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Sunday, December 27, 2015

why I should have waited

For the longest time since having kids, I struggled to come up with a good answer to the delicate question: Why wait to get married before having sex?

I knew it was wrong, and my parents taught me it was wrong, but I was one of those people who grew up in a good home with God-fearing parents--who ended up having sex before marriage.

So clearly, the follow-my-example argument wasn't an option. And the "because it's wrong" argument was pretty weak, too, considering where I and many others end up. I willed an answer to come along, but one never did.

Until now.

Why wait to get married before having sex? I know you want the answer right off the bat, but I've got to set the scene first. You won't get the point if you miss the point. So to start us off, a story:

Most people have that one friend: chubby, chinky, nerdy, sheltered, socially awkward--that one friend whose upbringing and temperament alone are contraceptive enough.

I was that one friend all throughout elementary school...and middle school...fine: and high school. What? I was a really late bloomer.

It's no surprise, then, that I was a lonely kid. Really lonely. Like I-stayed-inside-during-recess-when-I-could-because-I-had-few-friends-to-play-with lonely. Like I-knew-everybody's-names-in-classes-but-they-didn't-know-mine lonely. Like invisible-girl lonely--except hello you can see me.

In fourth grade, we started a writing assignment that changed my life forever: journaling. We got a notebook and were required to write one entry each day. Friends, I didn't write just an entry a day. I wrote a book a day.

I wrote about things I did and how I felt. I wrote about what I ate. I'm not kidding you when I say I didn't have many friends. But now I had paper to talk to. And boy, did I talk.

When my teacher realized how much I enjoyed journaling, she spent one-on-one time with me just to teach me how to write well (you guessed it: during recess [and lunch]).

Soon thereafter, I stopped keeping any ol' journal; I started keeping a spiritual journal. My diary became my letters to God. Letters with prayers, questions, praises, or just thoughts. Letters in which I poured out my young heart for nearly a decade.

Out of all the letters I've written, there are only two that I can recall. The first one was only two sentences long. We had eaten Subway that day and I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for it. I remember rushing downstairs after we'd eaten, grabbing my paper and pencil, and scribbling out, "Thanks for the Subway, God! It was so delicious!", and then running off to play with my siblings.

See, I grew up in a big and poor family. We didn't eat out much, if at all. It takes a lot of money to feed eight tummies. So when we had Subway, it was definitely a gift from God.

The other letter I recall writing while crying. I can't tell you what got me crying, but I can tell you I remember crying with a completely broken heart. Not one that some boy crushed. One that loneliness crushed.

Through tears, a heaving chest, and boogers (I don't cry pretty), my pre-pubescent self managed to scratch out one of its most vulnerable letters to God: "Dear God, please send me a friend. I'm so lonely."

For the next ten years, I struggled to find good friends. Most of the time I didn't have any. Though people knew me, talked to me, and liked me, no one welcomed me as a friend. And so loneliness grew.

Dear God, I hate bus rides when the one person I sit with won't be there. I feel so dumb asking to sit with a stranger.

Dear God, I hate standing in line at lunch. I feel so dumb not having anyone to talk to.

Dear God, I hate passing time because there's no one to hang out with. I feel so dumb going to class early and finding something to do so I don't have to talk to the teacher.

Dear God, dear God, dear God...

Little did I know at that time that I had already received the friend I'd asked for all those years before. I may have been pouring my heart out to a piece of paper, but Jesus was reading every word of it. His constant friendship got me through the loneliest days of my life. I didn't know it. I didn't realize it.I didn't cherish it.

Then I met a guy. Fell for him. Started having sex.

And stopped journaling.

I was too ashamed to write any letters. I didn't want to talk to God. I avoided Him. If I thought I was lonely before, I was wrong. This was lonely. I felt it. I knew it. The saddest, most heart-wrenching lonely there is, when your heart won't let Jesus come close.

I lost something more precious than my innocence. I lost the most faithful Friend I had. Relearning to trust Him again as a confidant hasn't been the same as it was before.

So you want to know why I think people should wait to have sex until marriage?

Because it keeps you from Jesus. Not just premarital sex: sin. Sin keeps you from Jesus.

Sin puts you on the defensive, as if Jesus isn't on your side.
As if you have to fight every battle on your own.
As if you aren't good enough anymore.
As if you need to prove yourself worthy.

Sin makes you forget that Jesus is on your side.
That Jesus wants to fight all your battles for you.
That Jesus makes you good enough, and that
Jesus proved Himself worthy--

And that He did it all for you, because He is your friend, not your enemy.

Our 2015 year ends in less than a week. Before it does, take time to go through the junk in your life. Figure out what's keeping you from Jesus, whether the sin is sex, busyness, family, or pride. Admit your problem. Then set the pace for your life and start 2016 with Jesus, not without.

I'll be here cheering you on and running with you. If there's one thing that'll make 2016 our best yet, it's a genuine friendship with Jesus. Let's live it out together.

with much love,