Since when has loving someone meant accepting everything about them?

Because I’m not a supporter of gay marriage, I have been told that I hold a discriminatory opinion and have been asked where my Christian love is. So in response, I ask: since when has loving someone meant accepting everything about them?

Take my aunty, for example. She is a smoker, and I don’t agree with the fact that she smokes. I know it’s bad for her health, and that science says it will be doing her body damage.

So by saying that smoking should be banned, am I discriminating against smokers?

You may say that smoking is a choice, and that being gay isn’t, but to that my question still remains. What about babies who are born with drug addictions because of their mother’s addictions? Or people who are born with a genetic predisposition to developing mental health issues like schizophrenia or depression? If we love a person and believe something to be bad for that person, we will help them manage their addictions or prevent/control their tendencies.

Because true love means wanting what is best for a person.

So, back to my smoking aunty. We as a family encourage her in her efforts to quit smoking, and support laws made to restrict smoking. All because we believe that smoking is bad, due to what science tells us. In the exact same way, as Christians we encourage people to enter Godly marriages and have Godly relationships. Because we believe that these are best for people, and we know first hand that these marriages can be the most satisfying and fulfilling.

This means, for me personally, I get just as concerned about other kinds of ungodly marriage as I do about gay marriage. To be honest, I think it’s a little hypocritical of Christians to be getting angry about gay marriage if they aren’t getting angry about all the other kinds of corrupt marriage out there too. Abusive relationships, resorting to divorce when it’s not working, marring for money or power – all are straying from God’s plan for us and are just as bad for us as gay marriage.

As Christians we should love all people equally, because we believe that we are all equally loved by God. Gays, Christians, transgenders, Muslims, Jews, terrorists, the lot. God loves us all so much that he wants the best for us. He wants to save us from all the confusion, darkness and hurt in the world. To do so he teaches us how we should go about certain aspects of our lives, including how to have a holy marriage between a husband and a wife.

It might all just sound like a strict set of outdated rules to those who haven’t experienced God fully. But it’s because He wants us to live a life that will lead to us spending eternity with Him, because He loves us so much that he wants what’s best for us.

Trusting in God

Last week I found myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the middle of Spotlight. I was holding back tears, and had to stop myself from curling in to the fetal position between the rolls of fabric.

I have been organizing a fundraiser for the organization that I will soon be working with in India (the Offspring Project). It was two weeks out from the event, a trivia night planned for this Saturday, and I had only two tables of people booked. I was terrified that people weren’t going to show up, and that the whole night would be a complete flop. I could feel the humiliation already.

I was in Spotlight looking for some cheap fabric that I could use as tablecloths, but the price of the material shocked me and I was out of alternative ideas. I’ve been organizing the night by myself, and it was all becoming too much. It became clear that day that I really needed an entire team of people helping me: one to organize food, one to promote the event, and another to do the decoration/table settings. My promotion was already going badly, hence the lack of booked tables, and that morning I had made little progress with the food. So when it became clear how hard it was going to be to find cheap fabric for the large, round tables I felt like giving up.

I had no choice but to buy the fabric, spending $300 of my own hard-earned money. At that stage I didn’t know if I would make everything back, as I had already spent $200 on other expenses for the night. It was a moment where I had to trust in God. People had been telling me previously not to worry; that ‘if you trust in God He will bless you’, and ‘if God is in it you’ll find that everything has a way of just working out’. But how do I know if God is in this I wondered. I prayed about it, I asked Him to be a part of it, and asked that He help everything work out. But I felt nothing, nothing changed and I was still unsure. I grit my teeth and bought the fabric, saying sternly to God, I’m buying this material trusting that you will provide enough tables to pay for it, you better bloody make enough people show up.

It wasn’t until a week later, only a few days ago, that He revealed to me that He has been involved all along. Within the span of about three days, my numbers climbed from two tables to twelve – and it’s now looking like I could end up with sixteen tables full of twelve people on each. He has not only answered my prayers, He has far exceeded my own hopes and expectations. I know now that not only did I need to trust that He would provide, but I also needed to trust that He was involved in my plans. God shouldn’t have to earn our trust; we have to take that first leap of faith to receive His blessing. So long as we are acting in accordance with His word, we can take comfort in the knowledge that He is already a part of every single thing that we do.

SIN

It’s the most attractive, desirable and pleasurable thing on earth. If it weren’t so appealing, we wouldn’t be tempted by it. We would all be perfect images of God, and we wouldn’t be human.

It’s flexible and unique; it shows itself in different forms for different people, targeting our individual points of weakness. When we think of sin our minds jump straight to sexual immorality, gambling, drug abuse and all the typically ‘bad’ identifiable types of sin. But unhealthy obsessions or anxieties of any type – image, success, study, work – are sinful.

Sin is anything that we place above God. Anything that separates us from Him. Anything that we give control.

We think we can control it. I’ll just do it this once; I can stop whenever I want. I’ll only go this far; I’ll just do a little. I’ll say no next time. But this is how it entices us, and when we put ourselves in positions that create temptation we’re making ourselves vulnerable. If we do this enough we reach the point where our will sin control us; when it begins to destroy our relationships with people. Where we become dependent upon it and realize that we’re no longer able to say no to its temptation.

It obscures our ability to think clearly. We become so wrapped up in it that we cannot see outside of it. You may know it’s bad, may know you should stop… But it clouds your mind to the point where you’re no longer sure what is and isn’t okay.

So long as we are actively pursuing God, sin has no power. When we become negligent of our relationship with Him and put ourselves in compromising positions we rely on our own strength to fight temptation. When we engage with sin it separates us from God – it becomes harder and harder to draw close to him, to feel his presence and to discern His will.

Thank you God that you can beat sin. We don’t have to fight the temptation or rely on our own strength to avoid its power. God has already won the battle; He ended it all when He sent Jesus to die for our sins. God beats sin every time.

When we do stray, He is ready and waiting to welcome us back in His loving arms. We don’t have to do anything to earn His forgiveness, we can’t, we’re human beings and will always be completely unworthy and undeserving. His forgiveness was given to us for no reason other than that of love, because that’s how much He loves us and wants to be with us.

A technological invasion of the bedroom

Warning- this post contains some adult-only themes. If you’re one of my under 18yr old followers I advise you not to continue reading.

Today I met a friend for coffee and afterwards did a little shopping. We walked past a female lingerie store on the way back and she pulled me inside to show me a recent purchase.

I followed sheepishly, having never been into a store more intimate than ‘bras n things’. After relaxing and beginning to admire some of the intricate lace and beaded items, I was lead to the sex toy section. I hardly knew where to look or what to say. But my embarrassment was soon overcome by awe when handed some of the products, such alien looking devices that felt surprisingly comfortable to touch.

While looking at the different models and designs, the store attendant came over and started talking to us about one of their products. After asking us if we both had boyfriends (we do… more or less) she proceeded to give us the spiel on the ‘we’ toy – able to be used during sex to give pleasure to both partners. She went in to detail about how it was used… It has an app that enables the toy to be controlled from a mobile device. She said this is great because guys like gadgets, and it helps them to ‘feel like they know what they are doing’. Another toy involved a ring that went around the guy’s penis and made it vibrate, the perk being that ‘it makes the guy feel like he is really involved’.

Instead of being impressed or tempted by this information I could only marvel over the invasion of technology in to the bedroom. The latest toys have been designed to make the man feel like he is really involved, and help him to feel like he knows what he’s doing. I think it’s sad that a man has to use technology or a phone app to give his woman an orgasm, and just as sad that a woman would choose a machine over a man. Now don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with couples in a loving relationship trying different things to spice up their sex life… But the fact that these products are being designed to help the man feel involved, hint at an unhealthy reliance on such things. When it comes to female pleasure, is technology replacing men?

WAVES

I have always thought that life is a lot like surfing.

In order to get to the point where you’re able to actually catch a wave, you must paddle out past the point where the waves are breaking. Each wave that crashes toward you wants to push you further toward the shore. First you walk out a little way, board under arm, until the water reaches your waist and slows your steps. Walking holds you steadfast against the force of the waves, but will only get you so far. You lay down your board and jump on, beginning the long paddle out. At this stage you must surrender to the ocean.

When a wave comes crashing toward you, there is no other option than to face it head on. You can only get through a wave if you face it directly when it hits, no avoiding or running away. Sometimes you can duck dive under and continue paddling when you resurface, being only a little disrupted. Sometimes it will push you back toward the shore, undoing the hard work you just did. But other times the sheer force of the wave will tear you from your board, push you deep under and churn you out. Leaving you breathless and frazzled, having to quickly recollect yourself and your board before jumping back on and continuing the paddle out.

Sometimes a whole set will come through, where wave after wave pushes you back or completely dumps you. You will have barely resurfaced and refilled your tired lungs with oxygen when another crashes in to you and consumes you with its force, throwing your body around in its arms like a ragged doll. In these moments all you can do is let go. Allow your body to be thrown by the force of the ocean, don’t fight the waves but go with them. Don’t panic, but take the moments you are given to fill you lungs with air and calmly prepare for the next tumult.

Eventually the ocean will give you enough of a chance to regain progress. The waves will hold off just long enough to allow you to remount your board and keep paddling. It can feel pointless. It can feel like you’re going nowhere, and sometimes you are. There will be moments where you’ll doubt that you have the strength to get out there at all, where you’ll give up or contemplate heading back to shore. In these times nothing but sheer determination and perseverance will get you through. Because you know that this is only a stage, only a small part of what surfing involves. The thrill of riding a wave and the peace of sitting out the back in the glassy quiet makes it worth it. So every time you are knocked off your board or pushed back toward the shore, you force your tired little arms to keep paddling.

Even when you find yourself helplessly caught in what feels like a set of endless waves… Find your strength in the promise that the rest of your life will make the struggle worth it. Keep paddling.

DESENSITISED

Typically, I’m slow to anger. But currently my blood is boiling.

Injustice makes me mad, but this makes me furious.

You call yourselves humans, but where is your humanity?

You may call yourselves Christians, but where is your love?

I am God of the needy, the suffering. It is they who need me the most. It is your job to show my love to the most desperate of people.

But instead you choose to remain comfortable in your sheltered little life…

Because it’s too unsettling, upsetting, uncomfortable to really see all the injustice. By using labels such as ‘boat people’, ‘homosexuals’, ‘politicians’ or ‘terrorists’ you don’t have to face the complications that come with actually seeing those people as fellow human beings.

Perhaps you have never seen real suffering. Perhaps you have seen too much. Perhaps you think that your efforts won’t make a difference.

I don’t care. Simply because you can’t stop all the worlds suffering, does that give you reason to not stop any?

I am Lord of all. I can stop all the injustice. I can solve the most complex of issues. But I need to work through you.

There is so much suffering that you have stopped feeling, stopped sharing each other’s pain. You must stop and allow yourselves to feel! Or you will become just like the robots you are creating. Sorrow and pain are emotions that are suppressed by your society. But it’s not shameful to cry, it’s beautiful. For it is part of your humanity… And will inspire action. Suppressing human suffering only allows injustice to grow and fester.

To act, you must first be able to feel. To feel, you must first be able to see.

How can I solve injustice if my body will not work? How can I save the suffering if my eyes refuse to see it? How can I walk if my feet are numb? How can I heal if my hands cannot feel? For you are the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in you, now stop restricting it.

OBSESSIVE FUTURIST

I am an obsessive futurist.

Constantly thinking about the future, constantly looking forward to something, constantly dreading something.

I’ve always been a thinker, or a dreamer rather. My mind is always tossing over something. Although I often ponder menial topics, the repeat offenders are my love life and my future career/studies.

If you’ve read my previous blogs you would know that my boyfriend of two years (two years this weekend actually) has been living in America for a couple of months now. He’s there on a basketball scholarship, and is back in May next year. It’s a community college, so if he chooses he could be there for two years in total. But if he’s offered a scholarship at a four-year college afterwards, it may be a lot longer. Up until now I had been continuing the relationship partly because of my own hopeful assumption that it would only be for a year, and partly because of the dedication he showed to our relationship.

A recent conversation revealed the extent of my obsession with the future. It became clear that he is actually considering a career in basketball – I had always thought he felt otherwise. It became clear that he was considering staying a second year, and if he did he would most likely go to a four-year college.

Of course straight away my brain spiraled in to thoughts about the future and how this could possibly fit in with my previous imaginings. He had never known what it was that he wanted to do with his life, and so I had begun to hope that he would fit in around my own career and travel plans. What could him pursuing his own dreams possibly mean for our future together? I know it’s extremely selfish of me… But I’m not ready to compromise my future plans for a relationship.

In a way it’s distressing. I don’t want to be sticking out this long-distance relationship if somewhere down the line we realize that neither of us is going to give up our dreams for the other. And if you really love the person shouldn’t you want too?

But then again, I love him. He is the only person I have ever loved… He is an excellent boyfriend, even from the other side of the world. And overall, despite the pain that comes with long distance, he makes me happy. So why break up out of fear that it won’t work out in the future?

These are the kind of thoughts that have been clouding my mind even since the months leading up to his departure. In amongst all this I’m trying to work out what it is God wants for me… Whether or not my boyfriend is to be my future husband or if I’m holding on to something that needs to be let go.

This is where my problem lies. I shouldn’t be trying to work all of this out; I should be trying to work out what it is that God is telling me. This would be energy much better spent. I should be giving all the thoughts, all the worries, and all the stress to God. And spending more time silencing my own human thoughts in order to give God the space to reveal His plans to me. And He may not… He might choose not to reveal to me all the things I want to know about my future. But if I live each day in obedience, listening for His voice, I will know what it is that God wants me to do each step of the way. It’s about being obedient in the present – and then I don’t have to know what the future is to be able to look forward to it.