Allow me to be vulnerable for a moment here. Now I realize my parents, grandparents, aunts, and perhaps uncles read this blog, and this is an awkward topic to address – but I can’t act as if what I want to talk about has not at one point in time been a struggle for them as well. And if I want the Church to be real about it, I’m going to have to be real about it. So here goes…
It was my turn to talk tonight at Women’s night for Athletes In Action. Earlier today, when I was thinking about what God would have me say, He gave me a glimpse of women being honest and open with one another – honest about struggles, honest about what God was teaching her, honest about whatever… and then praying about it together as a group. I saw this vision and wasn’t sure what it entailed. I decided to share what God had been revealing to me about faith and future, english, prayer, etc – cuz that’s what God is teaching me about. But I think God, in His vision for this night, almost dared me to take it further. I think He wanted me to be open with a struggle that so many of us face. I didn’t really want to go there, however, and so I just prayed that God would work in spite of me and move the night according to the Holy Spirit’s will. With that prayer prayed in earnest, I began by just sharing about how God’s given me a peace about the future and how that whole process is unfolding (another story entirely, but I’m not really ready to blog about it yet). And that proved to be good. We had a good discussion about it and then I just opened it up to the girls to chat about struggles, lessons learned, etc… and wouldn’t you know – the topic I wanted to shy away from actually came up… the S. word. That being sexual purity of course. Three women (small group tonight and I believe God ordained it to be that way) in the same spot, facing the same struggle that all couples in love face, and still desperately wanting to obey God through it.
Tonight we were real with one another. Finally. I hate to criticize, but I feel like the only training I got from the Church was – don’t do it. Set boundaries, read books, have self control and you’ll be golden. Nothing more. Nothing about the fact that it would probably be the hardest struggle I have faced thus far. No temptation has met me face to face as much as this one. And furthermore, it is known among the Christian community as one of the most taboo sins – the evil sin. The big one. Now, we know that’s a lie – but let’s face it, most of us in Christian circles – no matter how liberal or conservative they may be- believe sex out of marriage is the ultimate sin. Forget pride, spite, jealousy, selfishness, etc. No, it’s sex. Now don’t get me wrong – I agree that God is VERY clear in His word that sex is meant to be between a husband and a wife in the context of marriage, and furthermore, I made a decision very early on in life to remain a virgin until I get married – and I plan to stick to that decision. However – there are many things that bother me about the topic of sex and how it is being addressed within the Church today. And to be honest, a lot of it stems from guilt. Because if you are a Christian and you have sex before marriage – chances are you will either become numb, or extremely guilt ridden and feel as if you may no longer approach God. What a tool satan uses in that guilt. I know this because I’ve had conversation after conversation with dear friends and aquaintances who have “messed up” and who have felt as if they were too unworthy to even pray (that’s why we need grace, but again – another topic). And I also know this because I might possibly be the most guilty conscious person alive on this earth and any time I mess up in this area of purity I feel like I’m a terrible person. Ok, not really but at one time I did. God’s dealt with me severely on this issue and I can gladly say that I have never been more assured of my good standing with God because of His son than now.
Back to the topic of sex now. Sorry, this is going to be a long blog entry but it’s a big topic and I am only going to brush the surface of it. Tonight as we were talking, we shared what helped us remain pure, why it’s such a freaking hard struggle that makes me want to fight someone ;), what God says about it, where His grace is what we rely on, etc. And I suppose now I’m just going to share what I’ve been learning – because it’s a daily learning process… So here goes.
Where I’m coming from: Ok. This is where it gets embarassing but I’m going to be real here. I’m super into this boy and have never felt this way before in my life about another person. Same from his side. Good thing. This relationship is good. God has so divinely arranged it that it really couldn’t have been made clearer (once again – another story). The desire is good and it is real and it is God given. But physically, we have to control it. I’d like to think suppress it, but “control” is probably more correct and thus I will stick to that. So yeah, picture a couple madly in love, super physically attracted to each other, and committed to chastity. That’s us.
What I’m learning: It’s a daily thing. I cannot force myself to think about the fact that it will be awhile before we can get married (though that verse “better to marry than burn with passion” could certainly apply here)… because that just scares me and makes me think it’s impossible. So I will focus on today. God’s grace and strength for today. When we mess up, as Lewis says:
“You must ask for God’d help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.”
I’ve also learned a TON about grace and what it means to struggle with sin. I’ve meditated on Romans 7,8 numerous times and I feel like I’m learning a whole new side of God’s character and love for us. He’s amazing. Furthermore, along with what I was talking about earlier, struggling with sexual purity is not the sin of all sins. It is a sin of the flesh – and while it is certainly associated with spiritual sins, it is not, as Lewis calls it, a “diabolical sin” which is more concerned with spiritual sins including pride, jealousy, putting yourself before others, not loving others, etc… Not meant to justify it, but I feel like our perspective is so off sometimes.
There are more things to discuss here. I could fill a whole book with what I’ve been learning about this because it incorporates SO much of my walk with God and how I see Him and others. But for now, I think I will leave it as it is. Feel free to comment and discuss this area… and mom and dad, I know you’re worried about me but please know that God is sovereign and even though it’s a struggle, He gets the victory ;).