that three letter “s” word that ends with “x”

If you’re still trying to figure out the title this blog post is about sex & sexuality! I have been trying to write about this for awhile but was not sure what specifically to talk about because it’s such a controversial topic. Most people talking about it in our generation are talking about it from a different angle than what I want to share.

I believe pornography and sexual behavior outside of marriage are not part of God’s perfect plans for us and they are constant battles we face in the generation we live in. Sex is a topic that seems to come up in just about every conversation when talking about guys, girls, relationships, etc. We live in a sex obsessed generation, and instead of taking charge and changing the conversation, too many of us allow these conversations to happen, and even if we don’t agree with it, we go along with it. Maybe we just don’t want to be called out for disagreeing with what is considered “normal” and “harmless” by so many of our peers. Maybe it’s because we don’t actually see what’s wrong with it. Or maybe we just have good intentions to take a stand but we just go with the flow because it’s easier. But a lot of hearts are getting hurt going along with it and there’s a lot of guilt and shame and regret we deal with, so what do we do about it?

If we want change we have to be the change. We can’t just hashtag a movement then do nothing to fix our own behavior. Let’s choose to be a generation that grows up to be respectful men and women, and who stop allowing our hormones to dictate what we say, who we date, what we watch, and how we behave. I am so serious about this and can say that I didn’t always feel this way. I’m not proud to admit it but there was a time in my life that I used to mock people who were practicing abstinence or even just trying to stay pure in general. I believed the lies I heard every day that sexual movies, songs and behavior were not a big deal. Part of me knew it was wrong but I also knew how to fit in, how to get attention and more likes on the pics I posted and when I did not realize my identity was found in the One who created me, that kind of attention was what fueled me.  Once I realized how much I was actually harming myself and others around me by choosing temporary counterfeit fulfillment instead of thinking long term, EVERYTHING changed for me. I hope you will hear me out.

What I don’t want to do is come across as judging or a know-it-all about any of this stuff, in fact I hope you hear my heart is that I settled for this stuff at points in my life and it left me soooo empty. I am sharing this because I truly believe that living a pure lifestyle is possible AND it’s God’s best for us, and hear me on this: you are NEVER too far gone and there is nothing He cannot wipe clean and redeem in your life. In order to do so you have to confess your sins, accept His forgiveness and ask Jesus to come into your heart and dwell, or else it will be a toxic cycle of going in between guilt and shame. We can’t do this in our own strength and empty promises. It’s not easy, once the door of “sexuality” is opened, it is hard (but not impossible) to close the door. We really do not realize how much we allow ourselves to be exposed to sexual stuff that just feeds the hunger for it, even just casually scrolling through social media. So hopefully what I share can help a little, and just know the conversation does NOT have to end here, feel free to reach out anytime, if not to me, to someone in your life who will pray for you and give you solid advice.

First off, I’m praying and believing 2019 will be the year pornography FINALLY stops being something that controls our generation.  Despite this being an unpopular opinion, watching pornography is not “victimless”, it’s actually harmful, it creates unrealistic scenarios in your head that one day could be damaging to your relationship with your significant other.  Watching porn sucks you in, you want more and it can cause you to struggle in your closest relationships, feeling more like the opposite sex are just sexual objects without even realizing your perception is changing. It’s also addictive so it reduces your ability to do/think about anything outside of sex. I also stand by the belief that if you are in a committed relationship, looking at porn is cheating. It may seem harmless, but it can consume you until it’s all you think about. There is an organization called Fight The New Drug and they have conducted so many studies on how pornography not only ruins relationships and hurts other people, but it can actually damage your brain. And if none of those reasons will stop you, most porn making industries participate in sex trafficking. Think about that a minute. These girls shown in pornography are someone’s sisters, daughters, friends, nieces and classmates and many ended up there from being forced into sex trafficking.  And so many of them are so young!

“To begin with, nearly half of sex trafficking victims report that pornography was made of them while they were in bondage.”

That line comes from the website of Fight The New Drug in talking about how sex trafficking and pornography feed off of each other. I know this is some heavy stuff but it is real and it is happening all around us. One of my professors once said, “I challenge you with this, if you ever feel tempted to watch pornography, just say this to yourself ‘I am participating in human trafficking’ and then go ahead and do whatever you please.” I challenge you to do the same.

So what about consensual relationships? I do not have a list of detailed do’s and don’ts for you, but I suggest you open up the Bible and see what God says about sex and relationships. And I heard something interesting once so maybe consider this, let’s say you are in a relationship with someone, you obviously like this person, think they are cute, and you see a future with them. Hopefully when you start dating you talk about boundaries and you are both on board. So after awhile of things going well, you two start to talk about getting married, how you can’t wait to try on  wedding dresses, your future kids, the perks of being married, etc… At some point a thought something like this probably crosses your mind, “If I am marrying this person, why can’t we do more than kiss and hold hands? I mean he or she loves me and is going to be my husband or wife anyways, right?” This is where things can begin to shift. Next thing you know you put yourself into situations where things get more physical and then it gets easier to move to the next level and do things way past what you first agreed was your stopping point. Annnnnnd then you guys break up and hearts end up hurt. So not only are you losing your boyfriend/girlfriend, but you are losing your best friend along with a part of yourself that was never supposed to belong to that person.  As you look back, you try to figure out where you went wrong, of course it was the lingering hugs or the dark nights talking in the car, and the list goes on, but before you ever gave him or her something physical that did not belong to them, you gave something emotional, and that was  talking about marriage and a future together.

When I first heard this concept I thought the person who shared it was crazy and so wrong, but after thinking about how our bodies are 3 parts, it started to make sense. Our bodies are divided into 3 main categories, physical, emotional and spiritual. When one is up really high, the other two try to equal out. It is like constantly doing arm days at the gym but never showing the legs or abs some love. Your body will constantly never be in a state of equilibrium and your brain works sort of the same way. When you are making all these emotional commitments like talking about marriage, your physical and spiritual parts want to catch up. If we do this, we can actually create unhealthy “soul ties” (a link to someone through intimacy) with not only physical ones, but emotional and spiritual as well. Our words and thoughts have power, they influence our actions so we need to choose them carefully. And we really should just focus more on the present not the far off future and what if’s in our relationships.

Here’s one other thought, God created sexual desire, He really did, but He created it in order to bond two people together in marriage. So when in a dating relationship it is important to remember that you are NOT guaranteed to marry this person, no matter how many times they tell you they want to.  I know it can be so hard to think of you possibly breaking up with the person you’re dating, because who wants to think those “negative thoughts” when you’re in love?  But we know it happens and it is so important to remember and respect your future husband or wife in your current relationship. On a practical note, I journal to my future husband not only for him to read one day and know I prayed for him, but it also keeps me on track to fight for him, to stay pure, to think long term and be patient in the waiting. So you might say “but Court what if this person I’m dating now does end up being “THE ONE” (side note: there is no “the one”,  there is only “THE ONE” and that is Jesus Christ 🙂 ) well then that’s awesome, think of how much richer your intimacy will be when you get married if you decide to wait on being physical! And you can start sticking to new boundaries tonight even if stuff has already happened. God doesn’t use our pasts against us and in fact He reminds us He has a bright future planned for us!

I know this was a long post and it goes against the cultural norms but I think it needs to be talked about honestly. Even though I am single and not having to set up dating boundaries or have a conversation regarding these things,  I’ve learned a few lessons and I’m praying the next man I give my heart to will honor and protect my desire to stay pure and I would not expect him to settle for less than that from me either.  And let me say this, if you have healthy boundaries and rules that your significant other does not agree with or respect, stand your ground PLEASE. You deserve to be valued and do not ever settle for less. If you don’t feel safe or respected in a relationship, please tell someone you can trust. When it comes to being physical no means no, even if you love that person, and even if it has happened before. Men this means you, too.

My heart breaks for our generation. We have become so desensitized. Trust me, I’ve been there and I thank God I’ve had people in my life who spoke truth to me and loved me enough to say the hard things I did not want to hear at first. I hope and pray that you understand these are not rules from God to ruin our fun, it really is what’s best for us because we are so loved by Him. And it’s not just about having sex, it’s talking about it, sending pics, watching movies that may not be labeled porn but they are very sexual, even Twitter accounts that are just trash.  I’ve learned that what we surround ourselves with becomes a part of us. And if any of this blog post hit close to home or you are thinking of something you may have done that you wished you hadn’t, please remember you get a fresh start every day! Don’t ever feel like you have done too much for God to forgive you, or that there is ANY sin He will hold against you. I promise you that God loves you so much and He doesn’t call you by your sin but calls you by your name. I am serious when I say please reach out for prayer or just someone to listen. Much love for y’all!!!  Xoxo

 

 

 

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why do bad things happen to good people

I’ve seen some of the sweetest people I know suffering from an illness, close friends who are loyal get used and played countless times and people who have worked so hard to go after their dreams lose almost everything.  I’ve struggled to wrap my brain around how the nicest people could end up having such bad things happen to them.  I wondered how could God let all these things happen?

Even as I sit here writing this I can think of times where I personally bawled my eyes out lying on my bathroom floor asking God why we have to suffer. From being so sick I could hardly stand or from having my heart shattered into a million pieces or having a close friend stab me in the back, all I could think of is “God what did I do to deserve this?”

When I look back on those times I’ve struggled the most, I’ve come to the conclusion that He was there with me through all those hard times and He will always be there for us in the future. And here is where I know I may lose some of you but hear me out. I think the easiest way to wrap our limited brains around this HUGE concept of God always being with us is through example.

Now I don’t want this to sound like I am saying we deserve the hard times we’ve been through, so please do not make that your take away.  Some of the suffering we go through in life has nothing to do with any choices we make, it’s just part of being human. But sometimes the pain we go through is unintentionally self-inflicted. Now with that being said, we all make mistakes and I am a very VERY firm believer that good can still come from our bad choices even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

So for my first example, let’s look at Adam and Eve and the first sin to ever happen. There are so many important details to be taken from this situation, and verses that stick out to me, but I think the best verse that is pertaining to this subject is Genesis 3:21…

“And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.”

Now you’re probably like, “Courtney, what the heck? This is a scripture on how God clothed them? How is this relevant?”

But I think this verse means a lot more than just God providing clothing for Adam and Eve. Think about the timing. God said this to them AFTER they just committed THE sin that would affect all of mankind forever and ever, but God still continued to take care of them. In fact, He also got them prepared for their next step and the consequences they would now have to face for the rest of time.

Again I am not saying that the bad things that happen to you are earned, on occasion we may be the victims of someone else’s bad choices or just circumstances that happen in life, but other times, we actually set ourselves up for our own failure. But here’s the amazing part, God is with us through it all!! And if we happen to cause pain and ask God to forgive us, He will and He will help us move on from our mistakes. He doesn’t give up on us! Let me give you another an example…

So let’s say you guys and girls have been talking to someone for awhile, someone you start to really like, he or she really likes you back so you decide to take it to the next level. You post the cute couple pics on social media, declare your love for each other then proceed to give that person something only your future spouse should receive. You now have a soul tie with this person, which is something only your spouse should have (soul ties are formed any time and every time there is intimacy in a relationship).
Then let’s say a few months later, you realize he or she has been talking to someone else and decides that you two together just aren’t what they want anymore. You’re devastated and don’t know what to do. You may wonder why this bad thing happened to you. You thought that this person was “the one.”  Terri Savel wrote this about soul ties: You may have ended a physically intimate relationship months ago, but you still feel a pull toward that person. Why? Because of soul ties. Soul ties prevent us from moving on to new relationships, even the ones God may be leading us into. You can read more about how to break these soul ties here.

I know a lot of friends who have gone through this exact situation. Watching their hearts being shattered through this, and still suffering from memories sometimes popping up that hurts them and triggers more bad choices. Although this is a very common scenario in today’s society, it doesn’t make it okay. Having any kind of sex before marriage is outside of God’s will and commandments and if you break those, He can’t bless that relationship. Some people could be like “screw God, I don’t need His blessings” but then years later wonder why they are confused, alone, divorced or struggle trying to love their husband or wife. Again, we are never too far away from God’s forgiveness and blessings so if this is a place you find yourself in, just be honest. Everything we go through, whether self-inflicted or not, can have some kind of good come from it.

Please hear me out on this. This is a tough topic and I am NOT trying to condemn or hurt anyone’s feelings but this is real life and sometimes we don’t understand why things happen and how we may have been able to avoid them. I am standing right next to you in some of these areas of self-inflicted pain.

But another thing that comes to mind when discussing bad stuff happening to us is when people have close friends and family die. So here’s my answer to why does this stuff happen…I don’t really know. I think some of it has to do with the fact that we live in a fallen imperfect world. There is no good way to explain why there isn’t a cure for cancer, why kids are abused or why people die in car accidents but I do know that the devil is real and his only goals are to kill, steal from and destroy God’s children, US! He won’t stop till he’s done with that mission. But I believe my Bible that says Jesus died for our sins and that God has placed things like the cures to fatal illnesses and the ability to help people in need inside each one of us, we just have to dig deep and find it in ourselves.

Overall, I think the best way to summarize this topic is, (I know this sounds cliché but y’all it’s so true), is that God allows us to have free will and He can still make good things come from tragic situations. We don’t understand how and maybe we never will, but I’m learning to try to trust God with everything, even the stuff that breaks my heart.

If you are struggling with something that has happened to you, honestly ask yourself, did I set myself up for this or is there something here for me to learn? Or ask God to show you what good could come of the situation if it’s out of your control. It’s super important to use the Bible as a reference to make sure whatever you are hearing from Him matches up with His words. God isn’t afraid of our questions. Y’all if you ask Him He will tell you. He is so good like that!

I hope no one took offense to this post, but it’s been tugging at my heart to write about for awhile. You see, I tried doing life without God being a priority and I caused and felt a lot of pain and confusion. I’m not saying everything is perfect living my life making God a priority but it sure does make me feel a lot more peace and I can make better decisions this way. Thanks for reading and please know I am praying for y’all. xoxo