Revive Our Hearts Radio

Boy Craziness or Girl Neediness?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Can you name all the titles in the True Woman line of books? Let me help you out. They are:

Beyond Bathtime, by Erin Davis.

Erin: Your children are an unreached people group. They come to earth without an understanding of God. They don't automatically know him as their Savior. Someone has to teach them; someone has to train them. They are your mission field. They are a little flock of people who don't know about Jesus unless you tell them. So how can that be a small thing?

Together, by Carrie Ward.

Carrie: It crossed my mind that if I haven't been successful in reading the Bible myself, what makes me think I can read it to preschoolers? That did cross my mind. But there was something in me that wouldn't let go of the idea.

Becoming God’s True Woman While I Still Have a Curfew, by Susan Hunt and Mary Kassian.

Susan: I want my generation to care about the next generation. I was so happy that Mary and I were able to put something into their hands that can be a conversation starter.

Fierce Women, by Kim Wagner.

Kim: I remember in our early years of marriage riding in the car for trips and sitting there thinking, Why doesn't he hold my hand? He is so unaffectionate. He is so cold. He is so to himself. If he loved me, wouldn't he want to reach out and hold my hand?

True Woman 101, which I co-authored with Mary Kassian. 

Mary: The submission word is often way misunderstood. Often not only misunderstood, but misapplied.

And finally, the book we’ll hear about today.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 1

Nancy: Today we have a really special treat on Revive Our Hearts. That is, a chance for me to talk with a really good friend—one of our staff, one of our team members here at Revive Our Hearts. Paula Hendricks is our writing and editorial manager. She manages our True Woman blog and Lies Young Women Believe blog.

If you’ve been on those blogs, she’s your friend, too—you’ve gotten to know her. Paula, thank you so much for joining us here in the studio today.

Paula: It is an honor, Nancy. Usually, I’m on the other side of the glass taking notes while you have guests in here, so this is quite a change for me.

Nancy: Well, it’s a good change, and I’m so happy about it. You’ve been with our team for how many years now?

Paula: Eight years; six years longer than I ever anticipated.

Nancy: The joy, for me, has been seeing God not only use you here in the ministry—but seeing God changing you and bringing about so many sweet evidences of grace in your life. We may talk about that a little bit over the next couple of days. You came right out of Bible college, and it’s been a journey—as it is for me and for all of our staff—and it’s been really fun to grow together and to see God take you some places you never dreamed you’d go.

One of those places has been writing a book. Did you think when you came here that that’s what you’d be sitting here talking about today?

Paula: No, and in fact, my first job here was serving as your personal assistant. I remember going to my first radio recording session with you. I got to hold the microphone and carry it around while women in the audience spoke, and I was just on a “high” that I was actually holding a microphone.

Nancy: That’s because you enjoy communication. You enjoy connecting with people, and you do that so well. I’m really excited, now, that you’ve released your first book. It’s just come out, and the title is Confessions of a Boy-Crazy GirlThis is a really honest book. It’s part of our young True Woman line of books, and it’s designed for teenaged gals. It’s you talking like a big sister to these young women, sharing out of your journey. It’s very honest; you share a lot out of your journals.

The subtitle I love. It's On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. We want to talk about that journey over the next couple of days. I think it’s going to be a big encouragement to moms who have teenage girls, grandmoms, who are going to want to get hold of this book and better understand this whole thing of boy craziness.

Now, the title, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, suggests that you know what it is to be boy-crazy.

Paula: I do. Been there, done that.

Nancy: Can you remember back to the first time you noticed a boy and maybe had a little crush?

Paula: Yes, I do. His name was Chadwick Chandler Chadderdon.

Nancy: Seriously?

Paula: No. I changed all the names in this book to protect their innocence; so I actually went to the bookstore and got one of those baby names books and chose names—but it’s similar to his real name. Anyway, my family lived in this place until I was nine years old, and so I know that I noticed him before I was nine.

I remember every single night as a little girl lying in bed praying, pleading with God over and over, “Would you pleeeaase let me marry him? Would you pleeeaase let me marry him?” All I knew about him was that he was the blond-haired boy in my Sunday school class. That was it.

Nancy: Did you ever tell anybody you had an interest in this guy, or was it all just in your head?

Paula: Never told anybody—it was all in my head. Only God and I knew.

Nancy: And that wasn’t the last time. It was the first, really, of a whole string of boys that you noticed, and that ultimately developed into a pattern of boy-craziness. You’re quite the journal-er. Over the years you kept a lot of notes regarding what was going through your head, and what you were thinking as you were lying in bed those nights.

You’ve gone back to those journals and drawn a lot from them in this memoir that you’ve written. Do you remember when you first started journaling about a boy you noticed?

Paula: Yes, I went back and looked in my journals, and it was when I was ten years old. It was a boy I had met for one afternoon—he came in and out of my life. His last name was Roach, and I just wrote in my journal, “Dear Diary, Today I really got to know Nick Roach. I really like him. I wouldn’t ever tell him that.”

Nancy: Some moms would say, “Well, those are just cute, innocent crushes.” Do you think that’s true?

Paula: At the time it certainly seemed that way, and I remember my friends and I laughing with each other, making jokes about how I liked boys. We would joke about me liking the unpopular, fat ones and honestly, we were pretty cruel.

Nancy: Were these other girls boy-crazy, too?

Paula: Probably, yeah. I went to a public school, and so that was the topic of our conversation.

Nancy: As you look back on it, were there some things that were fueling what became that obsession with boys?

Paula: One key factor in my story is what I was feeding on. So, every day in the summer when school was out, I would lie on the bed in my room and devour three pretty big fiction books. It was Christian romance. I grew up in a very strict Christian home, and my parents always watched what books I picked up at the library—they needed to basically be Christian books.

But I don’t think they had any idea about how my mind was being formed by these stories. In every story, the girl always got the guy, even if the guy didn’t like her and their relationship was antagonistic. Always, in the end, they would discover that they loved each other, and they’d get together.

Nancy: So, you were in junior high by now?

Paula: Yes, I was a voracious reader all my life, but it was only one genre of books. While you, as a child, were reading missionary stories, I was reading these love stories.

Nancy: Did you say three a day, during the summer?

Paula: Yeah, three of the fat ones—I would skim them like crazy.

Nancy: And what was happening in your head as you were reading these?

Paula: I would use them as an escape when life was hard, when things were hard at home. I would just pick up a book and lose myself in the story, and imagine that I was the girl in the story. I would always get done with a book and be crying (you know what a cry-er I am, Nancy), sad that the story was over, sad it wasn’t real . . . sad that I was going back to real life and to less than this fairy tale that I just read about.

Nancy: Were you kind of putting yourself in those stories you read?

Paula: Yes, I was.

Nancy: So, emotional fantasizing. One of the things I’ve heard you say is that boy-craziness is just girl neediness.

Paula: Sure. I have liked so many boys in my life that I’ve come to believe it really has nothing to do with what he’s actually like. It’s just this feeling, this need and longing in myself, to be loved and affirmed by someone.

Nancy: So in your teenage years you were feeling this longing to be loved and affirmed. What was it that led you to feel unloved and rejected?

Paula: Well, I grew up in a pretty amazing home, overall. My parents would hug me before bed, tell me they loved me, but I still struggled a lot, especially in my relationship with my dad, growing up . . . especially in my teen years. Our relationship was very tumultuous. We didn’t understand each other.

As time went on, my dad didn’t trust me, with very good reason. I showed that I wasn’t trustworthy. We’re just different. I would cry a lot. I would cry when I was happy, cry when I was sad, cry when I didn’t know why I was crying. My dad’s a real tough, strong man, and he wanted me to cut it out whenever I was crying.

I don’t think that he ever intended this, but what I learned through that was that I needed to hide who I really was, that I needed to be perfect; that relationship would only happen when I “had it all together,” and I didn’t have it all together.

Nancy: As you felt that distance, did you move toward your dad—or how did you respond to that?

Paula: No, it never even crossed my mind to move toward my dad. I have a friend when she was in eleventh grade said to her dad, “Dad, I’m going to need more hugs now because it’s getting harder, just wanting that from other guys.”

But I never thought of that. I would just shut myself away in my room, pick up my books, and just distance myself from my family.

Nancy: I assume that that ultimately affected how you viewed your relationship with the Lord.

Paula: Oh, yes, definitely. I viewed the Lord as someone who was just watching for me to mess up—someone whom I feared, not in the right way. I feared that He was always angry, and I couldn’t really do enough to make Him happy.

Nancy: And it seems that there was this craving for love and approval, and you weren’t getting it in appropriate ways. Was that part of what drove you to be obsessive about guys?

Paula: Yes, I think that was absolutely a factor. I don’t want to give the impression that it was my family’s fault that I turned to guys. You say, Nancy, that the outcome of our lives is not determined by what happens to us, but by how we respond to what happens to us.

In my immaturity, I turned to guys when I wasn’t finding love communicated in the ways that I wanted to receive it.

Nancy: The Lord has taken you on a really neat journey with your dad and that relationships. I’m so glad, as we look back on the journeys of our lives, they’re not the final chapter. God is wooing our hearts and drawing us into relationship with Him.

When we get the vertical right [our relationship with God], that affects the horizontal relationships [with people]—like with your dad. That has involved some forgiveness.

Paula: Yes, I have been blown away at the miracle that God has worked in my relationship with my dad. You’re right; it was a process. There was a point, about when I was eighteen, when I chose to forgive my dad for not being who I wanted him to be, for not being a perfect father.

But then there was a process after that of learning how to show him respect in a way that he would actually understand—learning how to communicate in ways that he appreciated.

Nancy: And as you think, now, about that relationship with your dad, do you find yourself being grateful where, at points, there was resentment in the past?

Paula: Yes, definitely. I think about that verse in Acts where God says He sets our boundaries and the places we’re going to live, and the times we’re going to live, so that we’ll seek after Him. I think that includes every detail of our lives, including our “Dad story.” So, ultimately, I’m grateful that my dad and I didn’t connect in those teen years, because in the long run it drove me to the Lord.

But also, I’m really grateful for my dad’s support. Writing this book was really amazing. I remember sending him a chapter and getting an email back from him saying, “I love you, and I love what you’re doing,” and that just meant so much to me.

Nancy: Yes. And I know we have some dads who listen to this program, and moms as well. Maybe there’s acting out on the part of your teenage kids or teenage grandkids—things that you don’t approve of, things that concern you or discourage you. 

Just a reminder to parents, a little bit of encouragement can go a long way. You don’t necessarily know what’s going on in the heart of that teen that might be turned by some affirmation and encouragement. Kids are so different, too. Some are a little bit more of a bottomless well when it comes to that need for affirmation and approval.

The young person needs to come to the point where they’re not looking to parents or anybody else to satisfy longings that only God can fulfill. But I think parents can go a long way in helping their children realize the kind of grace and love that God wants to give to them.

Paula: Yes! I can’t emphasize enough the importance of just open communication with your teenager. I feel like, in my home, we had a lot of rules. It was kind of—top to bottom—“this is the way things are going to be.” There wasn’t room for asking questions. I’m a voracious "question-ask-er."

I just want to encourage parents, as much as possible, keep those lines of communication open with your kids. Allow them to ask questions, and explain what your reasoning is behind some of your rules and the way you’ve chosen to lead your family.

Nancy: I love the dedication you wrote at the beginning of this book. Let me just read it, and then let me ask you to comment on it.

To my parents, John and April Hendricks, for instilling a God-consciousness in me from birth, and for keeping such close tabs on me during those tumultuous teen years. At the time, I thought you were just plain ol’ mean, but now I can’t thank you enough for sparing me a harvest of regret.

Thanks for forgetting all about those days of rebellion. Today I count you the dearest of friends, and am so grateful for your love and support. I love you.

Now, I want to ask you to comment on this. You thank your parents—and now you’re thirty years old, you’re looking back on your teen years—and you’re thanking them for keeping close tabs on you during your tumultuous teen years. I’m assuming you weren’t thankful for that at the time.

Paula: I resented it so much. I remember . . . there would be times they would watch from the door. When I would get home from school, they would say, “Why did you take your coat off as soon as you got on the bus?” They had told me to wear this coat I thought was ugly, so I took it off. They saw me and called me out on it.

Nancy: Did you make your resentment known to them?

Paula: I did, yes. As I went to public school, I didn’t see any other parents do what I felt like was micromanaging their kids, and yet, now I can see I really needed that. There was accountability, and I would have done a whole lot more if they weren’t constantly watching me.

Nancy: So now you’re speaking to moms who are listening to this and are trying to make wise decisions for giving input and direction to their kids and how much to keep tabs on their kids. As you look back on your journey, what would you say to moms who are thinking that through?

Paula: I would say, keep your eyes wide open. In fact, I would say even if you think your son or your daughter is doing really great and is the model Christian—they're not necessarily. I’m not encouraging you to set up this environment of distrust—not at all—but just to be aware. 

I don’t think my parents even had any idea, even at the beginning while they were keeping such a close eye on me, how boy-crazy I really was. There were a lot of things I was doing.

Nancy: Was there deception involved in that?

Paula: Absolutely. The only way I knew to do what I wanted was to deceive, because there just wasn’t room . . . Even though I went to public school, I wasn’t allowed to hang out at my friends’ houses. I wasn’t really allowed to go places unless I was going to work or going to a sporting event or if there was some very specific reason.

Nancy: But you found some ways to get around that.

Paula: I did, yes. I remember one time in particular. My friend brought some very short shorts to school. I stood in the bathroom and pulled them on and pulled them off like four times, just that battle in my head between knowing what I was supposed to do but wanting so badly to be pretty like the other girls.

That was the first of many times I ended up going to school in my big, baggy jeans, and then changing into these skimpy shorts and wearing them for the day.

Nancy: Knowing that your parents would not approve of this?

Paula: Oh, my goodness, they would flip!

Nancy: And they just didn’t know?

Paula: No, they didn’t know.

Nancy: What was in your head and heart? I just want to help parents understand what their kids may be thinking. Why the short shorts? What were you trying to get from that?

Paula: Well, Nancy, I was not a looker growing up. I had huge glasses and was born bowlegged, so I had a lot of insecurities with that. Then my parents had me wear culottes—these were these very long shorts. No one at school was wearing anything like that.

I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. I felt ugly. I noticed that the girls who were showing off more skin, they were the ones who got attention. That was confirmed to me on the day of my eighth grade field trip when I wore a pair of shorts hardly longer than my underwear that day. That was the day I ended up holding hands with a boy for the first time.

At that point, I began believing that I had to be beautiful to be loved, and my ticket to being beautiful—the way I was beautiful—was by showing off my skin.

Nancy: We talk about lies women believe, lies teen girls believe, lies we all believe. Those ways of thinking led you down some roads that turned out to be costly. What kinds of consequences did that way of thinking have in your life?

Paula: I had a very narrow definition of what it meant to be loved. I would take any guy who would give me attention. So I remember my first boyfriend, behind my parents’ backs, was a druggie. I knew that he had had sex with other girls in the eighth grade, and yet I didn’t care because I thought, He’s the first boy who’s paying me attention.

I felt loved by him. So I think the lies I was believing led me to just make some really foolish decisions about the men that I trusted myself to, or with.

Nancy: And again, what started out as seemingly cute, innocent crushes, ultimately developed into some patterns in your thinking and your way of living that became, then, areas of bondage as you got out of college and went into your twenties.

Paula: Yes. I felt like the stakes just got higher and higher and higher, and the pain got deeper and deeper and deeper, the further I went on.

Nancy: One of the other things I’ve loved watching about your journey is how you’ve dealt with a lot of these issues in your life by turning your heart toward the Lord, and toward truth, and toward His Word. So take this one area of craving love and approval. As you reflect on your journey, at one point you didn’t feel like you were getting that in the way you needed it from your dad.

You were looking for it in guys, but that was one disappointment after another. So now, as a young woman, how are you thinking differently about getting love and approval?

Paula: Well, at the time, God’s love seemed very far off and distant and like it didn’t have anything to do with my life. Since then, I have come to realize just how amazing God’s love really is. I love the verses in Romans 5 that say that God set His love on us when there was nothing beautiful about us.

It specifically says, “when we were weak, when we were ungodly, when we were sinners, when we were His enemies.” I just find it absolutely amazing that this God, who is perfect and holy, chose to love me when I had nothing to offer Him back. There’s such a safety in that.

In most all other relationships, it’s been that I’d have to perform in certain ways in order to get someone’s attention. It’s not like that with God at all. I’m always on His mind. He’s always available to me, since Jesus has made that way for us.

In the dedication that you just read, Nancy, I mentioned thanks to my mom and dad for forgetting about those days of rebellion. I am just so thankful for their grace and seeing God’s grace through them—the relationship that we have today, the friendship. It really is as if all of that is gone and everything’s new.

It’s like that with God, too.

Nancy: That's what it means to be “in Christ.” To be a new person, to have new desires, new relationships—it’s been really fun, Paula, to see you on that journey. We want to talk a little bit more about it when we come back tomorrow and continue this conversation—which I think is going to be really helpful to moms and grandmoms and maybe to some teen girls who are listening in, as we talk with Paula Hendricks about Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom.

Leslie: We'd like to send a copy of the book Nancy has been talking about when you make a donation of any size to Revive Our Hearts. Ask for it when you call us at 1–800–569–5959. Or donate online. There’s a place on our website where you can request the book. The address is ReviveOurHearts.com. We’re happy to send one book per household.

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl is part of the True Woman line of books. You’ll hear about all the True Woman books on Revive Our Hearts here in July. Or check them all out at ReviveOurHearts.com.

As you’ve listened to Paula, what questions do you have? You can ask her today on the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. Visit us today at ReviveOurHearts.com, scroll to the end of the transcript, leave a comment, and read what Paula and other listeners have to say.

Tomorrow, Paula Hendricks will explain to us how God took her on a journey from neediness to freedom. Please be back with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries. 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

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