I went to speak at a church. About sex. And relationships.
Something that I realize is an all too unfortunate trend is that many churches spend more time talking about the consequences that come with not waiting until marriage more so than the benefits that come with doing so.
And so, as someone who has been waiting longer than I ever (EVER-LOL) thought I would, I sat and thought about where all of this waiting is getting me. I came up with 10 things (I know, right?). If you're waiting as well, maybe you can relate.
1) You don't have to worry about pregnancy tests or STDs. Look, when I was sexually active, I could've taken stock out on some of the pregnancy tests that were around at the time (I was buying one darn near every month) and although thankfully, I only had one STD (chlamydia and yes, thankfully because I wasn't the biggest on condoms), there is nothing like rolling through each month and not particularly caring my period is a couple of days late. It's also pretty awesome to go to the doctor and know that if they find anything, it won't be STD-related. Sexually active people are not able to have this kind of peace of mind. Yep. Peace of mind is a real perk to abstinence. That's for sure.
2) You can trust yourself better when it comes to developing feelings for someone. I have quoted it many times over the years. "It" being something that a male friend of mine once said: "Sex will make you 'love' people you don't even like." In other words, there are a lot of people walking around in relationships believing that they're really into the person when it's more like they are into how the person makes them feel---sexually. I've had orgasms before. They're awesome. And so the person who gave them to me, I found them to be pretty awesome as well. Because of their great personality or impressive character? Nope. I didn't even really care about those things. Don't get it twisted. Fornication is one heck of a drug. If you want to know if you like someone, let your brain decide; not your libido. Trust me, if your libido gets "a voice", it's going to scream---loudly. Sometimes way oer your common sense (Proverbs 2-Message) and that's never good. On the heels of that, you might want to read "How Premarital Sex Rewires Your Brain, Affects Your Chances of Finding Life Mate". There's some good stuff up in there.
3) You can cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself; especially your body and looks. OK, I'm not referring to masturbation. I penned a piece a couple of years ago that shares, explicitly, my feelings on that. Long story short, sex is about becoming one with someone else (YOUR HUSBAND-Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message), not yourself. There is no need to become one with yourself. What I mean with this particular point is that back when I was having sex, I was caring a lot about what my partners cared about when it came to my weight, my appearance---all kinds of stuff. Shoot, my last boyfriend even had a lot of say in how I did my hair. These days, I've actually gotten more compliments on my look/style than ever and I think a big part of it is because I have been focusing on who Shellie is, what Shellie likes and how Shellie wants to look. The cool thing about that is whenever "he" wakes up (Genesis 2:18-25), he will see the Shellie who likes Shellie. We'll be in agreement about her and so I won't have to be jumping through hoops to impress him. Will his opinion and suggestions matter? Of course. However, he'll be meeting me as I am now. I dig her. He will too.
4) You can learn what real intimacy is. If you think of the most beautiful woman in the world (to you), ask her if she's been heartbroken by a man. For good measure, you might also want to ask her if she had sex with him before. *Sex doesn't keep a man. Covenant keeps a man*. And that's only if he truly reveres God's Word (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Matthew 19:1-6, Ephesians 5). During your time of abstinence, you can stop making sex so much of priority in a relationship. This means that you can get to understand what real intimacy is. A man by the name of Robert Sternberg once said "Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still." I counsel a lot of couples who have a lot of sex and you know what? The bedroom is the only room in the house where they can truly get along. A big part of that is because affection, communication and mutual respect were not properly cultivated while they were dating. Passion is easy. Intimacy? That takes a bit more time, energy and effort. You're more willing to invest in intimacy when sex is not your focus.
5) YOU CAN HEAL. There are so many women who don't really want to deal with their childhood traumas, their past relationships, their cyclic dramas. For some reason, they feel that a man will, and worse *should*, fix it all. A husband is a companion, not a savior. Christ is your Savior (John 3:16). One of my favorite verses in the Bible is "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3-NKJV) The Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16 tells us that "Sex is as much of a spiritual mystery as it is a physical fact". When you finally do get to have sex with your beloved, he's not just having sex with your body. He's joining himself to your spirit as well. Remember, you are to be his divine help source (Genesis 2:18). That said, why would you want him connected to a beat up and broken spirit? In fact, about broken spirits, the Word says this: "A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones." (Proverbs 17:22-NKJV) A broken spirited woman tends to be more burdensome than helpful. It's good to use this time to tend to those wounds. One book that you might want to cop to help with the journey is Healed Without Scars by David G. Evans.
6) You can have your mind renewed. The New King James Version of Romans 12:2 says "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." The Message Version of Jeremiah 31:21-22 says "Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns. How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!” I've had a lot of really good counterfeit sex in my day (I mean, can it be legit if it's wrong and against God's will?-Hebrews 13:4). Yet you know what? As more time goes by, I remember less and less details of what went down. That's a good thing too because I don't want to be bringing "ghosts of sex's past" (or is it demons? Just sayin'-Matthew 12:43-45) into my marriage bed. I wrote a post on here once entitled "Is Your Bed Green?" It comes from a Scripture in the Song of Solomon. Some of the things that the color green symbolizes are growth, harmony, safety, freshness and yes, fertility. I want to have a "green mind" so that I can have some *green sex* (LOL). How about you?
7) You can get excited about planning to have sex (someday). This past June, I turned 40. When people asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said lingerie for my hope chest. Hey, Romans 5:5 tells us that "Hope does not disappoint", right? Not only that but one definition of wait is "to be available or in readiness". I'm not exactly sure when "he'll arrive", but God and I've been talking about it. Whenever the time comes, I've got a feeling the dude is not going to want to drag his feet (LOL). And besides, there is something very special about planning and preparing to do something God's way---the right way. My point? If you see a teddy or a garter or some other goodie, it's fine to pick it up. It's a token of faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). And something to surprise your future hubby with someday.
8) You can put yourself into a spirit of expectation. In one of the devotionals that I penned this week, I referenced a couple who shut their own reception down (meaning they were the last ones to leave). When they were asked if they wanted to be alone, they commented about the fact that since they were living together before marriage, they were in no rush to have sex on their wedding night. Guess what? They're divorced now. Yep. That's tragic---*on so many levels*. The last thing that I want to do on my wedding day is to be looking at my husband, thinking about having sex with them and basically feeling...bored about it; like he ain't got nothing to offer me that I haven't already seen or experienced. Another definition of wait is "to continue as one is in expectation of; await". To be in a spirit of expectation is to be "the act or state of looking forward or anticipating". When you were a child, did you ever sneak a peak at your birthday or Christmas presents before the actual day? If so, wasn't it hard to be as excited as you initially were? Sure, the gift was still cool but...it's hard to act as elated. Shoot, on my wedding night, I want my husband to look at me and be like "So, are you gonna stop giggling and jumping on top of the bed so we can get this party started?" (LOL) Waiting is about expecting and anticipating and James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from God. I am expecting a good and perfect wedding night as a result of my obedience. God honors obedience. Remember that.
9) You can develop more patience. Oftentimes, I refer to I Corinthians 13:4-8, the Love Chapter, as the "Love Fruit Juice Box". The first ingredient that is in it is patience. You are not going to be able to love your mate well or long without it. So tell me something? How can you master patience in a relationship with someone else if you can't master patience with yourself? And yeah, patience is not a "warm fuzzy word". Patience is defined as being "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like". It's also defined as being "an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay" and "quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence". If you ask any marital covenant couple about something that you should be prepared for, it's the spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20) that comes from Satan hating a God-ordained husband and God-ordained wife coming together. If you can't be patient now, if you won't allow patience to complete you now (James 1:4)...whew! You are going to make it really hard on your spouse by deciding to use your marriage as your "first-time testing ground".
10) You can value yourself (including your sexuality) more. At the peak of my sexual activity, God was still whispering Matthew 7:6(NKJV) into my spirit: "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." One definition of swine is "a coarse, gross, or brutishly sensual person". You are not being loved and you are not being loving, by coercing someone into sin and that includes sexual immorality. My running statement on this topic is that fornication is not "making love"; it's "making death". Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death so that's why I say that. And you know what? The more time that you take to really let all of that settle in, the more that you'll find yourself not only not "casting pearls before swine" but also taking this parable into your human trinity (mind, body and spirit): "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:45-46-NKJV) A pearl is my birthstone and so just in that alone, I hold it dear. And yes, a pearl goes through a lot. I am investing a lot into my purity. The right man will see the value in that and do what *God requires of him* to have me. All of me. From the living room to the kitchen to yes, the bedroom.
The waiting season is not easy. LORD, IT'S NOT EASY.
Yet God knows what he is doing. From the first day of waiting until the last.
For your sake.
For your future husband's sake.
For your marriage---and your marriage bed---as a whole.
"All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning."---Romans 8:22-29(Message)