Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Exposed. The Truth about Love and Sex.

LOVE; the word is so limited. The truth of love is so vast, so immeasurable, that we could spend an eternity searching for its meaning and still never comprehend genuine, authentic love the way God intended it. The type of love that God offers and wants for all of us in all of our relationships is far beyond what I had ever learned. So different than what the world had disclosed to me and nothing at all like what I had become acquainted with. You see, the world offers us so many false beliefs about love through movies, TV, books, magazines, and just about any other avenue you can think of. But even more so, we learn the fallacies of love through the hurt and pain that comes from living in a fallen world. Through that, we have become a generation that searches for fulfillment and satisfaction in anything that makes us feel good or fills the gap in our heart, even if only for a moment. We have become so driven by our own desires or even more, by our unhealed wounds that we seek to gain, by our own means, what we long for rather than waiting on God; rather than letting God fill that hole. Only He is able. When we do this, we might as well look at God and say “I don’t trust you”, because ultimately this is what we are doing. We are looking elsewhere for answers, guidance, healing and fulfillment rather than looking to God. I know that I am guilty. Just this week I sent an extremely emotional email to someone who has hurt me deeply. I was looking to the recipient of that email for answers, guidance, and healing, rather than taking it to God where it is safe. Within minutes I was wishing that I could retract.
So, I believed the fallacy. I still struggle with believing it because satan will try to use what has worked for him in the past. I understood that love could not be trusted, that love always leaves, always comes to an end. I believed that love was unkind, insensitive and cruel and I needed to do anything to protect myself. The promiscuity was simply my way of hanging on to what little bit of hope was left in my heart because the world told me that sex and love were the same. However let us now uncover the legitimate, unfathomable and powerful truth of love. Or what little I have come to know about it through God’s saving grace. I must admit, what I do know is very modest to say the least and I am confident that there is a great deal more to learn. I am still on the journey, but what I have learned over the last several years has opened my eyes, healed some of those wounds and transformed my life.
One of the lies that I believed and am sure that many young women believe is that sex and love are one in the same. This is about as far from the truth as you can get; yet women still believe that sex will maintain the relationship, will sustain his “love” for her. The only thing that intimacy outside the bounds of a marital relationship will do is bring a throbbing pain that goes deeper than you ever thought possible and has more consequences than you were ever able to imagine. Unfortunately, I know from experience. It took me a long time to understand that God’s instructions for sex are not prohibitive for those of us who are single, but guidelines designed to protect us; protect our mind, body, soul and our dignity, as well as protect the one we are with. They are guidelines that will thrust us into our God given roles as women that will honor Him as well as honor the one that will eventually become our spouse.
The problem with sex outside of marriage is that it is a scam. It resembles true intimacy but it is nothing of the like. It makes you believe that the intimacy within the relationship is more than what it really is. Extramarital sex uses the language of love and commitment, but knows nothing of either one. At our deepest level, we crave that true intimacy. That is, after all, what that hole in our heart is that we desperately seek to fill. It is the God given hole in our heart that He designed in each of us that would hopefully lead us to Him. But instead of choosing Him, we spend countless hours, days, or even years choosing others, choosing sex, seeking love in the world, or hiding from it because of the pain, rather than allowing Him to love us in the only way that will fill that opening in our hearts.
You see, I have discovered the hard way that sex is more than just physical stimulation, although the world says something much different. The world says to do what makes you feel good; it’s your body, do with it what you want; it’s not hurting anyone. What I have discovered is the extreme opposite. What I have finally grasped is that sex is the most intimate and ultimate of all human giving and vulnerability. Sex, does feel good, but hurts more deeply than you can ever imagine, when you partake in it outside of a committed marital union. Yes, it is your body but not to do with what you want. It is a body given as a gift from our creator meant to be a vessel through which He can serve His purposes that are always intended for your good. Through this one act of intimacy, we give ourselves so fully to one another that it only seems right that it take place in a union of total and permanent surrender. Between two people who have given themselves completely—body, mind, and spirit—to one another. I have come to understand, through personal experience as well as a Christian conviction, that to give someone your body, without giving the rest of you, your mind (a total, willful commitment) and spirit (your emotions and affections), is to separate the physical from the rest of the components of your being, which literally rips us to pieces at the depths of our soul. When God says that the two become one, He really means it. Extramarital sex divides us at our deepest level, giving out a part of us, without giving out the rest intended to go with it and we wonder why intimate relationships hurt so badly when they come to an end. It is because we truly do become one flesh and when the relationship comes to an end we are ripped apart, left with an open, gaping wound. I am not sure where any of us, much less myself, have gotten the idea that we can do whatever we want with one part of our being, our bodies, and believe that there are no consequences for the other parts of our being. I unfortunately have lived those consequences because I was not taught that sexual intimacy was a beautiful and remarkable act created by God himself for true intimacy with your spouse. In fact, I was taught and treated like quite the opposite as you have come to discover.
So, I have had to come to my own convictions and the reality of extramarital sex the hard way. My prayer is that you don’t have to do the same. I am speaking to single women here. We cannot keep going through relationships believing that sexual intimacy will keep it together. It takes so much more. We can’t keep believing that when he says that he will be there tomorrow that he will be and our way to ensure that is to show him how much we love him by giving all of ourselves to him. It doesn’t work. I promise. Believe me; I have made all the excuses in the world of why this guy is different. But the reality is that it is not about the guy at all. It is about who you are in Christ and the plan that he has for your life and your purity. I beg of you to keep the most sacred part of yourself in the hands of God. It is the only safe place for it to remain until your man of God comes and takes you into his arms in a permanent union the way God designed it. Anything other than that only brings despair.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How Did I Get Here Pt. 2...

It is undeniable that we simply don’t get to where we are without a history. It’s not rocket science really. We all have a history, and we have all been shaped by that history, despite our own awareness of it. There are a collection of events in our lives that have contributed to the way we think, feel, behave and respond. Hopefully as you read, you will find some correlation to your own life, and maybe you will also find some consolation in knowing that you are not alone. Even more so, I hope that I can share some lessons from my own life, in hopes that God can use them to help others soak up knowledge from my failures and triumphs to be used for His glory. I am not a psychologist, licensed therapist, social worker, pastor, or any of the like. I am simply a child of God, whose life has been transformed by his unstoppable power and amazing grace, willing to unlock my past and share my life in hopes that someone else can begin to grasp the power of an Almighty God.
So, now that you have become familiar with a small portion of my past (from Pt. 1 of How did I Get Here), the question stands: How have those events contributed to the way I think, feel, behave and respond? The answer to that question could lead us beyond infinity…
So I will begin with the solitary obsession of every woman; the one thing that we, as women, desire more than anything in this world. The single thing, that when not given to us or shown us properly as a young girl, will escort us into a vile and vicious soul searching that always, always ends in agony and despair unless that searching leads us to the heart of God. This one thing is LOVE. It is the essence of a woman through and through. The desire for love penetrates very deep in the heart of woman. Depending upon her past, she may give her heart freely without reservation and the recipient will be the most blessed man on earth, or she will construct walls around her wounded heart, forbidding love to cross the threshold that she has come to protect so diligently.
So how does the latter happen? Without any knowledge of their existence, the walls close in and the real woman inside of us, the woman we were meant to be, becomes desperately hidden behind that fortress. How do we get to a point in our lives where we believe the lies about ourselves, about our hearts? Believe the lie that we have to protect ourselves and wall in our hearts so that we don’t feel pain again. Or believe the lie that we have to obtain love and the way to obtain it is through sex and giving away the most sacred part of our being. We don’t do this consciously of course. In fact, most of us are not even aware that we believe such fallacy. Oh had I only known it was deceit. If only I had known that I have an enemy who has a vested interest in using every shred of my fragmented past to thrust me into a deep, bottomless pit, almost to the point of no return. Any enemy that was and is out to devour me (...your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8)
I have come to understand, in retrospect, that when we, as daughters, are not loved and affirmed by our father, something devastating happens inside of us. A part of us dies and we begin to search for that love and affirmation from wherever we can obtain it. As previously determined, my father was not capable of loving me faithfully because of a prison sentence that he endured during the most impressionable time of my life. My step father loved me during that same time, improperly and immorally. At fifteen, I began to have physical relationships that always ended in despair. I honestly and naively, approached premature sexual relationships with the belief that lasting love would come of it. What happened instead is that every relationship ended, usually pretty quickly, and I began to believe, more and more that men were not to be trusted. I already had the notion of that belief from my experiences with my father and step father. By the time I was 20, I began a relationship with a man that I came to love deeply; or as deeply as was capable for me. When I discovered him in bed with another woman, I was devastated and once again, I was proven right. Men were not to be trusted. I guess I had decided somewhere in the realm of my subconscious that I was never going to be vulnerable again. I’m not sure when it happened really. Probably long before that relationship. Instead, I became promiscuous; as friendly as one could be on the outside, but as hard as a rock on the inside. I had no indication, not a hint of evidence that clued me in to what was happening to me on the inside. In fact, I didn’t discover the truth until several years after my divorce where I found myself broken, wounded and completely ruined emotionally. You see, I ended up in this predicament, a single parent raising three boys on my own, not because of my husband, although he played his part. I ended up here because I was so desperate for love, the right kind of love that I said yes without any consideration to the strength or health of our relationship. I said yes because we already had a child together out of wedlock, another symptom of my emotional state, and I considered it the right thing to do. I said yes because the walls to my heart were so high, and my heart had become so hardened that I believed this was the best there was for someone like me. I said yes without ever considering what God may have planned for me. My perception of love was so distorted. I was incapable of making a reasonable decision. Of course this is all in hind sight. At the time of my divorce, it was his mistakes that got us there. I had done nothing wrong. I was getting divorced and it was his responsibility, not mine, yet another symptom of my emotional state of mind.
So, how did I get here? I got here because of a false belief about love and a wrong response within my heart. I got here because I have an enemy who convinced me to believe those fallacies until they became so deeply ingrained that they became a part of who I was. So much so that even years after my freedom from bondage, I still struggle with them. I know the truth, but the lies try desperately to sneak back in. Satan knows my weakness; woman’s weakness. The truth is that kind of love can only be found in one place. My heart, and yours, can only be protected by one person. When we build those walls around our heart, our heart becomes a place that welcomes no one, not even the one Prince that can rescue us and truly love us. You see, love is patient and kind not unwilling and cruel as I had learned. Love is not proud and does not boast, but humble and modest. I was anything but. It is not rude or self-seeking yet everyone I had come in close contact with was one or the other, if not both. Love is not easily angered. I was justifiably about as angry as any one person could be. Love does not delight in evil, as my step father had shown me; yet it rejoices in the truth, as I have now become acquainted with through the great love and mighty power of Christ Jesus. So it doesn’t end there; in the pit of despair. For me, it ends in a saving knowledge of the One who loves me unconditionally. It ends with the One who set me free from the lies. It ends with the One who has healed my heart and knows it more intimately than anyone ever will. It ends with Jesus. But it doesn’t end there. It has just begun…

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