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One evening years ago, I was taking a walk with my best friend and we were discussing men and what we desired in them.

She told me she once heard a woman speak about making a list where she wrote down everything that she wanted in a man. This woman prayed over this list and a year later, she found a man who was exactly everything she had written down. I was intrigued by this idea. My friend went on to say that this woman encouraged others to do the same as well.  This helped you separate the guys wasting your time to the guys worth your time. We started thinking about what was on our lists and later that night, I began my own, which after digging through my old journals, I found: 

Essentials in my guy:
He has to have a love for Jesus.
He needs too know where he is headed in life and have dreams and goals.
He needs to love life and the people in his.
He needs to be honest and hardworking.
He has to be funny or make me laugh a lot.
He needs to be passionate.
He needs to have morals and values.
He needs to be patient.
He needs to make me feel beautiful and amazing just by his presence.
He needs to be strong on the inside and outside.

And, four years later, my list would look more or less the same.

Little did I know when writing my list that it would cost me someone I cared about very much. This list was the reason I sacrificed the first love I had ever known, and it crushed me. The first guy I loved had everything on this list and he made me come alive. The catch was, he had everything on this list but the most important one – he didn’t love Jesus. I remember during one of our Skype conversations, I had told him that I needed someone who was stronger than me not only physically, emotionally and intellectually, but spiritually too. What proceeded was a two hour intense argument. Month after miserable month passed battling between the guy God had for me, and the guy I had for me. In the end, I chose him. I wish I hadn’t – I know that if I had done this earlier it would have saved me much heartbreak and tears. Things have ended between us three years ago, but the pain of it still hasn’t healed since.

What I don’t have to offer you is a story with a happy ending – not just yet. But what I do have and offer you guidance and hope. I want to share with you the truth that having standards for a man is the single best thing you can do to protect your precious and beautiful heart from any further pain by men.

I notice girls who are running around from man to man because they are scared. Maybe it’s because, like me, she didn’t have a strong father figure to look up to and instead went to try and find that love in other hurting men. Maybe it’s because her low self-esteem tells her that she is not worthy of a real man who can treat her right. Maybe it’s because she was treated so badly by men time after time that her standards dropped to only expect the worst from them. Maybe it’s all three reasons, and more.

Those reasons are justification enough for you to want to lash out in hurt and find a man to try fill that gaping emptiness or to numb your pain. But believe me when I say that doing that will only leave you feeling more hollow and more confused.

I was given the book ‘Captivating’ by Stasi Eldredge and this passage was so healing to read: “Girls who were confident and outrageous in their youths become uncertain in their teens. Girls who used to have lots of interests and opinions and dreams suddenly seem depressed, lost, obsessed about their looks and about the attention of boys. And yet. No man can tell you who are as a woman. No man is the verdict on your soul. Only God can tell you who you are. Only God can speak the answer you need to hear. Adam is far too unreliable a source! No matter how much Adam pours into your aching soul, it is never enough. He cannot fill you. Jesus said, “Do not throw your pearls to pigs.” (Matthew 7:6). By this he was saying, “Be careful that you do not give something precious to someone, who at best, cannot recognize it’s beauty, or at worst, will trample on it.” Consider your feminine heart and beauty your treasure, your pearls. Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit. Your heart is a treasure and we want you to offer it only to a man who is worthy and ready to handle it well.”

There’s a simple but sweet analogy by Pete Wentz about being a girl who has high standards. As cheesy as it seemed to me at the time, in hindsight I realized how much sense it made: “Girls are like apples. The best ones are at the top of the trees. The boys don’t want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples that are on the ground that aren’t as good, but easy. So the apples at the top think there is something wrong with them, when, in reality, they are amazing. They just have to wait for the right boy to come along, the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.” Contrary to many men’s beliefs, having high standards doesn’t necessarily mean being unrealistic, nor does it mean you are being uptight. There is nothing wrong with you. Focus on loving and being kind to yourself, and the right man who sees your worth will find the courage to win you.

I believe that the root to having low to no standards for men is a low self-esteem. I want you to remember that your heart is a pearl. Your mind is a garden of Eden. Your body is a treasure. Take care of these things things first, learning to love and celebrate yourself as you are by looking to God and not to mirrors or men for your self-worth. Know that you cannot love with as great a passion if you are loving out of insecurity and brokenness, so take your time on your road to restoration. When the time to awaken love is right, only offer yourself to a man who is worthy of it and is ready to treat your heart, mind and body with great love.

With that, I encourage you to write down your list of things that a man must need in order for him to even get close to your heart. It doesn’t matter how hurt, how broken, how tainted you are from the men who have treated you badly in the past, for it is never too late to start guarding your heart. I encourage you to take time to ponder what it is that you are really looking for in a man. Write it down, then pray over it. By doing this, you are protecting yourself from any guy that comes along your way and thinks he can use you. Sometimes, like me, you may have to give up a man who you love and really believe is right for you because he doesn’t meet just one standard of yours. I know, however, that if you sacrifice someone rather than sacrifice your own self-worth, you are putting yourself in a position to be honored by God.

You deserve a man who is going to love you fiercely with all his heart with no half measures. You deserve to be treated with honor and respect. You deserve to have your heart come alive. You deserve to be celebrated for the beautiful creation you are. You deserve a man who will simply treat you right. Do not, I repeat, do not settle for anything less. You were not made to settle!

I believe that God understands your innermost desires to be loved because he put them there in the first place. When you come to Him and place your desires and hopes at His feet, you are telling Him that you are too valuable to let yourself be trodden on by pigs. You will not be let down. God will guard your list and your heart, like a true Father guarding his daughter. And because your Father is guarding you, any man trying to get to your heart will have to go through The Big Man Himself, and He will only allow the best.

“To whom it may concern,
Good love will find you someday.
But if you keep on looking for it,
it’ll only keep you waiting.
To whom it may concern,
Good love will find you someday.
Til’ then,
live well,
live happy,
live free.”
Anonymous

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