marry a Christian, but I’m not looking for marriage right now. So it doesn’t really matter now,” or “I don’t really think it matters if the guys I date are Christians or not. For one thing, we’re just in high school so religion isn’t an issue now.”

Those are two verbatim quotes from these—I can’t emphasize enough that these are young, really outstanding Christian girls, most of them. And they’re saying, “That truth of God will fit my life later.

But that’s not how God’s truth works. It fits now.

Leslie: And closely related: so-called “missionary dating,” where a young woman assumes she can help her unbelieving boyfriend come to Christ. Dannah says that rarely works.

Dannah: Let me read something to you that might make you cringe. This is an exact quote from one of our focus groups. How much these girls can romanticize missionary dating.

If you plant a seed, it can make a beautiful flower. You’re spreading God’s Word whether the relationship works out or not. If you can just compromise, think about it, you can impact a non-Christian.

Nancy: I know we’re talking to a lot of people coming from a lot of different perspectives. But I have been really saddened to see how many Christian parents don’t really feel strongly about this whole issue of their children dating non-believers.

We can’t put this all on the teens. I’ve talked with Christian parents over the years and they tell me about someone their son or daughter is dating, in a relationship with. Of course, the first thing I want to know is, “Is that person a believer?”

And they say, “Well, I’m not sure.” But after they’ve told me about how nice this person is and what a sweet relationship it is . . .

I think some of the blame for this—I’m not trying to ascribe blame, but I’m saying parents have a huge responsibility here, that not only do you not marry a non-believer but you don’t date a non-believer. You don’t have your closest emotional attachments be with non-believers.

Two can’t walk together except they be agreed. I think for parents to be pushing kids together, for starters, and pushing boy-girl things when they’re kids. Now, they’re fourteen and they’re wanting to date. What’s the problem? Well, you’ve been pushing them together since they were in the nursery.

And then to say, “Well, as long as this is a good person, maybe this is okay.” So just a caution there for parents.

I wish I had a nickel for every woman who has come to me later in life and said, “If I could go back and do it again. I didn’t think it would lead to marriage.”

My dad used to say, “Look, you will never marry someone you didn’t date. If it’s not a person who is qualified biblically for you to marry, then don’t get into the relationship.”

Leslie: Last fall, many women began using social media to go public about experiencing sexual abuse or assault. They did it by posting #MeToo. We asked Dannah Gresh how we can help our teenage young women process this cultural phenomenon.

Dannah: Our daughters are growing up in a world where male strength is distorted—greatly. Sadly, this makes them very vulnerable.

I see a lot of people speaking out against the men who have victimized us. It's a collective voice now; it's women. All of us are saying that men have not treated us well. There is a crisis. We definitely have something we need to address in our culture. 

I am on the one hand blessed that the conversation is happening. It's almost like there is a cleansing happening in our nation. Men who have not treated others with respect and dignity are forfeiting very powerful positions and rights. I think that is good. I think that is evidence of godliness in all of us that we have this distaste for abuse.

On the other hand, I can't understand why there is a #MeToo campaign that everybody's excited about and at the very same time many women across the nation are celebrating the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, the third movie in the trilogy. This seems like a horrible disconnect to me.

I've studied this because women are acting like: We don't want to be victimized by men, but on the same token, we really like men's aggressive, bondage-dominant sadism and masochism celebration happening through the Fifty Shades of Grey books and movies. It's not just women outside the church who are celebrating. One Barna survey noted that there are no statistical difference in the percentage of church and non-church women who had read Fifty Shades of Grey. This breaks my heart!

I can't understand why there is not more of an outcry. It does impact our daughters. Our daughters are vulnerable. We find that young women aged eighteen–twenty-four who read Fifty Shades of Grey are 25 percent more likely to have a partner who verbally abuses them, and 34 percent more likely to have a partner who exhibited stalking tendencies.

As I have tried to raise awareness of that, one little voice saying, "Hey #MeToo culture, can we be upset about this, too." People say, "Well, maybe those girls were already at risk." All the more reason . . . We just took girls who were vulnerable and made something evil and transgressive and normalized it for them. Now they are more vulnerable.

Of course, if that's not the case, we are taking girls who were not vulnerable and are telling them that it is okay for them to be abused. There is no such thing as sexy abuse. It is just abuse.

That's one thing that I'm concerned about. In light of the #MeToo conversation, it's a great opportunity to talk to our daughters about their value, how precious they are, that they are created as image bearers of God. But also to say that you have some responsibility in how you present that value to the world.

One of the things you need to do is protect your own mind and your own heart so you don't create a place where you are more easily preyed upon. The average age of the first inception of pornography right now is about eleven years old. Of course, it is more common for boys to have that encounter at that young age with visual pornography—videos, photos—but girls have a proclivity toward words. That's what Fifty Shades of Grey shows us. You can take words and create pornographic material that is appealing to women because it is in a story line.

When Dr. Juli Slattery and I wrote about our concerns for the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon . . . It's really doing to women what the Internet did for men. It is taking down the walls of pornography and making it acceptable and normal in our culture. It's doing that for women. Erotica is now acceptable and normal in our culture.

I think this is a really important conversation for us to have with our daughters.

Some of the Scriptures that come to mind is the Bible verse that talks about being double-minded. If you are double-minded, the Bible says that you are unstable in all of your ways (see James 1:8).

So when we have a culture that says #MeToo is the bandwagon that everyone should get on (and I'm not saying that it's not a good thing, it is cleansing our culture) . . . But at the same time, if we are not saying that Fifty Shades of Grey should also be something that we say is victimizing women, that's double-mindedness. And the Bible says that makes us unstable in all our ways.

I think this is a great opportunity for us to talk to our daughters about how we can protect our minds and our hearts and our spirits so that we are not vulnerable.

Mom: My eleven-year-old daughter disobeyed, got online, and searched for some things that pretty quickly led her to pornographic images. How can I as a mom talk with her lies and truth related to sexuality and the culture's wrong understanding when it comes to these things?

Dannah: Well, my heart breaks for you, because this is really scary. When you find that your child is looking at pornography online, you heart just breaks. But I want to caution you not to react in the way that is most natural. The natural way to react is to freak out. I've had lots of teen girls tell me their parents freaked out when they were looking at pornography.

What that actually does is increase the shame. There should be some guilt and some conviction, but shame is not a good thing. Shame is a tool of the enemy. Shame is taking a good tool of God's Spirit, conviction, which is, "I did something bad," and it is turning it into the lie: "I am bad."

One of the most vulnerable areas for our children to experience shame is when it comes to pornography and erotica use.

It's so important that we help our kids understand . . . why did you look at that? Many times children under the age of thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, they are not really looking for a sexual experience online. They are curious. They have questions that haven't been answered yet about sex. We find that one of the most search words on the Internet by children age thirteen is sex. Many times they are just trying to figure out answers.

One of the things you have to answer as a parent is, "Have I talked with them about sex? Do they understand the basic mechanics and that this is a beautiful gift to be treasured and waited for and experienced within the confines of marriage."

If you haven't had that conversation with them by about the age of nine, which terrifys some parents, most Christian counselers will say that our children are developmental ready by about their ninth or tenth birthday to understand the basic mechanics of sex and that it's a gift for marriage.

Now, if you are saying, "I don't know . . . my child's the exception." Well, here's the thing. We know that children's value systems are pretty much based by their thirteenth or fourteenth birthday. George Barna was so convicted of this that he has this quote out there that says something like, "What you believe by your fourteenth birthday is generally what you die believing."

Now, of course, we might not understand the full theology of the things we believe, but it is true, in most cases, we have our belief system pretty much baked by that age.

We also know that moral development really happens strongly between the years of nine and twelve. As a mom, my husband and I made the decision together as a mother and father that we really wanted our children to have as many of those years as possible for us to answer as many questions as possible about sex.

So we introduced the topic to them in their ninth year. We answered a lot of silly questions and a lot of serious questions. I think that we have a responsibility as parents to do that. 

Listen to me, I want to tell you something as gently as I can, but as strongly as I can. Many times our discomfort in talking to our children about sex comes from our own misuse of the gift. We teach our children how to care for other parts of their body. We teach our children how to eat well. We teach our children how to sleep when they struggle with sleep. Why can't we teach them about this part of their body? Why are we ashamed of it? Because we've misused it. And there is so much misue of it in our culture.

Make sure you take the time to have that conversation with them, because that might curtail curiosity that leads them to pornography.

Then, let's say they did look. Please be careful with how you react. Maybe share a story about how you saw something related to sexuality. It was a little shocking or jarring to you because it was a little too soon or inappropriate. Give them the sense that they're not in this boat alone. Their curiosity and their temptation . . . they are not the first ones to experience that.

I find that when you do that, you can have a richer conversation with them about how pornography is harmful. Then you start to get to the lie. "Why did you look at it? Why did you look at it again? Why did you go back? It looks like you've been on the Internet five times looking at this stuff, tell me why."

"Well, it was interesting to me. It made me feel good."

"Why did it make you feel good? Did it make you feel bad in any way?"

Just ask lots of questions. As you ask questions, it's going to lead you to the lies that may or may not be present. Again, remember, at that age it might just be curiosity. But if you do find those lies, take time to be very careful and thorough with them, making sure not to plant shame in their precious, little hearts.

Leslie: Relationships and sexuality can be a confusing minefield for young women to step through. But parents and mentors can help remove the confusion and point teenagers to Christ. One young lady at a True Woman Teen Conference stated it well. Nancy asked her to share a takeaway from the conference.

Nancy (conference): Okay, I saw one other hand over here.

Teen: That a girl has to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her.

Nancy (conference): Don’t sit down! Say that again. That's good!

Teen: That a girl has to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her.

Nancy (conference): That is good. Did you say that, Dannah? Wow, that is profound. That alone will have a huge impact on your life if you’ll live that way.

Nancy: And that’s the issue. It’s an issue of the heart. Ultimately, it’s not an issue of the behavior or the relationship. Those are symptoms. Those are fruit.

I think the parent wants to get to the heart. I’ve watched good, good parents make good choices and then you still realize it’s God who has to cause it to click and turn on the light. That’s where a parent has to be praying.

I know, Bob and Dannah, as parents of teens, are, I’m sure, fervent in prayer that the Lord will make the connection, turn on the light and by His grace draw their hearts.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, encouraging every parent to be prayerful and vigilant, staying involved in their teenage daughters’ relationships.

Nancy and our guest Dannah Gresh write about this in the newly revised book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. This new edition just came out this week, and we’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a financial gift of any amount.

I hope you’ll get a copy and start reading it. Then ask, “What young woman in my life could I share this with?” Then invite her to go through the book together.

Ask for Lies Young Women Believe when you call with your donation. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

And to get additional copies of the book and the study guide to help your small group discussion, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call. 

Most teenage girls dream of someday having a family, but have they really thought through the deceptions they might be falling for when it comes to being a wife and mother? Nancy and Dannah will talk more about that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you know and love the truth.  It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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