More Than Hate…

The drama that has unfolded this past week in our country has left me overwhelmed and speechless (almost).

I did part of my growing up in south Texas, I know a tiny bit about prejudice. My dad was a pastor in a conservative southern church and when he invited an ex-con, black man to
live with us. Les and my father ushered our family into the middle of something that I had no language or orientation for understanding.

Les came and shared our home – he entered a white world. I was naive. I was taught to love people. I thought that was enough. There are so many lessons I learned from this season of my life, but this week I felt like I was thrown back in time. To see people shouting hatred at others in this way made me angry, at least I thought it was anger.

Anger is an emotion that reveals something we love is threatened and we are moved into motion. Hatred is something we harbor to not have to feel the discomfort of something we fear. (my definitions – from interior/exterior work that is still in process…)

As I looked at the online footage and watched the news I slowly and painfully realized that I was actually participating in perpetuating the growth of hatred.

While I hate the philosophy of the kkk, neo-nazi, supremacist groups, etc. AND I have no trouble saying that out loud (and believe anger at this is good) the troubling part to my soul is that I had to honestly name that in looking at these faces and their actions, I was hating the people…

I want to justify my hatred.

I want to qualify it as righteous.

But at the core when hatred is harbored it grows and it seeks a target.  We cannot change what we ignore. We will not allow transformation of that which we deny exists.

Three timely messages have touched me recently and I am marinating myself in them because I want what is hidden to be transformed:

1) It is people on the margins that change the world.  Thank you Dr. Dennis Edwards for standing in the ways of Jesus and inviting me to sit at this table.

2) Meeting our Enemies and our Suffering – Thank you Buddhism for the language of hate/anger being the gateway to love/compassion.

3) John Lennon wrote IMAGINE – Thank you Pentatonix for making this so visual for me to see, I keep hitting repeat.

I want my hatred to be transformed into compassion for all! What if one’s transformation actually does lead to another’s? (Read – Whole it is filled with thoughts on this.)

What if compassion rising is about us having a place to let our hatred be held/seen long enough to be able to breath a love that is breathtakingly risky?

Sometimes compassion scares me, but honestly it also gives me hope, especially when I see it offered to one’s self in the process of real pain. Yesterday I sat across from a couple in their 70’s, they are counting the days vs. decades of living they have left. Tragedy has interrupted their lives and because of this they are reassessing how they view relationship, family and the world. His brave statement inspired me, “I want to wake up now because it changes every step I take forward.”

He breathed love for a moment and had compassion on himself – now he can breath it out into the world.

I believe in this kind of transformation.

I believe that my hatred needs to be revealed.

I believe that naming my hatred is the gateway to deepening my compassion.

I believe love is real.

I know love is radical.

You may think I am a dreamer but I am not the only one…

Do I See What I Bring?

I am sitting here eating my breakfast with Cain and Abel.

The first, but not last, glimpse we have into the complexity of sibling relationships in the Bible. If you haven’t read the story I highly recommend it though I am guessing that at first glance, or Google search, it will reveal Abel God approved of and Cain didn’t quite make the grade.

Abel tended sheep – his offering came from the substance of something he could see moving around, making sounds, it reproduced in front of him visibly and with a force that was akin to his own body’s rhythms.

Cain farmed – his offering came from the substance of seeds that were buried in the hard soil and the product of reproducing was hidden from sight. He had to tend what he could not see and hope for more.

Both were siblings relying on one another – literally for their “meat and potatoes.”  They knew interdependency and working together to sustain a living and also the independence of each having their own way of being with God in creation.

I am making a huge assumption here – though I am a parent and I know a little about parenting our children – Adam and Eve taught their sons about goodness. My leap comes from the text because Eve says, “I have created a new human, a male chid, with the help of the Eternal” (sorry Adam, your seed got overlooked). I have held a newborn in my arms and felt utter joy – hope – vulnerability – abundance.

Stay with me I am adding one more assumption about how they parented these two brothers – they taught them about loss – fear – shame – scarcity.
Cain led the way and laid his offering down. Abel followed as he had seen his brother do. Abel returned to his sheep. Cain didn’t return to his farming, but stayed to see what his brother brought. Did he know in that moment he had more to bring?

In this book Whole, Steve’s second question from the text is

 

Am I my brother’s keeper?

This question is a defensive move but what is he really trying to defend when God is only asking him to look up vs. belly-button gazing? God is asking him to notice his anger not stuff it, run from it or justify it but to name it.

God’s pursuit of Cain is IN his anger. Could God be asking Cain to hold both joy/loss to see that fear/hope are interwoven, that scarcity/abundance is where God meets us.Could our anger be an invitation to notice where we are gazing?

I am Cain – I know the fear of investing in what feels hidden, watering soil and wondering IF anything will come up, let alone be harvestable. And so I have murdered my brother/sister by trying to choke out the nagging voice of comparison, rather than pausing to look up and see the face of my Creator.

I am Abel also – I have brought my very best to God and laid it down and then been “murdered” for it (misunderstood/judged/abandoned feels like murder to me).

“There is something terrifying about giving your best to god when you don’t know how you’ll get what you need.”

Relationships are hard! They require a continual returning to this place of being with one another and for one another in our differences and in our struggles. IF we try to do this with our eyes only on what is in front of us that we can see, we will miss the greater gift of what is struggling to come to life in and through the work of being in relationship.

“When you’re honest about where you are, and when you choose to trust instead of mistrust, you will be given the opportunity to test it out on another human being—your brother or sister. Trust isn’t a concept. It’s a way of being in relationship in which you seek mutual flourishing.”

I sat next to a 10 year old boy last night and in his squirrelly playfulness of hitting me and trying to get a rise out of me he interlaced his fingers with mine, rested his head on my shoulder and whispered – “I love you.”

Somewhere deep inside of Cain was a little boy that knew how to rest against the one he loved. He knew because he risked bringing an offering and there is no mention of him being asked to. Somewhere between the idea to give and the actual offering he began to fear and trusted scarcity vs. God. Wouldn’t a loving God see this shift and seek to guide him into a deeper place of returning to that sacred shoulder of love?

Someday I will be sitting across the table from this little boy that will be a man. I don’t know if he will be able to offer interwoven fingers and whispered words that sear my heart, but I do know that now is real. In this moment we have tasted abundance together. He will forget and it will be my responsibility to remind him of the goodness that is deep within him when he too finds and discovers both Cain and Abel within.

My breakfast is cold and my tea now has a curdled look on the top of it, but I want to thank Cain and Abel for being with me this morning – both continue to teach me about this risky and beautiful struggle of looking up…

Where Are You?

Three mistakes in my last post that are to be honest a bit embarrassing – seriously “add media” button was not there a couple days ago. Did I mention blogging is vulnerable for me????

As I was sitting beside the lake today, working on trying to gather some insight/inspiration to write about, this boat comes ripping through the water at high speed and disrupts the glassiness of this peace-filled moment. I grabbed my phone and took a picture, why? I had no idea. Hang on this is going somewhere…

In his new book Whole, Steve Wiens pulls five key questions out of Scripture and invites the reader into layers of a question vs. “the” answer.

First question – Where are you?

God asks this question of the man and the woman – he created.

in the garden – he designed and built,

blue-print of the geography was pretty clear – to the one who designed it.

Do you get the dichotomy of God’s question here?

Come on he had to know “where” they were, but the real question was did they know? AND were they willing to say it out loud and not run?

Sitting in the Adirondack chair by the lake, I knew where I was sitting physically – Wayzata public beach – but the question ringing in my head held a deeper layer – I have been hiding from words…language….writing…

“Are you willing to walk toward vulnerability so that you can go on a journey of restoration?”

Where are you? Is about the many layers we all have within us to compensate when we feel that we are not where we think we should/could/would like to be – and shame ushers us into hiding/denying/justifying/strategy/etc.

I have a deep longing for people to experience God in and through their sexual and spiritual journey – inviting them to discover and return to their truest essence of being. There are days/hours/moments when I actually believe and savor this longing and I respond to it so full heartedly that I can face any obstacle that is before me.

AND there are days when the ache of brokenness in this world overwhelms me and I hide by renaming this longing as idealistic, unreal, stupid, crazy…

“The work of restoration starts with the desire to come out of hiding and return to the radical vulnerability of complete trust.”

So what do I really trust in?

Is this longing within me coming from God? Could it truly be part of why I exist? Is this audacious longing something I am meant to carry of God’s goodness? What if I dared to let my longing hear the question of “where are you” as an invitation?

The way I view God is how I will hear God’s voice. 

So…sitting by that lake, the longing rose again and I let it linger.

Boat guy disrupted my space.

I felt the reasons of why I have been hiding from writing rise.

I let them.

I also admitted to God why I was hiding from writing and this is what I heard:

  • You don’t even know how to add a photo to text – electronics are tricky…
  • You only get to write about sex – there is more within…
  • You can’t write about this, there are experts – there are and they are awesome….
  • You suck at structure – yep and maybe that is okay…
  • You have a snarky attitude that slips over into sass – hello and God wants all of me…

What if God asking us where we are is more about God’s wanting to clothe us in something other than shame? I mean he did offer animal skins vs. leaves (which would dry up and become brittle in a day or two and let’s be honest would definitely cause itching in very delicate parts of the body – shame kinda does this to us).

In the end, I guess I took that picture because I needed to be disrupted and in waiting long enough to actually hear more than just the familiar voice of shame, the lingering waves reminded me that I am on a journey of wholeness!

Also I have to note that the one driving the boat was having a blast…his timing was perfect.

NOTE: Quotes are from the book – you really want to get this and read it for yourself, I promise!

I liked his shoes…

A few years ago I met this new pastor that came to the church I was attending at the time. He impressed me with his style of preaching, his plaid shirts but really I liked his shoes…not spiritual (to some) but it is true and I own it that my eyes check out his shoes before I see his eyes.

Our first encounter was less than what you might call ground breaking to building a friendship – I basically emailed him with a request and he turned me down flat with “No I don’t think that is a good idea at all, but thank you very much.”

Ultimately he had to eat crow (it was a good idea) but hey I kind of like that our story includes the forged places of having to pursue one another with vulnerability and trial and error.

Now fast forward nine years and yes we are still friends (occasionally he reads my emails) only now he is writing books.

My friend’s name is

Steve, StevO (I will never call you this).

He is

husband to a beauty

dad to three adorable little men

author of two books

pastor to a quirky community (yes I include myself as a part of the quirky)

bourbon lover

cat-averse human being

avid reader

intro/extrovert (depending on the situation)

lover of language

AND

he experiences the world in stories.

His first book New Beginnings is something that expands traditional language of creation into a way of seeing and living with creation as a part of us and our journey every single day of our lives.

His second is coming out later in August (I think the 22nd is the official launch date, but really I know you can get it now).

WHOLE – Restoring What is Broken in Me, You and the Entire World

Did you catch the “entire world” portion? Wholeness is not something that is about me, alone, figuring IT out, but instead it is about being with others and in this together as we make great and sometimes really dumb errors.

“…true restoration for one person leads to restoration for another, or it isn’t restoration.”

My brokenness is real and yet I/we (okay I know this is an I statement but I want to feel like we are in agreement) get really good at hiding, masking, renaming or just plain wallowing in it.Â

What if I am truly made to be whole?

What if wholeness is less of a place and more of a process with one another?

So here is what I am going to do, I am going to step into a scary place myself and do some blogging this month – about Steve’s book, I think there are some great things to be said.

Why is this scary? Thank you for asking, I am not especially fond of blogging  (my last one was almost years ago) because maybe I struggle with some perfectionism, okay maybe I also struggle with an inner fear of not having anything worth saying.

Damn – this is part of my brokenness…

Christmas Carol Favorite

I have a favorite Christmas carol – night-clouds-summer-trees

I am not sure when it became my favorite, but it is something that moves me

emotionally…I get teary and reflective

physically…I find myself lightly swaying.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining

I love the stars, the silence of night time, the stopping of a world that seems to constantly be in motion and often without any real meaning to that motion.

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

This past year has been a year of experiencing the birth of my first grandchild, while the birth of my children changed my life forever, this birth forever changed my view of forever.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

The world that I wake up to every morning is in turmoil and seeking to make sense of what is – dare I say – senseless, yet we keep “pining” forward (I think I like the word pining rather than sin, but honestly I think sin is about a yearning for something different).

Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth

And here is the line that gets me every time and causes me to get teary and begin swaying, my soul is meant to feel it’s worth. My soul is meant to be weighty, my soul is both heavy and light, my soul is ever in motion longing to discover and become more ALIVE – I was made this way and it is not something I need to hide or manage, I must feel my soul’s worth

AND

in turn feel

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

because hope truly is a thrill, a surge, an itch, a hunger and it makes me want to stand up and shout – hell no, the world doesn’t get to define the goodness of God. 

because

yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

and yes there are times I will fall on my knees, times I will dance in the face of evil, times I will weep in the sorrow of loss, times I will burst into laughter because I

hear the angel voices

declaring that this night, this day, this season of life is truly divine because at the heart and core of my crafted soul is a knowing that

in His Name, all oppression shall cease

not because ceasing is ending something, but instead ceasing is about us pausing and remembering that

Oh Holy night, the stars are brightly shining 

because there is no place that God is not and there is nothing that God will not partake in when it relates to us, because we ARE created to bear the image of God.

So yes I do have a favorite Christmas carol, and if you share space with me I might shed a few tears and sway a bit off beat when this song comes on, but know this is me learning to listen to what moves me to remember and claim that

holy nights are divine 

if we have ears to hear.

Merry Christmas

Love That Costs Us Something

What is my focus on?

We all have that one person. The person we would deliver a well-deserved, serves-you-right smack across the face in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. It is in the moment when I want to get real and give that person exactly what their behavior REALLY deserves that I must come to the realization that my focus is not on the other person, but on myself.

It’s hard to admit, but sometimes I find myself in this place.

Life would be so much easier if we could see one another without judgement or competition despite our differences. More than I know, both judgement and competition rob me from truly seeing other people and loving them well.

When I am focused on someone else’s behavior, the person who is on center stage is not the person who is in the “wrong” but me, myself, and I.

Derek Tasker in his book “An Exploration into God” writes:

“I wonder what would happen if I treated everyone like I was in love with them. Whether I like them or not, whether they respond or not, and no matter what they say or do to me. Even if I see things in them which are ugly, twisted, petty, cruel, vain, deceitful, and indifferent – what if I just accepted all that and turned my attention to some small, weak, tender, and hidden part? What if I kept my eyes on that until it shined like a beam of light, like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust it to burn away all the waste – which was never my business to meddle with.”

Can anyone love like this?

This kind of love looks dangerous. It takes your breath away. Who could love like this? Who would ever risk loving like this? Love like that would place everything about myself at risk. All of my desires and hopes and dreams would be placed on the back burner, and that would not be fair… would it? Everything inside of me says, “NO! Why should I forgive that person? They don’t deserve it – and it would not be fair to me if I forgave them.”

Love like this is not cheap – not cheap at all because it would cost us everything. As I reflect on Easter Sunday and Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, I am reminded of his love. His love that cost him everything, all to forgive us. His focus was not himself and the wrongs we have committed against him – but only on his deep love for us.

God, give me the desire to love like you do.

~ becky

 

 

Teen Boys and Teen Girls And What Makes Their Brains So Very Different

The challenge of parenting teenagers

Parenting teenagers can be challenging, and unfortunately, there’s not a quick, fix-all formula for parenting your unique teen the “right way”. The physical differences between men and women are pretty obvious, but the differences in emotional development during puberty, often referred to as “the awkward stage,” stand in stark contrast. When I look at gender differences in the brain during teen years, I can’t help but say, “really God, what are you thinking?!

Teen boys: how much testosterone can they take?

When testosterone is being released into a teenage boy, his body is altering and expanding structurally. This tsunami of testosterone is coursing through his body stretching vocal cords, enlarging the testicles, thickening and lengthening the penis, increasing hair follicle growth in new places, activating muscle and bone growth, and causing the sexual-pursuit circuits to become twice as large as a girl’s. That’s a massive amount of restructuring!

Louanne Brizendine, M.D. puts it this way:

“If testosterone were beer, a nine-year-old boy would get the equivalent of about one cup a day…by age fifteen, it would be equal to two gallons a day.”

A 15-year-old boy is daily “intoxicated” by the amount of testosterone his body is producing—no wonder our teenage boys need so much sleep! Their bodies are working hard to receive the changes coursing through them.

Teen girls: why do they have so many words?

Like testosterone changes a boy’s body, estrogen changes the structure of a teenage girl’s body. At the core, this influx of estrogen is an unfolding of the ancient biological manual embedded in every woman to become sexually desirable. This rewiring is why humankind has continued to create and the continuation of life is hinged upon this process.

As estrogen makes its way through a teenage girl’s body, breasts begin to appear, emotions are heightened, awareness of the perception of others is increased, pubic hair begins to grow, and a monthly surge of estrogen-progesterone causes menstrual bleeding to begin.

Teen girls often have a lot of words and the amazing ability to talk all day (and sometimes all night) with close friends. As a girl develops, language and speech often activate the pleasure centers in their brain. This is different from a boy’s brain, where language and speech do not produce the same effects. During teen years, a girl’s language area of her brain can be twice as large as a teen boy’s.

What can these differences teach us about God?

While the knowledge of these differences is important, I believe we still need to address important questions like: how do we view differences? Do we value these things as good and designed by our Creator with love?

As a mother who has successfully made it to the other end of those parenting-teen years, I know the teenage years can be filled with many frustrations. However, I believe these years are vital in exploring the mystery of man, the mystery of woman, and the mystery of God.

When we make space to allow these male and female differences in our teens to show us the creative hand of God, we are given the chance to marvel at the depth of what we have yet to discover.

~ becky

How To Have Little One-minute Sex Talks With Your Little Ones

How do I talk to my little one about sex?

So often, parents of young children come to me with their fears surrounding the question: how do I even begin to explain sex to my young children?! Do I need to? What do I do?!

One of the very best parts about this is it means that I get to hear a lot of great stories. So to each and every parent out there who has ever dared to ask for help around this topic: good for you! While ‘having the conversation’ may seem daunting and intimidating, I believe embracing moments as they arise and having mini conversations with your young children can be extremely beneficial in building a solid relationship between you and your child.

Here are three suggestions for parents of little ones to keep in mind as those little sex-talk moments arise.

1. Whatever you do, do your best not to panic or freak out. Fear can bring unnecessary stress on you as a parent and our kids can sense our fear from a mile away.

One night, a mother was giving her son a bath. It was the little boy’s birthday, and when he looked at his body in the bathtub, he told his mom, “Look mommy—my penis is a birthday candle, blow it out!” Rather than turning and running in the other direction or ignoring or suppressing the boy’s comment, this mom affirmed her boy’s creativity and imagination, then treated it as a playful and fun moment.

2. Give your child age-appropriate language to help them create a connection between body parts and their sexuality.

One evening, a father and his daughter were locked in the power struggle about bedtime. Running out of patience, the father kindly, yet firmly instructed his daughter that she must go to bed, because he is the boss of her. His daughter responded, “Well, you can tell me to go to bed, but you can’t tell my vajayjay to go to bed. I am the boss of my vajayjay!” And what could he do? After all, him and his wife had repeatedly affirmed to their daughter that those were her beautiful and wonderful body parts—no one else’s. In this particular moment, the father once again affirmed his daughter in being the own boss of her body, but concluded that he was in fact the boss of bedtime. Rather than creating fear, the father created a language for his daughter to understand.

3. Remember to see your child’s questions through their childlike innocence and wonder.

A mother and her son were in the grocery store. Her son had just learned about his genitals, and was excited to apply what he had learned while they shopped. As they passed another female shopper, the boy leaned over to ask his mom, “Mommy, does she have a penis too?!” His mom, unsure of how to respond, mumbled something like, “Yes! Yes, we will buy the peanuts!” The honest and real-life truth is often, we as parents totally miss the moment. But the good news is, there will be more opportunities. So the next time you find yourself in a potentially awkward situation, try to remember to look at your child through the lens of innocence. As parents, it is our important job to honor and protect this innocence and wonder.

Honoring our kid’s questions

So often, anxiety can come from the fear of not having the right answers, but it’s important to remember to honor your children’s questions. It’s natural to ask questions about our body—especially for a child who may be asking the questions for the very first time! When I sit with parents and smile and laugh about these stories, I can’t help but ask myself: What would it be like to raise a generation that sees their sexuality as good and from God?

Sexuality is something that should be protected, but not in a way that it has a barrier around it. Our sexuality is deeply intertwined with our identity in Christ, and asking questions is the first step of a beautiful journey to discover more about who we were created to be.

Parents, I would challenge you with this question: Are we making space to have a one-minute sex talks with our kids? In the grocery store, the bathtub, or wherever else they might arise? Can we slowly begin to change the stigma surrounding sexuality for this next beautiful generation?

It’s worth our best try, wouldn’t you say?

~ becky

Does God See My Desire As Good? A Lesson From Cain and Able

The first date kind of desire

A few days ago, I was sitting in a bar at a little restaurant near my home when I witnessed a beautiful scene: a first date between two strangers. They met online through a popular dating site (ok, maybe I was eavesdropping a bit) and as the date progressed, I heard them ask questions and confirm things they had already shared with one another online.

“You like fishing in the winter?”
“You actually ate alligator?!”

As they opened up and shared with one another, I noticed their body language change. They moved closer and closer together. I believe they were experiencing desire.

Desire – “a feeling that moves one towards something, to strongly wish or want something.”

In the Christian environment I grew up in, desire was rarely talked about positively. Instead, it was labeled as something to suppress, capture, control, and even kill. I grew up thinking desire was a den of destruction bent on destroying us. But over the years, I have slowly, slowly began to learn that desire is simply something that moves us towards something we want. You see, desire moves, pulls, and causes us to seek out something that’s stirring us to action.

The Cain and Abel kind of desire

The Cain and Abel story is a classic tale of desire. Never thought of it that way before? Let me explain. In Genesis 4 we hear about two brothers who bring their own individual offering to God. The text says,

Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the first born animals of his heard, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk.

God’s response seems a little harsh, doesn’t it? But instead of looking at the offering itself, God is looking at the heart behind the offering. When we read the story, we see two offerings with unequal responses, but God sees two hearts with different intents of desire.

Abel’s offering is brought with his desire to share his very best with God. Cain’s offering is brought with his desire to keep his best possessions and only… kinda give God… just some of it… since he has to. Though it’s easy to judge Cain for his desire to keep his best to himself, I can’t help but notice all the times I too bring God just some of the fruit. Like when I say to another, “I forgive you, but…”

See, the kind of desire that causes us to look inward is desire that’s about what I need, how I can get what I need, and how I can protect myself. I am consuming something because I absolutely need it. When I experience desire and look up knowing the desire has the power to overtake me, I am seeking to be in communion with another.

Desire is not the enemy, it has a purpose.

Can my desire move me toward the Creator?

While I was stealing glances at the first-date couple next to me, I saw him rest his hand casually on her knee. This is the perfect example of desire in real life and in real time! As I continued to sit near them, I felt the anticipation and the desire of these two to be near one another.

If we are created to experience desire and move towards another, could that actually be good?

The longing to be near, to touch, to be with, to be seen, and to be held is not bad. The desire to move towards holds so many deeper meanings. When a man and woman experience the rush of desire together, the desire moves them towards each other.

When experiencing desire, maybe the more important questions are: What if our desire for another actually has something to teach us about desiring God? How do I engage with desire?

Desire that is squashed, denied, or suppressed allows attitudes of anger and selfishness to flourish. Desire that is acknowledged, felt, and expressed will create an ongoing dialogue of engagement.

When treated with respect, desire can be the avenue through which we learn to engage with one another vulnerably, authentically, and with integrity. Desire can lead one to either consume—like we see Cain doing—or be in communion with another, precisely what Abel is doing by offering God the very, very best of what he had.

At the core, desire is meant to move us toward our Creator in order to be more fully alive with all that God created.

One Night Stands: 3 Surprising Ways Your Brain is Affected

Does casual sex exist?

Countless times I sit across from men and women as they share their sexual portfolios—they mention choices that mean nothing and are completely in the past. As I watch the same people wrestle with trust, forgiveness, and commitment, I can’t help but wonder: do those choices really mean nothing? Are they truly in the past? If they are meaningless, why do I continually see people struggle with the ramifications many years after the choices have been made? 

Do one night stands last more than one night?

The truth is, one night stands and casual sex leave an imprint that’s carried with us long after the morning after. When we try to convince ourselves that sex is a casual act, we are going against God’s intentional design for sex. Our brain, and our body, gives us cues to God’s original purpose for sexual union.

  1. Men and women can have different emotional attachments after one night stands

Each person takes away a different emotional attachment. For men, their sexual drive leads them into a physical attachment, which then turns into an emotional one. For women, the possibility of an emotional attachment leads them into a physical one. This can create greater feelings of guilt and depression in women after they have a one night stand because their initial reason for having a one night stand is immediately broken.

  1. One night stands can damage our ability to bond with one another

When two people have sex, the brain releases a neurochemical called oxytocin, a chemical that creates feelings of bonding between two people. When we have casual sex with multiple partners, our brain becomes confused and puts up barriers in order to protect itself. Initially, the brain will continue to produce the neurochemical due to its natural drive to do so, but over time the brain will harden itself to the chemical in an attempt to protect itself from the emotional pain of losing that bond.

  1. Our body remembers things we often seek to forget

When our body is inflicted with pain, a scar or mark is often left as a result of the incident. Long after the initial pain is forgotten, a mark is left as a reminder of the pain that occurred. In the same way, there are chemicals in our brain that carry imprints of what our body has experienced. When we exercise, our brain releases dopamine, and our brain becomes conditioned to remember that exercise. If you were to stop working out for a period of time and then return, your brain would remember the pathway it created and you would remember how to complete the exercise. When we have an intimate relationship after a period of making sexual choices that “mean nothing,” our brains can remember something that happened years ago and trigger a negative memory.

Our brain is the largest sex organ we have and it is crucial to understand its workings in order to have a fulfilling and intimate sex life. If you ever find yourself looking for a safe place to speak further about past choices you’ve made, I’d invite you to reach out.

~ becky