(YOU CAN PURCHASE YOUR COPY TODAY: http://caterfly.bigcartel.com/product/caterfly-identity-by-lara-izokaitis)
Remember when boys had cooties? Well, somewhere along the way, cooties slowly change into cuties, and can be known to fluctuate back to cooties given the right circumstance. Some of my earliest memories of those “cootie-filled” members of the opposite sex are flashbacks of being challenged on the playground to a race. Maybe you have a similar memory? A boy walks up to you on the playground, all pumped up, and says, “Do you want to race?” (Ooh, how I loved this question!) Heck yeah I do! And, in a matter of seconds, you find yourself at an impromptu “start line.” You quickly designate a finish line being “The third tree on the left, next to the curb,” and before you’re even done with your sentence, you yell, “On your mark, get set, go!” And like lightning speed, you’re off! Afterward, you naturally go back to the awkward we-don’t-talk-to-each-other-and-you-have-cooties’ mode until recess the next day. Just the typical childhood playground pursuit.
Growing up in a household of six women, I had one very brave man in my world and a man whom all but one of this estrogen-filled clan refers to as, “Teti” (father in Lithuanian). He was the first guy to win my heart, and he will forever have a large piece of it. But as I grew into my teen years, it would be a matter of time before a cutie came along into my “cootie-fella” world to rock it a little bit. And, that’s exactly what happened. Actually, to be honest, this cutie didn’t just rock my world a little; he rocked it a little too hard for my own good, teaching me some valuable lessons along the way. Thankfully, God uses our messes and turns them into messages! Here are a few of those messages wrapped up in the acronym CUTIE, as we look a little closer at the cuties in our world and the power they have in influencing our lives for good, and sometimes, for bad. Never underestimate the power of a cutie!
C is for Chase. I’ve had to learn the hard way not to chase a cutie! While I was living in Eastern Europe, a trusted friend of mine wrote me about a guy he wanted to set me up with. Well you better believe this single girl of some twenty years got excited at the thought of a real, living and breathing male potential! (I have high standards, they tell me.) So, I immediately did what every normal American girl does to find out about someone—I Googled him. Handsome. Tall. Volleyball player. Oh, and most importantly, loves Jesus. Why wouldn’t I want to meet this guy! There was just one little glitch. I lived across the world and wouldn’t be back in the States for four more months. My solution? Add him as a friend on that wonderful social networking website called Facebook. That’s the best way to begin this, I thought. I somehow forgot in my temporary moment of desperation that he, too, has those things on his hands we call “fingers” that he could have used to get in contact with me. I was impatient for action and exhausted in the waiting process, (twenty years is a long time for a sister to wait for a man!) so I reasoned that times have changed and “it’s OK for a girl to pursue a guy.” Let me just add that I had not been properly taught about guys and pursuit-how they naturally chase the ones they are interested in, and if they’re not chasin’, well…like the popular book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo says…“He’s just not that into you.” I proceeded little by little to lose more of my dignity by sporadically dropping him a few emails here and there throughout a span of nine months, before I eventually met him at a conference he was at (Hmm, how coincidental. Cough. Cough.) Let me just add, I am cringing inside as I write and expose my dirty laundry here. But, hopefully you can learn from my over-zealousness! It wasn’t until after a very embarrassing phone call I made to this guy (brace yourself for this part because you are not going to believe it) on a Saturday night at nine o’clock to ask him to coffee the next day (to which never happened), that I realized, perhaps I might need to reevaluate the whole pursuit thing. Yes, perhaps. Where is the special school for people like me-clueless when it comes to guys?! What I learned that weekend after this desperate Saturday “no-no” call is that I pursued and chased a cutie because deep-down I believed I was not worthy of being pursued. I bought into the lie that I would never be pursued if I waited for someone to pursue me. This lie I had believed for far too long was exposed during this time, and it turned out to be a miraculous “God-moment” in my life. Later, while walking the streets of Irvine, California with Jen, one of my besties tears of healing poured out as God revealed some eye- opening truths to me. Here are some of those truths I’d like to share with you:
The first truth is…every girl, whether she admits it or not, desires to be pursued. And, whether it’s the pursuit of a father, friend, or man, there’s a sense of dignity and beauty that comes only when she allows herself to be pursued.
The second truth is …just as a woman desires the beauty and dignity of pursuit, the man desires and deserves the respect of being the pursuer. When these roles are reversed, the girl doesn’t feel “right”, and I imagine the guy doesn’t feel so right either.
Sure, he might be temporarily flattered, but in the very fabric of his masculinity he is made to enjoy the chase. We women rob men of this enjoyment when we try to chase after them.
The most important truth is…I am worthy of pursuit. And so are you! (I am not just talking to single people here either. If you are married, let your man pursue you again; bring some chase back into your world). Maintain your dignity and enjoy the delight of being pursued. Resist the temptation to be the one always initiating, the one making all the moves. I’m not saying that you should never initiate, but more often than not, let him chase you and just sit back, relax and enjoy!
U is for Use.Use? Guys using girls, and girls using guys. Yep, I said it! Some guys can use their status, money, and charm to get what they want from a woman-beauty and sex. And, some girls can in return use their beauty and sex to get what they want from guys-status, money, and attention. Why? Insecurity. Emptiness. Selfishness. Pride. Fear.
When I was further along in my single years, and the pressure was on to settle down with a cutie, a very tempting proposition presented itself, and one that I’m so thankful I did not give into. An NFL player made it known to mutual friends of ours that he was interested in me. As a single woman in ministry, I had been living under poverty level for quite some time, and honestly, I was weary. I was tired of renting a room from one of the many generous families that opened up their homes to me along the way. I was tired of pouring out a river of tears each month when I couldn’t pay my basic bills, or at my lowest point, having to ask my church for a roll of toilet paper because I couldn’t scrape up enough pennies to buy a roll of my own. It had become humiliating and exhausting. So, the proposition of someone who could afford a storage house full of toilet paper was quite appealing to me. I longed to have someone who could share this burden of provision with me. In addition, seeing my friends slowly get married off during this time made it even more challenging to look objectively at the situation. The thought of someone taking care of me, with the added benefit of being introduced as Mrs. So and So, wife of an NFL player, living in my million dollar home, and driving my brand new, white Land Rover sounded awfully tempting to my fearful little ears. But in exchange for what? My soul? Was I truly in love? No, I couldn’t do it.
After talking on the phone a few times, a couple of football games later, and a weekend of getting to know each other more at a friend’s wedding, I knew he was not the one for me. Great guy, just not the one for me. It was during this time, after I walked away from this alluring possibility, that I allowed God to teach me about Him being my rock, my provider, my protector…all the things I desired from a man, but have since gained supernaturally through God. Let me encourage you to look to God to be your provision, protection, and security. Don’t give what is precious in God’s sight, body or soul in exchange for a false sense of security. Don’t sell yourself short and settle for a life of material wealth over a life of abundance in God! Wait on God’s promises and goodness! He is faithful.
T is for tempt. It’s tempting to be a temptress. Remember Monica Lewinsky? You know, the “Oops, Mr. President, you dropped something. Let me get that for you, girl.” Monica Lewinsky was the young White House intern who brought down a United States President with one glance of her new buy from Victoria’s Secret. Monica Lewinsky. Yes, it’s easy to point the finger at her and smack a big scarlet letter on her forehead calling her an adulterer, a seductress, or a home wrecker, but let’s take a deeper look at how we may not be too far off from Monica and her enticing ways.
I remember having a little of this seductive woman in me back in the days. In my younger years before becoming a Christian, I felt so love-starved that I would seek out attention from guys, hoping to fill the deep void within me. I didn’t like myself, and my mind would sometimes flood with feelings of self-hate and disgust. The only way I knew to seemingly alleviate this pain was by positioning myself to get attention from men. I felt a sense of power when gaining attention from them. I held on to any resemblance of even a little power in my life. Such a deception. Time after time, I would use the sure bait of one of my manipulative vices to catch the attention of a cutie, and yes, while it would feel good for a minute, soon after I would be back to my “self-hating” self again, looking for my next attention fix.
Cuties were never created to fix or heal our insecurities, nor fulfill us wholly. So, as tempting as it may be to seduce and entice a guy to gain some attention, resist the temptation. Cover up those ta-ta’s, put some clothes on, and just say no to the crack show! Walk confidently in the person you are and revel in the truth that you can be loved for more than your body! If you meet a man who is easily seduced by other women, don’t condemn yourself or feel the pressure to be thinner, wear more revealing clothing, or be better at something. No! It’s not your problem—it’s his. It would be better for you to run the opposite way from where he’s going, and know that there really are some good men left out there.
I is for insides count.We are living in a sex-crazed, plastic, porn culture, who is obsessed with outer appearances and consumed by the self-serving benefits that come along with it. Think how the plastic surgery movement has taken over in the last two decades. People have lost their inhibitions about going under the knife to change anything they don’t like about their physical appearance. I think we all know what is really behind having breast implants. Why on earth would someone go through such pain to make her boobs bigger?! Most women who were born with natural size DD will tell you how painful it is for their backs and how difficult it is to do any type of exercising. Yet, women are having breast implant surgeries like they are going out of style. Why? The need for deeper healing on their insides and even to gain attention from men. They haven’t truly learned who they are and where their true value comes from. You are more than what you look like! What has fueled this perversion in our culture? Pornography and lust. Girls gone wild? Yes, and the lusts of men’s hearts gone evil. Objectifying a woman’s body for the purpose of self-pleasure is destructive and demoralizing for men as well as women. Women, we fuel this epidemic if we allow ourselves to be presented as objects of lusts.
Ladies, please do not succumb to the pressure of our culture to use what’s on your outside to bring attention to yourself or unhealthy additives to the fellas. If this cutie in your life does not value you, your body, and your purity, he’s not going to make a good boyfriend or husband! If it’s attention you crave, there is a God who loves you so much more and has His arms wide open waiting for you to run into them! What’s on the inside really does count! (P.S. We will talk more about celebrating your outer beauty in a chapter ahead.)
E is for Expectations. Do you remember when you were first aware of boys? Cootie-free boys, that is. When did your first cutie come on the scene? Think back to that. What do you remember about that encounter? For a while, boys really didn’t exist to me, except of course, to beat at playground games! That all changed the summer of my sixth-grade year when a handsome, bronzed boy caught my attention at Lithuanian camp by his (surprise, surprise) impressive athletic prowess. What? There are boys without cooties? I didn’t understand what was happening inside of me back then, but I knew that I wanted to be around him and race with him all the time. I noticed that I would become giggly and fidgety around him, but felt calm at the same time. He was just a boy who was a friend, I reasoned, back then. A boy I would visit during our daily free-time, to play volleyball and walk around with. But, come the next summer, something had changed. Well, puberty for one (but no worries, not going there!) My desire to hang around him during free time changed from wanting to play to wondering if he liked me. Then, the night of the annual summer camp dance was at hand, and thoughts flooded my mind of what I should wear and, even more important, whether he would dance with me. What do you think happened? This is when the romantic song that has been playing in the background goes skreeeetch, and stops. There was no dance. In fact, that summer was the last time I would ever see that handsome cutie again. So much for expectations!
Wait, time out! That’s not how this story is supposed to end. I was supposed to say that he asked me to dance, we kissed under the moonlight, and then lived happily ever after, right?
But, no we didn’t. Ok that’s not romantic, you may think. Well, you’re right, it’s not. But, it’s real. Quite often the real romance is in a surprising friendship that grows in time to a deep love, and not the unrealistic portrayal that we are accustomed to seeing through the Hollywood lens.
The expectations of what a relationship with a cutie should look like has been falsely painted in the messages that our culture sends us through music, T.V., romance novels, and movies. The pendulum swings from the romance-filled novels of Prince Charming sweeping us off our feet, to the extreme opposite of being in a casual relationship with the expectation of sex.
Everything God has made, when used within the context of what it was made for, gives us healthy benefits. Like sex in marriage. Great! Have at it and enjoy the full benefits! On the other hand, let me suggest that you consider the consequences of premarital sex and sex with more than one partner. Repeat after me…S.T.D. That stands for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, by the way, and not “Sex Today Darling, with no consequence” (Ok, I added the “W.N.C.” part because I couldn’t think of anything else to say for “S.T.D.” and what can I say? I am a cornball.) Those really painful itches, burns, and critters called crabs…yep, those are just some of the consequences of living out of God’s designed boundaries for sex. Read Lakita Garth’s book, The Naked Truth, and you won’t ever look at premarital sex the same again.
What about all the romantic hearts out there? Are you someone who gets lost in a romance novel for hours on end, dreaming of the day when your Mr. Prince Charming will come riding valiantly into your world, rescuing you from the misery and boredom of your day-to-day reality? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good chick flick, and I think there is a place for some great romance, but I’m also aware that unrealistic expectations and fantasies can mislead and bring disillusionment in what a man should be like. There are great guys out there, but they’re not perfect, just as we are not. Guys are real. They make mistakes. They fart. They burp. Their breath can stink. If they buy flowers and candy for us, it doesn’t mean they are perfect in every way. True lasting romance is not found in edible chocolates and disposable flowers (although, that sure doesn’t hurt), but instead, is found in the midst of stinks and all, in the individual moments of intimacy made out of love and commitment to each other. So release the expectations you have put on this cutie in your world to be someone who just jumped out of one of your romance novels, and instead enjoy him for who he is.
There are certain expectations that are good to have for the cuties, expectations that too many have thrown out the window. Ladies, it is OK to let a man open the door or carry something for you. It actually feels really good to do so. They like it, and so do we. But, how our pride gets in the way, by believing that if we allow them to hold the door for us, then we are really saying we’re weak, incapable, and lack independence. It doesn’t have to be that deep! It’s just a sweet gesture of chivalry, which is almost extinct in our culture. Let’s not kill it completely. Enjoy a little help in the name of kindness. Most importantly, we should also have expectations when it comes to his character. How does he live his life in secret? What choices is he making publicly? Do they reflect godliness and purity? Are they honoring to God? Please keep your eyes open to see the fruit of his lifestyle, not just his outer adornment and what he provides you.
Maybe everything that you have experienced up to this point, in this world of cuties, has been the opposite of what you have wanted. By the time I became a Christian at the age of eighteen, I felt so used and abused by guys that I almost hated the whole race of men. I no longer trusted men, or their motives. All I knew, up to that point, was that I was valued as a yummy piece of eye candy, a disposable and decorative ornament on some man’s arm. I wanted to punish all men for the sins of the few who really hurt me. What a journey of healing it was for me to be restored to a place where I didn’t believe that all men were evil and perverted, a healing only God could have done. My heart had so many walls guarding it that the only One able to get near me long enough before I sent my watch dogs out was the One who loved me enough to give His life for me. True love for me was demonstrated by action without asking anything from me in return, except to simply believe in Him. Jesus is His name. How He rescued my broken soul and restored me! I learned through Him to forgive the men who had hurt me. In return, He brought me examples of what good guys look like. And I promise, there really are good guys out there. For some of you that’s a no-brainer, but for many more, we need to be reminded. We have seen too many of the opposite kind. The good news is that Christ is the perfect role model of what a man should be and there are sons of His on this earth acting and living life just like their Heavenly Father would want. Gentle, yet strong. Kind, yet firm. Pursuing, yet not demanding. A gentleman. Never perverted. Pure and holy. Love to the core. If you need healing in this area, ask Jesus to come into your heart and heal these places of pain. Forgive those who have hurt you. Release them to God, and allow God to set a new example of what the standard of a man should be in your life. Open your eyes to see some of those good guys are still out there. And don’t settle for less than God’s best for your life. You are worthy of love, and you are worthy of pursuit.
Maybe you are one of the few women who have chosen to take the narrow path and are still waiting for that godly husband to come into your life. Take heart, dear woman. God has not forgotten. He sees and knows your desires, because He created them. And, He is faithful! Don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t settle for less than God’s very best!
So, how have the cuties in your world influenced you? For good? Or not? Apply wisdom to your life, and choose the path of dignity, healing, and self-worth. You are worth it!
And, remember…never underestimate the power of a cutie!
(YOU CAN PURCHASE YOUR COPY TODAY: http://caterfly.bigcartel.com/product/caterfly-identity-by-lara-izokaitis)