Abstinence is unrealistic and old fashioned

Great read and encouragement.
If sex is the highest physical form of intimacy you can have with another…then sex outside the bounds of the highest form of commitment to another (i.e. marriage) is the biggest lie we tell each other and ourselves. And how can any true intimacy build on lies?

The Matt Walsh Blog

From my inbox, an email from a high school student named Jeremy:

“Dear Matt, first I want to say I really like your blog. One of my teachers actually mentioned it in class once after you wrote something (she didn’t mention it in a good way lol) and I went and looked you up so I’ve been following you ever since. I know you get so much email so I don’t expect you to see this but in case you do I wanted to get your opinion about something. You write a lot about relationships and everything so I’m wondering if you think abstinence should be encouraged in school?

Reason I’m asking is because we are doing our sex ed lessons in health class now and the topic has come up. Yesterday my health teacher was talking about safe sex and someone mentioned abstinence and she said it wasn’t realistic…

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Brokenness Series

I wrote this series over Lent, a time where we reflect on vices or sins that have a grip in our lives as well as to consider what virtue might take its place instead as we ask God to forgive and remove those vices. It was an interesting experience to recall those memories….memories of situations where I was so hurt yet it pointed to a root problem that was within my own heart.

I remember, also when I was 18 and asking to be broken, that God would also show me what’s so amazing about His grace. Grace was for those who needed what they didn’t deserve and I thought I was pretty good, hence deserving, actually. And well, looking back, I see I DESPARATELY needed His grace and the grace of so many others. I still do. So, I challenge you, if you think your vices are minimal or under control, or if you don’t know why you need God’s grace, consider asking Him to show you. He will. And will also walk/carry you through it.

  1. Did I ask for this?
  2. But I’m smrt!
  3. Friends Forever
  4. I don’t GET fired!
  5. False Starts
  6. Nothing could’ve prepared me for this
  7. Still broken

On Lent and Facebook

I’m nearing the end of Lent and on my commitment to give up Facebook and Twitter for forty days. Wow…it was harder than I thought it would be. I wanted so badly to check my FB feeds. See what is going on in people’s lives. Or see what people might’ve commented when my blog post notifications go out. (I know at least one comment will ask why posts are still showing up on my wall when I’m fasting from FB…well, it was a notification from my blog. Not me! ha ha.) As for Twitter, I have thoughts and ideas and really interesting articles to share. I don’t have many followers but surely some of those things would be of interest to them. And who knows, maybe it will spread to the right person and change their life???

Really though, my contributions are really just adding to the noise that’s already out there. I recognize my need to see what people may have commented on my wall about my blog posts is really so I can respond or exert some influence back if it happens to be a negative comment.

There is a spiritual discipline of Silence according to Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline“. (I totally recommend this book by the way…these disciplines are HARD but so good for the soul.) Regarding Silence, the chapter points out how we want to speak in order to persuade, convince, influence, manipulate or control, the best we can, our listeners and readers. God may have spoke the universe into being with but a word, but we use many many words to try to nudge certain things to move in our favor. It also usually doesn’t work. Being Silent then, is to give that attempt to control completely to God. It’s saying, “I won’t defend myself because God is my Defender.” Or “I won’t try to convince them for my cause because God will provide who or what’s needed.” But, giving up control is hard. As usual.

And regarding not knowing what people are up to…not using FB means you really have to be intentional about making and maintaining that relationship. It forces me to be active in seeking someone else out as opposed to passively sitting back, scrolling through my feed until I see something interesting enough to get me to click “Like” or add a comment. But it’s SO convenient that way! I’m challenged to be more active in my relationships.

So…what’ll happen when Lent is over?

Well, I will be happy to check FB and Twitter again. But I will try very hard to not let FB and Twitter fill every free moment. Perhaps it’s also time to clean house and unfriend/unfollow those whom I really have no connection to. It’s not about the numbers. Frankly, I don’t like how Facebook has that kind of pull and control on me…or how it has all this information about me. I hope to be more mindful about practicing the discipline of Silence on and offline as well as being more active in building relationships.

It’s gonna hurt sometimes

(From quebecoislibre.org)

Our culture has gotten really sensitive about making sure no one has any hurt feelings or that everyone “feels good” about themselves all the time. Where did this ever come from?? When did we get so wussy?

Truth is, hearing the truth about yourself is going to hurt sometimes. And it’s ok. Granted the deliverer of the message should hopefully, be delivering the truth in grace and love, but regardless, it could still sting. I’d rather hear the stinging truth, and then deal with it or make a decision based on truth rather than to continue building up an illusion. Likewise for people around me, I would rather tell the truth (hopefully tactfully) rather than try so make them feel better and see them reap the consequences of finding out the truth later.

Or guilt…guilt also feels horrible. But we treat it as if we should avoid feeling guilty at all costs. In actuality, guilt CAN be good. I’m not talking about the guilt-trip type guilt that might get laid on you to manipulate some kind of preferred response….but true guilt from your conscience saying “This isn’t right.” It’s the warning bell that you’re going to do something that could hurt someone and/or yourself. It’s the pain of touching a hot stove telling you that leaving your hand on it any longer will cause some serious hurt. Why wouldn’t you want to listen to that? Why would you want to dull or avoid that painful warning when it’s there to protect you?

Criticism, rejection and failure is part of life…we need to be able to constructively deal with it. If we keep insulating ourselves (and our kids) from anything that could hurt our feelings then when Life deals a particularly hard hand, we/they’ll find our/themselves on our/their faces, in the mud, feeling like a victim, for a really long time. The person who can take the blow, do something good about it, will succeed. I want to be that person….and I want my future kids to be that as well.

Not every kid will share toys…I’m not going to swoop in, take the toy from the other kid to give to mine. There will parties they’re not invited to…I’m not going to phone the parents demanding an invite. They’re not going to make every team they try out for…I won’t tell the coaches off. They may or not pass their Learners exam on the first try…I’m not going to argue the instructor for a pass. And there’ll be at least one D grade in their academic years (there better not be more than two!)…I’m not going to tell the teacher off at PTI’s. (I’ve seen or heard of these scenarios happening in real life!)

Someone please quote me to my face if I become that parent that tries to protect her kid from every/anything that might cause discomfort. Thanks!

Back to dealing with stinging truth or burning guilt…take it like an adult. With a grain of salt. Be honest with yourself in evaluating whether or not that truth or guilt is valid. Then take a deep breath and do something about it…turn it into something constructive and come out as a stronger and better person.

Purple Tongue

At a ladies BSF group I attended, oh half a decade ago, we once had a substitute group leader who celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary recently. As a group of young, mostly single, some engaged women, we asked her what the secret was to such a long (and she looked happy) marriage was. She replied, “Purple tongue.

You can see the puzzled looks and raised eyebrows around the group…what’s “Purple tongue”???

The lady explained, “It’s when your husband is doing something or not doing something that you want to say something about…but you don’t. You hold it in or bite your tongue until it turns purple.

One college aged girl exclaimed, “Wow, how times have changed! I don’t think I could do that!” And I’m sure a lot of us were thinking something similar. Really? Hold your tongue? Not say anything?? Really?

I think there’s something to that though…I mean, her and her friends’ marriages lasted decades until God called one of them Home. The marriages of our generation…well you know how it goes. A quick search for “tongue” references in the Bible describes a tongue that speaks thoughtlessly as a poison and a weapon. But a righteous tongue is like silver and brings healing. Proverbs 18:21 sums it up best, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

The power of life and death. That’s what our tongues can do to our relationships. Especially as women (though I’m not saying men shouldn’t also watch what they say)…women are just generally more verbally expressive. It’s a very good thing that the days of “speak only when spoken to” are gone in our culture….but I think with our freedoms and liberties to speak, we’ve forgotten about restraint and respect for others. Some things just don’t need to be said. Or some things don’t need to be said that way. Speak the truth yes, but speaking the truth in love is much better….if we need to speak it at all.

Among women, I think we can be a little freer to speak our minds….we “get” each other when we do so. We know how to motiviate or discourage other women with words. But with men…it’s different. They receive/interpret it differently. It’s not better or worse in any way, we’re made equals, but we’re made to be different. Perhaps it’s also to do with Eve’s curse that we inherited, that our desire is for our husbands, where some interpretations suggest that our desire is to control them. I don’t know. What I DO know is that sometimes I’ll let my husband know what I think….and have it blow up in my face. Other times I have caught myself wanting to say more, but held it back…and things have turned out well. So I do think practicing a purple tongue is very good advice that will make a bigger difference in marriage than I currently understand as a new-ish wife.

She shared a story, “The bulb in our garage had burned out so I pointed it out to my husband one day. Two weeks later he still hadn’t changed it…

I thought of what I might say…”Hun, it’s been two weeks! How long does it take to change a lightbulb? And I didn’t even nag you! Come on…do it before watching your sports highlights!

She continued, “…so I came into the house and said ‘Gosh it’s so dark in the garage I nearly ran into the shovels!’ My husband then went out and changed the bulb right then and there.

I gotta unlock this secret of the Purple Tongue.