Reflections: Love, Respect, and Sex

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http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/voiceofhope/

Okay, I skipped a few weeks on responding to these 700 club episodes. I’ll admit, it is no coincidence that I procrastinated on this specific episode. For one thing, I’ve written a lot about sex recently. I kind of wanted a break. Bur another reason I avoided this one is because I’m simply not sure how to respond.

I agree with parts of the teacher’s philosophy. I’m not so sure about other parts. I agree that sex within marriage is God’s plan and that it is absolutely the best way to go. I don’t suggest sex outside of marriage. However, his words leave me wondering how a couple will readily embrace the sexual union inside of marriage after training themselves to stay so far away from it.

That is always my issue when I look at the church’s approach to sex. I feel like this “Bad, bad, bad, stay away!” approach immediately followed by “You’re married now! Everything goes!” is just a disaster waiting to happen. I’m not necessarily sure what else to suggest, however.

Purity isn’t the part I struggle with. Single purity that leads into married purity is the issue I struggle with – if that makes sense. I think the sky high divorce rates within the church are a decent indication that whatever the church is teaching about sex and marriage right now isn’t very effective. I still feel as if the church uses the words “lust” and “attraction” synonymously. And I don’t think they should be interchangeable. I believe there is an important line that separates the two. I’m just not sure if I could point out that line.

Your thoughts?

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The Green Monster

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Over and over I hear single women bemoan the fact that their friends are coupling off, tying the knot, and popping out little ones.

“When is it going to be my turn?” she wines.

“Why am I having such a hard time finding a man? All of my friends seem to be finding decent husbands!”

“Is there something wrong with me?”

I’ve never really considered myself the jealous type. My friend enters a relationship, and if I don’t automatically assume it will fail (since I’m somewhat cynical…) then I wish them the best. I sincerely hope it works out well. I’m not jealous because I LOVE my life! I never get jealous. I never got jealous.

Until last week. That green monster within yawned and stretched his arms. Rise and shine, Jealous Streak!

You see, my bestie found an **almost-boyfriend. There has been a lot of tension between me and her for the last few months. But last week everything mounted. [Almost-boyfriend: a man who is not yet in a relationship with a woman; a man who is on the verge of moving forward in a romantic relationship; a man who flirts shamelessly and pays lots of attention to a woman, but has not made any formal commitment; the title of a man the week before he becomes an actual boyfriend.]

Mr. UnpaidTherapist walks by my desk at work and I throw out the update on bestie and her almost-boyfriend. He laughs at my snide comment with a comeback stating that I am jealous. He may as well have set up a couch in his office and called me in for an appointment. Minutes later I hurry to fill him in on the actual issue.

He’s right. I’m jealous. But he’s wrong. I’m not jealous. And I don’t have multiple personalities either.

I’m still content. I still enjoy my life. I am not, by any means, overwhelmed with desire for a partner in life. I don’t look at any of the couples around me and seethe with envy. I am not one of those girls muttering the questions and phrases listed at the beginning of this blog with an intense feeling of despair. I don’t covet relationship to that degree.

The man doesn’t make me jealous either. I am in no way attracted to the almost-boyfriend she landed. That issue is a non-issue.

Naturally, Mr. UnpaidTherapist wonders what awakened my green monster.

My best friend no longer needs me. She doesn’t call me on a daily basis, because she is more than distracted by this fabulous new love interest. She doesn’t feel the need to hang out because she spends all spare time with him. She doesn’t really care what I think of this guy because she is so deeply infatuated that other opinions have lost all value. She’s not interested in my trip to Jamaica because her path toward relationship is way more exciting to talk about than a tropical island. She discarded her super-tight Queen of Spades for that studly King of Hearts. As the Queen of Spades, I’m chilling out in the middle of the table, mingling with the rest of the cards, glaring at King of Hearts and feeling dreadfully jealous.

The fact that King of Hearts isn’t even a real boyfriend just adds insult to injury. I’ve been abandoned for an almost-boyfriend? Really?

That was last week. This week has been better. A little bit of prayer, a lot of feeling convicted for a being a terrible support to my best friend when she is super excited about this new turn of events in her life, and a swift kick to green monster’s head helped considerably. I was even able to feel some genuine enthusiasm last night when I called to listen to her gush about King of Hearts officially asking her out this week. (Almost-boyfriend stepped into official boyfriend category tonight. Injury still healing, but insult removed.)

Funny coincidence: Bestie said something on the phone tonight about how she no longer needs my input in her life now that she has this boyfriend. She has no idea that her lack of interest in my input is what threw me into an emotional fit last week. Good thing I’m over it this week.

Translate Love

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A group I meet with weekly is currently studying Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages”. In case you’ve never heard of it, the author teaches that people express and respond to love in 5 basic ways 0r understand love in “5 languages”. He explains that in order to express love to someone effectively, you need to communicate through that person’s primary love language. Quick breakdown of the 5:

 

  1. Quality Time: undivided attention or special moments set aside for me prove that  you love me/distractions during conversation, standing me up, or postponing a date hurt me deeply
  2. Words of Affirmation: tell me I’m beautiful, tell me you appreciate me, openly compliment me in front of others and  recognize your love for me/don’t thank me or compliment me when I do things or make fun of me and I feel devalued
  3. Receiving Gifts: give me a gift “just because” or go out of your way to find me that “perfect something” for my birthday and I realize that you treasure me/forget me or pick up something dumb because you feel you have to and I don’t believe you care about me
  4. Physical Touch: hug me, hold me, pat me on the arm, and I sense your love for me/your aloofness or discomfort at my touch devastates me
  5. Acts of Service: do me a favor, help me with some chores, ease my burdens somehow and I can see that you love me/break a promise, neglect to finish that project you told me you’d do around the house, or shuffle your responsibilities into my lap – those things really bother me

That’s the rundown. If you want to see which love languages apply most in your own life I encourage you to take an assessment here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

Anyway, as we discussed some of these principles last night, I found my mind wandering back to Jamaica… again. There was one man, in particular, that I became attached to while I was down there. As a girl who is not easily wooed by the opposite sex, I kept wondering why this man left such a strong impact on me after just two days together. (They weren’t even two consecutive days together – we saw each other the first Friday my friend and I were there and again the last Sunday.) During our meeting last night, it dawned on me. In the two short days I spent with him, Raul (as my friend fondly nicknamed this guy) expressed love to me through four of the five love languages!

Raul was braiding my hair within the first twenty minutes of meeting. 🙂

His friendly introduction started the process. My friend and I passed a restaurant and he called down to us from the balcony, inviting us to stop. We passed by, but returned a short while later to eat lunch. He approached us with a smile and asked if he could join us. Within seconds he not only welcomed us to Jamaica, but he was talking openly with us about our trip and about his culture. Quality time.

This restaurant had a couple of water slides and water trampolines. We went for the slide into the ocean. After exploding out the slide into salt water, we climbed up onto a trampoline to lay down for a while and catch our breaths. More time to talk. He began to emphasize how much he liked me. He exalted my smile. He told me I was beautiful. He went on and on about how nice I seemed to be – which he could not always expect from tourists. In contrast, he claimed that many tourists are rude to Jamaicans. Words of affirmation.

After some more play in the water, we climbed onto the dock to relax. Raul left me for a few moments as I laid down in a lawn chair. A lifeguard came and put the rest of the lawnchairs away. When Raul returned, he sat at the end of the chair by my feet. It didn’t take long before he pulled my legs into his lap so he could rub my feet. I watched him in awe as he caressed my feet so tenderly. I thought about stopping him – how could I accept such an act from an almost-stranger? Was I using him? But I never could say “no” to a good foot massage. I decided to delight in the special treatment and he continued. Physical touch.

My friend and I left him, but agreed to think about hanging out later that night. We did end up spending more time with him and we met more friends of his later on. After a fun night together, he and his friends offered to walk us back to our hotel. We had been by the beach, so my feet and flip-flops were covered with sand. He looked down and then asked us to wait. He went for the shore and came back with a cup of water to clean the sand off my feet so that it would not irritate my skin as we walked back. My friend stared at him with her mouth wide open as he hurried back and forth from me to the ocean until my feet were completely clean. Acts of service.

Those were four specific instances that Raul expressed love to me in our first day together. I could list countless other gestures if I took the time. I highly doubt this man’s ever read the book. But he is fluent in the languages of love.

Welcome Home!

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Yoke or Burn

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Okay – I don’t talk about sex on this blog very often… or in great detail. Mainly because I find it awkward to write about the subject. But it is important.

DISCLAIMER: Do not take this post as personal dating advice. I am not offering advice. I am simply bringing up a point – a point which may be slightly controversial in the modern church community.

Mr. UnpaidTherapist called me into his office this week.

“Sarah,” he said. “I know that you already know this. But I feel the need to tell you again. Do not marry someone who isn’t Christian…”

He continued by describing the failing marriage of a couple he counsels. Wife is Christian. Hubby’s not. Marriage is falling to pieces. He then listed three women we both know who struggle in marriages with non-Christian men. He doesn’t want to see me face the same trials.

I listened to his lecture and chose not to respond. I’m not terribly comfortable sharing what I am going to post on this blog with a 45 year-old man at work. Nope.

But I’ve really been pondering this whole dating/marrying non-Christians topic lately. The entire basis for this advice against marrying someone with no faith or a different faith is that verse in 2 Corinthians, chapter 6. Verse 14 declares, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

Now before anyone who doesn’t follow the Bible gets offended, let me explain that this is not saying that Christians should cut off all contact with people who do not agree with us. I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ’s entire lifestyle would argue that concept. He hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors [who were infamous for cheating people].

“Yoked” essentially means joined, united, or brought together to accomplish a specific task or purpose. A yoke pulls two animals together to push a plow. Harnessed together, they create a more powerful force.

Okay, so when Christians quote this verse, they often continue to the “joining” of a married couple. They say that a believer and unbeliever should not be unequally yoked. Mr. UnpaidTherapist did not quote the verse. But this is the sentiment he was getting at. Believers and unbelievers should not unite in marriage… it will only cause problems…

Here’s my problem: If you read that verse in context, Paul was not writing to the Corinthians about marriage. Instead, he was discussing teachers. He was telling them not to become involved with false prophets and idols. Not once in this chapter does he mention marriage or anything closely related to marriage. If Paul intended to advise believers not to marry unbelievers, why didn’t he bring it up in one of the chapters that actually talked about marriage?

On the other hand, in passages like 1 Corinthians 7, where it would make a lot of sense for Paul to give advice about whether or not Christians should marry non-Christians, Paul gives no such command. Instead verses 12-16 indicate that an unbeliever who remains in such a relationship is sanctified by his or her believing spouse and that their children are made holy rather than unclean. As a whole, I do not believe Paul encourages believers to unite with unbelievers, but I do not see where he actually says it is wrong.

Apparently I like to go backwards… so if we jump back in Chapter 7 to verse 9 we see the reference I made in a different post recently. “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am, but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

Glance over 1 Corinthians and you will quickly realize that Paul warns these people up and down to flee from sexual immorality because it is so detrimental to their bodies and their spiritual health. Over and over again he tells them to avoid it. If you can’t keep it in your pants, get married!

If you will notice, he did not say that if you are struggling to control your sexual appetite you should wait until you find the godliest person alive and then get married. He did not say that you should only get married to someone who will accentuate and empower your ministry. He did not even say you should at least hold out for someone of the same faith. All Paul said was that if you really want to have sex you should get married. Period.

If a believer marries an unbeliever, they will naturally disagree at times. And yet, every married couple disagrees about some things. Mr. UnpaidTherapist is right, I’m sure, about the trials that come with these types of marriages. However, my question is this: Are those potential trials easier or harder to face than the desire for sex while I am still single?

The church community teaches that Christians should not date or marry non-Christians as a general rule. However, the church community also has a sucky divorce rate and a lot of extramarital sex scandals. I don’t buy this sentiment that all non-Christian men are skunks (and yes, that sentiment is rampant in the church realm). I also don’t buy the idea that all Christian men will make good husbands (don’t even get me started on that one…).

If we place two scenarios side by side, which one wins?

Scenario 1 shows a girl who is holding out for the right Christian man to come sweep her off her feet. This guy is hard to find. Therefore she remains single until she is about 36. Needless to say, a typical woman in her twenties and thirties has some significant sexual hunger. These are her most fertile years; she was created to desire sex. Although she waited to marry until she found Mr. Right at age 36, she was sexually active on a number of occasions prior. From ages 18 to 35 she slept with 9 different men. Each sexual encounter left a mark.

Scenario 2 displays a young lady who married her high school sweetheart at age 19. Although she was always a church-girl, he never showed much interest in the things of God. He gets irritated at how she “lives” at the church and how she always wants to give away their money to those dumb missionaries. But he loves her and he is loyal. They have their struggles, but he would never dream of leaving her. He is her one and only and she has made a choice never to leave him either.

Well? Who appears to be better off? I’m not telling anyone to lower their standards. I’m not advising anyone to marry the next jerk that asks them out just because they’re feeling kind of horny. But I raise the question: Is being “unequally yoked” in marriage really such a big deal? Is the common advice of “wait for Mr. Right – no matter how long it takes” really such a good idea in this sexually charged world? Is this ever-popular Bible lesson about believers only marrying believers actually biblical? What do you think?

Lady Thor

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Uh-oh. Another one is mad at me.

I pulled onto my street and saw my landlord talking to someone in a big white pickup truck. Hey, that looks like Mr.CoffeeEncounter’s truck. I park. I step outside of my car, almost directly next to this white truck. I look up. Crap! That is Mr.CoffeeEncounter’s truck! [For background info on Mr. CoffeeEncounter see: https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/flirt-to-convert-prelude-to-a-coffee-encounter/  or  https://sarahbux.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/a-coffee-encounter/]

I wave nonchalantly at my Mr. CoffeeEncounter and my landlord while I bolt toward my apartment. I hope he can’t tell that I’m about to pee myself. Here’s the thing: A month or two ago, Mr. CoffeeEncounter and I were texting. And… well, let’s just say it ended with a challenge… He made an effort to meet that challenge… Ummm… Long story made short – I told him if he wanted to spend time with me, he would have to show up on my doorstep when I just happen to be available. He tried a few times. I wasn’t available.

Needless to say, he stopped trying after that… and I had not seen him until this very moment of pulling up beside his truck. Surprisingly enough, he did not look so thrilled to see me!

After a quick but completely awkward exchange, he left and I went for a ride. The next morning I waltz into my unpaid therapist’s office at work and spill everything. This was the second guy I pissed off that week! I don’t try to make them mad. Why am I so good at making men angry?! (Could this be my spiritual gifting? Jesus made A LOT of people mad, right?….)

You see, Mr. CoffeeEncounter looked so pathetic and wounded that I initially felt guilty for the way I had treated him. But as I contemplated the situation on my motorcycle ride, I realized I had no reason to feel guilty. I reminded myself of all the reasons I gave him that “Show up when I’m not busy” ultimatum. The reasons boiled down to one primary “He always stands ME up!” No, no. I did nothing wrong.

As I stood in Mr. UnpaidTherapist’s office, I gave him a quick update of the situation and then asked him, “What am I doing wrong?!”

He laughed and began describing my Viking helmet. “Thor, you throw down the hammer.”

That’s it. That’s all the counsel he’s got for me. You see, a month or two ago Mr. UnpaidTherapist nicknamed me Thor. After I sought some clarification (“Are you telling me I look like a male demigod!?”] he assured me that the nickname is only due to my hammer throw-down. Apparently I throw down hammers all over the place… not just around guys I like. Not sure how to fix that. Or even if I should.

Reflections: Satisfied in Singleness

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http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/voiceofhope/

I enjoyed this one particularly. I have to admit, the very first point that the primary speaker makes is one that I have also thought to myself time and time again. I cannot stand it when someone hears how long I’ve been single and responds with shock because I’m “so pretty”. I always think what she thinks immediately – that there are lots of ugly married people. And then I  turn to the obvious point that pretty does not necessarily make a woman into a wife, let alone a good wife. Yes, attraction matters. But it’s not just about being pretty.

After loving her sentiment on that point, I kind of hated a different point she made. I disagree with her comment about wanting to be married for the “wrong reasons”. Sex has a bad rap in the Christian community. The Bible soooo clearly says that if you “burn with passion” – get married! In other words, it is okay to desire a spouse in order to fulfill your sexual desires! That being said, the church has turned things all around and seems to teach that singles should want to be married for every other reason on the face of the planet and that sex is just a nice little side thing that comes along with marriage. I’ve been told that I should be so wrapped up in ministry that one day I will just happen to bump into someone else who is absorbed by ministry and we will get married and have an even more powerful ministry together. Sounds good – right? And yet, I don’t see that philosophy in scripture. I never found the verse telling singles only to marry in an effort to further ministry. Nope. Bible says instead that you should get married if you want sex. Sex is not a “wrong reason”. I could continue on this point… but I’ll shut up.

Finally, I like that she pointed out that some of our most influential and foundational leaders in the faith were single. I agree wholeheartedly. Paul made excellent points when he wrote about singles being able to fully devote themselves to God without the distraction of family or spouses. However, I would not go so far as to say that we are the “pillars”. I mean, Jesus was single, and He is quite obviously “the” Pillar. But besides that – I don’t think singles are any more or less important than married people in the church. We are all important. We all have different roles. Let’s make an effort to act out our roles to the best of our abilities – single or married.