Category Archives: Uncategorized

2012

Standard

2012 was an interesting year. My main goal, regarding my blog, was to write regularly. Achieved! My frequently referred-to New Year’s Resolution for 2012 was to overcome any unhealthy fear of relationship. Still in progress. Then there was that challenge issued and accepted partway through the year to go on a date. Achievement debatable… As for 2013? I’m not really sure what I’d like to see happen. I suppose I will resolve to continue the work in conquering my fear of relationship. And I do plan to regularly contribute to my blog. I guess we’ll just have to see how the year plays out.

Just for the sake of memories, take a look at my top 5 most viewed posts in 2012:

  1. Dear Men Who Want Me: https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/dear-men-who-want-me/ I laughed really hard when I saw that this was my number 1 post… 🙂
  2. The Practice Date https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-practice-date/
  3. Valentine’s Day… https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/valentines-day/
  4. Flirt to Convert: Prelude to a Coffee Encounter https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/flirt-to-convert-prelude-to-a-coffee-encounter/
  5. Barefoot and Single https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/barefoot-and-single/

ENJOY!

Falling in Love

Standard

I’ve been hearing about that little phrase an awful lot lately. Emphasis on awful. Hear me out on this. I do not have anything against love. It’s the “falling into it” thing that bothers me.

I'm not the only one who thought of it...

I’m not the only one who thought of it…

Multiple people have asked me lately how I would feel if I fell in love and [had to tell everyone I was getting married, decided to move, gave up my cat lady blog, whatever – complete the sentence however you would like]. My verbal response differs, depending on who I am speaking to and how well that person knows me. But my inward response stays the same every time: I don’t fall in love.

“Falling in Love” carries with it an attitude of romance and euphoria for most. Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn’t live up to its glamorous reputation.

I usually hear the term used to excuse responsibility for making stupid decisions. You know, the usual stuff:

  • I’m moving across the country to live with [that weirdo creeper] I met online. I’ve fallen in love.
  • We didn’t need to wait to get married. By the end of two weeks we knew we had fallen in love!
  • It didn’t matter that he had no job, no savings, no home, and no car. [It didn’t matter that his mother kicked him out for being a lazy slob.] I fell in love.
  • I knew he had a drinking problem and some anger issues. But I never thought he would hit me! I fell in love.
  • I wanted to be a good mother. I never planned on leaving my husband. But I fell in love with someone else.

I could continue. But I won’t. It drives me crazy. When people tell me that a couple fell in love, and that is why they are acting the foolish way that they are, I kind of want to mutter under my breath, “Well if they were paying any attention to where they were going – they wouldn’t have fallen… Morons.”

It’s not that I don’t like romance. It’s not that I can’t be influenced by sweet gestures or charming words. It’s just that love is a very powerful four-letter word. It’s not something that I want to just fall into. I prefer to gingerly step or perhaps cautiously slide into it. I feel as if a relationship should be entered with wisdom. Where there is not an abundance of wisdom, there is typically an abundance of foolishness.  As I’ve made clear, falling into love too often ends poorly. After all, if a person falls in love, completely by chance or by accident, that person can just as easily fall out of love. If they couldn’t help themselves on the way into the relationship, it stands to reason that they won’t be able to help themselves on the way out of the relationship. Hence, the divorce rate in America.

On the other hand, if one carefully plants a foot into love, and then steps more fully into it with the other foot, that same person must knowingly step out of love in the future if s/he ever wants to leave the relationship. The silly excuses disappear. When a choice to love is made, the person who made that choice accepts responsibility in that relationship. It’s no longer a coin flip as to whether or not the relationship will last. A relationship entered by practical choice still has room for butterflies and warm fuzzies. The wonderful feeling that most associate with “falling in love” can still be found when two people “step into love” instead. How do I know? Although my expertise is in singleness, I have been in love. And I didn’t fall into it. I hesitantly stepped in. And although things didn’t work out as I hoped they might, I would not trade the experience for any of my friends’ “falling in love” experiences. In fact, I find that conscious choice leads to a far more romantic situation. It’s nice to feel loved by someone who is temporarily blinded with giddy enthusiasm to all my flaws and weaknesses. But it’s absolutely fabulous when someone who can clearly see my flaws shows love to me. You mean, even after you’ve discovered all of these horrible things about me – you STILL want to be with me? WOW!

In fact, it kind of reminds me of Jesus and His love for humankind even after we rejected Him and crucified Him… Doesn’t the Bible suggest a husband should love his wife in that same manner? Hmmmm….

If you find yourself falling in love, please consider my words. Stop, catch your footing, and come to a decision. Is this relationship truly worth stepping into? Are you ready to be selfless? Are you capable of putting another person’s hopes, feelings, dreams, needs ahead of your own? Are you prepared to commit yourself to that one individual for the rest of your life no matter what hardships you encounter? Can you clearly see this person’s flaws and have you considered them? Has this person been given opportunity to see YOUR flaws and make the same consideration? If so, blessings in your relationship. If you’re not even close to that point, grab a hold of something and pull yourself out of whatever you’ve fallen into. It’s better to get those things over with now than it will be later.

Can't the brain and heart learn to work together?

Can’t the brain and heart learn to work together?

One last thing: if you ever see me “falling”, please scream these words back at me – or just beat me with a stick until I come to my senses. I’m sure I will appreciate the gesture someday. Just make sure you don’t confuse my “consciously stepping” for “falling”. Because if I’m consciously stepping, I might turn around and beat you back. 😉

Cat in a Box

Standard

It’s closing in on the end of the year. There has been a lot on my mind.

For one thing, my best friend gave me a time limit on The Challenge (https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/the-challenge/). I know I haven’t really given any updates on The Challenge…

My thoughts have been… well… Define “date”.

That definition makes all the difference, really. According to some, I’ve been on a few dates since then. According to me, none of those outings were dates. But for the sake of completing the challenge I would be happy to call them dates.

The Challenge isn’t the only thing that has been on my mind, however. As a new year approaches, I cannot help but recall my New Year’s resolution for 2012. I stood in a group and requested prayer regarding my fear of relationship. Well, that is partially true. I asked for prayer regarding a specific fear – but never mentioned which one. Nonetheless, throughout the year I tried to move forward in conquering that fear.

And I thought I was doing well after I returned from Jamaica. At one point I thought to myself, I feel as if I am more ready now to be in a relationship than I ever have been before… Unfortunately, a few days later a friend of mine told me I was due for a boyfriend and I completely panicked. What do you mean I’m due? Why would I need a boyfriend? I’d rather just be single… I like being single…. Don’t tell me I’m due!

The fact is, I probably am due for a relationship. But stepping into a relationship would require stepping out of my comfortable box. My cat made himself at home tonight in a cardboard box that I have out. I feel like that picture may accurately portray my situation. Although my box is getting kind of small, and it is even starting to bust, I do not want to leave it. There is a certain level of peace inside those walls.

DSCF0432

Song of the Single (Paradise Uganda)

Standard

Isaiah 54:1Ugandan children 3

“Sing, O barren,

You who have not borne!

Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,

You who have not labored with child!

For more are the children of the desolate

Than the children of the married woman,”

says the Lord.

During a visit with my pastor’s family on Monday, a familiar longing stirred within me. Pastor’s three year-old cuddled into my side and asked me to look through a book with her. I miss children.

Earlier that evening her seven year-old brother handed me pages torn from a coloring book. He had colored them especially for me, eager both to earn my recognition and to share his affection. Just a few days prior I had glanced sadly at my refrigerator, noting the absence of artwork from children who love me. Although it is covered with photographs and magnets, it seemed strangely bare. I smiled proudly at his artwork, thrilled to accept his decorative gifts. Who needs museums? Who needs professionals? I much prefer a child’s masterpiece.

DSCF0422DSCF0423

Tonight I discovered some podcasts about a project involving children from Uganda. My friend and a few other dedicated musicians are working to create change in the lives of these children and in the world by recognizing their beautiful voices. These children are talented, and they’ve gone too long unrecognized. They have incredible stories to tell, but they’ve been widely ignored. They have songs to sing; it’s about time somebody listened. Could there be any sweeter sound than that of a child rejoicing?

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/news-paradise-uganda-part-i/

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/news-paradise-uganda-part-ii/

As I listened to clips of these children singing during the podcasts, tears formed in my eyes. I want to be with the children. I want to be where the children are, do what the children do. I want to sing with the children.

I’ve never even met these children, but my heart longs for them. I’m not musical – not even slightly. The lady in the podcast mentions the rhythm that comes so naturally to those little ones and memories flood back to me. I laugh as I recall dancing with the deaf children in Jamaica. Dancing goes hand in hand with music. Both require rhythm. I was told all Jamaican women could dance. I soon learned that the beautiful teenaged girls at the deaf school – who couldn’t even hear the music they were dancing to – had more rhythm than I did… I suddenly believed the statements were true. All Jamaican women can dance. And I became all the more aware of my own fallibilities.

Ugandan children 2

Why do I yearn to be with these talented young ones? What do I have to offer them? The musicians who’ve taken an interest in these children’s lives can provide them with guidance, training, and opportunities to share their songs. But I’m no musician. What could I possibly give?

I have a mommy’s heart. And as a single woman with no children of my own, that mommy’s heart has an abundance of love eager to flow into these kids’ lives. I cannot count the number of times others have asked me about a desire for children when they hear that I enjoy being single. They are shocked to hear that I don’t really long for children of my own. Sometimes they refuse to believe me. But it’s true! There are so many children in this world already who are hungry for love! I want to love the children who are already here.

Ugandan children

In my travels, I have discovered that children often put me on a pedestal – simply because I am an adult, I am American, I am white. What happens when a small child who has been devalued stands next to woman she idolizes? “Sing, O barren woman!” What happens when that same child realizes that she is more talented than that woman? I may fall off my pedestal, but more importantly that child begins to recognize her own gifting. She feels a touch more self-confident. She feels special. And she often laughs at me. These moments – these awkward, embarrassing displays of my own inadequacies, produce some of the most wonderful memories.

I do not need to be married or birth children. I just need to be around children who need to be loved. I want to love them. I want to appreciate them. I want to delight in the talents of my children – not the children who bear my name, but the children all over this world that God intends for me to mother. I’m just a single girl, thrilled to be a mommy. And although it won’t sound pretty, I will lift my voice to sing about it!

me and the philippino kids

Looking for a Fight

Standard

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been begging for a fight. Maybe it is just my confrontational nature. Maybe my inner Lady Thor is getting restless. But I practically yearn for disagreement.

A lot of people hate to fight. They avoid arguments at all costs. I’m not one of those people.

I’m not saying I want to bash anyone’s head in. I’m not saying that I like to be vicious.

What I am saying is this: a fight isn’t always such a bad thing.

It’s amazing how context plays such a huge role in a sentiment. For instance:

“She’s a fighter!”

What do you envision when you read that statement? Does a picture change your perspective?

 

Sometimes a fight is completely uncalled for. Sometimes a fight is okay. Sometimes a fight is absolutely necessary! It all depends. What are we fighting about? What are we fighting for? How are we fighting?

As pessimistic as I am about relationships, I have a confession. Unlike most people, I am actually attracted to a man who is willing to fight with me. I’m not saying that my dream-man is abusive. I’m saying that I’d like a guy with a backbone. I cringe when I hear my friends say that they’ve never really disagreed with their significant others.

Never? Not about anything?

“Well, we disagreed about something once. But we chose not to discuss it. It’s not really that big of a deal. We see eye to eye about everything else.”

Right. Everything else. No other differences of opinion. I believe you – really I do…

Some people fight all of the time about everything. That’s definitely not healthy. But other people refuse to fight about anything ever. I submit the notion that that isn’t healthy either. You see, as evidenced by the picture of the cancer patient above, some things are worth fighting for. I feel like a relationship – if it has any lasting potential whatsoever – is one of those things.

While others look at a couple who always get along and say, “They are going to make it in life because they have so much in common!”

I say, “They obviously aren’t communicating. No two people agree on everything always. Unless someone gets brave enough to disagree out loud – they are doomed!”

So when I’m feeling the way I do – hungry for a fight – it’s not just because I’m hostile or confrontational. I’m wondering if anyone finds their relationship with me important enough to fight for. I’m wondering if anyone thinks my opinion is significant enough to disagree with. If communicating is a struggle, will you give up on me and move on? Or will you exert the effort necessary to understand and to be understood? I’m searching for someone with a bit of self-confidence.

In a man, confidence is a huge turn-on. (Note: I said confidence, not arrogance.) A man is supposed to be the leader in a marital relationship. If a man cannot even stand up to me, how can I possibly expect him to lead me?

Do you value my thoughts enough to consider them and reflect upon them? Do you value your own thoughts enough to voice them if you disagree with mine?  Do you have the self-assurance to stand up to me? Is a relationship with me truly worth fighting for?

Or would you prefer something more surface-level? Let’s not make waves with a disagreement. If that’s what you want, then I suppose that’s okay. But don’t be surprised when I walk away. Cuz I’m looking for a fight.

The Runner’s High

Standard

 My mom called me up one day to tell me she bought a book for me from the thrift store. She knows that I read tons of book about singleness and relationships and psychology. Sometimes I read them simply because I think I may write about them on here. Other times I read them because they truly fascinate me. She thought this one might pique my interest.

I glanced over the front cover: The Commitment Cure: What to Do When You Fall for an Ambivalent Man. What does ambivalent mean? I flipped the book over and was relieved to discover that I must not be the only person unfamiliar with that term. On the back, in dictionary format, I read the definition of “ambivalence” followed by the definition of “ambivalent man”.

How does the author, Rhonda Findling, define ambivalence? Ambivalence is “the existence of mixed feelings toward someone or something. Difficulty in reaching a decision.” As for the “ambivalent man”, he is the “one who exhibits or feels ambivalence toward women; one who plays games. He wants a relationship; he wants to break up. He’s confused, mixed up, inconsistent, and unpredictable. Yet he’s irresistable and easy to fall in love with . . . and almost sure to cause a broken heart.”

Good to know. I opened the book. To give some background, I already mentioned that I did not pick this book up by myself. It was given to me. With that in mind, I quickly realized that I am not the typical reader that this book would be directed toward. Findling’s target audience would be women who are unhappy in relationships that seem to lack commitment or a stable future. She calls to women who want the men they love to quit messing with them and marry them! As a cat lady, I don’t exactly fall into that target audience. I don’t want anyone I’m dating to take our relationship more seriously. That would be difficult, since I’m not dating anyone… I don’t yearn for a man to commit to me in marriage. I’m pretty happy while single. I’m really just reading this book for the sake of curiosity. Nothing more, nothing less.

Findling describes a handful of categories that ambivalent men fall into. Just like a criminal is more specifically labeled by his crime, she labels these ambivalent men more particularly by their behaviors. In Chapter 1, she describes the first kind of ambivalent man; The Runner.

As I sail through the first few pages, I’m dumbfounded by Findling’s description of “The Runner”. I feel slightly uncomfortable. Is it just my imagination, or does this Runner sound a lot like myself?

Although it is packed with information, and loaded with psychological observations (Findling is a psychotherapist), I found this book to be a quick read. As she describes and labels these men who avoid commitment, run from relationship, use women, manipulate others’ feelings, and criticize marriage, I picture several men I know and place them in the most appropriate categories. I’m amazed by how many I know who may be described as ambivalent. In fact, most of the men that I’ve found myself infatuated with could be described as ambivalent. Why is that?

Towards the end of the book, the author begins to address the reasons women are drawn toward ambivalent men. As she rattles off ideas, I find myself wondering why she doesn’t mention the ambivalent woman. After so closely identifying with the runner, I quickly realized that I find a noncommittal attitude attractive in men because I am also noncommittal. I am comfortable with his lack of stability because long-term relationships still terrify me. And yet, chapter after chapter, Findling neglects to mention the ambivalent woman. There are 18 chapters altogether. Finally, in Chapter 16, she directs her attention to girls like me.

There is a 10 question test in this chapter to help a woman determine whether or not she may be ambivalent. The author says that any woman who answers “yes” to at least three questions is very likely ambivalent. My score? Yes to 8. Kind of to 1. I could only give a straight-forward “no” to one question out of the ten. At least I’m self-aware and pegged myself in the first chapter…

I am quite comfortable running. It’s easy. It’s natural. Habitual, even. I run before I even get the chance to worry. Selfish, perhaps. And hurtful to others. The book made that clear. But comfortable. Unfortunately, I came to the decision earlier this year that I no longer want to run from relationship due to fear. Remember? Singleness is okay, as long as I remain single for healthy reasons… Fear, however, is not a healthy reason…

The problem is that running is ingrained. I’m not sure if I know how to stop. I sabotage the relationship before I even begin the relationship. I’ve tried to get past my tendency to sabotage a few times now, in the past few months. Ultimately, it never worked and I walked away feeling tremendously relieved. How do I quit running when running feels SO good? I find myself approaching another potential relationship right now – and I already want to run. I am trying to be positive. I am trying not to be cynical. And yet, I can’t say that I have high hopes. I don’t really feel like putting forth the effort necessary to date this guy. I’ve already contemplated the kindest way to let him down easy. I’m not sure if I know how to not run. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m capable. Perhaps I am addicted to the Runner’s High?

Welcome Home!

Standard

Mommy, it’s too early to shine a camera flash in my eyes!

<— I can’t imagine waking up to a cuter face. I was in Jamaica for twelve days. That’s it. My parents pick me and my friend up from the airport and give me a “welcome home” gift from two of my close friends. I drive to my apartment and find my kitty, delighted to see me, evidenced by mass quantities of cuddling and purring. I open up my refrigerator to discover more food than I could ever dream of eating by myself. I gave my brother some money and food to watch my cat and my apartment for me while I was gone and he blessed me with far more groceries than I gave him money to buy. He also shared all the stories of how miserable my cat was while I was gone and how Oreo would not let him sleep because he was not me.

Image

I’ve been home for four days now, and my cat is still acting ridiculously cuddly compared to usual. This is actually a beautiful thing – Jamaicans are such a warm people compared to Americans. I became accustomed to constant touch throughout the day… Hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, you name it. To have all that healthy touch ripped away from me is difficult. It sounds kind of funny, but my cat helps me cope.

Last night I went to play volleyball with some friends. At the end of the night, one of them apologized to me that everyone seemed to have paired off while I was gone. She mentioned how hard it must be to see that once I returned. She also noted how hard it must have been to go back to work after my trip.

But I don’t really feel that way. I feel pretty awesome actually. I may keep whining that I should have stayed in Jamaica [I do miss the friends I made, but mainly I whine just because I am a whiner baby.] But how many people go on vacation for less than two weeks and come back to welcome home gifts and a thousand “I missed you so much!”s from their friends? How many people return from vacation to find more food in their cupboards than when they left? How many singles come home to an animal eagerly waiting at the door for them because the house sitter just was not mommy? On the flip side, how many singles return home from vacation to an empty house with no pet to smother them with attention? How many women go on vacation and literally feel no reason to return home? How many people return home and wonder if anyone missed them at all?

I always go through a little bit of post-travel depression. I LOVE to travel, and each time I come home I wonder why I have not moved from this country yet. But it wasn’t so bad this time. This time I was too aware of how loved I am. My friends pairing off? It’s nice to see them happy. My job? There are worse jobs. I am blessed to have one that allows me these luxuries in life such as travel. Loneliness? What loneliness? God has surrounded me by people who love me. One of my new friends from Jamaica called me last night and he immediately asked me if I was okay. All I could think was, “Why wouldn’t I be okay?” No problem, Mon – life is good!

Jamaican Me Crazy

Standard

Mmmm….

I like my men the same way I like my coffee: Give me a man with a hazelnut mocha complexion who is sweet, sweet, sweet!

I just returned from Jamaica – a beautiful country known for its coffee. But the coffee isn’t what will stick in my memory… I couldn’t help but wonder why God sent me to this country full of gorgeous black men who like to flirt shamelessly with white women. My brother warned me that I would come home with a big head because Jamaican men love to tell women how beautiful they are. He was right. [As if I needed an ego boost…] To any and all American men who are reading this post, if you need help in the field of charming and/or pursuing women, I suggest you invest in a trip to Jamaica. Sit on the beach and watch. Just watch the men as they interact with the women. You will learn everything you need to know, I promise.

Snorkeling with Darren, the coolest lifeguard ever!!

I was treading water in the ocean and talking with some friends when I accidentally brushed my hand against the lifeguard’s hand. I immediately apologized. He looked at me curiously and asked me what I was apologizing about. I explained and he told me that I should not apologize for touching him. There is nothing wrong with that kind of touch. Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me toward him. Jamaican men are not shy. Although some claimed to be – they lied. They were SO NOT shy. A few may have felt like it compared to other Jamaicans – but stick one of those guys next to an American and he epitomizes bravery.

The lifeguard’s statement was simple. And yet profound. There isn’t anything wrong with touching a person’s hand. Why did I feel the need to apologize? What is there to be afraid of?

I kinda think God sent me to that beautiful island this year in order to loosen me up. God is known for His perfect timing… My trip to Jamaica was no exception.

Eccentricities

Standard

Headed for vacation (Jamaica!!!) this week, so I felt like it was time for a somewhat lighter post tonight. My big bro is coming to cat-sit for me while I’m away. Currently I am in the process of preparing my apartment for someone else to live in… In case you don’t know me, I am sort of a slob. Not to the point of “Oh, dear Lord, don’t enter that woman’s home without a gas mask!” But, I’m no Martha Stewart. There are certain things that I just don’t get around to cleaning very often…

I love to take baths, so my bathtub is cleaned quite frequently. However, my shower curtain hangs outside the bathtub during said bubble baths. While the tub gets scrubbed down, the curtain isn’t touched. Long story made short – tonight I wound up stomping out my shower curtain in a bathtub full of bleach water while wearing polka dot rainboots. How is that for a visual?

These are the moments that I chuckle to myself and realize that, if left to myself in singleness for another 20 or 40 years, my current eccentricities are going to transform me into one of those off-the-charts, crazy cat-ladies! I totally see how it happens. The quirks we all have (some of us more than others…) multiply and intensify. I’m sure I could continue with stories, but instead I am going to share a bunch of hilarious pictures I found referring to cat-ladies.  Enjoy!

This is where it begins….

 

This is where we go if we need training…

 

This is how we keep our cats from fighting with each other since we cannot send them all to separate rooms.

 

After we finally embrace our calling to be cat-ladies, the world will recognize that we are not actually crazy. We are superheroes. And we totally deserve action figures.

 

 

 

Sex and Vodka

Standard

It tastes like Swedish Fish! How could one resist?

I enter the liquor store and begin to browse the aisles. This is completely foreign territory for me. Less than ten minutes later I approach the counter and ask for direction. I will never find the bottle I’m looking for by myself. I’m clueless.

A few minutes later I am standing in the parking lot talking on the phone with my friend. She tells me how cute it is that I’m self-conscious about asking people for help in a liquor store. All of the sudden I realize how loudly I am discussing the fact that I just purchased vodka in a public parking lot. Who might hear me? What will they think?

A few distinct faces and their potential thoughts immediately enter my imagination… I need to get out of here…

I do not believe that drinking alcohol is sinful. The Bible clearly indicates that drunkenness is a bad thing. And addiction is quite obviously [biblical backup or not] a bad thing. But drinking in moderation? I don’t believe it is wrong. I’ve made this statement multiple times.

As a general rule, however, I do not drink. Primarily I avoid alcohol because I do not want to cause anyone else to stumble (I’ve had many friends who struggle with addiction) and because I do not want to develop any addiction myself. I have a rather addictive personality.

If you are wondering, “What is your point?” at the moment, I ask you to bear with me for just a tad bit longer.

Two of my friends had a really rough week. Things got particularly emotional regarding certain men in their lives. On Wednesday, after buying cherry red lipstick completely on whim, I suggested the three of us have a girl’s night out this Friday. Theme for the night: bold lip color. Why not? Nothing cheers up a woman better than making herself beautiful and then flaunting said beauty with others.

We were trying so hard not to laugh…

The plan? Dinner out. Drinks and chick flicks at home.

That’s when I drove off to the liquor store for drinks. Then that feeling of guilt washed over me. In my mind, I reviewed all of my personal convictions about alcohol. Why do I feel so uncomfortable? You see, I’m not even sure if I can describe my feeling as “guilty”. You see, I did not feel concerned that God would condemn my behavior. I only felt concerned about what other people would think. I kept reminding myself, “If what I am doing is not morally wrong, then I have no reason to feel ashamed right now!”

After dinner out, we hit the grocery store to pick up some lemon-lime pop to be mixed with the vodka I purchased earlier. I grab another drink I have been wanting to try. As long as I am drinking alcohol tonight, I might as well try everything I want. Then we run into a pastor we know who is just entering retirement. I give him a hug, alcoholic beverage in hand. Then we chat for about twenty minutes. The whole time we talk, I am wondering how he feels about the drink I am holding. Then I am arguing with myself that it shouldn’t matter. I have no reason to feel ashamed. We are not getting drunk tonight. He doesn’t say a word about the drink. (But he does compliment the lipstick ;))  We head for the soft drink aisle and I change my mind about the drink in my hand. After holding it for twenty minutes, I decide I don’t want to try it that badly – the vodka will be enough for tonight. I put it back and we leave.

Also trying to keep straight faces here.

Back at the apartment, we mix our drinks and watch our movie. True to our intentions, none of us get drunk. Not even tipsy. I had two drinks in the span of about three hours. No big deal.

Tonight, in the very same apartment, we had Bible Study. The discussion? Romans 2. Specifically, we talk about the word “conscience”. How much of our conscience is naturally placed within us by God and how much of it is formed due to training?  It hits me: this is exactly the issue that came up last night. I feel no natural convictions about drinking in moderation from God. But the churchianity view that all drinking is bad has nurtured my conscience in a different direction. In other words, at times I feel guilty about things I don’t have to feel guilty about. Although I did nothing wrong, I walked around half the night in shame. False shame.

What does all of this have to do with sex? Just like alcohol, sex brings with it a bad stigma. In all reality, it is a wonderful thing while experienced in the right context. In Ecclesiastes we learn that life is short, and therefore we should enjoy it!

Ecclesiastes 9:7-9

“Go, eat your bread with joy,

And drink your wine with a merry heart;

For God has already accepted your works.

Let your garments always be white,

And let your head lack no oil.

Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.”

We couldn’t help it… Started laughing.

We are advised to enjoy drinking wine and to enjoy marriage! We can live life – and live it happily – without either. Paul gives great argument for singleness. But if we choose to drink sometimes or to get married, we can enjoy both of those things to the fullest! The problem with the modern church is that  such things as alcohol and sex are emphasized so greatly as negatives, that many Christians aren’t sure how to enjoy them anymore.

Young adults enter marriage and do not know how to enjoy physical intimacy. Or worse, young adults do not enter marriage when they should – with the sentiment that they want to put God first. Putting God first is healthy. But it doesn’t always mean that we should neglect marriage. We have been forced to stifle our sexuality. Churches are teaching all kinds of things about sex. Some good. Some not so good. I’ve heard it taught that singles should not even kiss. Okay… I can understand some of the reasoning behind that mentality. But what is a bride going to go through when she transfers from “Do not touch him ever – kissing is sinful!” to “Everything is allowed. Your body is his and his is yours.” I’ve heard singles accused of idolatry simply for desiring a marriage relationship. Since when is desiring a husband sinful? Obsessing to the point of “I can’t think of anything else!” isn’t so hot. But let’s not bash the desire. In backlash to the sin of lust, many Christians seem to think that men and women should not even be attracted to one another. “Young man, if you have desire for that woman, you are in sin!” Not true! How about the practice of the Catholic church when they force clergy to commit to celibacy? A godly man who wants to become a priest in order to teach God’s word must stifle his sexuality in a way God likely never intended.

Touching on what I spoke about in “Yoke or Burn”, might I suggest that another reason Christian marriage is failing is due to this concept of false shame? Remaining celibate until marriage is difficult in itself. Magnify that difficulty by bringing shame upon actions that are actually okay and see what results. When you think about these things, I encourage you to study what the Bible truly teaches. Is this actually wrong? Or is that just the common rumor amongst churchgoers? Is this a healthy boundary in my relationship? Or am I putting up a wall in an effort to look more righteous? Am I single because God wants me to be single right now? Or am I fighting marriage in an effort to appear more devoted to Christ?

Drinking alcohol and having sex are very comparable. God intended both for good within a certain context. Both have unfortunately been tainted by the world. And in response to world, the church has taken them to the opposite extremes.