Archives for category: love

handcuffs

Our culture has bought a lie. That lie is that a sexual relationship is the greatest experience of our lives.  If you don’t have a sexual relationship you don’t have a life.  This lie has been around ever since the Renaissance as human society broke away from the inhibiting rules of the Medieval Church and its domination and before the Church’s dominance,  when sexuality was central to the worship of ancient gods and goddesses. This lie has grown more and more powerful and prevalent with the advent of the modern sexual revolution.  This lie is so strong that traditional heterosexual relationships are giving way to a whole rainbow of other kinds sexual relationships.

The truth is that the one relationship we were created for-the greatest experience of our lives is a relationship with God.

What is sad is that in pursuit of sexual relationships many people are committing sexual acts that inhibit a relationship with God.

This lie is not only among people that don’t really pursue a relationship with God, but sadly it is prevalent among those who call themselves Christians.  They believe that their purpose in life is to find that perfect Christian mate and then they can live their life.

As this lie has grown and it has gone further and further from the true purpose of sex for procreation and family stability, to gratification of pleasure and coupling at any cost, the shades of perversion have grown.

With the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” the sexual deviation of Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and Masochism is being mainstreamed as a “normal” sexual behavior.  Those who wish to be in a sexual relationship are now buying  that these behaviors need to be a part of the repertoire of any sexual relationship.

If we continue to believe this lie we will never find peace, and joy in our lives and we will never have the assurance of eternal life with God when this life is through.  It is not too late to seek the truth and build a life on the one foundation that will not fail.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 8:32

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Bella and Edward wedding

“50 Shades of Grey” was the spawn of self-confessed “Twilight” fan EL James.  “Twilight” was her inspiration so it is called “fan-fiction”.  It is termed as the “adult” version of the teen love story.

If Christian and Anastasia are the grown-up version of Bella and Edward –I don’t wanna grow up.

I am not implying that the love story in “Twilight” is without toxic elements but to compare Edward Cullen to Christian Grey is a grave disservice to the vampire.

In case you live under a rock, the story of “50 Shades” is about a narcissistic sadistic man who uses his money and power to seduce and violate an innocent college student. He introduces her to bondage and sadism and rape under the guise of seduction. None of this is done with any kind of commitment , other than an agreement pertaining to the kind of abuse she is willing to suffer signed by Ana. He does eventually change his ways as the trilogy continues and gets “healed” through psychological counseling.

Edward Cullen falls in love with his prey, the one person whose blood he wants more than any other. His love causes him to protect her by guarding her from others and in “New Moon” from himself by leaving her when he realizes the danger she is in by just being around his family of vampires.  Although she wishes to be like him and be transformed into a vampire, he initially refuses to do it. Not only, because it will cost her, her life as a human but also because he believes that as a vampire he has lost his eternal soul which is a greater price. Because he believes in the Bible, he also does not want to compromise her soul by causing her to sin.  He insists that they be married before they have sex. He tries not to intervene in her friendship with Jacob except to protect her from the danger he could pose as a werewolf.  He almost hopes she will choose Jacob because a relationship with him would insure her desire to stay human.

When Edward and Bella finally do have sex on their honey moon and because of his immortal strength Bella gets bruised from the encounter, Edward is horrified.  He purposely distracts her and keeps her busy and overactive so that at the end of each day she is too exhausted to want another physical encounter.  Finally with her insistence they find a way to make love without causing her injury.

The sexual encounter creates a child, but the half-vampire fetus is too powerful for Bella’s frail human body and as the baby grows it ebbs away Bella’s life. Edward in an effort to save Bella’s life asks her to abort it.  When Bella refuses , he asks Jacob to convince her to have future children with him so she will give up on the pregnancy. Edward finally changes Bella into a vampire as her mortal life fades after giving birth by injecting his venom into her heart.

Although the story is a little outrageous the love story demonstrates the characteristics of true love not the twisted selfish love exhibited by Christian Grey.  So don’t call it “Twilight” fan fiction…even a vampire is a better lover than Christian Grey.

scarlett

I am a terrible romantic. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I have been single many more years than attached.  The fictional love stories just can’t seem to materialize in any of my real life relationships.

One of my favorite romances is Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler’s timeless love story has always captivated me.  Their turbulent relationship ends with Rhett’s famous line (in the movie version). When Scarlett asks him (as he finally leaves her after years of alienating his affection), “What shall I do?  Where shall I go?” He responds, “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”

As he walks out the door and into the foggy night, Scarlett throws herself on the stairs and sobs.  As she sobs, she thinks of the only other man that she really loved-her father. She remembers her father’s words,” There is one thing you love more than me Katie Scarlett-Tara.” (Tara- the family plantation.)

“Yes,” Scarlett answers the memory, ”Tara, I’ll go home to Tara”. And with that- Tara is her reason to face another day.

Every woman needs a Tara in her life-something that gives her purpose and meaning, and the rock upon which she builds her life. Men need one too, but usually they do. Men tend to find their identity in their work, where as women find it in their relationships.

Relationships are so tenuous, even those that weather the years have plenty of low spots which could feasibly send your identity into an abyss. That is why women need a Tara.

It is far too big a burden for any relationship to be the source of a person’s identity. This no doubt, is one of the reasons that relationships have a hard time sticking.

I discovered my Tara recently. I was bemoaning my singleness and generally feeling sorry for myself, when I got a kudo on one of my writing pieces.  It immediately altered my attitude as quickly as the dog in “Up”s attitude changes over “Squirrel”.  All semblance of unhappiness evaporated in the bliss of my Tara.

My Tara has its roots in the one relationship that I will allow to define me-that with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the One True Rock that is the greatest foundation for my life. All my endeavors (including my writing) are expressions of my service to Him.  I am like Don
Quixote with my pen (ie laptop) as my sword-battling evil, injustice and oppression to insure liberty and justice for all.

Find your Tara -your raison d’etre- and when you find it you will be home and anything else is just a plus.

Image So goes the song by the group We As Human. Just when I thought the hardness of my heart had been broken away, I find that there was another layer to remove.  Like the fine chrysalis of the caterpillar as it begins to transform into the butterfly.  It is at first transparent so that the transformation is visible and the chrysalis pliable. And so this first layer of the chrysalis clung to me while the hard outer exterior had broken away.  Though it did not imprison me like the stone like shell I once wore, that immobilized my heart and blinded my soul, it enslaved me nonetheless. I was enslaved by the illusion of love. It made me believe that being desired was enough. This kept me safe from the risk of real love with the possibility of real rejection. But real love came along and the illusion torn away by the pain that real love brings. And once again my heart has room to grow and has no barrier to sharing love with others. Once again my broken heart is the path to my freedom. Its pain is the path to joy. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

love soul

A new bill was passed in California  meant to put a stop to sexual assaults on college campuses. It narrows the definition of consent in sexual relations and increases the opportunity for prosecution of assault.

Is the real problem a sexual revolution gone awry?  We live in a culture where men are the winners and women the losers when it comes to sexual freedom and promiscuity.  When did I as a woman consent to that?

Relationships for the majority of America’s young adults are reduced to sexual hookups. In an article based on a study done at the University of  Pennsylvania   one participant describes it this way:

“It’s kind of like a spiral,” she said. “The girls adapt a little bit, because they stop expecting that they’re going to get a boyfriend — because if that’s all you’re trying to do, you’re going to be miserable. But at the same time, they want to, like, have contact with guys.” So they hook up and “try not to get attached.”

And the article goes on to reveal the dark side of this “hook-up” culture that leads to assault:

Women said universally that hookups could not exist without alcohol, because they were for the most part too uncomfortable to pair off with men they did not know well without being drunk. One girl, explaining why her encounters freshman and sophomore year often ended with fellatio, said that usually by the time she got back to a guy’s room, she was starting to sober up and didn’t want to be there anymore, and giving the guy oral sex was an easy way to wrap things up and leave.

It is a catch-22.  The women get drunk in order to consent to the “hook-up” culture and being drunk blurs the lines of consent and assault in these sexual encounters. More from the article:

In a 2007 survey funded by the Justice Department of 6,800 undergraduates at two big public universities, nearly 14 percent of women said they had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault at college; more than half of the victims said they were incapacitated from drugs or alcohol at the time.

Some may argue that sexuality is equally pleasurable for men and women so there is no reason to say that women are the losers in this hook-up culture.  Biology says otherwise:

Men aren’t “exploring their sexuality” when they have sex without strings attached. They’re doing what for many of them comes naturally. Conversely, it isn’t natural for women to have sex without strings attached—and there’s an easy answer as to why: oxytocin. The female body is steeped in oxytocin and estrogen, two chemicals that together produce an environment ripe for attachment. Oxytocin causes a woman to bond with the person with whom she’s intimately engaged. It also acts as a gauge to help her determine whether or not she should trust the person she’s with.

 

Men have oxytocin, too, but a smaller amount. They’re more favored with testosterone—which controls lust, not attachment. That’s why women, not men, wait by the phone the next day after a one-night stand. That’s why the movie He’s Just Not That Into You wasn’t titled She’s Just Not That Into You. When a woman has sexual contact of any kind, it’s an emotional experience—whether she intends it to be or not. The moment touch occurs, oxytocin gets released and the attachment process begins. It just doesn’t happen the same way for men. Call it unfair, but there it is.

I believe it is time for women to take back their sexual power and no longer consent to a culture that leaves them unfulfilled and on the losing end of a proposition.  Let’s start a love revolution and balance the Economy of Sex. Then maybe the ambiguity of assault will be a thing of the past because sexuality will be about love and commitment and not “hook-ups”.

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Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about all the evil in the world.  We read about kidnappings and murder and political tyranny and hunger and war and disease.  It seems like evil is winning.  But there is a force stronger than evil in the world-Love.

For love is as strong as death,

its jealousy as enduring as the grave.

Love flashes like fire,

the brightest kind of flame.

7

Many waters cannot quench love,

nor can rivers drown it. Song of Solomon 8:6,7

Love wins the battle over evil every day.

It is the love between children and their parents at a little league game on a blustery evening on the Bay, as the parents bundle up to stay warm to cheer on their heroes, and the heroes in baseball caps fearlessly slide into base for the love of their fans.

It is the love of a grandson who makes sure that his Grama gets an outing away from the nursing home to enjoy a meal in a nice restaurant, or at a family gathering at his home.

It is the love of a daughter who gave up her freedom and independence to live with her aging mother.

It is the love of a mother to give up her sleep and her own comfort (free of animal excrement and barking) to take care of her daughter’s dogs while her daughter travels.

It is the love of a young couple, whose romance spanned continents and language barriers, and brought together 150 people from two different countries, to celebrate their love on a remote, beautiful ranch in the San Diego countryside.

Yes there is trouble in the world, but I am more overcome by the love in the world.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

Love will win the battle over evil in the world.

Revelation 22:12-13

New Living Translation (NLT)

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Let love win in your life everyday.

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A year ago I suffered losses. The large beautiful tree in my front yard was removed because its roots had taken over the lawn and were beginning to break up the sidewalk and potentially become a hazard to the house. I also experienced the end of certain relationships.

I shared in my blog, at that time about how the removal of the tree improved the rest of the plants in the yard by allowing more sunlight to reach them goo.gl/db7i4h -Reflections on Loss . I shared in another blog about how the heartbreaks created a softer heart to serve and love God and others http://goo.gl/oSq2TN-Love Ruins Everything.

In the course of the past year something amazing has happened. One of the rose bushes in the front yard has more than tripled in size. The rose bush has been in the yard for about five years. In previous years it had grown very slowly and produced maybe 4 or 5 blooms each Spring. With the large tree gone allowing the sun to shine on the bush, it has flourished. This year there are already about 20 blooms so far and the season has just begun. The blooms have a deeper blush pink color and are large and luscious.

As I marvel at this beautiful plant, I realize it is also an illustration of my life in the past year.

I was forced out of the comfort of my relationships. These relationships were distracting me from my purpose and hindering my personal development. With their removal, I was able to bask in the Light of the World, my Lord and Savior. Strengthened by His Power, I grew beyond the comfort of my previous bounds and experienced new adventures, new relationships and new opportunities to glorify Him through the gifts and talents He has given me.

And I hope, my heart, like the rose bush, grew more than three times its size like the heart of the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

This is the life of faith-a life of living dangerously for Christ.

aristotle-quotes-sayings-real-love-happinessIn researching my new book Blessed Are They That Hunger A Christian Responds to The Hunger Games, I discovered a new phenomenon.  There is a growing population of single person households in America. It has grown from only 5 percent in 1900 to 27 percent in 2012.  There is also a decline in marriage. 51 percent of Americans are married as opposed to 92.3 percent in 1920. The population is declining in America.  We have not had enough births to maintain the population since 2007.

Why is love on the decline in America?  We have become sexually addicted and love anorexic.  Pornography is more accessible thanks to internet technology that now allows access not only on  computers but mobile devices as well. Revenues for internet pornography are nearly $3billion per year in the US.  70 % of men aged 18-24 view pornography on the internet at least once a month.

Mommy porn in the form of romance novels are at an all time high as well.  The ebook versions are outselling all other forms- (maybe because no mommy wants to be seen carrying “50 Shades of Grey”).  Romance novels far outsell other genres with nearly $1.4 billion in sales projected for 2013.

We have lost the art of real intimacy and now substitute real relationships with virtual communications on our mobile devices and computers.  We are turning into what our devices are aptly named-Androids.

What has happened to our society? Where is the love?  In my book I quote Rabbi Schmulley who blames it on our inability to understand lust as God designed it and sustain it for long-term fulfillment.

I heard a pastor speak to my youth group when I was in college about sexual sensitivity.  He said we were born with a set amount and if we abused it through over exposure we would need more extreme forms of sexuality for fulfillment.  With the bombardment of sexuality in our society have we become desensitized?  Are we incapable of sustaining fulfilling romantic relationships?

How can we return to love?

A good start might be to turn off the devices.  We could seek out real face time not virtual through joining organizations that allow for real interpersonal interaction. Take up a sport or a hobby like bowling or golf  and not on wii.

Can we relearn love?  All the virtual love and romance through internet, books, movies, and TV are about self gratification.  Love as God created it  is very different. Real love is about gratifying others above ourselves.  Our society has tried love without God, maybe it’s time to try love God’s way.  Can we try a little abstinence from any kind of sexuality except the Biblical form of one man and one woman who sanctify and set apart their sexuality for each other only through the covenant of marriage. Can we take it from tainted love to holy love? Then we can return to a healthy appetite that will sustain a healthy society.  We can stop starving.

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
I Corinthians 13
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

love story biblicalI’ve heard the saying “The heart is a lonely hunter.”  It means your heart will draw you to relationships good or bad out of its need to be connected.  I have been a Christian for more than a few decades.  I have been single, married, then single again.  I have read all the Christian singles books.  I led Bible studies on being single.  But somehow I still find my heart trying to take me down roads I should never travel as a believer in Christ.

The Bible tells us,

Jeremiah 17:9

New Living Translation (NLT)

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,     and desperately wicked.     Who really knows how bad it is?

But somehow I still buy into what our society says-that my heart can be trusted and romantic feelings should be pursued.  I have confused the Biblical view of love and romance with the world’s view as represented in books and movies and TV.  Thankfully, I have lived a disciplined life as a Christian for long enough that I have learned to only act according to what the Holy Spirit directs me in my life.  So I don’t let my feelings control my actions and I barely let them know that they are the object of my affection.

I am still left with my heart- the hunter and the feelings it gives me trying desperately to connect me.  I find myself feeling emotional connections with people who neither know the Lord nor share my values or the worst of all- that do know the Lord but don’t live a godly life.  My heart tells me that they will change. It tells me that God brought me in their life to help them find their way.  So I guard my romantic feelings as I allow friendship with strong boundaries only.

Then I wait for a sign from God like Diane Lane’s character in Under the Tuscan Sun, when the bird left his droppings on her head so the Senora knew she was the one who should buy the villa.  I wait for a sign that this man will become the godly person that I need for my life.  But more times than I can count the only sign that comes is the revelation of a fatal flaw-a character flaw, an addiction, a worldliness that doesn’t line up with a life sold out for Christ.  Once again I have let my heart muddle my thinking and I have put hope in my feelings and not in the only One that deserves my trust, my Lord and Savior.

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks because I think I have a new attitude and a new approach.  From now on I will make sure that I let the Holy Spirit draw me to those who are sold out for Christ and not listen to my deceitful heart. Why does this sound familiar?

Love Ruins Everything.