How far is too far? What is appropriate?
How far is too far? What is appropriate?
Have you ever seen those incredibly talented make up artists who can transform themselves into a totally different person with some bomb contouring and eye shadow? Well, I am not that person. I can barely color inside the lines with my lipstick. And I didn’t even know contouring was a thing until I was in my 30’s.
Now regardless of your skill level or how you feel about make up in general, the stuff is basically magic. I mean, I once saw a woman turn herself into Nicki Minaj. And in case you’re wondering, she looked nothing like Nicki Minaj in real non-make up life.
On the other hand, there are also millions of YouTube videos for make up dummies like myself. Tutorials to help you enhance your beauty without going overboard. Or how to create a date night look that doesn’t resemble a Crayola massacre on your face.
And if you really think about it, intimacy can be the same way. It can transform said relationship into something much different than its initial intentions. Or it can enhance what God has already created, but at the right time and in the right context.
For those of you who aren’t following, here’s an example. You’ve been seeing this guy and you’re getting the hunch that he’s really a creep. But since there are no other prospects or even men looking your way, you decide to take things to the next level out of boredom and desperation. Whether that means kissing, sex, or the whole ‘everything but sex, technically still celibate’ category, you know you’ve crossed a line.
And once that line is crossed, this man’s character and attractiveness levels up from Gollum of Lord of the Rings to Great Gatsby Leo Dicaprio.
Without intimacy you could’ve seen the red flags and all the signs that this man was a waste of your time from the get go. But, since he’s a great kisser and makes you feel desired, you find yourself justifying the way he treats you to your friends. Or making excuses for his behavior towards his family. And worst of all, accepting less than what you God desires for you all for the sake of not being alone.
But let me tell you something honey. It is better to be alone the rest of your life than spend your days trying to make it work with the world’s okayest mate.
And I know that dating as a woman seeking purity before marriage can be hard. Intimacy with boundaries is where the Netflix and Chill and ‘Just come over’ texts go to die. And I LOVE Netflix and free dates.
But intimacy that outpaces the level of commitment is not worth having to retrace the ‘how did I get here’ of a relationship covered in Revlon. Especially one that never should have happened to begin with.
So, ladies, let’s leave the eyeliner and contouring to the experts. And trust that God can enhance the intimacy of your relationship at just the right time if we allow Him to.
Some things are easier said than done…
For my first 32 years, I did the “Christian” thing: No sex before marriage. Got it. There was no purity ring for me, no promise prayer or whatever it is the kids do these days – frankly, half of it was that I was just so awkward around guys and relationships that I didn’t have much in the way of opportunity. But never mind that – I was committed to purity. Check and mark.
And then I met Pat. Pretty early on (about two months), I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were going to get married. Suddenly, my thoughts began to change. I mean, THIS was the man I was going to marry! And I was 32, for goodness’ sake – clearly I had proven my commitment to God in this area. And did I mention that this was the man I was going to marry? No harm no foul, amirite??
So here’s the tough thing about relationships. You meet someone and you want to grow closer to them. You are naturally attracted to them (or at least I hope so!) and the more serious your relationship, the harder it is to keep to your boundaries.
For both of us, we also had the question of sexual compatibility. There’s no way around it – sex is an important part of marriage. You don’t want to enter a marriage treating someone as a brother in Christ…only to find out that you really only love him as a brother. So what’s a Christian to do?
For myself, I was open enough to bring my thoughts and questions to my friends and to invite them to give input and hold me accountable. I also had ongoing dialogue with Pat. We ultimately decided that it was important to us to maintain our commitment to not having sex before marriage. I won’t say that we were perfect, but we found a place that we felt comfortable with in terms of each other and with God.
For this month, the challenge is to purposefully think about your boundaries. If you are dating someone right now, ask yourself if you are okay with where you are? Have you had an open discussion with your partner and both laid plain what your boundaries and expectations are?
If you are not dating anyone at the moment, are there past actions in your life that you need to pray about and ask for others’ prayer? Have you made a firm decision about what your boundaries are for the future? What are your questions and fears about having a strong boundary? Please feel free to ask me/us and I would also encourage you to bring them to a pastor!
We look forward to hearing from you this month!
Can you believe it’s already the end of April?? I can’t! Already heading toward summer! Hooray!
So how did it go this month in stewardship? I can tell you that I did a few things well this month. First, I had a couple opportunities that have come my way that I have had to say no to, in order to be a good steward of my relationship with my husband. It is so easy to become overcommitted and to forget to spend time with the ones that you love most.
Second, I started giving my full 10% tithe. I had been hovering somewhere around 8% with my old job, but with this new one, I am at the full amount. I do not judge anyone who doesn’t make it to the 10% – I know what it’s like to look at the money coming in and the money going out and not feel like you have an additional dollar to give. But after over six months of unemployment, I was blessed with another job and am happy to give back. This is good stewardship of both my finances and my relationship with God.
I loved the posts this month – Jen’s post on digging up our buried talents, Roz’s on investing in our sexual integrity, Timmie’s on stewardship of our influence, and Lianna’s on guarding our physical health. Such great reminders that stewardship and the gifts that we have been given are about so much more than finances!
If you know that God has given you blessings, then how are you being a good steward of them? Are you sharing them and growing them? Are you using them to bless others? God has given them to you for a reason!
See you tomorrow in (gasp) May!