on snapping twigs and rustling leaves…

of you probably remember the excerpt that CJ Mahaney read out of John
Ensor’s book “Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart” at New Attitude
last year.  if you weren’t actually there to hear it read, you most
likely heard about it from one of us who went to the conference.  the
excerpt caused laughs, cheers, applause, and MUCH conversation
followed.  before you could say “rustle rustle,” questions were flying
everywhere – particularly amongst the girls.  “what exactly does it
mean to ‘snap twigs’ and ‘rustle leaves’?”  “where is the line between
doing that and flirting?”  “isn’t that just a masked way of encouraging
girls to begin the pursuit on their own?”  “i am not an animal to be hunted!” etc.  conversations and blog posts were popping up everywhere with questions, answers and comments. 

generally didn’t jump into the topic any more than to laugh at the
metaphor and engage in a few conversations.  but through an experience
a friend was sharing with me, a thought came to my mind that i wanted
to toss out for the consideration of you all.

in case you’re not sure what metaphor i’m referring to, here is the excerpt that CJ read:

was speaking with a small circle of college students, Christian
brothers in their mid-twenties mostly.  One of them expressed the
problem squarely.  “I don’t like to ask until I see all the right
signals that she is going to say yes.”
    My response? “Coward!  You are the
    By this I meant to say that being a man means something distinctive.  
it falls to us to be the initial risk takers in matters of the heart. 
Headship means being the one to go ahead and ask.
is ours as men to suffer the embarrassment of rejection if need be.  It
is our role to initiate.  It is hers to respond with a signal of
reception or rejection.  Get to it right merrily.
are the hunters.  They are the quarry.  It is for men to strike out
into the forest and look.  It is for women to crack the twigs and stir
the leaves so we know where to find them.

(John Ensor, “Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart” pp 91-92)

one of the questions that i heard over and over again from girls, was some variation of “so what does it mean
exactly to ‘snap twigs’ and ‘rustle leaves’?” it left many a girl a bit
perplexed regarding what such behavior should and could look like.

may i offer a thought? 

at the metaphor.  snapping twigs and rustling leaves in a forest.  now,
my family didn’t do a ton of camping growing up, mostly because my
mom’s idea of camping was Motel 6.  but i’ve been in a forest a time or
two and it’s been my experience that merely walking through the forest
can cause quite a ruckus.  it really doesn’t take much effort at all to
make crunching or swishing noises by just walking through a forest.  actually, it’s keeping silent that typically takes a lot of effort.

i’ve never been hunting.  but my friends who have tell me that when
you’re in the forest looking for deer or elk or rabbits or doves, etc.
you are working SO hard to be VERY quiet and you are on HIGH alert for
ANY sounds around you.  the slightest snap or rustle gets your

do you see where i’m going? 

truly think that the best way for girls to “snap twigs” and “rustle
leaves” is to LIVE.  live your life!  live it openly and boldly.  live
in community.  engage with your peers and your fellow singles. 
participate in conversations with people of both genders.  pursue the
Lord.  pursue your friends.  pursue your church.  be yourself.  be
around.  BE! 

(now – i must offer at least
one caveat to my fellow sisters who may not be the most socially
inclined.  you have to actually BE in the forest to snap twigs and
rustle leaves.  it’s a little unrealistic to hide in a remote log cabin
and hope that some wandering hunter stumbles across it and has the guts
to walk right in and start looking around.  they’re not in the forest
to find a cabin – they’re looking for animals.  so at some point you’ll
need to venture in the forest at least a little bit!)

i would also encourage my fellow sisters to consider this:  the point of the metaphor was a call to the men
the author was telling the young men he was with that it was their job
to initiate – to look and to find and to pursue.   that is their
calling and their role.  the point was not a call for women to start
making more noise. 

one last thing: we
serve a sovereign God, who knows, understands, ordains, controls and
rules over all circumstances.  He loves you and always has your best
and His glory as the goal of all things.  you cannot thwart the will of
God and you also cannot force His hand.  ultimately it’s not all up to
you to “make things happen.”  each step should be taken in faith.  all
circumstances should be viewed and evaluated with faith – faith in who
He is and what He has done and what He has promised to do.  without
faith it is impossible to please God, and with faith – you can’t go


9 thoughts on “on snapping twigs and rustling leaves…

  1. Andrea, you have wisdom beyond your years! I am happy that “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise” (Prov. 13:20) and am hopeful that I can gain from some of your wisdom (is that selfish?).

  2. After that quote was read last year, I remember hearing or reading somewhere that too often we girls tend to saw logs and throw leaves, and that thought has stuck with me since.  Excellent reminder, thanks!

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