Although one of our missions at Across My Heart is to encourage girls to save sex for their marriages, we realize that there are young (and older) women in the church who did not wait until marriage to have sex. This blog is for you. If you’re scared, I beg you to keep reading.
With everything that has come out with the #MeToo movement, it’s good to see that our society hasn’t fallen so far as to undermine sexual victimization and sweep our skeletons under a rock. Men and women have spoken up against sexual violence, raising awareness of its widespread effect, and helping victims realize they are not alone. Necessary changes are taking place and justice is being served. But as a member of this society, it still scares me to see the obsession we have with sex.
I remember the day when I received my purity ring. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I was mesmerized by the glittering of the garnet stone in the sunlight. My parents explained to me what it meant to be pure, and how the ring was a symbol of a commitment. I don’t think I fully got it. Even though my parents did their best to help me understand the holistic design for purity, my young mind oversimplified the concept of purity and made it solely about the physical aspect. As a brand new teenager who hardly even spoke to boys, I thought that the whole “purity deal” was easy. Of course I would be abstinent! I had been taught that sex before marriage went against God’s Word. I didn’t think that I would need a reminder of my commitment to purity.
Love makes it okay to have sex. I’ve heard that line more times than I can count. But, no matter how good it sounds, I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible. In fact 2 Timothy 2:22 urges us to flee from youthful passions so we can pursue love instead. "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).”
Both male and female bare the image of God. Our gender is sacred because we bare that image differently. As women we reveal something about the character of God that man cannot. Men in turn do the same.
It was a Friday night and my mom and I were going to be the only family members at home, so we decided that it would be a good time to watch a chick flick. I grabbed my phone and pulled up my notes app where I had a list of movies that people had recommended. But before picking any random movie off the list, I looked up reviews about each movie to see if their content was wholesome (I’ve learned by now not to trust just any suggestion!). I read review after review and wasn’t comfortable with what I saw. I finally gave up and asked myself for what must have been the millionth time, are there any good chick flicks without a slew of sexual innuendos, dirty language, and scenes where women are portrayed as sex objects?
I grew up believing sex was bad. No one ever actually said it that bluntly, and I doubt I would have ever verbalized it that way (because let’s be honest, I never would have said that word out loud). But as I sat through church service after church service that encouraged saving sex for marriage, that’s the conclusion I drew. My youthful “solution” = Do not desire sex at all. The problem with my “solution” = A fear of that which God designed for His glory.
Sometimes, saying we can’t overcome sin is an excuse to avoid the hard work of sanctification and enjoy living in it a little longer. But more often than not, laziness isn’t the problem. We are scared. Scared of what lurks in the dark corners of our heart. Scared that if we dig too deep we will discover something about ourselves that we don’t like. Scared of being vulnerable. Scared of being found out. Scared of the shame of our own shadows.
You know you’ve messed up. How could anyone love you anymore? No matter what you do, there is nothing that can atone for your mistakes. Yet your husband comes and pursues you, like you are priceless. What kind of love is this?
Sex is confusing. The church has overcomplicated it. The world has overcomplicated it. But it doesn't have to be that way. God's ways are actually quite simple. Our co-founder & director, Ashley Giovannucci, spoke about holistic purity with one hundred 6th-12th graders at the One Heart Youth Conference last weekend. She talked about failed attempts to navigate our sexuality - the purity movement of the 1990's, abstinence education, and the free love movement. And she ultimately shared how the simplicity of God's way brings clarity to our lives.