O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
As I shared in the first part of this series, confusion about the gift of my sexuality as a woman led to hiding and shame.
The hiding came in the form of keeping anything I didn’t understand about myself physically related to sexuality a secret. I knew that some feelings felt really good and that romantic movies or books (the ones I’m talking about were clean) or thinking about a boy that I liked increased those feelings.
But I WOULD NOT talk to anyone about it. Just try to be good. That meant that these feelings ran free with my imagination and even though my imagination did not include sex, (because, well, that was still confusing, icky and scary) I still felt shame.
As I began to understand what it was to know pure joy, passion and pleasure in my relationship with God, I felt like the strongest feelings I had came from two worlds. The good, pure, right kind that I experienced spiritually and emotionally in relationship with God through Jesus, the Lover of My Soul. And the bad, shameful, wrong kind if acted upon physically with a guy.
Would these two worlds ever come together?
The most helpful analogy that I ever heard concerning sexuality, and I would broaden it to passion, is that it is like a river. This river flows inside of all of us and is a gift from God. Any sexual sin is when our desires overrun the banks, or boundaries, that God has given us.
While I heard that analogy a long time ago, I am still, ten and a half years into marriage, seeking to understand God’s design for the free God-honoring flow of this river.
The reason why it is so hard to understand is that the overrunning or perversion of sexuality is a virtual flood and it spans the world and has since the fall of man. There are virulent strains of diseased thinking that abuse others and ourselves and fall woefully short of the perfect design God intended.
This is why I like to look at that river as the passions or desires God gives us. Because sexual corruption is a most devastating destructor of all of the ultimate beauty God intends as we worship Him with our lives, we need the power and passion of God to overcome it.
But with increasing clarity, I am seeing how my own confusing journey reflects much of what has been the church’s attitude and teaching regarding sexuality. Silence. Secrecy. Shame. Sin.
We are afraid of the world’s virulent perversion and there is a healthy level of fear that is good to have and to teach others too. However, too often this fear can be unhealthy and leave us all unequipped when our only recourse is resistance and willpower, essentially holding back the current of a very powerful river with our finite, weak bodies.
In returning to my story, I am finding something sweet and glorious as I thank God for the gift of sexuality. By recognizing it as a gift, I give it back to Him. I ask Him to purify all of my desires and that He would overcome every one that my life might be defined by pure passion.
Join me as I continue this series on Pure Passion.
Abby is a small-town loving, big city adventurer. She and her husband have worked with high school students most of their lives! Since their internship in Budapest, Hungary in 2005-2006, they have been working with the ministry of CRU. In May of this year, they moved to Hungary answering God's call to work long-term with the students of Central and Eastern Europe. Abby loves to laugh, especially at herself, has a passion for God and making Him known and is ever learning how to do that with three small children, ages 5, 3 and one month. She wouldn't trade the journey for anything! She blogs regularly at Fan the Flame
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