Sunday, March 28, 2010

Opposite Sex: Emotional Purity

For the last four weeks, Matt has been doing a series called "Opposite Sex" with our high school students. He's been talking about guy and girl relationships and how God calls us to a lifestyle that is "Opposite" of culture's. Tonight, he preached from Genesis 29:1-30:24, the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. I had always seen Jacob's pursuit and waiting of Rachel as romantic or sweet, but in actuality Jacob waisted 14 years of his life, pining over this woman. Really interesting perspective!

After Matt's message, we split the kids up between guys and girls. I was really praying about how to drive home this message of purity -- both emotional and physical. God reminded me of this great visual that I had read about on Heather Patenaude's Emotional Purity Blog. So last minute (while Matt was preaching) I ran around to grab supplies and kind of made this analogy my own.

I gave each girl a heart and I asked them to write out what makes them special or unique. Some of the things girls wrote down were: family, God, spaghetti, a boyfriend, friends, concerts, singing, plays, individuality, and so on. They covered their heart with these words.

Then, I gave them a black piece of paper with the word boyfriend across the top. I gave them each a glue stick and asked them to glue their heart to boy #1, their "high school sweetheart". I used Heather's term of "heart glue" and how when we have a relationship with a guy, we stick to them -- even if we are "just friends" but act like boyfriend and girlfriend without the title.

I said that statistically they will break up with their "high school sweetheart" and so we ripped the heart off after 5 minutes. Several girls left quite a bit of their hearts behind, while others seemed to get their full heart back. But what was interesting was all the black on the back of their hearts. We talked about how they may look good on the outside, but on the inside they still have a connection to that guy.

We continued to do this with boy #2 (their college boyfriend) and boy #3. By this time, their hearts were paper thin, ripped or barely there. It was interesting to hear what the girls had "left behind" with the guys. One girl said, "Boy #2 has God!" While another said, "Individuality was left with boy #3." The conversation was running rampant with this analogy! It was so awesome!

Finally, I gave them a white piece of
paper with the word "husband" across the top. I asked them to glue their heart onto this piece of paper. One girl said, "My heart can't take this anymore, I'm using extra glue so it doesn't come off!" Another girl's heart looked completely "normal" but she saw that you could see all the black on the back of the heart through the white paper. We talked about what was left for your future spouse -- a broken and grimy heart. But we also made sure to talk about the restoration of God and how he can even use broken, gross hearts and create an awesome marriage! I wanted the girls to see that the decisions they make now may seem harmless or "fun" but they can have lasting consequences.

Finally, I encouraged them to start praying for their future husband. I told them that somewhere out there was a guy going on his own journey. This was the perfect time to start praying for him! I shared that I had started a prayer journal for my future husband in Jr High and actually gave it to Matt as a gift on our wedding day. Its really interesting to see the things God placed on my heart to be praying about and how Matt may have been facing a situation in his life at that moment that needed my specific prayer. Or how I only prayed for my husband's sisters, never any brothers. Matt has two sister, no brothers. Back to tonight, I gave each girl a print out that my youth pastor's wife had given me of a prayer for your future husband. You can find a copy here.

All in all, it was an awesome night and it seemed to really drive home this whole month's discussion on Opposite Sex. So, thank you Heather for sharing that craft idea so long ago! It definitely came in handy tonight!

Pictures are from Heather's blog, not from our experience tonight. But they basically looked the same :)


  1. anne, thanks so much for this! this is one of THE best posts i've ever read. there are 2 girls in particular that i am going to do this activity with...seems they are always wanting a guy. not necessarily the "right" guy either. glad i stumbled upon this tonight. TY!!!
    by the way, mindy bycroft is my cousin in case you have no idea who i am! :)

  2. So fun to see that craft being used and isn't it intresting to watch the girls reaction. I remember one of the girls I did this with, picked and picked to get all her heart off the boyfriends.

    Glad it helped!

  3. That is such a great visual aid for such an important topic. I bet your girls will remember that for a very long time!

  4. This is incredible! I knew this to be true, but this illustration drove home the point in a way that I'd never heard before. Thank you for sharing. I will be saving this lesson for my soon to be 9-year-old daughter's teen years.

  5. I have been struggling with this topic with my own teen daughter as well as our senior high youth group. LOVE this idea!
    It even reminded me why purity is an expectation that we need to have for our children. Guilt about my past often makes me feel like a hypocrite.

  6. So glad you all liked it! It was definitely a wonderful picture for our girls.


I want to hear your thoughts!...