I received this from a faithful reader and just have to share! I think it's so well thought out!
Bubbly, loving, lonely girl struggles to know how to conduct herself among guy friends, to be chummy without being intimate. To hug or not to hug? Frontways or sideways? To put sunlotion on his back when he asks? She'd do it if her brother asked, but he's not her brother. To accept a shoulder massage when grieving together over the death of someone dear? To decide on these things before the event, or relax and trust to having wisdom when the moment arrives?
Upon examination of her nature, she came up with the following protective rationale:
Being needy for physical touch/hugs, she should therefore not encourage them from guy friends.Loving quickly and deeply, she should therefore be reserved in her manner toward guy friends.Being eager to share of herself (thoughts, emotions), she should therefore direct this energy toward family and girlfriends.
These lofty aims at first seemed unnecessarily restrictive because they were opposite to her natural inclinations. But then she thought, which nature am I talking about? My God-given uniqueness? Or my human tendencies? In an environment of tolerance, it's easy to accept the world's philosophy that man is inherently good, when in truth self is sinful and the desires of the flesh lead only to death. (She might have told herself the shoulder massage came from a brother, but he may have had seen it from a different perspective. Certainly it was quite some time before she admitted to herself that she generated a gleeful emotional party out his attention.) Short-term pampering of her emotional needs at the expense of her and/or his heart-wholeness cannot by any stretch be called a God-given inclination.
Is she afraid presenting a reserved front will resign her to the ranks of cold, uninteresting spinsterhood? Yes. But if there is a man waiting somewhere for her (and she has to believe he is), then she SHOULD be holding treasures in reserve for him. Thus to decide which treasures exactly, and conduct herself accordingly. THAT is the bottom line, and not how others may perceive her, which is, in one word, Pride.
Proverbs 4:23 pleads, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
By the testimony of couples who did hold their treasure in reserve for each other, the rewards are well worth every smidgen of restraint.