For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to become a wife and mother. In my mind, the ideal scenario was to start dating in late high school, get married fresh out of college, and start a family not long after. The only problem was that there was never a guy in the picture. I finished high school without dating anyone, so needless to say, things didn’t start out the way I had imagined.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the “Good Girl.” The kind one. The honest one. The encouraging one. The happy one. The good one. I knew the right things to do and say: what my family wanted, what my friends wanted, even what I thought God wanted. I was polished on the outside, doing all the “right” things, but on the inside, I was selfish. I was angry. I felt inadequate. I was driven by performance and perfection.
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.
I can date whoever I feel like dating…I need a boyfriend… It’s not really sex… I can’t handle the loneliness of staying pure. Those are some of the sexual lies that the book bluntly addresses while tactfully counteracting them with truth.
One of my good friends and I decided we were going to change the meaning of New Year’s resolutions for ourselves. We decided to do one thing every day that scares us. We realized that we were letting fear control our life choices - fear of what others think, fear of failure, fear of rejection. Do I take a chance at failing and do this thing in front of me, or do I ignore it and go on with my life? This is much like Jonah’s situation.
You’re not good enough. You’re ugly. You’re not thin enough. You’re not smart enough. The voices get so loud that I can’t focus on anything else. As I stare into the mirror, the feeling that I’m worthless plagues my mind and suffocates me. My joy is gone. But what if our perspective meant more than our perfection?
Over Christmas break I watched the film The Greatest Showman in theaters. Any fans? P.T. Barnum is an excellent example of someone with a gumption for greatness. I had a film student open my eyes to this theme throughout the film. Hugh Jackman’s character showed initiative, resourcefulness, and sometimes shrewdness to make it possible for his entrepreneurial dreams to come true.
Few of us actually care about what is true by God’s standard. Our sinful human nature wants to believe a truth that is popular. A truth that looks “close enough” to God’s truth but justifies something we previously knew was sin, or a truth that is more “enlightened” than God’s truth because it is more “loving” and less “judging”. We like playing God and defining truths like these. They are more comfortable truths. We enjoy living a deception that makes us feel better about ourselves and others.
Freedom, just for the sake of freedom, will breed rebellion in our hearts. Freedom for the sake of seeking the heart of God though, breeds life; it causes us to experience the love of God in a pure way.
When we think of the word “pure”, we tend to think of “perfection.” We can’t mess up. We can’t sin or make a mistake. But we forget about the other synonyms for the word like “authentic,” “plain,” “real,” “simple,” and “transparent.” Purity is deeper than a perfect performance. It’s more than a list of rights and wrongs. Purity gives us a crystal, clear focus.