Put Your Promise Back On

I bought my purity ring when I was fifteen. I remember everything about that day. I remember being so excited to give God my entire life, making a promise that I would wait to have sex until I got married. I proudly wore that ring and loved it when people asked me what it represented because that meant I got to share with them about my faith. I ran after God year after year continuing to keep my promise even though it wasn’t always easy. I loved to encourage others to make the same stand and would often lead, sing, or speak at conferences for this cause. It was awesome. I felt like I was making a difference letting young people know not everyone was “having sex.” There were people out there waiting.

Then the day came where I noticed I was now older. I was in my thirties, and here I was with this ring on STILL. I thought my stand would show God He could trust me, that I was ready to get married, ready to give my husband this ring. I even planned it when I was younger. I would write the most amazing letter and give it to him with the ring right before we walked down the aisle. It would be such a special moment – he would probably cry 🙂 .

The day came when I started seeing others who were once in my youth group or kids’ church getting married, and here I was with this ring on STILL. Thoughts from the enemy made me feel embarrassed. I allowed him to change the way I looked at my ring. A fifteen-year-old girl, so proud of her ring, turned into a woman embarrassed that she still wore it. A couple of years ago, I took the ring off, not giving up on my promise to God but tired of being reminded that it seemed like I was doing my part, but God forgot about His.

I lost my confidence in God’s promise. I gave up on the idea that it would actually happen. I became double-minded. My prayers for my future husband were covered with doubt. God’s love is so great that He sent people to speak into my life to help me see where I was living. I asked God to forgive me for my doubt, renewed my confidence in His promise, and finally, I put my ring back on.

Since putting my ring back on, my enjoyment of life is starting to change. When I see a wedding, it becomes a reminder not of my singleness, but of my promise. I can truly celebrate with others knowing that one day I will celebrate too. This mindset causes me to live in freedom, and it feels amazing. It isn’t always easy, and I have to make an intentional decision to choose to think this way every single time I see a really cute couple on Instagram, but that’s what I’m choosing. “All God’s promises are yes and amen.”  

If you’re in a similar season, my encouragement is to expose every lie. What are the thoughts you’re thinking? Lies usually sound something like this: “It will never happen. God forgot about me. No one likes me. My last relationship didn’t work out, so I guess that means I’ll be single forever.” You’ve probably never thought these things before right? It’s probably just me then 😉 .

Here’s the deal: these thoughts came from an emotion or a feeling; they didn’t come from God’s truth. When I asked God if one day I would be married and He responded with a yes and also confirmed that through other believers, then God’s truth to me was it will happen. His Word tells us, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

Now I do wish that God would have given me a timeline, that would be so much easier, but this is where my faith can be strengthened. Do I trust God? Do I believe that what He says will truly happen? Do I believe that He is able?

If your answer is no to any of the above questions, then there’s an opportunity for you to look deeper into your relationship with God and to find out the why behind your answer. If you answered yes, then there’s an opportunity for your faith to increase as you believe in the things you have not seen yet. From someone who has heard “Just wait on God, it will be worth it,” longer than she can remember, and feels like her whole life has been waiting, I will spare you that overused encouragement. Instead, I’ll tell you, “Just believe God WILL; it will be worth it.”  When I live every day believing God will, even through my disappointments I can find peace and joy because I believe God will come through for me.

I encourage you today to put your promise back on too, whatever it is, and believe God will do big things. 

 

Alicia Keys hand-picked her, Blake Shelton fought for her, and Ashton Kutcher tweeted about her: If you watched the 12 th season of NBC’s “The Voice,” you saw Sacramento singer-songwriter Missy Robertson wow the judges (and millions of viewers!) with her emotional version of “Scars to Your Beautiful” (originally by Alessia Cara) and win a coveted spot on the reality TV series. Weeks later, her journey on the show ended after singing her heart out in the Battle Round to “Tightrope” (originally by Janelle Monae). A wild musical adventure, her time in Los Angeles led Missy to take a huge leap of faith by quitting her job to pursue her lifelong dream of performing music full-time. Her worldwide fans have responded. Dubbed “Mistletoes” (from her childhood nickname), Missy’s supporters have proven their loyalty since her departure from “The Voice,” and connecting with them has been one of the best parts of her rise to fame. She’s currently in the studio recording new original music (release date coming soon!), but Missy is also available to book now. With influences spanning from her church roots to Crystal Lewis and Aretha Franklin to Adele and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Missy lights up the stage with a unique combination of soulful vocals and passionate performance perfect for any event or venue.
WEBSITE: THEMISSYROBERTSON.COM
FACEBOOK: THE MISSY ROBERTSON
INSTAGRAM: @THEMISSYROBERTSON
YOUTUBE: THEMISSYROBERTSON

Why Depending on a Spouse to Make You Happy Doesn’t Work

Fairytales and movies are teaching people that once they find their Prince (or Princess) Charming, all will be right in the world. They tell tales of finding “the one” who will make you the happiest person on earth. The resolution of all of life’s challenges, the deep need to be known and seen, and all the sadness in your heart will disappear once you’re married, the stories say. What a load of crap! These stories are unrealistic, and if you believe them they will set you up to sabotage the very thing you’ve been waiting for.

If you’re reading this as a single person, I want to save you and your future husband or wife a load of pressure and anxiety. You can start practicing this lesson now. If you’re already married, then I hope this truth will bring some freedom to your relationship. The truth is nobody can make you happy—not your spouse, not your friends, not your job, and not your parents. Having people in your life can bring joy, but that alone is not sustaining. You have to be in charge of your own happiness.

One of the best ways to ruin a perfectly good marriage is to make it your spouse’s job to make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. Of course I don’t want to be with someone who makes you sad… but happiness is something that you cultivate internally. No person can make you happy except for Jesus Christ who lives inside of you.

The other night, I wrapped presents with my wife Kathy. I love giving, but I hate wrapping gifts. I offered to help her anyway, and we wrapped gifts for hours. Finally, she asked, “Do you like wrapping gifts?” I said, “No.” “Then why are you doing this?” she asked. I said, “Because I like being with you.”

The truth is, you can find joy even when you’re not doing things you like.

The problem we’re facing is that we have exchanged joy for pleasure. We marry for pleasure, not for joy. Pleasure and joy aren’t the same thing. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” It doesn’t say consider it all pleasure. So, in the midst of pain you can still have joy.

We know people who have three or four children together and have never gotten married. When we ask them why, they say, “It’s just a piece of paper.” My response is, “If it’s just a piece of paper, then why don’t you sign it?” Cohabiting says, “I’m in this relationship for what I can get.” Marriage says, “I’m in this relationship for what I can give. I’ve come to this relationship to lay down my life so you can live.”

There’s something amazing about this. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s difficult to describe, but the truth is until you find someone to die for, you don’t really live. You never really find life until you give it away.

What would it be like if all of us, every day, laid down our lives so that someone else could have life? What would it be like if you found a place with God where you gave up so that you could actually live? What if we stopped chasing pleasure and started chasing joy? Joy has a name. His name’s Jesus.

ACTIVATION FOR THE WEEK

So today I want to encourage you to find your source of life in your relationship with Jesus. He is the Giver of all good things. Stop and ask God if you’re putting someone else in the spot that He should be in. Are you expecting your spouse, boyfriend, or future husband or wife to be your source of joy? If so, repent from that today and ask the Lord to take His rightful place in your heart and in your life.

Beyond that, put away your selfishness and set your focus on giving to the people you love. How can you give up living for pleasure and start living for joy? I promise that even if the trade of pleasure for joy can sometimes be challenging, you’ll find life at the end of the exchange. I want to challenge you to do one thing this week to love someone without selfish ambition, and I bet you’ll be blessed in the process! If you’re married then I’d start with your spouse. If you’re single, then take a look at your relationships with your closest friends and family. No matter where you’re at in life, joy lies in loving others.

Originally posted on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

 

 


Denying Ourselves. Loving Gay People.

“‘YOU MUST LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR SOUL, ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND ALL YOUR MIND.’ AND, ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'” LUKE 10:27B

 

These incredible directives are rarely spoken of yet they are the first and highest commands of God. There could be many reasons for that, but I presume it is because we think we understand them or that we comply. Yet, the issue of love is the hinge pin for one of the most dynamic rifts in the history of the Western Church. Who we love, how we love, whether or not we can love and leave, and the penalty for certain expressions of love are being questioned. Secular culture is confronting the Church’s inability to articulate the greatest commandment. Out of this vacuum, a humanist morality is emerging that seeks to satisfy our need for love apart from God. The outcry for love that meets our need for human dignity is quickly redefining what was once a uniquely Christian virtue.

I think it’s time we take a second look at “love” to rediscover how it is the backbone of all of scripture.

Every week, I face the dilemma of reconciling humanist perspectives on sexuality to Christianity and am called upon to address the issue among Christian leaders. In my many conversations about homosexuality, I observe the challenge of seeing that behavior as sin, yet desiring to reach out in love.

Over and over, I encourage Christians to experience and extend God’s love to gay people so that they may be drawn to seek Him. Ultimately, the exchange of love for God and Him for us, empowers us to obey His words. This love is essential for any of us to follow Christ.

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

I’ve spoken to some who are puzzled that our efforts at loving seem unfruitful. But, you see, Christians don’t have a monopoly on love. God created humanity in His image to love. It uniquely describes the human experience. We all seek to receive and extend love. In fact, some would argue Christians do not love well; and yet, we know the One who does. Christians are the only people who experience the love of God daily and may invite others into it.

 

WE MAY NOT LOVE WELL, BUT WE CERTAINLY KNOW THE ONE WHO DOES. OUR ABILITY TO CONNECT PEOPLE TO GOD DISTINGUISHES CHRISTIAN LOVE.

 

True Christian love always seeks to bring people into His presence, where they may experience the beauty and satisfaction of the love they were designed to enjoy. But let me take this one step further and connect us to the first command: to love God and our neighbors wholeheartedly. The love spoken of in this command is others-centered. It draws us away from ourselves to seek the well-being and fruitfulness of God and our community. It is self-sacrificial love that seeks to promote and empower others into the fullness of God’s purposes.

Sometimes we only see sacrifice in this passage, but that is not at the heart of this command. You see, if we all focused outwardly like this, we would also be the target of someone’s love. It is a joyous liberation from having to meet our own needs. Imagine if everyone around you was for you. What if you didn’t have to rely solely on loving yourself well, or the love of your parent or spouse, in order to feel fulfilled? What if your life experience wasn’t just God’s love and you on an island? I think that’s how many of us feel as we struggle to love ourselves, but God’s heart is that we would be fully loved by our “neighbors.”

None of us can envision that. Take a moment to imagine that your neighbor, friends, church congregation, boss, all loved you as much as they possibly could in order to ensure you felt valued, empowered and whole. Loving yourself might not feel so challenging if your entire life experience incorporated love from others. Certainly it would be a delight to love your “neighbor” if you knew she loved you.

Through the first command, God invites humanity to experience the fulfillment of being honored and delighted in by God and the community. No doubt it is a dynamic experience within the Trinity. Jesus carried this outward focus in all He did and said. He not only washed the feet of others, but established their well-being through healing and restoration. He actively sought to serve others, as God actively seeks to serve us by answering our prayers. Jesus was, by all accounts, completely fulfilled in this endeavor—even through the cross and beyond. And, as God loved Jesus in this same way, Jesus was satisfied internally by God’s love.

 

THE POWERFUL IMAGE OF GOD’S FIRST COMMAND IS SO RADICAL, FEW OF US EMBRACE IT. IF WE ACTIVATED THIS COMMAND, OUR CULTURE WOULD BE CHANGED!

 

Set against the backdrop of sexual confusion, the first command invites us to open our hearts to gay people. How? By connecting them directly to God’s love through prayer. That is, through a direct encounter with God. Can you recall the most recent time you experienced His love? Perhaps it was a moment when you felt ashamed, fearful, or confused. God offers us shelter that invites us to His security—without punishment. In fact, corrective words from the Lord are easy to take. Though they may seem pointed, somehow my response is always, “Yes, that IS true. I want your way.” He is so convincing! God’s correction invites us into His excellence, which is attractive. I never feel condemned when I hear from the Lord.

What makes our love for gay people sacrificial, aligning it to the first command? It is that we have denied ourselves and directed the individual in front of us to God. We have become an ambassador that acknowledges that while our own love may fall short in some ways, God’s love is always perfect.

 

Originally published on elizabethwoning.com.

 

In her early 20s, Elizabeth Woning “came out” as a lesbian and embraced the LGBTQ community. She attended a Presbyterian (USA) seminary openly lesbian, but upon graduating, an encounter with Jesus dramatically shifted her perspective. Over time, her relationship with God led to transformation and healing. Today Elizabeth is free of same-sex attraction and happily married to her husband, Doug. She teaches at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and is a member of the Moral Revolution team. Her ministry highlights the power of intimate relationship with and knowledge of God to bring identity, wholeness and fulfillment. She is passionate to provide consulting to church leaders as they navigate the complexities of sexual and gender identity in our culture. Elizabeth holds a Master’s Degree in Theology and is a licensed pastor at Bethel Church.
Website: elizabethwoning.com

 

Note from the MR Team: We don’t want to make light of a complex issue or pretend that it has simple, formulaic answers that work across the board. It is also not our heart to invalidate the feelings, struggles, or experiences of others. We do want people to have the freedom to follow the convictions of their heart and seek after the life the Lord is calling them to. We do want to be a voice of hope to the person who is wondering if change is possible or if anyone has ever experienced it before. We do want to encourage people to seek the Lord above everything else, to love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to watch Him do more in their lives than they ever thought possible. 

If You’re Single (And Tired of It)

“What would your life look like without any fear?”

These words woke my heart up a few years ago. At that time, I had my future all planned out: I was going to finish college, get a good job, eventually marry the guy I was with, and settle into a normal little life. I mean, what else was there to do? But that day, I felt God prompting me to surrender EVERY part of my heart to Him. “I have so much more in store for you than the safe, comfortable life you’ve planned for yourself. I’m a God of the IMPOSSIBLE, so it’s time for you to start living like you believe it. I have plans for you beyond your wildest dreams, but you’re going to have to trust me with your WHOLE heart in order for me to take you there.”

That started my journey of confronting everything I had held onto more tightly than God, including my need for romantic relationships. Since my freshman year of high school, I was always either in a relationship or “talking” to a guy, because I felt unsettled without that. I had never taken the time to be happy with just myself and God. I didn’t want to live a life confined by my own plans and fears anymore. So I decided to trust God completely with every part of my heart, including my love life and I entered into a season of singleness.

Has it been hard, stretching, and overwhelming at times? Yes. But I’d go through all of that again in a heartbeat if I had to, to gain what I have now. 

So if you’re single and just over it, I want to encourage you with a few things I’ve learned. Here are six reasons why being single for a season can be so important:


1. You learn who you are.

There’s really nothing like having time in your life where it’s just you and God with no other person involved. With a boyfriend, I was always thinking, “How can we better love God together? How can we keep Him the center of our relationship?” But I had never taken time to do that on my own as an individual, and that is CRUCIAL. There were some nights I laid awake crying in frustration, feeling lonely and a deep ache in my heart, with no one else but God to talk to about it. It was in those painful, lonely moments that the peace of God filled my room and heart like never before. Through the extremely hard times, I experienced perfect love from the very Creator and epitome of it. It’s His love that gives us our identity.

 

2. You have space to discover your life’s purpose.

The possibilities of what your life can become are literally limitless. When you’re single, God has the space to do anything He wants in your life without it affecting another person. Being single has given me the freedom to discover what I was created for. I discovered my passions for writing, speaking, worship-leading, and a fire ignited within me to use all those things to help make the world a better place. Examine your own life, and invest in the passions that make you feel most alive.

 

3. You build confidence.

It forced me to get out of my comfort zone in SO many ways. Not having another person to constantly rely on made me learn to be my own person. It helped me become confident in my own voice, my personality, and the qualities I bring to the table. Use this time to become someone you’re proud to be.

 

4. These days are just as valuable as any other season.

One day you’ll be married to the person of your dreams, and your days will be full of chasing after kids, running a household, date nights, and all the other fun stuff that comes with marriage. But as for right now, how freeing is it to be able to do as you please? Want to take a spontaneous road trip with friends? Go for it! Travel to a part of the world you’ve never seen? Do it (it’s way cheaper now than it will be paying for your kids someday). Want to move to a new city? Nothing’s really stopping you. Don’t waste this precious season wishing for the next one.

 

5. Your value isn’t determined by your relationship status.

Whether you’re married, in a relationship, or single, none of those titles have anything to do with your worth. You’re not defined by your season, but rather by your permanent identity as a son or daughter of God.

 

6. Being single lays the foundation for your future marriage.

I’ve heard it said that marriage isn’t two halves making a whole, it’s two wholes coming together for a greater purpose. If marriage, (the union of two people) is the house, then both people making sure they’re individually healthy is the foundation. I would not know how to lay my life down for another person if I didn’t first lay my life down to God. I wouldn’t know how to properly love my future spouse without first experiencing the true, perfect love of God. I wouldn’t have good self-control had I not surrendered my whole life and learned my value in God’s eyes. I wouldn’t know who to look for without understanding who I am, what I’m called to, and what God has called me to do with my future spouse someday.


So don’t be afraid of going through the hard stuff to get to the really good stuff. The singleness, all the confusing dates, the uncertainty of when or if your special someone will ever come along…it will all be worth it. God sees you, He knows what your heart longs for, and He also loves you too much to rob you of the growth and refinement process you deserve. The choices you make now lay the foundation for your future love. So don’t just endure being single, ENJOY it! It’s one of the most special times of your life!

 

Angela Manzanares is a social media intern for Moral Revolution. She currently lives in Sacramento, CA where she studies psychology and is a part of Jesus Culture Sacramento. A few years ago, God challenged her with the question, “What would your life look like without any fear?” She’s since devoted her life to helping others fearlessly pursue their God-given purpose and dreams. She’s passionate about people, making God mainstream, worship-leading, writing, and also a good latté!
Website:  www.doseofhope.us

My Eight-Year-Old and Pornography

As a parent, the thought of talking about sex with our kids can be overwhelming and cause quite a bit of anxiety. Depending on our own experiences and knowledge, we may not feel qualified to discuss the topic. If sexual issues were a part of our past, or continue to be a current struggle, shame can freeze us in our tracks. If we do muster the strength to broach the topic, it is often much later in their life than it should be. When it comes to talking about sex, the only “unfixable” mistake a parent can make – is to not talk about it.

My oldest son, Caleb, came home from school one day in shock. He was only in 2nd grade and was asking us about “being gay”.  Apparently, he had begun to hear kids talk about it at school. A year before, as a first grader, he and his friends became enamored with talking about people having “six.” After some conversations, we discovered he meant to say “sex” but had no idea what it was. He had been told it was “two people kissing on the ground.” Both of these instances began to shape the sexual paradigm my son would have, and how we responded to these moments would play a nearly irreversible role in his sexual narrative.

In this post, I want to give some really practical details of when and how to talk about sex and pornography with your kids. Brace yourself, you’ll likely need to start having these conversations much earlier than you realize.

Let’s start with… when to talk about sex and porn.

Before we jump to conclusions about what age kids are ready for these conversations, it’s important to know what is really going on in our culture. Kids are finding pornography in unprecedented frequency at a much earlier age than ever before. A 2009 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that 85% of adolescent males and 50% of adolescent females had been exposed to pornographic material. Most studies have determined that the average age of first exposure to pornography is between 8 and 11 years old.¹

This is important because the initial introduction we have to any topic has a significant impact on us. As humans, the majority of our behaviors are learned, as opposed to innate. This means that our first and most frequent experiences in a given area become the foundation to what we believe. Once a foundation is laid in the realm of sexual perspective, it can take years and significant work to reset.

Due to the early age that kids are discovering pornography and how easily accessible it has become, these porn experiences are capturing the market on sex education. The impact of a pornographic paradigm is astounding. According to the American College of Pediatricians, “Children under twelve years old who have viewed pornography are statistically more likely to sexually assault their peers.” This is largely contributed to the fact that It is common for pornographic movies to portray male vs. female verbal and physical aggression as well as sexual acts that are overtly degrading to women.” As a matter of fact, some studies say that as high as 88% of pornography displays aggression towards women.¹

So let’s pause and put this all together. Eighty-five percent of our kids find pornography as adolescents. Many of them between the ages of 8 and 11.  As much as 88% of what they are finding, displays violent or aggressive sex. We have to overcome fear and shame so we can start having the right conversations at the right time with our kids.

So how do we have these conversations? 


1. Be ready to answer their questions

When your child begins to discover words like sex, gay, or anything else that is associated with sexuality, DON’T FREAK OUT! How you respond is just as important as what you say. You know your child is ready to talk about this stuff because they begin to ask you about it. Regardless of how young they are, if it is on their radar, then it needs to be on yours. Now you don’t have to fill them in on every single detail by the time they are 10, but you should answer the questions they ask.

As parents, we really need to do away with the idea of “The Talk.” What is most important is that you establish an environment in your home that communicates you are always available for conversations on sex. What you are doing is establishing yourself as a source of information on this topic. You want their mind to remember that you answered comfortably and honestly when they asked. Then as they get older and the questions get more in-depth, they remember that YOU are their go-to-source.

 

2. Watch your tone

It is so important to not embarrass your kids or make them think they have done something wrong by asking about these things.  In the story I told earlier, my son was in first grade trying to say “sex” and had no idea what it was. If I had responded in shock or tried to tease him about starting to like girls, then I would have been sending him the message that I couldn’t be trusted with this topic. The next time he liked a girl or had a question, he most likely wouldn’t have come to me.

 

3. Be honest

It can be easy to lie in order to avoid an uncomfortable question. However, as your child grows and realizes you weren’t honest, it will sow doubt in their heart about the answers you give. I also don’t think it is a good idea to demean them by saying, “you won’t understand.” One of the things I say when my son asks something I don’t think he’s ready for is, “Son, that is a good question, but I think you are a bit young to know the answer right now. How about this? If it is something you really want to know in another few months or a couple of years, we will talk about it then. I want to be the one to answer this. I just want to do it when I think you are able to understand more about it.” I have never had a single problem with this answer. They normally say, “Okay dad, that sounds good.”


I want to take a moment to circle back to the conversation I had that day with my second grader. I answered his questions like this, “Bubba, we will answer any and all questions you have about this stuff.” When he asked what sex was, I told him, “It’s something two naked people do together that makes a baby. On top of that, it’s something that is really good that God created for a husband and wife to do once they are married. Unfortunately, as you get older, you will hear a lot about sex in a negative way, because people misuse it.” Then I asked if he wanted to know more specifics about what you do when you are naked. He said he didn’t want to know that yet.

I then took a brief moment to talk about porn and said, “At some point, you may find pictures or videos of naked people having sex. You might have someone show it to you on their phone or iPad or maybe even accidentally find it yourself. Unfortunately, people make these videos and it’s called porn. Have you ever seen it?” He said “no”, so I continued, “Well it’s likely that you eventually will. When that happens, you don’t need to freak out. Just stop what you are doing and come and talk with me about it. You won’t be in trouble.” At his age, he was grossed out by the thought of it. So I let him know, “There may come a time when it doesn’t gross you out and that’s okay too because God made us to be attracted to the opposite sex. When that starts to happen, we can talk about that also.”

Since then, we have had conversations often about various topics in the sex realm, based on when he was curious. The beauty is that he always asks, and I always do my best to answer. I believe most kids don’t validate their parents’ view of sex because their parents didn’t start the conversation until years after their first exposure. Because of this, when their parents eventually describe it one way and tell them porn is bad, it conflicts with what their early exposure to porn taught them. It is my hope that my kids will look at porn as “the liar” because I chose to be their sex education teacher long before anyone else could define it for them.

¹ Perry, L. David. “The Impact of Pornography on Children.” American College of Pediatricians, 20 June 2017, www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/the-impact-of-pornography-on-children

COLE ZICK IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH COME TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE AND THRIVE IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE. HE AND HIS WIFE CAITLIN CURRENTLY SERVE AS DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. WITH ELEVEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY EXPERIENCE, THEY OPENLY SHARE THEIR STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE HOPING TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND ULTIMATELY SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH THEIR EXPERIENCE. THEY ALSO CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS. 
 INSTAGRAM: @COLEZICK

 

For more information on Parenting Sexuality, you can check out our newest e-course.

 

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?


The Process Is Part of the Promise

“Acknowledging the mess is half the battle.” 


In most cases, I totally agree with this statement. I also then wish some army of people would come fight the other half of the battle and do the hard work for me. The first blog in this series, “Who Told You?”, was all about letting the light in. This blog dives into the hard truth that just because we let the light in doesn’t mean it’s an easy road forward.

 

“If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” 1 John 1:6-7

 

The power of opening the door, dispelling the darkness and letting the light in is something to be celebrated. But what happens when the party ends and you realize there’s a lot of clean up work to do? Don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged. The process is part of the promise.  

The day I googled, “Christian sex therapist,” felt like an all-time low. Tears streaming down my face, admitting that sex wasn’t good, that something was wrong with me, that my body responded terribly to touch– was devastating. I didn’t want to have to go get the gloves, the towels, the spray, and clean up the mess. I knew it was time to find the source of the stench in my life. The darkest day led to the brightest day… to the days I began to let go and bloom.


“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anonymous


The source of the stench in my life was my early teenage years. I had known lust for so long I couldn’t believe that love was real. Even though my husband loved me so purely and wholly, I returned my first and earliest experiences of being objectified by so many guys who pressured me to get what they wanted. What I had written off as “normal teenage issues” and compared to stories that seemed “worse than mine”, was actually robbing me of the fullness and freedom I was designed to live in. Another lie the enemy sells us, “get over it, it’s not that bad. It wasn’t ——” fill in the blank.

The first time I sat in “the chair” with a counselor, the dread I had been feeling turned into relief and peace quickly. After listening to my whole story, she looked me in the eyes and told me, “you have PTSD.”

I was in shock. I had only known that as something that affected veterans who came back from war. I had no idea it was something I could be struggling with. You see, the moments of pressure in dark movie theaters, backseats and in between the sheets led to trauma in my mind and in my body that was affecting my sex life in marriage. What took me moments to get into took me years to get out of.  

I remember being a thirteen-year-old girl sitting in the movie theater with tears streaming down my face, pretending to enjoy the touching that was actually painful. I simply did not know there was another way. I thought “this is what you do as a girlfriend.” That belief just increased. What the world told me was just “casual” became a casualty to my soul.

While my life was filled with numerous hookups and loads of oral sex, I felt like I was on top of the world according to the standards of society– while simultaneously feeling like an object. One night I decided to say “no” in the backseat, and I’ll never forget staring at the digital clock for forty-five minutes, while he pressured me, blamed me for getting him this far– I felt the only escape was to give in. It wasn’t fun to dig all of this up, and the process for me took quite a while. I started counseling while I was pregnant and continued after we had our second son. It was a year and a half of going to bi-weekly counseling sessions to find the wholeness I didn’t even fully realize I was missing. I was comfortable in my lack.

Often in life, the familiarity of our chains becomes more comfortable than the uncertainty of freedom. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain and courage to step into the uncharted territory of wild freedom. The promised land may be on the other side, but when we can’t see it, we become more comfortable staying enslaved.

It reminds me of the Israelites wandering and wishing they could go back to Egypt. When we’re in the wilderness, we can find ourselves wandering and wishing we could go back to “the way it used to be.” We’d rather go back to the mess, the bondage, the pain hidden rather than the pain exposed. The process can be painful, but it’s so worth it!

Give yourself permission to feel the pain. Feel hurt, don’t stay hurt. Write it out, sing it out, scream it out, counsel it out– like David did. I think and read through the Psalms so often to see the way David processed his journey, and it’s encouraging.

All of our journeys look different and the enemy of our souls piles on different types of shame. It could be something that’s been done to you, that you’ve sworn to never tell anyone. When we find ourselves saying , “I’ll take this to the grave with me. No one will ever know,” I think really there is just part of us being buried alive in an early grave. It could be heavy because it was a choice you made and later thought, “I should’ve known better! It’s my own fault.” I could keep going with all of the pathways to our pain, but the truth is no matter how we find ourselves getting there, we have the power to start the process of unearthing the shame and pain of the past to find freedom.

Start the process with the same declaration of faith that David did:

 

“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7 NLT)

 

What has been done to you does not define you.

What you have done does not define you.

Start the process. Take the first step in dealing with it. Let the light in.

It’s not all about the destination but also the journey to get there.

The process is part of the promise.

 

CAITLIN ZICK HAD A PROFOUND MOMENT AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN WHERE GOD CALLED HER OUT OF A CROWD AND HER LIFE WAS FOREVER CHANGED. FROM THAT MOMENT, SHE BEGAN TO DISCOVER WHO SHE WAS AS A DAUGHTER OF GOD, FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS, AND REALIZE THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HER LIFE. CAITLIN AND HER HUSBAND COLE BECAME DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN 2017 AND OPENLY SHARE THEIR MARRIAGE STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND BEGIN TO UNFOLD GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX. THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED AND IN FULL-TIME MINISTRY FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND HAVE STARTED THEIR OWN LITTLE ZOO, KNOWN AS #THEZICKZOO. YOU CAN FIND THEIR WILD ON INSTAGRAM WITH THEIR LITTLE ANIMALS: CALEB, CONNOR, CADE, AND CHLOE ROSE. 
INSTAGRAM: @CAITZICK
TWITTER: @CAITLINZICK

 


Let’s Talk About “The Talk”

Before my wife, Jenn, and I had a fourteen and nineteen-year-old, we had the privilege of being youth pastors for thirteen years.  Over the years, I have asked more than a few teens and adults, “What was the conversation you had with your parents about sexuality?”  I have heard a number of responses, but the overwhelming majority of teens and adults said they never had conversations about God’s design for sexuality with their parents.    

The lack of parental guidance and the rise of the internet led us to believe it was critical for us to communicate God’s idea for sexuality in our youth ministry.  That was almost 20 years ago, but we learned teaching a general session to teens and talking in depth with our own children were two different things! Sometimes it went well and sometimes it was uncomfortable.  We began having more in-depth conversations about sexuality with our daughter progressively from late elementary school through high school. She wasn’t afraid to listen (sometimes with wide eyes and shock) or ask questions about sex, peers or scenarios she encountered.  

Our son, on the other hand, has been a little more reserved when it comes to talking about sexuality. Last year, the youth ministry at our church invited my wife and me to meet with the teen guys and girls separately to talk about healthy sexuality.  At church before the meeting, we could tell our son was getting uneasy about the gathering. I took him aside to my office and asked him what was going on and he said, “Why do I have to go dad?? We’ve already had this talk and every talk we have turns into a conversation about brain chemicals and weiners!!”   He was exaggerating a bit and we were able to work through it, but we have had more than one good laugh about that since then.

 

Called Out and Covered

So, why are conversations about sexuality sometimes difficult for parents to approach? There are many reasons, but one of the simplest answers is that, although it does not have to be, it is part of being human.  Actually, the very first fear recorded in the Bible was the fear of nakedness related to sexuality.

Genesis 2:25 says before Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were naked without shame. Then, in Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge, even though they were husband and wife and the only two people on the planet, they immediately attached fear and shame with their sexuality and tried to cover themselves.  Something we need to remember is that sexual issues rarely begin as a lust problem; they begin as a trust problem when we doubt God’s goodness or His ability to meet the needs of our heart.

God did two things when He found Adam and Eve hiding in shame because of their nakedness.  First, He gently called them out.  He didn’t expose them, shame them, or drag them from their hiding place to scold them.  He simply called out to them and let them respond. He is still giving us a clear invitation out of darkness and fear into light and healing regarding sexuality and shame.  The second thing He did was to cover them. They had made an inadequate attempt to cover their shame with leaves strung together, which is a great picture of how we try to deal with our own shame.  God Himself made garments from animal skins to clothe and cover them with dignity. Proverbs 25:2 says, “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out.”  God conceals something not because it is bad or shameful, He conceals what is precious and valuable. God covered them because their bodies and nakedness were priceless and He came to provide safety and covering where they felt fear and shame.

 

Practical Steps

Moral Revolution has many great resources for teaching healthy sexuality well to the next generation, but I am going to share three practical insights from our experience:


1. Shame-free starts with me.  

It is difficult to convey God’s design for shame-free, healthy sexuality to my children if I am still “hiding behind the tree” so to speak like Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3.  In a recent conversation with MR directors Cole and Caitlin Zick, Havilah Cunnington made the point that much of our experience with sexuality before marriage involved fear, shame, guilt or even powerlessness.  Parents, for the sake of our children, let’s do what we need to do to step out of hiding into the light. Maybe that means talking with a counselor, a trusted small group leader, pastor or a friend. Mom or dad, your bravery and freedom will be one of the greatest gifts we will pass on to our kids.

 

2. Answer the question, “What are we fighting for?”  

It is easy to major on “don’t” and what we are against, but real power is found in what we pursue instead of what we avoid.  We need to give our kids a clear target to pursue. We need to answer the question, “What are we fighting for?” in regards to their sexuality.  We are fighting for them to have trust and honest, open communication with God and us. We are fighting for a great sex life in their future, a clear conscience, shame-free living, freedom, joy and the ability to give ourselves fully without guilt or reservation. This is what we are fighting for and we can do this if we work together!

 

3. Tell your story.  

Revelation 12:11 says “They overcame by the blood (of the Lamb) and word of their testimony.”  There is power in your story! Age-appropriate conversations with our children about our victories and defeats better equip them to face their battles.  What were the temptations you faced? How did you respond and what would you do differently? What were the good decisions you made that paid off in the future?  They don’t need to know all the details, but we can give our kids confidence and an advantage over the enemy when we share strategies he used against us and ways we overcame.  

 


Our children will learn about sexuality one way or another.   It isn’t always easy or comfortable, but the cost and rewards are far too great to not communicate what God’s good design is.  Moral Revolution has many great resources and will be adding more parent resources to give you tools to be successful. We are in this together, we believe in you and God will give you the ability to connect and communicate with your children as you partner with Him!  

-Bob Bevan, Intern

 

BOB IS AN ASSOCIATE PASTOR AT LIVING WORD CHURCH IN CLEVELAND, TENNESSEE, WHERE HE HAS SERVED IN VARIOUS CAPACITIES FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS. HE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT REVEALING THE GOODNESS AND NATURE OF GOD AND COMMUNICATING TRANSFORMATIONAL TRUTH IN PRACTICAL WAYS. BOB AND HIS WIFE, JENN, ARE THE PROUD PARENTS OF A DAUGHTER IN COLLEGE AND A SON GOING INTO HIGH SCHOOL. AS WELL AS WRITING AND COMMUNICATING FOR LIVING WORD CHURCH, BOB LOVES COMMUNICATING ABOUT STEWARDING OURSELVES AND OTHERS IN RELATIONSHIPS. 
WEBSITE: BOBBEVAN.COM
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BOB.BEVAN

For more information on Parenting Sexuality, you can check out our newest e-course.

 

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?


Defining Your Environment: What’s the Current Culture in Your Home?

You probably remember the first time you learned about sex. Maybe it was a series of strange metaphors meddled with a list of scientific facts from your parents. Maybe an older sibling or kid on the playground told you all about it. Maybe it was a class in school you hoped would be over soon. You may not realize it, but the things that first taught you about sex shaped a lot of your view of it today. The home you grew up in, whether your parents ever talked to you about it or not, sent you a message about sex. The same is true for your kids.

We’ve found that there are three different environments people are typically raised in as far as learning about sex and sexuality. Each one sends a message to your children about sex, regardless of if you’re actually trying to communicate that message or not. Recognizing the environment you were raised in as well as the one you’re creating for your kids is an important step in creating a culture of healthy sexuality in the home. Ideally you are already creating a healthy environment for your children to learn about sex, but if not, it’s not too late to start.

Here are the three environments we’ve found:

 

1. Silent Environment

Some parents are so afraid of saying the wrong thing about sex or introducing the topic too soon that they never introduce the topic at all. Children may ask questions, but those are skillfully avoided or shamed for being asked. The door to learning about sex is not just closed, it’s locked shut and someone threw away the key. The mistake here is that not telling your kids anything about sex still sends them a message about sex. It sends them the message that sex is either too private or too sacred to talk about or it’s not overly important. Since the people in their life that are supposed to be helping them navigate the difficult topics are not talking about this one, they have to figure things out on their own.

The thing is, your child will be introduced to sex one way or another. If you don’t teach them how to sort through the messages they receive about sex, then they will not know what to believe. Many parents assume that their children will learn about sex in school if they don’t teach them, but school is not the only place that talks about sex. Television, movies, music, books, kids on the playground, and the internet are just a few of the other places your kids can learn about sex. If you’re not the one shaping their view on it, then there’s a good chance these other things are.

 

2. Saturated Environment

Some parents figure sex is just a part of life, and there’s no use trying to avoid all the places that talk about it, so they leave the door wide open. Their children learn about sex from movies, TV shows, music, and other types of media. They’re completely saturated with messages about sex and sexuality. It becomes casual and familiar. It might even reach the point where children think, “What more is there to learn? I already know it all. I’ve seen it, been around it, had my own experiences, what else do I need to know?” Since it’s everywhere, they become comfortable with it. On the upside, there’s no shame, blame, or guilt, but on the downside, sex loses its significance, its sacredness.

The message this environment sends is that sex is nothing more than a physical experience. People should be able to have sexual encounters and walk away. They can give that part of themselves away without any commitment, and then just move on with life. It’s true that we can’t protect our children from every single image or video or piece of media that contains a message about sex. However, we can teach them the truth about it. If we give them a healthy perspective, it will act as a lens they can view the rest of the world through.

 

3. Conflicted Environment

Some parents know they’re supposed to talk to their children about sex but are unsure how to address it, so they open the door for a moment and then it shut it quickly before things get too crazy. They may have one talk, maybe two, but then that’s it. No more conversations. Children aren’t welcome to ask questions because they shouldn’t be wanting to know anything about sex anyway. Sex remains a huge mystery, that is until the wedding night. On the wedding night, they will all of a sudden be able to know everything there is to know about sex, but not a moment before.  It sends the message that sex has a value within marriage, but it is full of shame outside of marriage.

The problem with this environment is it shames children for being curious about something that is actually very normal for them to be curious about. It’s unfair to expect them not to wonder about sex or about their bodies or even about the opposite gender. Although this environment celebrates virginity and married-sex, it doesn’t fully translate the reality of sex. A good sex life within marriage takes time to grow into, and it starts with having a healthy view on sexuality.

 

So what does a healthy environment look like?

A healthy environment is one where our children are able to open the door and look in. Not with shame, not with the guilt that comes when they feel they’ve done something wrong, but with the freedom to take a healthy glimpse inside for the sake of understanding. We want our children to carry the vision of God’s original design for sex. How did God intend for things to be in the garden? Before sin entered the world, before all the perversions came in, what was God’s original idea? If we create a solid foundation for them, they will be able to filter everything else they learn about sex through the lens of God’s design. They will be able to separate truth from lies and also have a place to bring their questions and find out more information when they need to. 

For more information on creating a healthy environment for sexuality in your home, sign up for our parenting email list or our new Parenting Course.

 

HAVILAH CUNNINGTON HAS BEEN IN FULL-TIME MINISTRY FOR TWENTY YEARS TRAVELING THROUGHOUT NORTH AMERICA AND MEXICO SPEAKING AT CONFERENCES, CHURCHES, CAMPS, AND RETREATS. HAVILAH BELIEVES TODAY IS THE CHURCH’S FINEST HOUR IF WE CHOOSE TO LOVE WITH PASSION, PURPOSE, AND WALK IN POWER. PRIOR TO SERVING AS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MORAL REVOLUTION FOR FIVE YEARS, HAVILAH WAS ON STAFF AT THE ROCK OF ROSEVILLE CHURCH FOR FIFTEEN YEARS. HAVILAH AND HER HUSBAND, BEN, RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA WITH THEIR FOUR YOUNG SONS- JUDAH, HUDSON, GRAYSON, AND BECKHAM. 

 

WEBSITE: HAVILAHCUNNINGTON.COM AND TRUTHTOTABLE.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/MRSHAVILAH
INSTAGRAM: @HAVILAHCUNNINGTON 

 

For more information on Parenting Sexuality, you can check out our newest e-course.

 

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?


4 Ways Not to Go on a First Date

So you finally got the date. Maybe a miracle happened and a man was given the sight and courage to not only see you, but ask you out. Maybe after your twelve-year sentence to the friend zone, you found a nice female warden to let you out to see the sunshine of a romantic first date. Or maybe this is your sixth first date this month. Whichever storyline brought you to this point, here we all are on the first date…trying not to mess it up.

Your past experience and beliefs about how things should go or could go will have more influence on your date than picking the right clothes will.

Here are four different traps I’ve seen people fall into, putting too much weight on the first date and leaving them floundering:

 

The “Job Interview” Date

You have standards, qualities you’re looking for. You don’t believe in casual dating, so let’s get down to it: Is this person a potential spouse for me? You break out the mental list and start evaluating it through direct or indirect questions: Kids? Check. Loves Jesus? Check. Likes Outdoors? Check. Comes From Good Family? Questionable. Called to Missions? Oh, woah. He is interested in business?! Okay, we’re done here. Next.

Hopefully, you’re not that… “efficient” in matters of the heart. You know what you want (or think you know what you want based on your life up until this point), don’t want to get hurt, don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and are ready for a spouse. If the person in front of you doesn’t measure up, you’re out. Ouch. It’s a lot of pressure to judge a whole person’s life and character in a forty-five-minute cup of coffee. It’s also pretty bold to assume you know exactly what you want and where you’ll be in 5-10 years enough to put it all in a checklist. You don’t marry a calling or an assignment, you marry a person you can do life with. Put down the list and get to know the soul in front of you. Even if he/she isn’t for you, they are still valuable enough to get to know and show honor to.

 

The “Whatever You Want Me To Be” Date

You don’t really like exercise. Oh, but she does. Well, you had been thinking of going to the gym more often. That’s funny, you really like chick-flicks too…except you’ve never seen one. You’ve always been the strong silent type…except when you’ve had everyone cracking up at any party you’ve ever been to. It has always been in the plans to have four kids. No, two kids? You mean, one kid…who’s a fluffy dog…that’s actually a cat. Yeah, yeah. Of course, you love cat… [memes about stupid cat people]. Is she still talking about cats?!

You have a strong desire for connection and unity. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve had this opportunity and you really don’t want to blow it. You may feel like the clock’s ticking and you just don’t want to be alone. It’s okay to be aware, but you’re most attractive when you’re yourself and confident. If the other person is into who you are- great! If not, well, they didn’t have eyes to see you. Someone else will think you’re the best thing they’ve found since grumpy cat.

 

The “This Is The Story We Tell Our Kids” Date

You just know “this is the one.” You photograph every moment mentally, and some with your phone to make sure you have it captured for nostalgia. You did a video diary with all your girls before the date and you just know he’ll show up with roses and chocolates, and you’ll go to the best restaurant in town. Like, if he doesn’t wear a tie and plan your first kiss under fireworks – you’ll just know he’s not the one.

You have a great heart for remembering things and making moments special. You want to have a great story to tell your kids and your friends about how God came through and gave you the hottest slice of pie this side of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, your expectations are just a little too high and you’re putting so much pressure on the other person to perform. Even Queen & David Bowie couldn’t handle it. Let the story unfold as it does. Don’t try to force anything and don’t force the other person to carry out your fantasy. Live in the moment and let it happen. Grab a selfie while you’re doing something fun, then put the phone away. Don’t be so busy capturing the moment that you don’t experience it.

 

The “Tell Me Everything” Date

You hate small talk. You’ll figure out what kind of movies she likes when you’re watching them together in three months on Netflix…if she makes it that far. “So, what are your dreams and your calling? What’s your greatest fear? What are you called to? How do your parental relationships influence you today? That coffee was good, but tell me about your soul.

You have a good heart for connection, but boundaries aren’t on your top ten strengths. Brené Brown calls it “hot-wiring connection” when you skip the small talk and go for the deep intimate talk to feel connected. It’s the old adage “too much, too soon.” Most likely it comes from a fear of wasting your time or not valuing the little things in life that influence someone. Breathe deep. You’ll get to those special places in their heart once you’ve grown trust and a relationship together. You don’t need to rush it. Part of the fun of discovery is a sense of mystery. You don’t need to prove yourself or know their whole story. Keep it light, there are already enough nerves going on.

 

A Healthy Approach

Deep breath. Check yourself before hand. Do you like you? Would you enjoy taking yourself on a date? You are fun and enjoyable. You may need to go date yourself to understand that before you join anyone else. Are you excited about the date or does it feel like it’s make-or-break? Eventually, your goal is a great friendship with some butterflies, but right now you’re just at step one, so relax. No one’s helicoptering in just yet- this isn’t The Bachelor.

Keep the conversation light and fun. Ask some good open-ended questions (What, How, Why questions that you can’t answer with “yes” or “no”). This helps you learn about the other person without diving into the depths of their soul.  We’ve included 25 questions for your first date if you get stuck.

Your goal on a first date is to figure out three things:

1) Do they love Jesus? 2) Are you attracted to them? 3) Do you have fun together?  Here’s what we tell people about the second date: if you enjoyed the first one and there aren’t any big red flags saying this is a no-go, have a second one. It’s nice to give the person a few different dates to show their authentic self.

Focus on being yourself, learning someone else, discovering what you like, and don’t forget to have fun. The first date shouldn’t have level ten expectations or commitment. It’s about enjoying yourself and respectfully getting to know the other person.

 

First Date Questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What do you find yourself doing with your free time?
  2. What’s the best book/movie you’ve read/seen recently?
  3. What’s your go-to for a great Friday night?
  4. What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
  5. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
  6. If you were a member of The Office, who would you be and why?
  7. What are you kind of obsessed with these days?
  8. Are you a dog or cat person?
  9. What odd talent do you have?
  10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, fully paid, where would you go? What would you do there?
  11. What’s one of your favorite memories from your childhood?
  12. If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
  13. If you could invite any three people from history to dinner, who would you invite?
  14. What’s your current favorite song?
  15. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  16. How did you meet your best friend?
  17. How many siblings do you have? What do they do?
  18. If there were an Olympics for everyday activities, what activity would you have a good chance at winning a medal in?
  19. What three words would your friends used to describe you?
  20. What’s the best thing that has happened to you this month?
  21. What’s your favorite app on your phone?
  22. What country do you never want to visit?
  23. What’s the most essential part of a friendship?
  24. Best and worst flavor ice cream? What would make for an excellent new ice cream flavor?
  25. What makes you smile in life?

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/ABRAMGOFF

Crushing the High Stakes: A Challenge for Girls

In my last post, I challenged the guys to lead the way in crushing our high stakes dating culture, and this week I have some thoughts for the girls. Ladies, this is for you. Can you go from “high stakes” to “why not?”

Ladies, you were made to have your heart radically pursued by a man. Deep down you know and desire that, and that’s right. But just as I challenged the guys, I want to challenge you. Are you creating space for that pursuit to happen? A high stakes dating culture tells us that the perfect scenario is for a man to sweep in from afar, admire you from a distance and pursue you until you give in. But I would argue that no man has the necessary information to truly pursue if he doesn’t know you. Are you making space for connection to grow?

Let’s talk about the early dating phase. Ultimately, you want a man to pursue you. But when you’re just getting to know each other, it can be a bit scary if the man pulls out all the stops. That phase carries a lot more weight later when you’ve built relational and emotional connection and you trust that the pursuit comes with a level of commitment. In the early dating phase, it doesn’t matter who initiates the “getting to know you.” It’s not about pursuit; it’s about discovering if you like being together. Ladies, you’re not giving up being pursued if you initiate getting to know someone. Pursuit rises up in a man as he starts enjoying being around you so much he thinks he might want to be around you forever. This will kick in at the right time.

All the information you need about a potential relationship is found inside actual relationship. If we take the first step lightly, we’re giving connection a chance to grow. If a man is asking to get to know you, I would challenge you that “why not” is the right response. We can’t build a low stakes dating culture if we’re not willing to say “yes.” You don’t need more information about him. You need to know what you have together. The rest is all assumption. Let’s be brave and approach this like we would any other relationship: “I like you, let’s hang out.” Build friendship freely. Make room for surprises.

The low stakes culture does require good communication. It also requires you to build connection together. Maybe you’re passionate about marriage. Maybe you’ve gotten to know someone and already feel they may be the “one.” But the nature of relationship is that it’s built in pairs. Relational connection is like an elastic band – if either of you go too far ahead, the band will snap. If connection is building for you and not for him, then show your commitment by slowing down to come alongside him. If you run ahead, you will build distance between you and destroy the very thing you’re hoping to build. Navigating pace together is a great introduction to what marriage is.

Be empowered to initiate connection, knowing that pursuit will naturally rise up in a man in love. Be brave enough to say “why not” when someone shows interest. Let’s crush this high stakes culture. Let’s drop the checklists and create space for connection to grow!

 

Originally published on benpwilson.com.

 

BEN IS A HUSBAND, FATHER, PASTOR, AND SON. HE SPENT 11 YEARS FARMING IN AUSTRALIA BEFORE MOVING WITH HIS WIFE JO AND THEIR THREE KIDS TO REDDING, CALIFORNIA TO PURSUE HIS PASSION FOR REVIVAL. HE IS A PASTOR AT BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY AND HAS DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO RELEASING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE EARTH AND EQUIPPING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME.
WEBSITE: BENPWILSON.COM
FACEBOOK: BEN P. WILSON
INSTAGRAM: @BENWILS