Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christians and Friendship

I think I've been blessed with some of the best friends a girl could ask for. I don't have a lot of friends, we don't all go to happy hour or do reunions together :-) I'm not really the bare your heart to anyone type, but the friends I do have are pretty special.

I'm going to introduce them to you guys one day, but not today. Today I want to talk about one thing that's really been on my heart these past couple of days...authenticity in friendship. I think the reason I consider these guys my best friends is the fact that they've seen me at my worst and still they come back for more. I get crazy and these crazy people put up with it :-) I'm pretty lucky.

I'm trying to not be one person to one group of people and another person to another group of people. My friends know I have hard times, I struggle. They know when I'm happy and when I'm not. They know when I mess up. There are times when I try and hide my issues from them and be all happy and perky and act like my life is perfect. I think there's a pressure with that, especially after I got saved. 

I think though that the devil (don't run away, come back! I won't mention him again!) likes it when we keep things in the dark. When for example, I hide something from Michelle, like a boy issue, for example, I lose that accountability and things done in the dark end up messing you up. However, when I talk to her, I kind of see things better and I'm more enLIGHTENED (pun intended) about whatever it is. I think my biggest issue in life is boys, so this is the perfect example for me.

I also think there's an issue of hypocrisy. When you act like you have it all together, what sort of witness is that to your friends? Christian life isn't about perfection, it's about a gracious God, pulling you out of the muck and helping you be more like Him. It isn't about being perfect enough to love. We love Him because He first loved us

If I act like everything's good, then God forbid, I ever burn out, that'll drive a huge gap between my friends and God, because it'll be like, "God isn't real, if He was real Joanne wouldn't have burned out." If on the other hand I'm honest about my struggles and my ups and downs with this whole salvation thing, it'll be like, "If God can use someone as imperfect as Joanne, He can use me too." or "If God helped Joanne through such and such, He can help me too."

You know when you meet a guy {and by you, I mean me :-)} you kind of struggle to impress them and be whoever you feel they want you to be so that they like you and you don't act like yourself and it starts this whole cycle of lies and issues that you cant run away from and before you know it you're crying on the bathroom floor wondering what went wrong and your friends and family wonder why you're still single when you are such an awesome person. {Wah! That actually summarizes my dating life hehehe} Well, what went wrong is that you weren't yourself, and you are a great person when you're yourself, but you see you were never yourself.

I personally hate dating, I wish I could start from 5 years in where you're both comfortable and settled and not going through the whole, "should I call him? Why isn't he calling me? Should I text him?" dance. Unfortunately that's not how it works.

So, I'm praying a lot for God to change the face of my dating life. That if I meet #thatguy, I'm not caught up in impressing him with what I think he would like, but that I could just be a friend to him like I'm a friend to my BFF's. In all things keeping God and His plans for me as my first priority. I don't want to toss God aside and focus on a relationship that may or may not end in heartbreak and then have to go back with my tail in between my legs, head buried in shame and heart broken into a million pieces. At the end of everything, He's basically all I have left, I've learnt that the hard way, so Him and I stick together :-)

I'm praying that I'll just get lost in Him and all this other stuff won't matter so much to me. I think despite all my faults and foolish ways, God's just been so great to me and has given me such joy, that last night me and Michelle had created such drama thinking about boys and despite that drama, I was dancing around in my room, happy! Singing "This Is What You Do" by Matt Stinton. Like the song says, "You make me come alive." I'd be dumb to let that go.

Anyway, just thought I'd share in case anybody's going through the same thing. Would love to hear from you.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

As My Blog Gets Older, So Do I

Having this blog is incredible because I get to see all the transitions I've gone through in my life in the past 2 years. I know it's weird, but I feel like blogging is God's gift to me in a lot of ways.

Ahh, God.

I look back at where my blog/life was at my 1st post, and where it is now, and my heart just races with fear because I absolutely don't want to go back to being who I was back then. My life was a mess! I was battling depression, I was dating these random people, I was just so unhappy.

Right now, I'm the happiest I've been in a while.  I like to think that I've changed, and I'm this newly evolved version of myself, but really, I haven't changed all that much. I'm still the silly Jo, with all the craziness, corny jokes and high expectations of romance and all the stupid stuff I see on TV. I'm still the Jo who'll light up with a text and get bummed without one. I'm still the Jo who at the end of the day will need to crawl back into God's arms when the rug is pulled out from under her, such is the world :-) In all these things, I'll have this blog to look back on and I think that's pretty awesome.

So, what about you guys, do you think you've changed much as your blog has gotten older? Are you still the same person you were when you started? I'd love to here from you.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

That Post About Confusing Feelings

Wow it has been a roller coaster of a weekend. A really great weekend, but a roller-coaster none the less...this is how I feel right now...

Couple of things I've learnt:

1. I am weak!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Feelings are like energy, they can't be destroyed they're just converted from one type to another. You can bury them deep deep down, but in the end they just come bursting out...ha!

Source: i.imgur.com via Syndi on Pinterest

3. Luckily though, we can, {or at least we're supposed to be able to} control our feelings. I don't have much success in that, but I'll put this up anyway :-)

4. Despite (3) above, I wish my feelings were more like this...

Anyways, all this to say, I have nothing to say about this weekend...I just need to breathe!!!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blogger 411 Link Up...Get to Know Me!

I love a good link up and this was so fun. So, if you want to know a little about me (as if I haven’t shared enough!) read on, and join the link up, so I can get to know you!

1. How long have you been blogging and what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?
I’ve been blogging for a little more than 1½ years. I got started because I like writing and I was going through a lot of changes in my life and felt like it’d be cool to look back in a couple of years and see all the crazy thoughts I had. My blog has changed a lot, as have I. In the beginning, it was a little more business and reflective and serious, I think now I’m more open, more silly, more me. Plus, there’s a lot more of a Christian vibe this year.

2. Did you go to college? If so, where and what did you study?
I started off in Strathmore doing my CPA’s and now I’m finishing up at Kenyatta doing Marketing, graduating mid-late next year God willing.

3. Where have you travelled?
I was born and raised and still live in Nairobi, Kenya. I’ve left the country once to Ethiopia when I was teeny tiny, other than that, I’ve travelled a little on school trips and what not, to Mombasa most recently and Rift Valley when I was a kid.

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A plane ticket to Redding, California and a cheap apartment so I can go to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry :-‘)

5. What are your three biggest pet peeves?
People who cough or sneeze without covering their mouth
People who invade personal space, stand too close when talking or touch my face (NO!)
Inappropriate messages on Facebook that come with a friend request (like, "you’re hot accept my request")

6. What is your favorite movie?
The Avengers!!!!!!!!!

7. What is your drink of choice?
I’ve become a huge water girl, other than that, fresh juice or Del Monte.

8. What is something you enjoy to do in your “me-time”?
Watch movies or catch up with TV in bed after a long hot shower, with some delicious food.

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?
That’s about 850,000/= Practically, I’d “Muthurwa” it all and re-sell it for a ton of money. But for the sake of this, I’d do the Identity -  EnkaRasha - Mr. Price - Woolworths tour.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past or present?
Dancing on stage in High School and my costume top slipping off showing some major side boob in front of the entire school and teachers, including my make chemistry and math teachers…that’s my go-to embarrassing moment, nothing has ever beat that.

11. What day would you love to relive again?
The first time I ever swam in the Ocean. It’s a great memory, I was with a bunch of people I loved and called my friends, I was in love, and I felt incredibly safe and happy. We ate fried potatoes {viazi karai}on the beach, we took pictures as the sun was setting and the moon was rising. Had a party and took loads more pictures back at one of our hotel rooms. The one and only great memory I have from that whole season of my life. Loved that day!

12. If your life was turned into a movie, what actor would play you?
Troian Bellisario who plays Spencer on Pretty Little Liars…she can do smart, edgy, mysterious and type-A and she knows a thing or two about falling for the wrong guys, but appreciating the right guy when he comes along.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
High school kids don’t get jobs in this part of the world…school is pretty intense, no long holidays. My first job was interning at a major company brewing the best beer in the world for a couple of months after my 2nd year of college. It was a customer service/marketing job.

14. Show us a picture from your High School or college

clubbing 1st year of college, hugely embarrassing!!!!

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Again, Redding, to go to BSSM.

16. Show us the most current picture of you or your family of anything of meaning to you

thought a more innocent picture of me would erase the image of the first :-)

17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?
Married. In love. Working at a great culture-defining church. Leading a worship team. Taking the world for Jesus with my hubby. Hanging out with my family (siblings) as much as possible. Hanging out with my bff’s as much as possible.


Friday, July 13, 2012

First Rehearsal

Last night was a great night. I didn’t even think about it, I think I’ve had a lot of great moments and  they’re kinda melting in together and that’s not a good thing. It’s the slippery slope to that hole you find yourself in thinking, “I can’t remember the last time I was happy” when that ‘time’ was just a couple of days ago.
So last night was a great night. It was almost everything I ever thought it would be. I say almost because my sinuses were acting up and my voice was horribly nasally, and of course with my luck, I got to a point where I had to sing alone out of our alto group, but still it was awesome. 

Picture this, a bunch of people, like almost 20 of us, just listening to music and learning it and singing it, messing up, laughing about it and singing some more. Who would ever, ever have thought I, me, I would ever do that???

I can answer that, NOT ME! All it is, is just thinking about the last couple of years, not even that, but most of my life and thinking about all the times I struggled so hard to find happiness or contentment or fulfillment or whatever and how much I MESSED IT UP. Really, you look up “disaster-magnet” in the dictionary, it would have been me. 

So now here I am, singing in a Church on a Wednesday night, after getting back some amazing Exam Results and hanging out with a great friend who cares about me for absolutely no reason other than just being friends, get home happy, wake up with no panic attacks.

Who am I and what happened to the old Joanne? Jesus and I am SO thankful for that.

I know this is the point where I’m supposed to say “Oh, but don’t get me wrong Christianity isn’t all roses and sunshine” but we all know that, so let’s allow this post to be a roses and sunshiny post, because on a cold and prickly day, we might need this.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Exam Results

I finally went to check my exam results. This point needs a couple of prefaces.

Preface 1:
I don’t really like my school. It wasn’t my 1stchoice, it was a little bit of a “pressured by family” situation and I spent a long time being angry and resentful which led to a tough couple of semesters in the beginning, which led to a bunch of “missing-marks”. This is a result of being about 1000 people in a class and the lecturers not feeding your grades into the system leading to students needing to follow up consistently with said lecturer to get the marks back. Consistency wasn’t my forte.

Preface 2:
Needs to be repeated, I have a bunch of missing marks and to be honest, my results from 1st and 2nd year are neither here nor there, I’ve got A’s and B’s and C’s and D’s, I mean, there’s no direction.

Given this, I was embarrassed to even go check last semester’s results out. What exactly would I say to the guy, so he wouldn’t feel sorry for me “Umm, I don’t have all my marks because I…” 

Anyway, I went and asked to see all my 3rd year results and I still can’t believe what I saw.  A’s a whole bunch of A’s, 2 B’s and a C mixed in there but a whole lotta A’s. Can you believe it?!
Can I just say there is absolutely no way that could be me? That was ALL God.
I still have a bunch of missing marks from my “bad years” but I’m just praying all that gets sorted out {well}
For now, I’m just thankful, man, my hope for school has been renewed and I SOOOO needed that.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Fearless 2012 Journey

I just got home from my second day of Fearless Summit...I just have no words, in fact if I start talking about today, it'll just wreck me, like flood of tears wrecked.

The resounding theme of the day was to STAND UP FOR JESUS AND DO IT! Whatever your IT may be. I will do a full recap in the next couple of days, all the pictures and fun stuff will be here and all the notes and lessons will be on Bent Reeds.

Excellence, Authenticity, Action these are what we've been called to as Christians. We've been called to step out of the "Church bubble" and actually provide real life solutions to a broken hurting world. Stephen Beck said in the morning session

"When the meat goes bad, it's no use blaming the meat - where was the salt? In the same way in a dark decaying world, it's no use blaming the world, the world isn't intended to be perfect, but the question on everybody's mind is 'Where are the Christians' "

Yeah, so wherever you are, whatever job you're doing, whatever sector of society you're in, would your boss, your neighbor, your client, your shopkeeper, your husband, your wife, your watchman, your parents, your cousins, would these guys know you are a Christian by the way you live your life. Are these lives around you impacted by who you are. Is your authenticity, your dependence on God causing a stir in your circle?

For me, my blogs, my twitter, my Facebook are incredible tools in my life, even if it's for one person. That one random email or comment I get from someone saying your passion has stirred up my passion for God, or one twitter follower who decided to check out a band or music I've posted and it leads them somewhere with God. Even if it feels like nobody's reading what I'm writing most of the time. I will still do this. I'll do a great blog design, I'll write everyday, I'll do it, because this is what did it for me. Tweets about dependence on God and blogs like Ashley's or Ruthie's reignited my fire. This is an area I've been called to as a starting point for where I'm going.

The chance I've been given to be in Worship Team is an incredible chance to use the calling of music in my life, my Church and all the classes and conferences we have are an incredible chance to use my calling to family ministry through going to and leading a class and eventually interning.

I have incredibly huge dreams and callings on my life...you can bet at every step, I'll strive to use whatever I have in that moment with faithfulness.

Speaking of faithfulness, just have to share this story of my Fearless journey and how I ended up here...I really was hesitant about going just because none of my friends were going and that feeling of being out of place just freaks me out. In the last minute the only person I knew was going ended up not being able to come, by this point I'd already paid, so I had to. You should know I am painfully shy!

Day 1 comes along, I'm freaked out again about going, but I got the number of my my friend's friend and it was cool because we ended up hanging out and I wasn't alone that day! Whew!

Day 2 comes, and my friends' friend who is now my new friend (are you following? :-) ) loses her phone so I couldn't reach her, and again I'm alone...I get there feeling weird, sit at the back, then an Usher asks me to move to a seat at the front, smack dab in the middle of strangers, at this point, I could not feel more awkward...dreading lunch because I had no one to "socialize" with, then at the last minute just as people were leaving, the lady next to me says, "Hi my name is so-and-so" and I'm like, "Hi, my name is Joanne" and she starts a conversation and I ask her if I can join her group for lunch. Whew!

Point of all this, is just to say God is faithful and I feel like He put me in these situations to teach me that I can rely on Him. If I step out in faith to where He's called me to be, even if the vision is hazy and I'm scared of stepping out, and I can't see exactly how it'll all work, I can lean on Him. My new friend losing her phone was also a God thing because at the end of it, I won't say, "thank God, she was there otherwise I wouldn't have survived alone" I'm going to say, "God provided for my simplest (yet hugest) need at that time and He's going to do it again. That's just what He does. That's built my faith.

***Oh, my friend's phone got returned, she had dropped it in a bus, and a guy picked it up and called her last dialed number and arranged to drop it off with that person. Can someone say miracle? God's Plan? HALLELUJAH!***

Sorry for the long picture-less post, just had to get that off my chest, but I will get you lots of pictures and videos after my last day tomorrow.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Let's Play Catch-Up

Apparently numbered lists are my thing now, so bear with me :-)

1. I am just in love with my nephew, He's the sweetest baby, {well not baby anymore, toddler} there has ever been in the world. He has an easy laugh that's just  too cute for words. Then, he'd come up to me and rub his tiny hand on my face or just grab my face and give me a hug or a kiss and call me "Auntie Amla" ...ah! Sweetest kid in the world I tell ya!

2. Heard about this woman here in Kenya who found out her kid's photos are being used by a stranger who's acting like they are her kids. When this woman confronted her, the psycho refused to take the pics down! Really making me nervous to put pictures up, but ha! Too late, anyway, I think I'm going to pause photos until I watermark them. I won't stop posting them...no way I'm derailing my life for a few weirdos!!!!

3. Really felt ADORED by God yeaterday at Church. Remember Saturday I'd been feeling down? Well, I get to Church on Sunday, and guess what?! The Worship Team played Brian Johnson's/Bethel Music's "Your Love Never Fails" OMGosh! It was AMAZING! The band like knocked that one way out of the park! They mashed it up with "Our God Is an Awesome God"! I was just like, God orchestrated that whole thing for me! Yeah the band rehearsed and played it, but God let it happen for me. It was AMAZING! I'm still reeling. Feeling absolutely LOVED! I hope I get to sing that when my month on stage comes!

Afterward, another great thing I loved in Church was this kid from Greenhouse (Kids' Church) who was being interviewed...man, I want a son like that! He was like, I cant even describe it...he was such a leader, he knew God, he was eloquent and confident and he prayed like a champ. Great kid, he must have some crazy proud parents!

4. Hung out today with the nerd and another friend of mine. We surfed, exchanged some movies and went to eat at the newly refurbished Galitos at Union Towers. Wah, that grilled chicken from Galitos is crazy good! They had this offer for 1/4 Chicken, Fries and Pepsi for 300/- I think it's normally 460/- Glad I got that because we are probably never going to see that again!

5. Fearless starts the day after tomorrow! Yippee!

6. Spiderman opens this weekend! Ah!!!!!!


Friends with Benefits

Last part of the sermon series, once again I'll re-blog this or you can watch Pastor M below...

This month we’ve been going through a series called ‘Finders Keepers: How To Find and Keep The One’. We’re learning some foundational principles from scripture about how to enter into and conduct healthy romantic relationships. As we’ve said all along, this series is for you whether you’re hoping to enter a romantic relationship, whether you’re already in a relationship or married and even if you’re not entertaining the idea of entering into a romantic relationship now or in the near future. Our first principle … was that in a time when everyone around us is looking for a relationship to meet their needs, ‘stop searching for the one, be the one!‘ Then we focused on Deal Breakers and we learnt that the most important foundation for an intimate marriage is ‘One Leader, One Love!‘ Last week was ‘Buyer’s Remorse‘ when we talked about the danger of rushing from acquaintance to intimacy without building a foundation of friendship. We learnt the important principle, ‘Socialize Before You Specialize‘.

So today we want to talk about sex. At what point does sex become a benefit in your relationship? In some senses we’re building on the foundation we began last week. We want to learn about an anonymous young man who was about to learn about the liabilities of friends with benefits.

READ Prov.7:6-23 [THE MESSAGE]

6-12 As I stood at the window of my house looking out through the shutters, Watching the mindless crowd stroll by, I spotted a young man without any sense. Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived, then turning up the path to her house. It was dusk, the evening coming on, the darkness thickening into night. Just then, a woman met him— she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him. Brazen and brash she was, restless and roaming, never at home, Walking the streets, loitering in the mall, hanging out at every corner in town.

13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him, boldly took his arm and said, “I’ve got all the makings for a feast— today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid, So now I’ve come to find you, hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are! I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed, colorful imported linens. My bed is aromatic with spices and exotic fragrances. Come, let’s make love all night, spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking! My husband’s not home; he’s away on business, and he won’t be back for a month.”

The book of Proverbs is written by an old man, King Solomon, who is sharing the benefits of his wisdom with his son. In our story, Solomon is standing at his balcony, and down at street level he sees a bunch of loitering young men: A ‘mindless crowd’. But among them, he identifies one who is even more mindless, he calls him ‘a young man without any sense’. Why does he call him this? Because he can see that he is ‘loitering with intent’. He can see the guy is on his way to ‘hook up’ or to make a ‘booty call’ as they say today, and he can see where this will all end up.

I believe that when it comes to sex and dating, our generation has become a ‘mindless crowd’, young men and women without any sense. I know that I’m generalizing of course, but today, many relationships in our city seem to track along the following four stages…

Stage 1: Attraction (0-7days) – Initiated by physical attraction to the other person, the priority in this stage is to catch the attention of the other person and see if they’re interested in me. And so I do what it takes to get them to like me enough to go out on a date with me.
Stage 2: Seduction (1day-2 months) – This is initiated by going out on a date. The priority here is to explore and see how far this thing can go. And so you work on turning them on so that they want to take it to the next level.
Stage 3: Passion (2-12 months) – This is initiated when there’s a physical interaction ultimately leading to sexual involvement. At this point the couple is ‘officially’ dating. Of course the other scenario is that the three stages can all happen on the same day. ‘I like you, you like me, let’s be friends – with benefits!’ Note: all these 3 stages could happen in one night or in half an hour! What is commonly known as the ‘chips funga’ phenomenon. Now if the relationship continues (and that’s a big if), we move to…
Stage 4: Cohabitation – This is initiated by very practical considerations like cutting bills, saving time or just convenience. The couple moves in together or the girl moves into the guys place over the weekends. This could take place sooner for older couples but takes longer for those who are younger. At this point, going out with another person would be called cheating. Now please note that all these stages happen informally. Nobody defines anything. At each stage, the physical involvement is what defines where the couple is in the relationship!
70-75% of couples who sign up today for pre-marital counseling in our churches are either at stage 3 (passion) or stage 4 (cohabitation). What is wrong with this picture? I believe that we as a generation have bought into several lies about sex. Three important ones …

Lie #1: Sex will help me to truly know the other person
Conventional wisdom today states that the only way to check out whether you’re compatible with another person is through having sex with them. If you’re good in bed together, then you’ll know that you have what it takes to stay together. I mean you don’t want to get stuck for the rest of your life with a person with whom you can’t have sexual fulfillment together! So you’ve got to try before you buy!

But this is a hugely damaging lie! The reality is that rather than help you know the other person, sex before marriage actually kills your ability to do so. Once you’ve have sex while you’re dating, it’s very hard to grow in any other areas of your relationship. It’s like when you have an extremely sweet dessert before you’ve had your meal that ruins your taste buds for the main course! One of our local restaurants had a cake I liked called ‘Death By Chocolate’. You took one bite of it and you couldn’t taste anything else! After you’ve had sex, you lose the ‘taste’ for such things as growing in communication, appreciating the other person’s strengths and weaknesses, learning how to resolve conflicts, understanding their family background, figuring out how they manage money etc.

Ironically, these things that you lose taste for are the very things that will build trust in the relationship for you to eventually share your heart with the other person so you that you truly get to know them. [the ultimate irony is that the word 'Trust' today has been hijacked by a product that ultimately represents the mistrust in our relationships] Without real trust, your relationship is doomed to forever remain shallow and physical. So you wondered why when he had sex with you he lost interest; we’ll there was nothing else! For many couples today, sex is their only glue. And when that chemistry or high wears off, boredom inevitably sets in because there’s nothing else between them to keep them together!

‘False intimacy destroys real intimacy!’

Lie #2: Sex is an uncontrollable, natural impulse
This is a prevalent lie in our highly sexualized society today. Many people see sex as a natural appetite that every normal person needs to fulfill. When you’re hungry, you eat! When you’re thirsty, you drink! When you’re itchy, you scratch! When you’re horny, you just do it! Today’s younger generation don’t even know how to have a conversation with the opposite sex. They friend each other on Facebook and in a few days are meeting for their first date. After they have sex, then they get to find out what the other person’s real name is! Things are so bad now that I’ve heard that what many people today say is ‘let’s stop pretending; we know we want each other; let’s just have sex and get the pressure out of the way then we can get to know each other!’ Good grief! (Bad grief!)

A little while back, the movie ‘40 Year Old Virgin’ expressed this lie perfectly. The poster showed a very un-cool guy looking very sad & repressed and some cool guys laughing behind his back. The message is ‘if you’re not having sex, there’s something wrong with you’. Some ‘experts’ have even go as far as to say that without some form of sexual involvement before marriage, there could be a damaging effect on your sex life. When you finally do have sex, the lady might feel like she’s being violated and the dude may not be able to turn the machine on because it’s been off for too long! In this twisted thinking, propagated even by highly educated psychologists, masturbation is a healthy form of release, pornography is a tasteful form of art, and ‘friends with benefits’/‘chips funga’ is just following your natural instincts!

Of course this worldview would be correct if human beings were merely evolved forms of animal life. If all you are is an intelligent monkey, then that makes perfect sense! The reality though is that you are made in God’s image. And that God gave you instincts to master, and not to be mastered by. Many people today have found out too late that sex can be a worse drug than the most addictive narcotic. One letter from the blog this week really broke my heart. ADDICTED wrote;

“On the outside i present myself as a righteous lady decent and innocent. I don’t do drugs, I drink wine and soft alcohol, I read the Bible and in fact am saved. But i am a SEX ADDICT. I just have to do it and if I don’t I masturbate (or) look at men and fantasize about having sex with them. This became worse after I met my last boyfriend. I used to do him so much he used to practically ran away from me. He started messing with other girls but could never get enough of me. He just came back to me and says he’s addicted to me. (So how can I cultivate a relationship?) I’m sick; counseling (doesn’t) help me, honestly i just want to settle down in a normal Christian environment with a true man of God. I’m stuck and depressed – what to do?”

My heart goes out to you ‘addicted’ (and to anyone else in that situation). My encouragement is that you come to one of our (female) prayer counselors and we will walk with you. We won’t judge you but help you because the truth is you are sick. It won’t be easy but it is possible to be healed. But for the rest of us… Why would you want to do this to yourself? You see, sex is a wonderful gift from God, when used within His confines. But just like fire, if you take it out of the fireplace and use it where it shouldn’t be used, it becomes a terribly destructive force.

‘False intimacy destroys real intimacy!’

Lie #3: Sex is okay as long as you’re truly in love and committed to each other.
I mean what can be wrong when two consenting adults who are committed to each other decide to make choices about their own bodies? Surely, it hurts no one! Let’s get real; after all, this is the 21st century!

The problem with this thinking is expressed well in our passage. v19-20 says;

‘My husband’s not home; he’s away on business, and he won’t be back for a month.’

The woman this young man was going to have sex with belonged to someone else! In this case, she was someone else’s wife. You see, before you have formalized your marriage, that person you’re attracted to is not yours. She’s someone else’s daughter, and potentially someone else’s wife. And vice versa; he’s potentially someone else’s husband. There are no guarantees, regardless of how you feel right now, that you will not break up. If you do, you will not be the first to do so. At that point, you might then hook up with completely different people. The results can be catastrophic. Women who can’t have their husbands touch them in certain ways because it reminds them too much of things they used to do. Men who can’t have sex without comparing their partners to someone or some image from the past. Women who can’t have children due to damage from abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. Or just couples who are insecure because they know their partners past.

In our NDOA class, we encourage all couples to come clean with each other about their sexual past. This is because we believe it allows you to build a relationship on the foundation of truth, and not live the rest of your lives looking over your shoulder and fearing what your spouse might find out about you. For many couples, this is a traumatic time! Yes you love the person, and yes you are perfect for each other, but you’re not sure they’ll still want you when they discover you’re their 3rd or 15th sexual experience. And so you have a terrible choice; tell them and face the risk of insecurity or even rejection OR don’t tell them and start your marriage on a foundation of deceit and secrecy. Why would you want to do this to yourself?

‘False intimacy destroys real intimacy!’

So, we’ve looked at some of the lies. Now here’s the truth…as the young man allows his ‘animal instincts’ to take over…

21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech. Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her, like a calf led to the butcher shop, Like a stag lured into ambush and then shot with an arrow, Like a bird flying into a net not knowing that its flying life is over.

The old man is looking sadly at the younger man and can see that his actions will lead to his death. Sex outside marriage leads to death of innocence so you can no longer relate with members of the opposite sex without ulterior motives. It leads to death to intimacy as there’s nothing exclusive about the sexual relationship you’re having with your partner. It leads to death of trust because after all, if you could not be trusted to control your sexual desires for me before we got married, what guarantees do I have that you’ll control them when you go off on a long business trip without me? It leads to death of your moral authority.

Last week we read of Amnon who raped his sister. His father David was angry but did nothing; probably because he himself had slept with someone else’s wife. He had no moral authority to correct his son. Lastly, it leads to death of choice, as sex is a powerful force that can take over and become compulsive. And like ‘addicted’, you find with time that you are no longer in control of your actions.

‘False intimacy destroys real intimacy!’

So what’s the good news? The good news is that sex is a wonderful gift given by God to be enjoyed in a marriage relationship. Our mentor couple in their 50s told us that sex, like a fine wine, had only gotten better for them as they grew older. We were quite surprised at the time because even though we did not plan to have sex before we got married, we were young and strong! We knew we had the physical energy and there’s no way an old couple would keep up with us once we began! But you see the way it works in marriage is as trust grows and you abandon yourself to the other person, sex becomes a way to be naked and not afraid, to fully give yourself to your spouse without inhibitions. And 18 years into our marriage, I can testify that our mentor couple was right! We were only joking when we began! But you see the problem is that many married couples have never appreciated sex the way it was meant to be enjoyed because they doomed it from the start. And it’s remained a physical act, and nothing much else. It’s like being permanently stuck in standard one! The very thing they were rushing for, they may never experience!

‘False intimacy destroys real intimacy!’

For those of you who are here and you’ve messed up. You’re wondering if it’s too late. God is a God of second chances. He is able to restore you.

Begin by confessing that you have misused your sexuality and by doing so have hurt others and attracted death into your life. There is grace and forgiveness for those who honestly tell God all about their failures and sins and ask for help (1 John 1:9).
Secondly, is that you will do what it takes to move out of your situation. If you need to move out of that house, do it! If you need to get out of that relationship, do it! If you need to commit to not be alone in a private place again, do it! Whatever it takes, do it!
Thirdly, fight temptation by setting boundaries around your sexuality. Pray and ask God to show you how to avoid the situations that led you into temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
And lastly, share with someone who can keep you accountable. With God’s help, you can move away from false intimacy that destroys real intimacy.
Clearly, we need a whole series on this subject of sex! We will have one. But I want to conclude our series in prayer. We want to pray for someone who’s ready to make a commitment to …

Purity – Some of you are recommitting yourselves to something you did a while ago. Other’s are confessing to God and committing to a fresh start. The God of 2nd chances can help you develop a new sense of self-respect, help you break the soul ties that have left you feeling used, rejected and betrayed. Some of you may need to move out and do things right (NDOA)
Salvation – You will never have the strength to hold up a commitment to purity without God’s help