My biggest influences on my no-sex-before-marriage stance: teen years

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I’ve been asked numerous times about my beliefs. Everyone that knows me knows the three things I get most passionate about are God, relationships, and politics. I can seriously talk for hours on any of those. Whether you are curious or simply looking for possible resources to use, I decided to do a mini series on what has influenced me the most in regards to remaining abstinent until marriage. I would like to preface this with the fact that everything I will talk about will all be supplemental as my one and only reason needed stems from love and respect for God and His rules. I know that everything He says is only for my benefit and I trust Him. As I’ve grown through the years, everything I’ve come across in regards to saving sex for marriage just confirmed my decision and showed me why God desires for us to share that level of intimacy with the one we choose to spend the rest of our lives with.

A book. A speaker. A movie.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye

This was an extremely popular book at the time. I also had the biggest crush on the author, Joshua Harris. I honestly don’t remember too much about the book but it primarily focused on giving up on the traditional way of dating and trying a new method. He talked a lot about what happens in the current dating culture of what I like to refer to as mutually using relationships. It’s very me-centered rather than other-centered and that’s why Josh proposes a different idea.

I must confess, I did not read the entire book. He talked a lot about the idea of courtship which I’m not really sure where I stand on it yet. I think it depends on one’s age honestly and I don’t really think there is a one size fits all method. What I appreciated most about this book was the encouragement I received that there are others out there who do live their lives against the grain- right up my alley;-)

Pam Stenzel

Oh my gosh. I absolutely loved listening to this lady. She was a firecracker. Pam is an abstinence spokeswoman and I just had to look her up because it’s probably been 10 years since I’ve listened to her! She talked a lot about the consequences of sex that I don’t think younger girls hear sometimes. She talked about both the physical and emotional effects which I wish were talked about more. Why isn’t it talked about more?! I either hear people talk about it like it’s no big deal or people just won’t talk about it. Relationships are one of the most important things in life and I think we can all agree sex is a part of that. Why is it so taboo? Blah. End rant. Anyway, one of my favorite things Pam said and something that has always stuck with me whenever I’ve been weak or tempted was something to encourage women. It was in response to a sexually active girl making fun of a virgin (because we all know it happens) and the response was simply “Any day I can choose to be just like you but you can never again be like me.” Wow. And I don’t say this to be arrogant or pretend like my purity is some type of badge that makes me better than anyone else. But what I do wish is that people did value it more. Treasured it. Held on to it. Because honestly I just feel people don’t and it breaks my heart. It is so valuable. And so special. And people are doing everything they can to make you think otherwise.

Pamela’s Prayer

This movie had such an impact on my life. I think it’s what keeps me going sometimes with my own vision and ideas. To know that someone’s idea or vision changed the whole course of my life. Maybe, just maybe, I can make that kind of impact on someone else’s life. This movie followed the life of a young girl. But once again, only one thing stood out to me from this move: she wanted to have her first kiss on her wedding day. I thought this was the coolest idea and decided to make the same commitment right then and there.

I do have a funny story about this. I did acting in high school and when I was 16 I got the lead at our local theater and was Snow White. Side note, I still wish I could be a famous actress. Anyway, I’m sure all of us know what happens toward the end of the story- Snow White gets a kiss from the prince while she is “dead” and then she magically comes alive and they live happily ever after. All throughout rehearsals the prince would kiss me on the cheek. Well, at our final dress rehearsal I was lying down dead, covered head to toe under the sheet, when the director tells the prince to go ahead and give me a real kiss this time. Sometimes I do things without thinking all the way through and this was one of those times. I immediately shot up and said “No no noooo!” Everyone started laughing and then giving him a hard time thinking I just rejected him but I tried to say that wasn’t the case. It turned out to be a funny moment and we agreed on a stage kiss- essentially he kissed me close to my mouth and it was no big deal. Always a fun memory though.

I wish I could say I stuck to my ‘no kiss until my wedding’ idea but I can’t. I have kissed one guy and I only did because I thought I was going to marry him at that time. I haven’t since and I’m very of glad. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with kissing necessarily, but it helps me to focus on what matters most to me and keeps me from getting emotionally attached to guys I’m attracted to but don’t really like. It is my hope that the next guy I kiss will be my husband.

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I gave up dating, I did not give up talking to guys

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As I mentioned in my previous post one of the things I decided to give up for lent was dating. I knew this was going to be a challenge for me but I also knew it was something I needed to do. Up until this time, I wasn’t technically dating anyone but my mind was constantly consumed with one guy who would feed my ego to the next. I imagine my heart with several holes in it and the words of some guy as a thin liquid being poured in. Clearly, these words run right through me and don’t make my heart full. But I suppose if I have enough guys lined up and their words are consistent, and perhaps even overlap with the compliments of another, then maybe just maybe I will feel complete. It’s really sad but I don’t think I’m the only one that buys into this silliness. We all are looking for love really. Watch anyone for a given amount of time and you’ll notice. Love is what makes us alive. We all are inclined to do what I do but your liquid may just be something other than the fleeting words of a guy- money, fame, success, you name it. I may not understand much about it but one thing I do know is that it all eventually leaks out and you are left with an empty heart. Unless, of course, your heart is already full of something of a greater consistency- a thicker substance. Of something that actually stays. Of something that actually lasts. And that’s Jesus and that’s what I’ve been focusing on these past 26 days. Focusing on what will truly complete me instead of focusing on the cheap imitations.

These past few weeks have been interesting as I’ve tracked my thoughts and feelings. I am a firm believer in us doing our absolute best as that’s an indication of how much we desire God to change us. One of my favorite quotes from Joyce Meyer says “God wants you to do what you can so He can do what you cannot.” To me, it has always be a sign of how bad we really want something, how bad we want to change. This lent study has truly been me doing what I can and God has definitely done what I cannot. He has changed my heart and those are the times I treasure the most.

Here are just a few of the ways I have benefited from this time so far:

  • I have fallen more in love with Him and have a greater understanding and appreciation for how much He truly loves me
  • I have felt more complete in Christ as my faith and trust has grown tremendously
  • So many times we wonder what we should do but as I’ve gotten closer to Christ, He has illuminated my path and my peace has increased
  • I tracked how I defaulted back to old guy friends for love; though this wasn’t necessarily the healthiest thing to do in my opinion, it did give me the strength to not turn to new potential dates
  • Furthermore, I realized how important a father’s role really is; when a girl has a dad (or I do believe it could be another male figure) who continually tells her how loved and valuable she is, she has the strength to never settle for less than God’s best; she knows her worth
  • I was able to get over and lose feelings for someone I still liked at the time because he was feeding my ego
  • I have met some really awesome women and have been able to invest more in those friendships
  • I have spent more time with my family which has been a huge blessing
  • Ironically enough, I have a better understanding of what I am looking for in a potential spouse
  • My guy friendships have strengthened

I want to talk about the last one now. I think people assumed when I said I was giving up dating it meant I was giving up talking to guys. It was funny to watch as my friends would yell at me if I even dared to mention a guy. But I didn’t give up talking to guys. And I’m so glad I didn’t. For me, it has been my mind and thought process that has changed. Whenever I talk and engage with a guy, instead of viewing him as a potential spouse I’ve looked at him differently. I have looked at these guys as brothers, as friends, as someone I could potentially be a blessing to. I didn’t realize it at the time but I’ve moved from a “me” centered attitude to an “others” centered mindset. And it has been incredible. I already feel less needy, less dependent, and most importantly- more like myself. I love it. There is something so wonderful about living for something greater than yourself. I feel happier. I feel freer. I feel more loved than I have ever been. Nothing is as radiant as the smile of a girl who knows how loved she is. ♥

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My ex just married his ex

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So I was scrolling through my newsfeed the other day and I noticed that my ex –boyfriend just married his ex-girlfriend. Yep, you heard me right. A flood of thoughts immediately ran through my mind as I recalled everything he had told me while we were dating. Another example of when I trusted a guy over my gut. Never trust a guy over your gut. Always trust your gut instincts. They are there for a reason.

It’s kind of weird and I’m not really sure if there is a “right” feeling. Our relationship was never that serious, mainly because it was never given the chance to be that way. Looking back, it was just another relationship God protected me from in spite of my naïve ways. While I hate to admit this, I spent more time trying to figure out why he didn’t like me rather than seeing if I even liked him. I didn’t. But what mattered at the time was my vanity and ego. I hate when I get like that. If anything now, I feel bad for his wife. And I feel bad for him.

Mark and I first met at a wedding. We had a lot of mutual friends in common and he actually knew my date (I was my friend’s date- strictly platonic mind you;-). We talked a little and he seemed cool. A little shy and quirky which depending on the guy, I either find annoying or cute- your guess is as good as mine. Good luck. After the wedding, Mark and I would run into each other at random times. It’s one of the perks of living in a small town. We would flirt and it was fun. Mainly innocent as I really didn’t know much about him. But he intrigued me. He was unpredictably predictable and I liked that about him. He was a very structured, responsible guy and then he would also do something to throw me off. I guess I tend to be the same way so I appreciated it. It kept things exciting. One of the times we ran into each other, he just randomly asked me what I was doing and suggested we go get some food and drinks. Right then and there. I’m not sure if I had anything going on or not but I told him I was down. I like to try and act laid back even if I’m not- fake it until you make it right? I’m so awkward sometimes haha.

He was such a gentleman. Old fashioned and chivalrous. Sigh, my weakness. I got up to use the restroom and when I came back he had already paid the bill. I don’t care how much a feminist you are, I’ve yet to meet a girl who doesn’t like to be taken care of even if she can take care of herself. Plus it’s easier for me to respect a guy who can take charge and get stuff done. If you can handle me, you’re a rarity;-).

We went out a few more times and would text. Nothing too heavy, not too light. Well, maybe too light as I look back on it. I normally don’t post about my dates on Facebook but we were going to a concert that I was super excited about and of course I wanted to brag. This was what got me in trouble and this was also what saved me. I updated my status and tagged him in it. Is that wrong to do? Apparently. Actually not really. He seemed fine with it at the time but then he started to pull away some. This always bothers me- communicate people! Maybe this is a fault of mine- I don’t know but I wanted to know what happened. I wanted some answers. So I pushed.

I just looked through our old messages and I must say I am the epitome of John Mayer’s lyric “it’s better to say too much than to never say what you need to say.” Story.of.my.life. I wonder what I am thinking sometimes when I send messages. No, I know what I’m thinking- I’m thinking exactly what I write and that’s what gets me in trouble sometimes. Mark was being evasive and I wanted to know why. I had suspicions that he had a girlfriend but he had told me he didn’t. I always trust people until they give me a reason not to and even though I’ve been burned by this numerous times, I still think it’s a good principle to live by. The right one will deserve my trust and I don’t want to give him anything less.

Mark and I did end up meeting again but I never got the answers I was looking for. He shied away from my direct questions but I already knew even if I didn’t want to face it at the time. The girl Mark had been seeing prior to us dating starting posting stuff of the two of them. I would notice him on my newsfeed every now and then as their relationship progressed to “FBO”, to engaged, to now married. Mark and I would talk off and on via text and still ran into each other. I’d try to ask nonchalant questions about his relationship but those were the only questions he avoided. Part of me just wanted him to admit it but he didn’t until he got engaged. I sent him a text saying congratulations and asked if it was to the girl he had dated prior to me. He said it was. Finally. He knew. And I knew but at that time I didn’t really care anymore. I’m really proud of myself sometimes. I’ve been treated pretty badly but I always still love the person for some reason. You can’t make yourself love- you either have it or you don’t. I don’t allow myself to be taken advantage of but I was there for him when his dad wasn’t doing well, when he needed advice on certain things, and needed help professionally. I was always there and I really didn’t care. I was happy to help, to make a difference, and show him what love was. It makes me think of that scripture:

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” -Luke 6:32-36

And you know what boggles my mind the most? After all of this, the two things I don’t understand and probably never will is why he went back to her and why she accepted him back. Mutual friends once told me how he had talked about her and how he didn’t love her but it was just comfortable and easy for him. Why would you marry someone you don’t love? And her- why do girls go back to a guy if they have already been rejected? One of the best things about being in a relationship is being loved. If you don’t want me, you are no longer attractive to me- does that make sense or am I the only one that thinks this way? The last thing I want to do is convince someone to be with me. I do wish them the best. I hope they both fall madly in love with each other. I hope they grow to be more than partners and a good arrangement. There is so much more depth to a relationship I desire and I know I won’t settle until I find it even if it’s not important to the rest of the world.

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photo credit: Picture Me Married Photography – Ashley Palmero – Ring Shot via photopin (license)