Monday, July 25, 2011

The Forbidden Topic

Ok people, I am going to write about something that I've been wanting to write about, but struggling to decide how I want to broach this topic. And the topic is...


Now, I am going to use my own life as an example, but I am not going to be explicit, so if you were looking for any type of titillating details you've come to the wrong place. I do however, feel a need to write about it, as I have seen how God has been uncovering some issues in my life regarding this very topic.

I think about sex, a lot. Sometimes more than I should. Sometimes in ways that I should not.

Yes, women think about sex. I enjoy sex just as much as my husband and am thankful that God created such a wonderfully intimate thing to draw us closer to one another in our marriage relationship.

I call this the forbidden topic, because my experience has been that Christians do not want to talk about it, or are uncomfortable with this subject. In some ways, it has been painted as something that is dirty, completely sinful and disgusting. But what happens when we are not being taught what the Bible says about sex, we are going to get our information from the world, and the world is more than happy to give it. This is a problem. And this is exactly what I have done.

Now, I am not blaming the church for my lack of understanding, because as a Christian it is my responsibility to read and study Scripture for myself. I do, however, believe that part of the church's function is to teach Scripture and it is a topic that gets pushed to the wayside far too often.

Ok, let me go back to explaining what I mean. When I was growing up, no one would talk to me about sex. Not people in the church, not anyone in my Christian school, not even my parents. The most they would say about the topic is "Don't have sex until you are married." I think one time someone tried to touch on the topic of boundaries as far as relationships go. This is a good thing to say, but what I needed, was how to view sex from a Christian worldview. That is to say, how to look at it through the lens of the Bible.

Our world is over-sensualized. It is no longer enough for a girl to be pretty or beautiful, she should be "sexy". We see it in clothing, magazines, hairstyles, even make-up is about how sexy we can make ourselves look. As if every thing we do, should be for the purpose of arousing the lusts of those around us.

From the time I was in middle school, I remember trying to work out this subject in my mind and what it means for me as a girl, a teenager, a young adult, and now a woman. I understood that it was wrong to have sex before marriage, but did not understand it in the sense of keeping myself pure before God, so I began to allow the world to shape my view of sex at a young age. Yes, this led me down the wrong path as far as choices I made in relationships, but that is not where I want to go today. What I do want to say is that lately, the Holy Spirit has been convicting me about how I am still allowing the world's view to influence my thoughts and sometimes even my actions.

I am sick to my stomach realizing how I have carried this distorted view of sex and what it means about me as a person, a woman, a wife, with me through these years. Giving up bits and pieces, but holding onto it still, not quite wanting to let it go. The part of me that still holds onto that idea of beauty = sexy.

I've struggled with this, like I said, since I was in middle school. What girl doesn't want to be beautiful? So obviously beauty has quite often dominated my thinking. God has taught me so much over the years, of what true beauty really means. But even knowing that, doesn't always mean I think like that. And it doesn't always mean I act like that.

I find that I am continually having to renew my mind with Scripture in this area, as the Holy Spirit convicts me of yet another way I am allowing it to seep back in. There are times I have to remove myself from a place, turn a channel, put down a magazine, etc. I have to make conscious decisions to put the thought out of my mind and think about what God sees as beauty. This is not always easy. The world pummels us over with this idea of being sexy.


Even Christians often have this misunderstanding about what sex is and why it was created and how to enjoy it properly. I'm not just talking about understanding that it was created for the context of a heterosexual marriage relationship, but even what it means given that context.

I had a professor recently who puts it this way (might not be an exact quote), "Sex is a ministry to your spouse." It was created as a way to minister to your husband or wife in love. Hearing that just turned a lightbulb on as far as a good way for me to describe what Scripture says about sex (1 Cor. 7:3-4) and a good way for me to put into perspective society's push towards "being sexy".

Society views sex as simply lustful. It is all about desire and arousal. Feeding the desires of the flesh. The push for women (and girls) to be "sexy" is to pursuit arousing that desire and lust in the men around you. As though they need some sort of help doing that (am I right guys?). I'm not going to go into the implications this has on our guys, except to say that it only makes their struggle that much worse, especially when women in the church have bought into this idea. I'm sure I have not always helped them by some of the things I've worn. But my push here is for women to understand how this can affect even the seemingly smaller decisions we make. Things like why we get a certain haircut, or walk a certain way, do our make-up a certain way, why we exercise, how we choose to eat, etc. Guys may not always notice, but how many of us do some of these things with that thought of being sexy behind it? I admit, I sometimes do.

Increasingly, my perspective has been changing over the years as I better understand it from Scripture and as I continue to put off thoughts formed by the world's perspective and replace them with what I know God says about this subject. But I had to come to see this as sin. I had to learn a new worldview. I still have to choose to use it. And I have to continually make the choice to not allow it to dominate my thinking. I don't always do that, I admit.

Now, I debate about clicking on that publish post button that means this will forever be floating around in cyberspace, but I know I am not the only one who struggles with this issue as a woman (1 Cor. 10:13) and I hope my honesty and forthcoming about it will help someone else. I am taking a risk of vulnerability sharing this with all of you, and can only ask for your prayers and loving accountability.

Some insight into my mind

So many things to write about, not enough time or energy to get to them all. Only other writers know how frustrating this is, or others with memory issues, as we do not want to lose it and not be able to get it back.

Here is what goes through my mind as decide what to write:

"Oh, this topic that I am learning about is really interesting and I would like to share that with others, or what about this, or this that I've been wrestling with, but how much do I want to really share, do I lay it all out there, how much should I hold back? I want others to see me as open and vulnerable so that they feel safe to be vulnerable as well, but I don't know if I really want others to know my struggles in this area. Is it because I want them to see me as better than I really am? Truth is, maybe. I don't want to air out all my dirty laundry, but I want to tell someone. I desperately want to tell someone. But I don't think I can speak it. It would be much easier to write this, but i don't want to tell everyone. Who can I tell? Forget it. I'll just write about this instead. But should I really write about that issue? Some people are really going to be offended. How can I say it in a loving, but to the point way? Should I even be caring about stepping on their toes if I am trying to communicate truth? Yes, I should, so how can I do this tactfully? Wait, now I don't have time to fully write about that. Ugh, maybe I'll get to write something later. Just wish I could say what I really want to say. Without fear and without the tears from holding back."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Things on my mind...

For those of you who follow my blog, or even check in from time to time to see if I have posted - THANKS! I'm glad you care about what I write about. : )

I know there are often large gaps between my bloggings, and it is not from a lack of things to write about, in fact, I probably only get to post about 1/4 of things I really want to write. Even fully developed ideas don't always get the luxury of being posted. This is only because I talk myself out of sitting down to write because I know I should probably be spending that time doing homework (especially since quite a bit of it is late).

Anyway, just wanted to let you know, don't fret. I'm still around. I'm just kind of busy.

Oh, and if you like my posts, or disagree, or just have a thought about it, please comment, I would love to hear what's going on in your minds as well!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free Indeed!

This poem came to me in church service this morning, during the singing portion of the service. I prayed this prayer as I sung and then spent the rest of the service writing it down.

O Holy One! Awesome Lord!
Worthy of all praise!
We sing, we stand, we dance
To You our hands we raise.
We enjoy the feelings
That come with celebration
Yet what do we do
When our hearts are torn by conviction?
Do we continue in our praise
Humbled in Your presence?
Are we brought to our knees
In light of Your holiness?
Today my eyes were open.
Today I paid attention.
Today I became vulnerable
To Your Word being spoken.
My soul cries out in anguish.
This wretched soul of mine!
Yet out of all Creation,
You have chosen to make it thine!
Why me, O Lord?
Surely, nothing have I done
To earn such bountiful grace.
Yet You of all see fit
To look upon my face
And declare freedom for my soul.
Oh yes, I am free indeed!
Then why do I bind myself
In selfish pride and self-pity?
Truth be told, I have no rights
Of which to call my own,
But you have given me the privilege
To stand before Your throne.
How do I not spend
Every moment, every breath
In complete submission
To Him who blessed me with His own death?
My heart grieves in sorrow
For how I've wounded You.
And even now after I've been forgiven,
My own ways I still often choose.
But You declare this mess that is me
Righteous. Cleansed in Your blood.
That my life may glorify You
From now until it is done.
I praise Your name
For all that You are!
For Your mercies that You have shown.
For the trials and blessings
Through which, closer to You I have grown.
Renew in me with each breath
The reality of Your love.
That my life,
Each moment,
Will reflect
The Glorious One above.