Category Archives: Purity

Myth of “The One”

Our view of “the one” is sometimes distorted by fairy tales and even a few Christian scholars. The myth concerning “the one” is that in all the world there is just ONE particular guy that will fit perfectly for each girl. If we marry someone and run into a few rough patches in the relationship, we may start wondering, “Was THIS guy *the one* or is there someone else I was SUPPOSED to marry!?” Fear and doubt set in. We worry if we picked someone other than the one we were supposed to marry.  And now, what does that mean for the guy we were really supposed to marry? Did he marry someone else, which would inevitably be the wrong one for him too? And if he took someone else’s *one,* what does that mean for her guy? This train of thought can go on and on, and then we are blaming all the sad stories on people who married the wrong one.

God created us in a specific way to be encouraged, challenged, tested and benefitted by a certain type of guy. There are many men in the world that could possibly be the perfect one. We will meet a few of those guys in our lifetimes. Some are not physically attractive to us. Some are even married. No use in getting anxious about this. It’s not like we’ve missed our chance. He is probably in our lives to show us what kind of guy we’re looking for. He’s not there for us to covet or wish death upon his wife. Nope! He is a prime example of the type of guy for us. In all fairness, there are others like him and someone else will suit us better.

When we finally say “I do,” he is THE one. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, we’ve picked the one. This takes away some heavy pressure and tinges of confusion. When things start to get a little rough in marriage or we’re not “feeling the love” at the moment, it is NOT because we married the WRONG guy. Trouble, issues, disagreements are going to befall us all. Welcome to life! All of our relationships are going to have conflict. And we are going to work through that conflict. Just because my best friend doesn’t like my new shoes or laughs at me when I get weak in the knees for Super Swampers (offroad tires) and M/T SideBiters (rims), is no reason to call off the friendship. Or let’s say the best friend actually offends us. We might want some space for a little while, but it’s not a deal breaker. Same goes for marriage, we don’t need to call off the marriage because I want a dog and he wants a cat, or he wants to hang out with his friends when I want a date night. We work through our troubles and grow closer to one another. When we argue we do so lovingly and respectfully. There is no benefit to use cutting remarks like, “I should have married Johnny.” That isn’t going to help the case or bring resolution to the problem. It is going to add fuel to the fire and slice into our guy’s trust bank. It’s better to alleviate the worry or doubt when thinking through the problems: he is the one. There’s no use trying to justify a desire to run away or leave the relationship.

Before marriage, before boyfriends, and before pursuing a guy there should be a holy pursuit of God. As we build upon our relationship with the Lord He will reveal our identity and purpose in life. That identity enlivens and strengthens us for the work He has prepared for us. The rest of our lives are spent working and cultivating that beautiful responsibility.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Eph. 2:10

Marriage is a sign of a heavenly connection for which we yearn. A man loves a woman as Christ loves the Church. A woman respects and submits to a man as the Church does to Christ. There are many earthly signs of heavenly realities. In the Old Testament it talks meticulously about measurements and images of an earthly temple built for the Lord. The temple was a replica of the heavenly throne. It doesn’t even come close to the heavenly beauty, but it is an earthly example. When compared to the imagery and description God puts into marriage as an example of a heavenly relationship with Him, it is just a foretaste of future glory. Marriage is an earthly example of Christ and His Bride. So, even as beautiful and exemplary as marriage might be, it is only an illustration of what we truly aim for: eternity with Christ. Our true contentment is wrapped up in that relationship–Christ and His Church. When we understand that purpose we are able to depict a clearer picture of marriage to the world as we love sacrificially and unconditionally.

 

Disclaimer: This concept is based on what I believe a marriage could be. I am not speaking from experience. I have been proposed to more times than I can count on both hands, but I am confident there is someone indescribably better for me: a compilation of the right character, calling, and personality in a guy. The truth behind “the one” is that it is a choice we make. I will wait for the one I choose to be my one and only. I understand that marriage is not simple and it is not a solution to some dark hole of emptiness. It is an opportunity to bring all the beautiful uniqueness of my life and my experiences into a recipe with another guy’s life and experiences to create an even more beautiful picture of God. I understand that marriage is a blessing. It is a chance to share life with another and to give sacrificially and love wholeheartedly. I’m not going to put pressure on the poor guy to measure up to “the one.” Instead, it’s a choice we make. I will take responsibility for my choice. When I do say yes, I understand full-well that he is going to be “the one” for me by choice, not default.


The Power of Music

Music is influential in our senses, imaginations and learning techniques. This powerful tool is directly linked to the brain waves. It can heal anxiety, depression, insomnia, and short attention spans. It brings alertness, attentiveness, and self-awareness. But it can be used for destructive purposes as well. When we saturate our minds and spirits with lyrics about making love in clubs, it warps our perspective on love. How can we expect to make solid choices when we are dousing our minds with selfish lust-filled stories that dim our spirit’s shimmering light?

I caught myself strumming my pencil to a song…

“You can have whatever you like. If you want it you can get it my dear, 5 million-dollar home… I want your body, I need your body. As long as you got me you won’t need nobody. You want it, I got it. Baby, you can have whatever you like.”

Other than the grammatical errors, the message is plain and clear: I’ll give you money and material items to make you happy and you give me your body in return. I liked the beat of this song, but it wasn’t until I caught a word or two that I started hearing the lyrics for the first time. I was mortified that I could be so pleasantly moved by such a song. The Bible says, “Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). We need to be cautious of what we allow to filter into our systems. Those songs are seeping into our hearts. How can we listen to the words and not be influenced by them?

We are mistaken if we think these outlets of entertainment have zero effect on our interaction with members of the opposite gender. The more we feed on this monstrous, decaying cadaver the more we will see through the eyes of death. Likewise, when we feed from the grazing territories of God’s hope and truth, life abounds.  I’ve concluded it isn’t even worth it to intoxicate my spirit with the catchy tunes.

A healthy lifestyle takes some hard steps of self-control, 20/20 vision for people’s worth and a deeper respect for our spirits. We have to make some tough choices. There is junk food in each of us that must be eliminated. Take time to search out these frivolous time-consumers. It is almost unrealistic to go cold turkey on entertainment and all forms of media, but I highly respect anyone who aims for it. Some of us shifted things around a bit slower, we realized all this gorging on immoral media could create a throng of obese fakes. How can we expect God to speak to us if we are invading His temple with junk? We have to let go of this mindset: It’s all about me. My life, my choices, my rights. That life is short-lived, wasted, and meaningless in the end. We have an incredible chance to be a part of history: HIS-story. Our part can and will impact people. I would rather have the role of an extra in the greatest story ever told than the selfish star in a dull, rundown, typical story that lasts but a pencil prick compared to the space of time. Why waste away, wishing for excitement like the character of a favorite movie? Life is happening here and now. The adventure is right in front of us, beckoning us to join. We must lose some of the excess weight called entertainment. We need to run toward the finish line and claim the grand Prize. In Christ alone, my glory shines.

It may feel like a huge sacrifice to give up large quantities of Hollywood entertainment. It may even hurt a bit. But the unfathomable freedom and refreshment is worth it. The pain is a beneficial pain, like exercise. We persevere if we want results. We make right choices daily. It isn’t just a spring cleaning of the soul and then we’re done for the next six months. We can’t just throw out all the bad CDs, movies, magazines, TV shows one day and expect to check off the list of good deeds for the year. It takes daily discipline to keep our minds pure and our hearts fresh. The thoughts and dreams of our hearts will surely come out in our actions and behaviors. Whether some are going cold turkey or giving up one thing at a time, or just thinking of giving up depraved music, it will be out of love for Christ that any of us follow through and take the steps toward freedom. We obey because we love Him. We make wise choices because we want to please Him. He is HOLY, and we are His children. We are to represent Him. The only way we can do that is by living in the aperture of His Spirit. There is a soft and gentle conscience to be gained here. When our conscience is sensitive and sweet, purity will enfold us. And purity in heart is the ultimate goal because, “Blessed are those who are pure in heart for they shall SEE God,” –Matt. 5:8. Ready to catch a glimpse of God?

Music activates multiple regions of the brain which is why it has such a global impact on us. Our emotions, memory, immune systems, stress responses are affected by music. Let us reclaim this powerful outlet for God’s glory. He made everything and saw that it was good. Music, love, and words were created for God’s glory. Next time I listen to my favorite playlist I will do so with the glory of God in mind and a heart willing to give up anything for Him.

“I don’t want to talk about You like You’re not in the room.

I want to look right at You. I want to sing right to You.

…Give me undistracted devotion for only You.”

 –Misty Edwards, Dove’s Eyes


Test Drives & Motocross Riders

“Let’s take it for a test drive.” John was a good-looking, successful bachelor. He liked organization and perfection. He would not compromise on one particular issue. He fell in love with Janis, but wouldn’t marry her until they took the [sexual] test drive to prove their compatibility. Janis stood firm in her belief to wait until marriage. Inevitably, their great relationship dissipated since neither would compromise on this important issue. However, in many cases, women are duped into the test-drive pit-stop. They start dating a guy who is nice, independent, financially set, and virtually perfect… until he drops this line, “How will we know we’re a perfect fit unless we take the test drive?” It makes a little sense, but most women aren’t convinced and need more coaxing, so the next lines ensue, “It’s an important investment so I’m not willing to commit unless I know it works for me. Like buying a house, or a new car, I have to make sure everything is perfect.” So it’s a big investment for him, that’s understandable. Unlike his material investments, he’s not buying a woman. Unless, she’s in a country where dowries are set and brides are purchased. To be blunt, he can’t demand to test drive a human being.

We think it’s our responsibility to take care of these guys and keep them happy. At what expense though? Is it our own virtue? That is a line that should not be crossed. God will never ask us to give our purity away. Why should we listen to a guy when he asks or demands it?

I was enamored by a pro motocross rider named Jake. He was an adrenaline-junkie, manly to the max, ruggedly handsome good looks, and purebred bad boy. He ignited the rebel in me. The fire in his eyes was mesmerizing. There was a great allure to fall for this impossible relationship. It was easy to get sucked in with no commitments attached. We were extremely affectionate with each other, but my boundaries were as intact as an electric fence. I wouldn’t go beyond my comfort zone or into roll-around-the-floor-“wrestling”-territory. He was respectful, surprisingly. One day, we had a little conversation about my stance. He inquisitively asked, “So, you won’t sleep with anyone until you get married?” “Yes, that’s right.” “Why on earth would you do that? Don’t you want to practice and have a little fun first?” “I’ll have plenty of fun when I get married. Until then, I don’t need to go there.” He sputtered, “Well then, marry me! We can fix this right now!” I wish I could say I wasn’t flattered by his words. But he was something special. Still, I couldn’t imagine myself with him. I liked him, but would never tether myself to this tempestuous man. And truly, he was really just asking for the thing I wouldn’t give until the seal of matrimony. Guys are smart and some know exactly which manipulation tactic brings results. Some use the “test drive” theory, while others stride down the commitment tract under pretense in order to get what they want. We have to see past the users and abusers, the bad boys and the rebels. I’ve encountered the bad boys and had my heart flutter from the whirlwind of risk and danger. But as my heart grows softer toward Christ and the life He has for me, I find my attraction taste has changed. The bad boy, no matter how great looking his shell, does not appeal to me in the same manner. I wouldn’t marry him so why waste my attraction and affection on him? There is something beautiful about the heart of a man after God’s will. I want to be the kind of person I would look for in a relationship. If I chase after God and pursue His will above all, I will encounter like-minded guys. If we know this and keep pursuing the wrong relationships, our hearts will grow harder and colder toward purity. It is crucial to see the truth and turn from old patterns, especially when it comes to bad boys and the temptation to let our hair down in the presence of fleshly freedom.

The philosophy that we can play now and not pay later is a lie. There will always be consequences attached to games with the bad boys and test drives with the rebels.


Hi! I’ll Take An STD To Go, Please!

“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” –Ezekiel 36:26-27

I went into a doctor’s office and saw a sign on the wall stating as many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STI/STD by age 25 and most won’t even know it. Wait a minute! Let’s take a quick second to break that down. That means if I am a young person who does NOT have an STD currently, I just need to have sex with one person. Because one in two means if I don’t then he probably does. According to the Center of Disease Control, half of the estimated 19 million sexually transmitted infections that are reported each year are of the age group below 25 years. If the above poster is remotely true, then the statistics we may read about STDs are only reporting a percentage of the actual cases. Many people have STDs and don’t know it. There are three options here. Option 1: we close our eyes and go on a comfortable and sexually experimental path, like the obvious majority. Option 2: we gain a greater awareness and learn to practice physically safe sex, well until some fall into the unfortunate few that experience a casualty the “safe” way. Or option 3: the safest sex is no sex until marriage. This is also the only emotionally safe sex. Option 2 does not eliminate the emotional damage and heart break that always come from sex outside of marriage.

Before anyone can make a conclusive decision, let us delve into each notch in the spectrum. The more knowledge we have the more appropriate our choices will be. Each person is responsible for their own actions, and their own life. I respect people’s choices, but I also love people too much to stay silent concerning the truth. Now, I’ve heard some radical stances on courtship. Perhaps it is a surprise to hear, but I’m not on THAT end of the spectrum. I neither promote courtship nor do I support dating in its fullest capacity according to current society.

As time passes, darkness floods into all facets of our world. It is crazy what we may see when we turn on the television or saunter by the magazine stand, or the tone of obscenities we may hear coming from the two ten-year-olds in line behind us. We need to be aware of what is going on around us. As Christians, we cannot look the other way or close our eyes to society’s behaviors and expect to walk away unharmed. Be in the world, but not of the world, Jesus says. We can’t hide from it, but we can’t join in and justify with the typical line, “Well, everyone’s doing it.” That doesn’t work when we stand before the Throne. We will be held accountable. God loves us too much to let us walk through life blindly.

I love hearing the stories of women walking in purity. I am elated by the choices they make. If anyone has slipped up, gotten off track, or turned their back on purity for a time, I’m sitting in that circle, too. I have been in some rough patches. I have slipped up on my standards. The beautiful note here is that God has not given up on any of us. It is for that reason I stand here today with some sore spots and a pure promise. For the bad choices I’ve made in life, I’ve been forgiven. The memories are reminders of how gracious my Father in Heaven is and how He has protected me along the way even when I stepped off His ordained path. I’d like to think my pain can help guide others in the decisions they will make concerning relationships. It isn’t worth it to walk in the footsteps of the world. The world makes it look fun sometimes, but it only fosters pain and discontentment. Each selfish step is one step closer to death.

“For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)


Dark Coal To Shimmering Diamond

As important as it is to be attracted to our companion, it is equally important to be leery of the tantalizing lures of attraction. In almost every case where I liked a guy, something stood in the way of a relationship; whether age, religion, or marital status-all barriers I consider deal-breakers. But it is not easy to just turn off the switch of attraction. We have to be very careful of the emotions we allow into our daily thoughts and those with which we toy. An affair, pornography addiction, home-wrecker, and friends with benefits don’t just happen overnight.  The actions are dwelt upon in the mind and heart first. Attraction is only what we allow it to be. I won’t condemn attraction. I think it is important. But not all attraction is healthy and wholesome. We can’t just do whatever feels good. We can’t fall for just anyone our eyes deem worthy of our interest. Our emotions can have a voracious appetite for hapless victims. We must understand the importance of commitment and love so that we don’t allow our attractions to run wild and free for whomever they choose.

What do I do when he is dreamy AND eligible?

Many guys have made my heart skip a beat or two. I’ve learned the most exhilarating way of handling these feelings. Crushes don’t have to be disastrous cases with heart-wrenching endings. They can be fun and wholesome. When I have feelings for someone and catch myself thinking about him often, I have to heed caution: do I think about him more than I do about God? Am I more excited to spend time with him than I am with God? If the answer is yes then my heart is not in the right place. So I do the only thing my humanity can handle; I pray. Any time I start thinking about dreamy guy, I don’t fantasize or role play different scenarios in my head like a plot in a romance movie. Instead, I pray to God for the guy’s character to be strengthened, his future wife to be protected from impurity, his own heart to be protected from impurity, and his life to be a glorious example of God’s kind of man. The more I think of the guy, the more I pray for him. As I pray to the God of all creation, a shift takes place within my heart. It isn’t just giddy feelings when I think of the guy, now it’s excitement for his future. The extraordinary happens when God transforms so much of that crush into a true Christlike love. I am protective of the guy and want to even guard his heart from my own feelings. Any time thereafter when I’m interacting with him, I am mindful of what I say and do so that his heart is not manipulated into liking me. I learn to control the flirtation because I truly care about the guy and his best interest. If it is within God’s plan that the two of us are supposed to be together, it is going to be through a healthy foundation, not flirty actions and tons of teasing. I don’t want to manipulate my way into a relationship. As I’ve seen, those relationships usually don’t last and tend to result in turmoil and heart break.

Take this experiment for a spin. Try praying for your next crush every time you think of the person. Watch in amazement as God transforms a mere crush into pure and selfless love. It is invigorating. If and when the crush disintegrates, you will be so much freer not having experienced the freight train of emotions torturing your heart for the entirety of the crush.

When given the option of following my flighty emotions or my knowing spirit, I will choose spirit every time. I would much rather follow God’s truth in the matter than experience the heart ache of wrong choices due to frivolous feelings.


The Seduction Slip N’ Slide

From the moment she walks in the room she commands attention. Every eye is on her. There is a way about her. The batting of her eyes, the mischievous smile, the toying giggle, and that welcoming body language; we all know we’ve seen or behaved in this manner. One of my friends has a gorgeous outer appearance. She’s had a lot of cosmetic work done and lives for attention. She is a lot of fun to be around, has the most generous attitude, and would do anything for her friends. That is, until a man-any man-walks in the room. Her entire aura changes. Her laugh gets obnoxiously loud, her posture more inviting, and she bats her teasing eyes in the guy’s direction. I can’t really single her out as abnormal. It happens all the time. Our emotional state says so much about what we truly value in life. Relationships seem to be the basis of our planet’s attention. And there is nothing wrong with that. After all, we were created for relationship. However, our contorted views of relationships are getting us in trouble. We feed off media’s perceptions of relationships and follow the world’s way of doing things. And yet, it is we who should be leading the example of relationships. The world cries out for something real, but doesn’t know how to practice the self-control in order to wait for it.

It is bedtime, a young girl is snuggled up in her warm, comfy bed, her favorite princess pajamas on and her teddy bear wrapped in her arms. It is the anticipated story time with her endearing father. It’s a fairytale story-THE BEST fairytale story! It is exciting, romantic, and everything she’s ever wanted. The Prince is heroic. He’s an amazing warrior with just the right amount of charm and wit. He is fighting for the Princess he loves and adores. As the story goes on, getting more exciting, it just can’t be read fast enough! She is so anxious to hear what happens next that she grabs the book from her daddy’s hands-ripping some pages as she jerks it away. Whoops! Oh well, so she misses a few details, there’s still a whole book and she’s not missing TOO much of the story. The next dilemma presents itself. She can’t read! She is just a child. And her imagination isn’t big enough to recreate the story. The only solution is to give the book back to her daddy, so he can finish the story.

We are like that little girl. God is the father. Not only is he the reader, He is the author of the book. God has written our love stories. We’re seeing them play out before our very eyes. Every time we take our hearts away from God and give them to guys, we are ripping a page or two. Spiritually we’re not able to read the future, and don’t know how the perfect story is supposed to continue. We are unable to replicate His ultimate story with our ‘immediate-results’ mentality. We only see the current dilemmas of insecurity, loneliness, or impatience. If we rush into a relationship with any of these motives, we’re headed for disaster. None of us know the future, but that’s the beauty of TRUSTING God with our hearts and stories. He knows our tomorrow’s. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” -Psalm 139:16.

If Pharaoh had listened to Moses in the beginning things would have been easier for him. Every time he said no something tragic took place. He faced terrible consequences every time he shook his head and hardened his heart to Moses and to God. Each time brought its own repercussions. The worst came when Pharaoh lost his only son. I think that happens to us too. He keeps asking for our hearts. When we say no and take control of our “story,” something BAD happens. We face consequences. And they are painful and lasting. God gives us chances, but each time we say “no,” the consequences get worse. Ultimately, our hearts do belong to Him. When we accept Him as Savior, then all we have is His . . .  especially our hearts and bodies. Luke 9: 23-24, ““If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” He does not say this to dictate our every move, He is offering LIFE through a walk with Him.

Time and time again, our feeble humanity draws us back. When we make compromises the damage is harsh. We were not meant to go from partner to partner in life. A lot of mistrust can be built through broken relationships which is consequentially carried into the next relationship. A guy can make a certain move, triggering an old wound and we may subconsciously react, building up walls, and lashing out all in the name of self-preservation. The human heart can contain so much pain. It is unbearable at first, when the wounds are fresh. But over time, it mends itself and leaves small scars as reminders. But what happens if the wound is reopened continually? Take a physical wound for instance, if you persistently pick at the scab or reopen the wound, it will become infected. It works the same emotionally. We all make mistakes. The true test is if we can turn from those sins and learn from our mistakes. I do have scars. I have made bad choices and caused my heart pain. But I’ve learned from those mistakes and put up road blocks in my wake. The road of sexual immorality is a dangerous, slippery, rocky road with plenty of mudslides. I’m pretty sure God gave me a flat tire before I could ever reach the turn off to that road. I’m thankful I haven’t given my heart to some guy and watched him rip it to shreds. But I have chosen alcohol, flirtation, and lip-locking in past situations so I have had a glimpse of where the road leads. I feel nothing but remorse over those actions. I truly wish I had more self-respect in my adolescence. I pray you take these words to heart. They are not meant to hinder your fun. They are only meant to help steer you on a healthy road of adventure minus the gut-wrenching pain of heart break.

Whether we’re steeped in confidence or drowning in insecurity, these decisions are life changing. And they are affecting the beautiful personalities that make us who we are. Each decision toward impurity slashes deeper into the sweet and wholesome innocence. But each step toward purity brings an innocent glow and an undeniably healthy heart.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” -Prov. 4:23


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