Uncategorized

I’m so Pretty

Recently I was listening to “Betcha Gon’ Know” by Mariah Carey. It was the version that features R. Kelly. It made me think about how R. Kelly is now known for abusing women and how many were pushing for the mute R. Kelly movement, among other celebrities that are outed as abusers or pedophiles. I see why people want to shame these people and want to take away their star power. However, there are abusers all around us. There’s millions probably billions of people that abuse other people but we are only aware of the cases that make the headlines, nationally or locally. If we knew what literally everyone was up to in their spare time no one would be allowed to do anything in the court of public opinion. It seems that we have entered a new era in history. Pedophilia and abuse against women in general is taken more seriously in some ways. Despite the “anything goes” culture, the “consent” culture, there seems to be thirst to know the truth even about our supposed heroes or favorite celebrities. I cannot emphasize enough though that it shouldn’t surprise you that the World is busy being the World. That is, if you’re a Christ follower.

In Genesis 6:9, the Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” He [and his immediate family] was the only one selected to survive the Great Flood. Literally, no one else.

As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core. Genesis 6:11-12 MSG

Further in Genesis 18, the Bible tells us that Abraham interceded for the town of Sodom. He asked if God would spare the city if fifty righteous people are found and God said he would. However, I think Abraham knew there wasn’t fifty righteous people so he kept bargaining for less. He stops at ten. He asks God if he would spare the city if there are ten righteous people found and God gives His word, “for the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” We read just one chapter later that God did not find ten righteous and only allowed Lot, his wife and two daughters to flee as God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Heaven. Out of the four fleeing, three made it to the next town.

Skipping ahead to the book of Daniel, we learn about a young man named Daniel that was trafficked to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. Daniel became known for maintaining his purity in the midst of the Babylonian culture. Daniel refrained from the foods and drinks they served as to not defile himself. God gave him favor and Daniel was allowed to not partake in the lifestyle. Daniel continued to see favor throughout his life while living in a different kingdom.

Just as in the times of Noah, Lot and Daniel- these men were counter-cultural. Within their generations and throughout history, their names and stories were written down to be known forever for their righteousness. These are just three examples, but three out of the billions of people that have gone to the grave before us and will go after us… THREE stands out to me.

We are living in modern day Babylon or Sodom or Gomorrah. These cities are basically cliché in 2019. But if you are a Bible reader, you need to acknowledge the time in which we live. Our culture is a secular one. Our country didn’t begin that way but as history repeats itself, Secular is what we have turned into. That is why there is so much hostility towards the Christian life. Real Christians standing for Biblical Truth in the Post Modern Culture.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain how I’m so pretty and what that has to do with R. Kelly, historical and biblical references.

[I apologize if you’ve lost interest already. Context is one of my top strengths and I feel compelled to give the context to help lead you from one idea to the next. It’s just how my mind works! ]

While we live in Babylon just as Daniel did, we are called to stand out. We are not to participate in everything that the opposing culture offers. Daniel could have forgot his identity and dismissed his God but he did not. He could have sold out to the dominate culture, a foreign culture. Time and time again God warned his people to not worship other gods or idols. To not become like those around them. In the Old Testament, God very clearly gave those instructions repeatedly. In the New Testament, God gave us his only son to give us the grace that we might finally obey his commands. He allowed Jesus to come to love us by allowing us to see our hearts are knitted together with His. That we see ourselves and others with His gracious loving eyes. We have to distinguish what is the culture permit and what does God command? They should not be the same. We are to pursue Christ and aim to be Holy not assimilate to a culture that rebels and rallies against our God. It can feel uncomfortable but if our eyes are on eternity with Christ, saying no to permissive cultural practices should become easier over time.

Earlier that day I was running errands. I went to a Target for one thing. That one thing was not in the store so I decided to walk around a bit. Dangerous, I know! I walked through the women’s clothing, accessories, bedding, back through the accessories and women’s clothing. I tried on a lot of sunglasses and touched many handbags. I left the store only buying one t-shirt!

As I was driving away, I began to think about how much I desire to buy new clothing and accessories. How much I desire to join in the beauty and fashion trends taking place. How the pull of obtaining more clothes, more accessories, longer lashes, specific nude colored lipstick permeate my mind. I follow a lot of online boutiques on social media so I constantly see the clothes I don’t have and decide very often that I need thirty new tops every month. Social media is now interwoven with ads of all types. These ads are catered specifically for you through algorithms. Its easy to get caught up in striving to look a certain way or follow current trends.

I often feel I need to be prettier. Prettier and prettier. I have to achieve more as far as appearance. I have to improve my appearance. I have to aim to look better than I do today. Its feels like a beating drum…. Prettier….prettier….prettier. A pounding drum.

For men, it could be you feel you need to make more money, improve your wages, get a bigger paycheck. More money…money….money. A pounding drum.

I then wondered what if I replaced that beating drum with the beating drum of God’s love? What if I put that appearance drum on mute. I believe I would hear the pounding drum of God’s fierce love. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You. DEEPER. FIERCER. That sound would be overwhelming and no other sound could replace it once I heard it truly.

It made me think of how I long for a husband. A husband that would take delight in me. That would be excited when I walked into a room. Or if I were doing something like the washing dishes a very mundane activity. My back is towards him as I zone out in the task before me. He, on the other hand, very much intently watching me. Radiating beautiful thoughts towards me.

So, if I take this vision and transplant it on the Lord…

Can I fully grasp how much he loves me already? How much it isn’t about my appearance? The clothes I wear, the makeup trends I choose to follow or reject, my hair style, my weight. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and instantaneously think “ugh,” when I don’t measure up to the standards I decided were important… NONE of these influence God’s love. God has been radiating beautiful thoughts on to me since before he knit me together in my mother’s womb. For every beat of “be prettier,” God beats “I LOVE YOU” louder, “I LOVE YOU DEEPER,” “I LOVE YOU FIERCER”….its a beat more steady and full than our own heartbeat. Its a rhythm with origins in Heaven that God gave us the grace to tune in to.

Havilah Cunnington posted this the other day on her Instagram. I thought it fit perfectly into the revelation I had.

Related Reading:

Sister, Your Worth is Not Found in Your Size

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Quick Read, Uncategorized

All the Songs I Like are Sad and What Does that Mean?

Last night I confessed to a friend that all my favorite love songs are sad. It was a very lighthearted conversation and of course I sprinkle everything I say with self-deprecating humor. But it is true. We were talking about possible wedding songs for our future weddings. If you look at my Pinterest wedding board you’d see I have every little detail already planned out except for the wedding song. I love music and listen to music almost 24 hours per day. You’d think I would have the perfect wedding song picked out but I don’t.

I explained to my friend that all the love songs that were about relationships before never worked out.

To try to label a song perfect for a wedding I have yet to have seems impossible.

All I have to pull from is past pain. Past heartbreaks that shattered me in the moment. I have years that stand out because of songs like, “I Need You Now,” by Lady Antebellum. For years I would have to turn the radio station because listening to it would take me too far back. It’s a great song for the precise emotion that arises in a lot of us. But its sad.

How about “Stay” by Rihanna? Longing for someone to stay knowing they won’t. Sam Smith has “Stay with Me,” similar themes, same sadness.

If you’re looking for an upbeat sad song try, “Sweet Nothing,” by Calvin Harris ft. Florence from Florence and the Machine. The beat is so heavy you might forget that you’re sad. Not really.

Another good one, “Come Over,” by Kenny Chesney. Dysfunctional and sad. A lot like “I Need You Now.”

Feeling regretful? “All Back” by Chris Brown is my recommendation.

Mariah Carey has always been foundational in my love of heartbreak songs: Heart Breaker- fun but sad. H.A.T.E.U., Love Takes Time, Breakdown, Bringing on the Heartbreak (original Def Leppard), there’s a lot more but I’ll stop.

Maybe something more edgy? “The Bleeding” by Five Finger Death Punch will do it.

I even like sad songs in Spanish, “El Perdedor,” by Aventura.

All the songs I really love are Sad.

What does that say about me?

I guess it says I have a tendency to choose sadness over the other options. Options such as Joy and Hope.

It also says that I haven’t had a relationship last or survive the heartbreak. My relationship resume doesn’t look good. There’s lots of gaps, many short term stints and the descriptions sound sketchy.

One Day… someone will come along and perhaps, just perhaps they will stay and the love will be real.

And I won’t want to love sad songs anymore.

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hookup culture, Men, sex, Uncategorized, Women

Surviving R. Kelly and Everyone Else

This weekend I discovered the docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, on Lifetime. I was horrified, shocked, confused but also very much jaded. I kept thinking backwards to try to recall when all of these accusations were circulating in the media. I guess I missed all of it because I was a teenager myself and not a huge fan? Yes I can name some of his most popular songs but they weren’t ever my favorites. At that time in my life the only older man I had eyes for was Brad Pitt! (That’s another blog post LOL).

I know many right now are grieving and angered by the stories in the series. The stories of Robert Kelly’s predatory behavior, his own sexual abuse as a child, the countless underage girls he preyed on, the manipulation, the intimidation, the domestic and dating violence, the deceit, the power plays, his Hiding In Plain Sight, and much more. Watching women cry through the painful memories that haunt them is in itself painful to the viewer.

I’m not glad any of this has happened to the individuals involved. I am hopeful that through the handful of stories shared by these brave women that people will begin to take sex seriously.

Sex wasn’t made for a power game. Sex wasn’t made for manipulation. Sex wasn’t made for control.

If you are having a sexualized relationship with someone and power, manipulation and control are a dominating the experiences – then you need to remove yourself. Leave, ask for help, reach out at all costs. It will destroy you.

Sex alone is a powerful experience. The God of the Bible created sex as a powerful experience to glue a man and women together in a covenant. The covenant(marriage) is two becoming one, not one enveloping the other.

The only visual representation I can use to warn you against is that of Symbiote. The symbiote comes from the Marvel comic book world used to identify a fictional species that bonds with their hosts. Wikipedia states, “They also are able to slightly alter their hosts personalities, by influencing their darkest desires and wants, along with amplifying their physical and emotional traits and personality, granting them super-human abilities.”

Think of the Venom taking over Eddie Brock. In this clip Eddie meets Venom.

Its all fun and games when it’s a movie, a comic book movie, a movie with my Bae(Tom Hardy)- but its your demise when your mind and body are conquered by another entity.

Outside of God’s will, we will come in contact with these other entities. I do believe just like Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

That is why we have to be born again like Jesus tells us in John 3:3-6. Before we are born again, we are operating in the flesh.

John 8:44 tells us, You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee at this time, because they refused to acknowledge Him as the Son of God, refused to accept the Truth and because of this rejected His authority. This goes the same for us in the here and now. When we believe ourselves to be our own authority then anything goes.

Aleister Crowley, made famous ‘Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” in the early 1900s but its message goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. The serpent introduced “do as thou wilt” to Eve and she welcomed it.

I’m getting real nerdy here to drive home the message that outside of Christ, we will do harm to one another. Mark 7: 21-23 tells us, For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.

Is Robert Kelly guilty of such things? YES.

Is he guilty of crimes in our modern society? YES.

Is he guilty of being a human devoid of submission to Christ? YES.

Should we intercede on his behalf? YES.

A couple of years ago I attended a conference on a college campus. The topics covered were regarding campus safety, sexual assault and stalking, mass shootings etc. There was a breakout session led by a professor that presented us with the story of Nate Parker and his movie, Birth of a Nation (2016). The movie and Nate Parker were receiving mixed reviews. The film tells the true story of a slave rebellion in 1831. Nate Parker’s past had come to the fore front as the movie was released. During his college career, he was accused of rape in 1999. I will stop at those facts. Research more if you want. The purpose of the break out session was to discuss the issues of our heroes also being monsters. Do we celebrate the movie and give Nate Parker praise for directing and acting in this depiction of slaves rising up? In a story that has been minimized in our history. Do we protest the movie and Nate Parker? Nate Parker was acquitted of the charges. Does acquittal equal innocence? Is he still guilty of crimes committed even though a court of law found him not guilty?

This seems to be the defense of many Robert Kelly fans. Numerous times in this series, fans stated that he was acquitted of the charges against him and that is why they proceeded forward in their support or business with him.

My one question to throw out there for discussion is: In general, most Americans, could agree that the justice system gets it wrong from time to time. Innocent people are determined guilty and guilty people are determine innocent. The system is flawed whether it be judges, attorneys, or juries. If we start from this agreement, then why would we pledge our loyalty to someone brought into court with video evidence of them paying cash to a 14 year old girl for sex? The charges were child pornography. The existence of a video let alone fits the description.

Many voices in the series referred a lot to the Black community. Some felt the Black community failed the women and girls that were harmed by Rob Kelly. I would agree.

No matter the “community” you identify with, racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, political – it will fail you.

We cannot pledge allegiance to our demographics.

How do we move forward?

First, we need to welcome Godly sorrow and grieve our mistakes.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Our personal sins and the sins of others needs to bring us sorrow. We need to learn to blush again, we need to be embarrassed for our lack of self control and rebellion. We need to be grieved by abuse committed against others. By abuse, I mean all forms of sexuality that is not under the submission of the Word of God. Society’s standard for sexual behavior is that which is consensual. However, God’s standard is much MUCH HIGHER.

Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when they are punished,
says the LORD. Jeremiah 8:12

Second, we need to repent. To repent means to turn from sin. Feeling Godly sorrow is foundational but next is to turn away. Turn away and run in the opposite direction.

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

Third, is to pursue righteousness. How do we do that? Ephesians 5:1-20 outlines how we should live.

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, if a relationship is what you desire Paul has some amazing things to say in 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 and Ephesians 5:21-33. I encourage you to read it in the Message version. Please do read them!
Some highlights are:

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 MSG

Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. 1 Corinthians 7:7 MSG

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. Ephesians 5:25-27 MSG

Let me say again, if you are in a relationship that does not model the above mentioned scriptures, if you are having a sexualized relationship with someone and power, manipulation and control are a dominating the experiences – then you need to remove yourself. Leave, ask for help, reach out at all costs. It will destroy you.

The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Make the sure the Shepherd you are following is the Right One, the Righteous One. Jesus said that those that have come before were thieves and robbers John 10:7. Don’t let them steal your life.

Throughout the beginning of time, Robert Kelly and others have come in disguise to shepherd, but they were thieves. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is coming back for His people.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

We can mute Robert Kelly and others like him but 30 more will take his place. Evil was always here. The human experience and condition can be egregious and it often is. I feel fear for those that do not know who they are co-heirs with Christ Romans 8:17 and what is to come, But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father – Mark 13:32. What will you be caught doing when Christ returns? Will He recognize you or say depart from me, I never knew you- Mark 7:23.

Take this docuseries as time to reflect. Reflect on our culture and where we have arrived. Reflect on your own life, have you contributed to a culture that makes sex arbitrary instead of sacred? Reduced it to just consensual instead of Holy.

Romans 3:10-12:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Weep for the culture and be burdened to fight against immorality.

 

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[b] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-24

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hookup culture, Men, sex, The Cross, Uncategorized, Women

The Ties that Bind…

Rejection. Fear. Insecurity. Judgement. Inner Vows. Soul Ties. Shame. Identity. Sex. Freedom.

Please allow me to take you on a bit of a personal journey with me. I have just about always been a Christian but I became a Christ follower six years ago. You can scroll back in this blog and read for yourself the different landmarks of my journey from fornicating-party girl to celibate-small group leading-church girl. I have some links set up to help fill you in as I explain some things I have recently learned. After going through yet another transformative conference at a local church, (the same one I mention in a Lonely Girl’s Cry) more things have stood out to me.

First, it has been a quest to break a particular soul tie in my life. It started 10 years ago with a sinful situationship (The Purge). Although I’ve been healed since then and been celibate for five and a half years, there’s always been a pining in my heart for that person. Despite logic. Regardless of the prayers I have prayed for and against the desire. It’s been a secret to most. While recently watching The Heart of Man, as per the assignment in the online Journey into The Heart of Man curriculum, something one of the storytellers said was like a clue left for me to find. The person defined infatuation as: a projection of a fantasy onto another person. This is not how I have defined infatuation. This definition opened my eyes to see that is what I have done. My fantasy is what has kept me in the pursuit. The pastor teaching on soul ties explained we stay tied to a person through the physical, soul or spirit. The definition of soul (mind, will and emotions) was jumping off the page screaming for me to find yet another clue. I kept repeating mind, will, emotions, mind, will, emotions… will, will, will. The Holy Spirit allowed me to see that I kept myself attached to that person because I have put my will over God’s will. My mind and emotions have not been attached to that person in years but my will is what has remained attached. I see it so clearly now that I have willed this attachment into existence. Even to the point of making an inner vow and actually to God, “the only way I will stop wanting him is if he gets married or gets someone pregnant.” Now if this isn’t a bold declaration of my will to Yahweh, I don’t know what is. This is me telling God I will do my will first, then I will consider Yours. Sadly, I have yet to repent of this disobedience since coming to the realization. This is the first time I’m realizing what a terrible mistake I have made. I knew I was making an idol of that person and could tell you that I’ve apologized to God for thinking of that person more than HIM. But not only did I make that person an idol but obviously now I see I made an idol of myself. When we place our will above God’s will, we are making gods of ourselves. I for sure will be repenting of this.

Second, in Its Different for Girls, I wrote, “In front of him I was sand through his fingers. I wanted him to give me form.” During the session on Identity, this quote came to mind. I wanted him to give me form. That is very telling of the condition my heart used to be in. I could see that at one time I had been seeking significance through him. That is why I took the rejections so harshly. I used to imagine when you go to the produce section at the grocery store and you start picking up fruit. I felt like the apple that gets picked up for a couple of seconds but after a brief examination, its deemed unworthy to be purchased and taken home. Just a nobody apple. Nothing special. A faceless forgettable nobody. When we seek our identity in something other than Christ that is what we are led to see, a faceless forgettable nobody. There is nothing life giving outside of God’s will. Outside of God’s will there is no hope only despair.

Third, it stood out to me very clearly that I had held a judgement against that person. Throughout the conference we were given the task to keep track of anything (sins, memories, etc) we wanted to lay at the Cross on a blank paper in the workbook. After the session on Judgements, I wrote on the blank page, “Judgement- [man’s name]- is a selfish jerk.” Throughout that session the Holy Spirit was leading me to this truth: you only saw him as a selfish-jerk, through the lens of your rejection and insecurity, he was just another person living his life. Now I could recount all the details, replay conversations and words spoken, actions done which would lead you to determine that Yes, he was a selfish-jerk and poor me. However, within the massive context of my whole life and his whole life, we were people that collided and bruised one another, because we are broken humans. I projected my fear, insecurity and rejection onto him and it was a very real feeling to me. Every text ignored, every sexual encounter left open like a gaping wound in my heart left me with extreme feelings and racing thoughts. What I experienced was real but it was not the Truth of who I was, who he was or of what was taking place. I’m sure he is a good man. He most likely has a good heart, something I couldn’t see simply because all I could see was someone rejecting me and simply because he never showed it to me. I often tell women on my caseload that “most people, most of the time do not have ill intentions,” it us that perceive things differently than what may be actually happening. I want to emphasize that we must examine our hearts constantly to make sure we are seeing people for who God says they are, not who we tally them up to be.

Here’s where it gets interesting, before I attended this conference, I had a dream on October 21st. I woke up feeling strange. As my mind was warming up for the day, the pieces of my dream were coming together. I had dreamed that that person died. In my dream, I had read it in a newspaper article. I was trying to confirm it by finding a local newspaper article or asking people. When I woke up I went online to research what a death in a dream could mean. Some sites talked about transformation, re-birth, new life changes. I stopped there. I felt that God was speaking to me to say that the situation was dead and to leave at that. God was ending it for me. Since having this dream and discovering all these missing pieces, I know that it truly is up to me to lay my will aside. When I’m tempted to use my will to tie a shoestring back onto that person, it will be my conscious choice to do so or not.

God gave us free will to choose. He never said you’ll get to choose between two easy things. I’m finding out that our choices are usually between the deepest pit or the tallest mountain. Both look frightening. We often chase our temptations with vigor but pursue freedom as if we have already lost. We do a lack luster trot instead of a full run as if our life depends on reaching the finish line. I’m no runner, my goal for a 5k is to finish is under an hour. I have to change. We are a new creation in Christ. There should be nothing that resembles my old life, not even my inner life.

Lastly, it’s easy for some Christians to get freedom in some areas of their life but still remain shackled in other areas. I’m not one of those Christians, or at the very least, I maintain a firm hope that I will take as much freedom that God will allow. I believe Freedom isn’t given, it’s taken. It’s not given by those that hurt or oppress us. It’s taken from Alpha and Omega. Just like Grace is a free gift from the God that loves us, so is Freedom. Just as we exchange ashes for beauty, we can exchange bondage for freedom. You may find my statement freedom isn’t given, its taken…freedom is a free gift (which is implied a gift is given) as contradictory. I don’t see it as a contradiction. When you look at oppressed people throughout history or now, so often the oppressed outnumber the oppressors. Quite often those in bondage are shackled by nonphysical chains, but shackled by mental and emotional chains. Spiritual, financial are some others.

“As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.”

The elephant in the story thinks his freedom depends on those that tie the ropes but if the elephant knew that it was an Elephant with tree trunks for legs, it would exert just enough strength to pull that rope off of the spike.
If you knew that you were a Child of God, you could exert enough strength and praise to pull the shackles off the enemy’s vine.

The very last activity of the conference is a prayer tunnel, the pastors and leaders anoint you with oil and pray over you as you walk through with your eyes closed. You most often don’t remember everything that was said nor does anyone praying over you actually know what is going on in your inner life. However, the first thing that was said over me was straight from Heaven. A pastor said “bring freedom others.” As this was spoken to me, I immediately united with God to take this as the other part of my calling. (Read more in Be Brave). I’m called to free the captives and fortify the weak.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Must Watch: The Heart of Man film- https://heartofmanmovie.com/

My current reading: Unwanted by Jay Stringer- http://jay-stringer.com/

Worship: New Wine- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbJaM_EneMw&list=RDQbJaM_EneMw&start_radio=1

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hookup culture, sex, Uncategorized

The Faux-Intimate Generation

As I was driving home from a work event I was listening to Clean by Natalie Grant. A memory came to the forefront and I figured I would have to write about it. I was trying to think of title but I didn’t like, “Don’t be a Cheapskate” or “How I knew I had to Stop having Sex.” Another song I like is a country song called Every Little Thing by Carly Pearce.

“Every little thing, I remember every little thing, the high the hurt the shine the sting of every little thing…”

I love it because I’m one those people that remembers. I remember those little things, all the things that never mattered to the other person.

One of the last times I slept with a particular person (about 5 years ago), I remember we didn’t use any protection. Surprise- Surprise. At that time, I was (pathetically) okay with it because I only did that with him. I wasn’t sleeping with anyone else nor did I want to. I was okay with there not being a boundary. I’m not condoning unprotected sex here but explaining my own poor choices.

The next days after, I realized we should have used protection because although I knew where I had been- I did not know where he had been. I could not account for what he was doing with other women or not doing with other women. He was a wild card. I decided to text him.

“Just so you know I only do that with you.”

His response went something like, “Yea me too…I’m clean…trust me.”

He asked if I was on the pill and I said no.

He said if I got the Plan B pill he would “reimburse” me.

reimburse

Reimburse

REIMBURSE

REEEIMMMBUUURSSSE.

I said I wasn’t worried about being pregnant and joked “we’ll see what happens in 9 months.”

He didn’t think it was funny.

I didn’t think REIMBURSE was funny. I didn’t think REIMBURSE was appropriate. I didn’t want his money. I didn’t like the way he so casually used the word REIMBURSE. How many other women had he REIMBURSED? Reimburse is not something you say to someone you slept with. Reimburse is reserved for business transactions. You get reimbursed for office supplies, mileage. You get reimbursed from petty cash when the vending machine won’t give you your Funyuns. I had been given money to purchase Plan B years prior and I vowed that would not be an experience I would repeat. (The Time I Went to the Abortion Clinic)

I was NOT a transaction.

But I was to him.

This exchange of communication was monumental in my quest. Right now, I can thank God for the word choice of that person. Obviously, it has stayed on my mind all these years. It was another reminder of why I could not keep sleeping with him or anyone. Especially as the times have changed and young men have become even more gluttonous for sex as women have become even more feral.
This is the generation of soul-less faux-intimate transactional sex.

I wondered if the new normal was to sleep with a girl unprotected, and then utilize Plan B as a plan a. Just reimburse her later. I remembered when I was younger the mantra was Do Not Get Pregnant. Do Not get a STD.

Had that changed? Had the plan changed so much in less than a decade?

It seems as though as the years pass on Responsibility has become an outdated tenet. How could that be? You would think that as we get older we get wiser.

As our culture has come to worship sex we’ve placed responsibility under personal self-indulgence.

We began to desire the benefits and none of the responsibility. Men and women equal in foolishness.

That *REIMBURSE* conversation led me to see that I had better get out of the game. The game had changed and it wasn’t for me anymore.

I never want to hear the word Reimburse from a man that I have been intimate with. God never intended for men to run amok reimbursing women for Plan Bs or abortions. He intended for men and women to make a covenant with Him at the center to care of one another. To represent Christ to one another. Anything short of that is faux-intimacy. It’s a foundation of quicksand, you lose your footing before you know it. You’ll be left feeling played and cheap. Don’t be a cheapskate. You’re worth more than $50 for Plan B or the $500 for an abortion.

Ladies, a man isn’t taking care of you by throwing money at what he or you may deem a “problem.” The problem happened before the conception. The problem is your lack of purity. You lack a firm and full understanding of who you are.

Men, what happened to you? When did you begin to sell out? Generations before you welcomed responsibility. Welcomed the opportunity to showcase your provision and protection. Being a man meant taking care of someone other than yourself.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her – Ephesians 5:25

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. – Proverbs 31:31

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Uncategorized

No Clever Title: Reasons Why I don’t Drink

The last time I drank was over a couple (or over three) years ago. It was during the winter sometime and there was going to be a Snowmageddon. Schools were closing, businesses were closing. Everyone was at the grocery store the night before buying up all the bottled water and whatever else they deemed essential. If schools were closed, then I technically did not have to go in to work either. So knowing I would not be going to work the next day and understanding that I would be snowed in my apartment, I bought my essentials. I bought a cheap tube of instant cinnamon rolls, a 2L of Cherry Coke, and a bottle of White Zinfandel. I decided that I would just drink & chill at home, ya know- Relax. That night I poured my first glasses of wine while listening to music. Soon, the songs turned sad. Then, one sad song on repeat as I continued refilling my glasses until the bottle was about gone. I zeroed in on sad memories of the past [involving my favorite subject- him]. Definition: him that I wanted the sunmoonstars from and him that didn’t want me two nights consecutively; him that ignored me for weeks or months after sleeping with me; him that I allowed to break my heart over and over without every telling him; him that I hadn’t see for a few years him. So basically I got myself drunk, listened to sad music while crying- then finally cried myself to sleep.

WoW. So EXXXXXXTRA. The next day I woke up and began putting all the scenes together. I couldn’t believe the pathetic script that played the night before. I realized had it not been for the alcohol, my night would’ve been a nice evening, no drama. I decided that was last sign I needed to know why I shouldn’t drink anymore.

The thoughts had been coming for a while by then. In my early and mid-twenties, I partied at clubs, bars and house parties. I drank more than I should and spent more than I should. Drinking and driving was common. As I got older drinking became more a “team bonding” activity with coworkers after work. We would go to a nearby bar to vent about work and share laughs. This only happened once per week maybe twice. We all had a few drinks, vented, laughed and went home at closing time. Every once and awhile, the sorority sisters wanted a night out at a club. I would go but the club life wasn’t for me anymore. After about an hour I was ready to get out the heels and into my pajamas.

While out at a bar a friend would take a picture of our drinks and post to Facebook. Sometimes friends would tag me in the location. While being a church attending and small group attending Christian at the time, I didn’t like the tagging and the posting. I felt exposed. I thought, “Don’t tag me here, I don’t want people to know I’m here.” Immediately after thinking ‘I don’t want anyone to know I’m here’- I thought “then why are you here?”

If you don’t want anyone to know you are here, then why are you here?

That’s a good question. Just like that- I was convicted. I discovered I had a double life. It wasn’t that polar opposite but there was a line drawn somewhere. I knew I didn’t want two different lives to lead. I knew what I wanted and I knew that something wasn’t fitting. But I didn’t make any moves just yet.

The bar life comes with certain sub-activities. Sub-activities like playing darts or shooting pool. My sub-activity was Judging or like some people call it- people watching. For some reason there’s nothing like sitting at the bar, drinking your drinks and harshly judging everyone else in the bar. Ripping them to shreds with your thoughts, thinking things I would never tell them out loud. Judging the guys and girls being obnoxious, talking loudly for no reason, the people that think they are walking straight but they are clearly swaying with each stride, the shy men secretly watching the girl barely clothed. I’m sure you’ve witnessed the silliest, wildest things in bars. I was sitting on the bar stool thinking that I was better than everyone else there [aside from my friends]. I was deciding who these people were and they were never worthy of much in my elevated state. I looked at these other people as if they had a sadder more pathetic life than mine. All these people had was this bar… I had more of whatever they didn’t have. But a new thought came more than once.

You think you’re not like everyone else in here, but you are here with them.

Interesting. I am here with them. So how I am so different? Better? I was convicted in a second layer of understanding. How could I sit here and judge these people if I am one of them? I couldn’t. I needed to stop.

So I did.

Our friend group hit a lull and hadn’t gone to the bar some weeks or so. One day, my coworker said how we all needed to go out one night soon. I didn’t respond and remained focused on my task. The pause was awkward and then he said, “You don’t drink anymore do you?” This took me by surprise but he’s a smart guy. I looked up and said ”No. I’ve been convicted lately.” He understood because he is also a Christian. He was supportive and praised me.

This was the New Thing God was doing. In fact, He did it already. Something about my spirit communicated to my friend that I didn’t drink anymore. I hadn’t told anyone these thoughts I was having. I just lived my authentic life each day of the year after that. I knew I didn’t want separate lives. I knew that I would choose whom I serve every day with my actions. I knew that me drinking alcohol in bars or clubs didn’t bring glory to God. I knew drinking at home in my apartment didn’t bring glory to God. I knew me drinking led to thoughts I didn’t need to think. Whether, harsh criticisms of others or sad broken hearted thoughts of the past. Neither brought glory to the Audience of One. None of my alcohol induced behaviors brought glory to the One that Saved Me, didn’t testify to His Authority over my life.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.                              Matthew 16:24-25

This verse stood out during that time in my life. I knew the Holy Spirit had called me out. The Advocate had pointed out some inconsistencies in my life and gave them bullet points. Give it up and follow Him.

Yes I did like alcohol and on any given day still do. My flesh likes the taste of certain drinks and beers. There are fun and sad memories tied to alcohol. Specific years of my life are forever linked with alcohol. When I go to restaurants the thought of ordering alcohol drinks still passes over me. When at the grocery store or gas station I still consider buying something to take home. Sometimes, in the middle of a stressful day I think ironically ‘I need a drink.” The point is, my desire hasn’t left but my commitment to follow through is not there. I may have these thoughts but I don’t act on them. I let them be thoughts and that’s it. We always have the final say.

This may be easy for me to say because I never was addicted to alcohol. Those with addictions have to put in more personal work to conquer sobriety. The last and final reason I don’t drink is because I do not want to be a hypocrite. I know people that have addictions, whether they acknowledge it or not- I see it. I’ve seen it begin and spread. I had a couple friends that really struggled with alcohol. I knew that I couldn’t speak to their addiction because I was actively drinking with them. By cutting out alcohol I’m prepared to spot the truth and live a life that can speak truth into others. You won’t be able to tell me that I’m doing the same thing as you as justification for you to do the same thing you’ve always done.

How can I tell them they drink too much or they have an actual drinking problem if I’m drinking with them?

One friend tearfully confessed to me in our mid-twenties that she hated the way alcohol felt in her body. This confession came in the middle of a night out in the center of Kansas City’s Power and Light District. One friend passed away from alcohol poisoning though his family and friends have never admitted it. Years prior, my friend (from the Power and Light District story) and I took a case of beer to his home. We hung out and while we were on a 3rd beer he had already chugged down almost 10 stacking them up like a tower. He died in 2011 after a night out, alone on the kitchen floor.

So there you have it. Reasons why I don’t drink.

‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’– but I will not be mastered by anything.     I Corinthians 6:12

 

cansho

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