Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Bad to Good (another step back)

Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!!

It's a fumbling attempt to share my story. It's full of the journey of a shy Christian girl who wants to honor God, but, for most of my life, I have had no idea what that means in regards to sex and sexuality.

It's about sifting through the pages yellowed and written upon by my own hand and others. Then keeping the good and releasing the bad.

There's lots of both in my journey with sex.

The good is the innocence and naivety that was preserved even amidst a public school environment. The good is a commitment to not give myself physically to anyone but my husband. The good is a God who has loved and pursued this shy Christian girl, stirring a pure passion in me that knows complete fulfillment is only found in Him. It's a story of grace upon grace upon grace all of my days and forever more.

The bad has been harder to see. But it is becoming clearer. I can see that I am a product of a Christian culture that, for the most part, has been silent regarding sex. By this I mean that propriety, confusion similar to my own, and hidden things of sexual sin, or abuse, all have contributed to a sub-culture where sex, and any questions or issues regarding it, are just not talked about. This series has shown me where I have come from as I have only just begun to use the word 'sex' freely.

Truly, truly, I do not harbor bitterness or anger against anyone who might have contributed to the silence I grew up with regarding sex. But, I have resolved to live differently. I am called to live in the days given to me as a follower of Christ, woman, wife, mother, missionary, sister, friend, mentor... And I believe these days are calling for voices to speak with clarity and courage, humility and hope and fire and faith concerning sex.

Simply, we have let the Thief steal what God made good. Every day I hear another story of pornography addiction, emotional affairs, divorce, abuse, and these are just the things out in the open. Sad, heartbreaking, yet true.

But, I know that I know that I know God has called me, my husband, my kids and the next generation to something more. It's radical thinking in a world gone mad with out-of-bounds desire. But it's essential thinking in order for the world to know there is a God who sent His Son to redeem us from the curse of the fall by becoming that curse and reversing we, and this whole wide world, can be bought back from death and given life.

So I am moving from bad to good. A paradigm shift that changes perspective regarding sex. (Almost all of the posts are subtitled from (something bad) to (something good) that relates to understanding God's design for the well of passion that He gives us.)

I'm taking back what the world, the flesh and the devil call their own. 

In the world, sex is a chasing after the wind. But in outright and subtle ways we are pulled right into our own feverish wandering.

The clean romances and chic flicks, ladies, they suck us in. It's all of the excitement of new love and it really can make us think that excitement comes only in a new relationship. As a single and married woman, this is where I have been most affected. I have either lived in ideals that had lost a sense of reality when I made foolish choices in my dating years. Or I have been dissatisfied with the day-in day-out hard work of living out love in my marriage.

And where the clean stuff stops all kinds of other stuff comes in. Yes, I mean erotica and it's global boom, but also, every billboard, commercial, sex scene...anything that jumps to the front of the line raises its hand and demands our attention. It paints a picture that is fairy tale with no way to make it true.

So how do we keep from getting sucked in?

We can't. 

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus. ~Blaise Pascal 
But the Spirit of the Risen Christ living in us, communing with us, is fully able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine as we press into His infinite love.
So, practically, to see what our hearts are using to fill this vacuum, we look at our time and our thoughts. God in Christ is always ready to fill us with Himself, but we have to make the space for that to happen.

I have always loved light, fun, wholesome, romantic fiction. As a girl, it was my escape through hard things that made my family sad for a long time. For years I never read a single novel, because I lack self discipline and all but the survival essentials get put aside when I 'get into a book'. In the every-kind-of-weariness of living overseas, I started reading fiction again. A lot. I wasn't watching TV, but I was reading. A lot. This past Lent I knew the Lord was asking me to let go of it.

So I did. And this series came about, in many ways, through that. Because in that time and thought space I read the Bible more. I connected more with my hubby;) I made space to commune with God. To deal with my heart. To dream. To Live Free.

When we open our arms wide to a God who has fully and forever accepted us in Christ, the things of lesser value fall away. The bad thinking just doesn't hold up. The good gifts, like marriage, children, opportunities to minister sparkle before our eyes with the weight of Glory. A Glory for which we are indelibly made. And our passions are purified...made ready to flow in worship to God and in one-flesh relationship with our spouse.

So, you see, it's a completely wrong view in the world that chemistry is instant and irresistible. And sex is amazing from Day 1 and works perfectly, etc. No, we have to actively discipline ourselves, make time for it, choose it, like our relationship with God. It doesn't just happen and we need to let go of thinking it does.

I keep circling back to perspective and right thinking regarding sex. Because that's how this is not just some epiphany but rather, the way in which we are being changed in the deep places.

A friend of mine was recently talking to me about a Bible teacher, Jen Wilkin, and quoted her as saying ::

How can we ever love sex if our mind is plagued by faulty thinking? 

We've got to know God's design for sex.

We've got to let our thinking be transformed because, remember, 80% or more of sex, for women, is in our minds.

But the only way to be truly transformed is to be led by the Spirit of God and with Him as our greatest gaze. You see, as much as I love my husband, as much as I {may;} love sex, neither is enough to keep me going strong as I continue to work through many years of wrong views, exhaustion, a sense of duty, guilt and the spiritual warfare against a healthy marriage. The pleasure of marriage through the gift of sexual intimacy, will always be a lesser thing, an idol, unless through it I learn to know God. 

And so I will. You see, I need God desperately to journey well here. It's a humbling thing to write this series knowing how much still needs to be transformed. The danger of hypocrisy is close and enough to make me not want to write another thing related to sex or marriage or God. 

But what journey worth taking is easy or one in which we can ever feel comfortable or capable? 

No, this journey holds the pearl of all the true ones where I live like God is worthy of all of me (because He absolutely is!) and my life is broken open and poured out. 

Thank you for journeying with me...I won't be stopping anytime soon and I hope you won't either :)
Read the entire Pure Passion Series here!
 Sharing with the #SoliDeoGloriaSisterhood, #TellHisStory, #ImperfectProse and Unforced Rhythms

Join me next for :: From Escape to Experience


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