Taboo is defined as something proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable. When I shared this with a friend of mine she said ‘Well then Kara, it seems your life could be defined as taboo!’ HA! That may be truth to an extent….
For weeks now I’ve been asking myself a series of questions. When is something considered unacceptable? Why are some topics ok to talk about and others aren’t? Why do we place shame and fear on people who just want to speak honestly and freely? Why does it seem so scary to be vulnerable??
I’ve arrived at a new place in my life where I’m no longer willing to hold back my thoughts. I desire to speak truth, even if it causes strong reactions out of others. I don’t do this for shock value or to intentionally upset anyone. But truth can be painful to hear sometimes. I’m willing to dive into the uncomfortable places in life, the gray areas, in order to reveal what I believe is really there. I want to shine light into dark places.
I found out very quickly during Lent that a woman speaking about lust was a BIG no-no for most people. The more I asked questions, the more I searched for a woman’s perspective, the more frustrated I became. I know I’m not the only woman around that has something to say about it. Eventually I stumbled upon several great resources that gave me hope that not everyone is willing to hold back their thoughts and opinions which encouraged me.
I fasted from sex during Lent. And after Easter came and went, I began to look back and question what the purpose of the fast was. Here’s what I’ve figured out for myself: Sex isn’t the problem, lust is. There’s no reason for anyone to feel ashamed or afraid to discuss their sexuality. Lust is just wrongly directed desire. This discovery has radically changed my thinking. For years I questioned why I had been taught at home that God created us to be sexual beings only to be told years later by Christians at church that it was wrong or sinful. Something wasn’t adding up. Once again, my issue comes back to one of perspective. Focus.
What am I focusing on? What do I truly desire?
I recently read that our brokenness is most painfully experienced with respect to our sexuality. We all have a deep longing, a yearning for communion. It’s a part of our desire for oneness. I want to know that I’m not alone. Society, family, life in general can be so fragmented. There are few places I feel truly safe which leads me to search for comfort.
Many times, at the end of the day I get home and have the opportunity to sit for the first time in hours. I can feel that my body is tense from the daily stresses I allow to overwhelm me. My body screams for rest; for a healing touch and a reassuring embrace.That’s when I find myself searching for comfort in all the wrong places. I’m tired. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted at times. And at a time when (especially in the American culture) the message of instant gratification is so powerful, prevalent and seductive, it’s no wonder lust is so enticing. Lust is just an intense desire or craving for self-gratification isn’t it? Jesus and I have had many conversations regarding sexuality. I am reminded time and time again that love should be unconditional. Love pursues truth. It’s not self-seeking or proud. Love doesn’t walk away. However lust…looks nothing like this. Lust takes the idea of sex and warps it into something that causes us to feel ashamed and guilty. I don’t know about you but I’m not willing to hide in a place of shame.
If I’ve learned anything over the last few months it’s that I can no longer allow myself to engage in unhealthy relationships. That wake up call alone was difficult. Having to walk away from certain relationships was much worse. I have procrastinated for far too long, eventually always choosing my way over God’s way. And each time I was disappointed, hurt and regretful. I’m finally learning the painful lesson that I will never have a full life, one that is rooted in love, unless I invite God in and choose to practice self-control. I’m in the midst of creating boundaries that allow me to still feel respected and hold my dignity when in relationships. I’ve also had a chance to share my thoughts with several young women lately and already see God using my story to challenge and encourage each of them. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to empower other women to share their struggles and their voice.
Instead of placing shame and judgment on someone, let’s uncover the mess and see what’s waiting beneath. God’s pretty good at taking a mess and making something beautiful out of it isn’t he?
Bottom line- Women deal with the same human struggles as men do. Ladies, speak up. Men, learn to deal with it. :-)
Love is the great conqueror of lust. Being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centeredness. -C S Lewis