I've been putting this one off for a while...
I took a class my senior year of college called "Strategic Management". It was a summer class, and one of my favorites. My teacher had a passion for the topic that was evident as he lectured, earnest for us to grasp the concepts. When we looked at different businesses, he used to refer to the business that dominated the market as "the 800 pound gorilla". McDonald's is an 800 pound gorilla in the fast food industry. Wal-mart holds the honors for retailers. Starbucks probably puts drugs in their drinks to earn the title, but you get the idea.
When I think about my life as a single mom, and the things that are competing for my heart, one things stands out: S-E-X. I don't care who you are, controlling sexual desires is a BATTLE. It certainly isn't a struggle limited to single parents, but we do seem to have a unique dilemma when it comes to sexual purity - we know what we're missing!!!
If you've ever read any books about what drives men and women, you may know that typically, for men, the sexual act itself is a bonding experience. For women,(which I will address more specifically since I know a little more about them than men!) we are much more driven by the emotional aspect of the process. Women live to be loved and desired. Stasi Eldredge says this:
"A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she's loved. Cut off from love, rejected, no one pursuing her, something in a woman wilts like a flower no one waters anymore. She withers into resignation, duty and shame. The radiance of her countenance goes out, as if a light has been turned off. But this same woman, who everyone thought was rather plain and unengaging, becomes lovely and inviting when she is pursued. Her heart begins to come alive..."
After walking through a divorce, many of us have experienced some form of deep emotional pain. Naturally, finding someone to fill that empty place in our hearts is where we tend to focus our energy. I certainly did. We want to be desired. I've found that most of my life the quickest way to be desired was to be sexy. Granted, it isn't the way I really want to be desired ultimately, but it feels good - again - shallow, but honest. Whenever I find myself struggling with a little insecurity, I can almost bet that my inclination will be to throw myself at Adam. It's a good thing I wear a metal chastity belt, and the key is at my dad's house in Dallas. So uncomfortable... :-)
Putting the pieces of my life back together after divorce has been a long and difficult process to say the least. Dealing with the sexual aspect has been overwhelming at best. Most of us know what God has to say about the subject. I wish I had some secret to share, or magic formula to follow, maybe even a prayer to say that would make our sexual desires dormant until the right time. I don't really have any advice to offer. Even if I did, I imagine that it wouldn't be some eloquent combination of words that would challenge you anyway. There are practical bits of wisdom we can learn from, and remind ourselves of God's truth, but I think the place the battle is really won or lost is in our hearts. I've been praying for the past few weeks that God would change my heart. I just want to share one thing that was meaningful to me, again from Stasi Eldredge's book Captivating:
"The vast desire and capacity a woman has for intimate relationships tells us of God's vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships. In fact ,this may be the most important thing we ever learn about God - that he yearns for relationship with us. Oh, how we've missed this! How many of you see God as longing to be loved by you? We see him as strong and powerful, but not as needing us, vulnerable to us, yearning to be desired. God wants to be a priority to someone. From cover to cover, the cry of God's heart is 'Why won't you choose me?' It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point. 'You will find me,' says the Lord, 'when you seek me with all your heart' (Jer 29:13). In other words, 'Look for me, pursue me - I want you to pursue me.' Amazing. God wants to be wanted".
I am challenged by that thought, and this verse:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matt. 23:37)
The battle is for our hearts.
"Lord, you know my heart, the struggles, the insecurities and the secrets in the deepest places. Remind me today that you long for ME and want to heal me of the pain I've experienced. May my heart be yours so that I long to pursue you. Change my heart. Help me to make you my priority, so that I'm filled with your love, and not empty when someone else comes around. Give me the discernment to distinguish between true love, and a temporary fix. Remind me that my longing for romance really can be fulfilled in you."
Becky Patton, who is like a mother to me, recently started a ministry called Truessence that is devoted to the concept of Holy Sexuality. Check it out - it won't be what you expect. www.truessence.net Becky always challenged me to invite God in - let him be a part of my sexuality - and see how He changes me.