What Everyone (And No One) Is Talking About – Guest Writer

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. This week my wife was feeling a stirring in her heart to share some of her own thoughts on issues that we are both passionate about. I’m super proud of her boldness and ability to articulate from an honest, compassionate, heartfelt standpoint on a controversial issue that continues to be such a joked-about, casual, pop-culture reference. Maybe we aren’t the ideal problem-solvers, but perhaps her and I can get the conversation started. Without further delay, I introduce you to my beautiful bride, Allie Meyer, and her writing in the form of a guest-blog post.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what’s a video worth? Video is pictures frame-by-frame that flash by so fast, they appear they’re actually moving. So, does that make a video worth ten thousand words or even a million words? Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth nothing at all. When the things that you’re seeing and watching can cause you to stumble, is it worth it?

There is a topic that has been looming around in my head lately and it’s a topic that simultaneously is both never talked about and always talked about is pornography. It’s a topic that people freely joke about with friends or is alluded to on the radio but yet also is kept in secret and like a skeleton in our closets. I suppose it’s also a topic that rarely gets any air time with parents talking to their children or people reaching out to ask for help when they feel like they’re trapped in it or it’s consuming them.

I grew up in a Christian home, but I also went to a public high school. I of course had the uncomfortable “birds and bees” talk at home and the “how to not get STD’s” talk at school. But a topic that wasn’t ever discussed in either of those was porn and the complications that it can add to your life. The stress it can add to your relationships. The shame, depression, and anxiety it causes to your overall well-being, and not to mention, the isolation it will eventually produce.

Now let me set this straight: I’ve honestly never struggled with any of these things nor have I ever sought out any type of pornographic content. I have however, been subjected to Hollywood’s decision to include some kind of sexual content in every movie. That’s not necessarily porn, but in the end, was it necessary? (This is a whole other post, but a good point nonetheless.) I digress…

So needless to say, porn wasn’t something that ever crossed my mind. It wasn’t until someone close to me opened up about their addiction to it and their struggles that I ever really understood what it was. Here it is – a billion-dollar industry in our world, and I literally had little idea it existed or what it even consisted of. In the moment I played it off as though I knew what they were talking about, but deep down I felt so naïve and like this was a foreign place they were talking about. Unfortunately, it’s something that I’ve gathered more knowledge about and learned why this addiction is so rampant in our world. It’s rampant because it’s so readily accessible by literally anyone. Think about how easy it is to search things on YouTube, or how hashtags have changed the way you browse social media. Teenagers can have unlimited access to content that they shouldn’t with just a click of a button. This causes there to be millions and millions of people out there consumed by lust and this addiction, but likely there are also millions who are naïve like I was.

Why is that?

I think it all goes back to awareness. It never was mentioned growing up. Not at home, school, church, etc. All of my friends could have been struggling with it for that matter and I could have never known. I think that we, as not just Christian people, not just one political party, not as one gender; we just as people need to talk and do something about it. What that something is I don’t know, but we can’t continue to allow people to fall into this trap of lies and loneliness.  How can we as humans rally together to create awareness and support those who are struggling, those who are directly affected by it, and those who haven’t been exposed but can be spared the turmoil and heartache?

I believe that personally my heart is drawn to those who are just bystanders. The people who are spouses of addicts. The people whose relationships are fragile because their partner used to struggle with it. The kids who might learn what porn is from some jokes shared at school and never hear what terrible things that this new addiction could lead to. I feel led to find ways to be a listening ear to those who feel they can’t trust their spouse as well as be an advocate for those who might not know what problems it can cause until they’re in deep.

I often pray for those struggling and ask God why can’t he do something about it. But I feel like God is asking me “What can you do about it?”. So here I sit, not a writer of any sort asking you to help me find ways to bring attention to a topic that has been in the dark for far too long and how to bring it into the light. With the dark being such a lonely place, the only way out is through relationships and Jesus. We ALL have to be vulnerable if we ever want to beat this thing head on. When we bring things into the light others can be praying and guiding you. Let’s unite together to leave those movies worth no words in the darkness, and bring all people into the light.

Vulnerability

“Relationship With God” by Lydia Heston

A huge buzz word in the west’s Christian culture right now is the word “relationship.”

You hear over and over again that Christianity is “not a religion, it’s a relationship.” And “it’s all about a relationship with Jesus.” Honestly, there’s a significant amount of truth to this. I would consider my own Christian walk to simply be a relationship with God. 

But when a word is thrown around so often, it begins to lose its meaning as people start using it who don’t necessarily speak from personal experience and understanding. Added to a culture that collectively has lost its view of healthy, functional, relationships and created a huge controversy (in and out of the church) of what it means to love and what it means to tolerate and how it’s even possible to be a Christian while still upholding our values, it seems that the word “relationship,” as a hype, can be more confusing than helpful.

Seriously… what does it look like to have a relationship with God, on a practical day-to-day basis?

Recently, God’s been teaching me a lot about intimacy in relationships. And I don’t just mean the romantic ones. The dictionary defines intimacy as simply close familiarity or friendship; some synonyms being closeness, togetherness, attachment, and familiarity. Every relationship you have has a level of intimacy involved. For many, it’s simply acquaintance, you have zero to very few points of familiarity. But you discover these over time as you get to know someone. Now, think of your closest friends- the people who know you for you… your tendencies, your thought processes, your likes and dislikes… they are familiar with who you are as a person and you are comfortable as that person around them. You, in turn, are familiar with who they are. Thus, you are able to be close, possessing a unique kind of togetherness in your comfortable familiarity.

That is intimacy. It is a very precious, and often rare, gift. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and love to develop intimacy. Intentionality, forgiveness, and selflessness are also necessary. While often difficult, these kind of relationships are so very life-giving. One of the reasons marriage is such a beautiful thing is because it is the most intimate of human relationships. But, before even our spouses, we are called to love God with our entire beings (Luke 10:27).

Intimacy is the nuts and bolts of relationship. With a lot of people, you must do the dance of finding how intimate you can be… what can you find as familiar in each other? What should you let this other person know about you? Where is it appropriate/not to be vulnerable? What do you both find funny?… etc.

But then there’s God. Who already knows you, completely. Psalm 139 says “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me… you are familiar with all my ways… Where can I go from your Spirit? … For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place… all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (verses 1, 3b, 7a, 13, 15a, and 16). So… He seems pretty familiar with me. Intimacy with Him should be a walk in the park, right?

Yes… but then there’s me… there’s humanity. We tend to think, even subconsciously, that we can hide certain parts of ourselves from God, or that God doesn’t want to see the ugly pieces, or that we can handle the little things ourselves, so no need to bother Him, right? Even though He already knows all those things, we don’t share with Him. We often only take our “good side” when we pray. We cannot be intimate with Him over the things that we struggle with or that make us so unique when we say no to that sharing of familiarity, that togetherness, that closeness that is the very essence of intimacy and relationship.

I have found intimacy with God in transformational honesty.

Honesty: complete and utter vulnerability before Him saying “this is me, in all my naked brokenness, all my hurting wounds, all my ugly sin.”  Transformational: trust that He will come through on His promises and that He has the capacity to heal me. Because He does. And He will. He’s already paid for that sin, His already purchased the right to make us like Him, why wouldn’t He finish the good work that He started?

Honesty with God can be so easy. He already knows, so what’s the point in trying to hide? If you’re angry with Him, tell Him. He won’t be offended. He can handle your rage. If you’re afraid, let Him know. He knows why you’re afraid and exactly how to give you peace. If you’re having trouble trusting Him, you can tell Him that too. Take the risk, be vulnerable, He won’t strike you down with lightning. If you’re willing to trust Him with your issues, I’ve found that He’s more than happy to help. It’s almost as if He just loves to see your true self come around. I think you might be surprised at how quickly your heart and your struggles begin to change for the better.

This is what my relationship with God looks like on a day-to-day basis. Only now, after years and years of sharing the most fragile parts of myself with a God who never once betrayed my trust, I have a strong foundation of faith in His goodness. Sometimes, He doesn’t seem to be answering right away… maybe He’s testing me, or teaching me, or loving me in a way I didn’t know I needed… but that’s okay. I trust Him. Because He has always pulled through when I have needed Him the most.

And a bi-product of being truly known? Security. When you’ve shown the most dusty, spider-infested corners of your heart to someone and you were still loved, completely and perfectly loved, there’s not much that can bring you down, not a whole lot that can touch your identity. Especially after that perfectly loving someone begins to take some Holy Raid and a clean duster to those cobweb-laced corners and the dirty begins to disappear. So. I agree! It is more than simply religion. It’s vulnerability… that creates intimacy… that inspires love… that grows faith… that moves mountains.

It’s a relationship; It’s The Relationship.

The above article was written by my friend, Lydia Heston. There is so much profound wisdom within it, so I requested her permission to share it with my blog-followers. If you enjoy her work, then please consider visiting her blog at inspiredtoimpact.blogspot.com