“I choose you.”
Those words left my mouth as I drove home, having left behind me another opportunity to compromise my relationship with God. This particular opportunity involved sex with someone who is becoming increasing special and significant to me; the temptation to take something for my own pleasure and fulfillment is REAL.
Let me back up though because this post is less about the whole “waiting until marriage” thing and more about making significant choices.
I was talking with a graduate school friend of mine, and she wondered out loud about why God would give us such strong sexual desires AND command that we not fulfill those desires. Why would God create the forbidden fruit and THEN tell Adam and Eve not to touch or consume it? It reminded me of the whole “have your cake and eat it too” paradox—why have cake if you’re not going to eat it?
In my experience, I recognize all kinds of forbidden fruits and cakes that I want to have and eat, and not all of those things would be described immediately as bad. Choosing to prioritize special relationships, achievements, education, careers, and other personal things we esteem is admittedly complicated. I don’t want to make less of those complexities; rather than trivialize or condemn a particular choice, I’d rather acknowledge it legitimately.
Sexuality is definitely one of those forbidden fruits, and I don’t think my sexuality is a bad thing. Rather, I consider it an incredibly complicated gift, and I legitimately acknowledge its complexity. For me, sexuality is not just about with whom I have sex or how much I’m (not) having. It’s also about identity, validation, self-worth, intimacy, pleasure, and fulfillment. Sexuality can reach the core of who I am.
I think that’s what makes yielding it so challenging. It’s not just this superfluous matter on the outskirts of life—it’s often right in the center of it, influencing all kinds of significant personal matters. Relinquishing this to God is not easy.
That being said, I can’t help but wonder if God wanted Adam and Eve to say “I choose you God” instead of eating the fruit. I can’t help but wonder if God wants to be in the center, prioritized over everything else. I can’t help but wonder if God wants to have the first say on all of these core matters.
So back to me driving home and not having sex… I said to God, “I choose you.”
That night, I whispered those words and released a deep sigh, feeling the weight of how challenging it was to choose to honor my commitment to God rather than share an intimate moment with someone close to me. It’s completely possible to want multiple things, and in that moment, I tell you that I wanted multiple things!
Still, I meant what I said to God then and mean it now as I write this.
As childhood is farther and farther away, I comprehend more about this ongoing process of choosing God as an adult. Sometimes, it’s easy, and sometimes, it’s not. Either way, I seek to choose God unconditionally; I want God first in my heart all the time, not just when it sounds, looks, and feels good.
Again, these other things I want aren’t bad things. I don’t think consensual sex in a committed relationship or educational achievement or career success is a bad thing. I just think it can be problematic when I choose any of these things over God, when I worship them first in my heart.
I just believe that something has to be first. For better or worse, something will always be first and get the worship of my heart, and I want God to be that thing that is first over everything: my sexuality, my achievements, my career, etc. I believe that everything should be second when compared to God, that God is the only thing that deserves my worship FOREVER. For me, it has to be this way, or else I am compromising part of what I believe and lacking integrity in what drives me primarily from within.
Of course, I’m not perfect, and I wrestle with how I can less selfishly and more congruently live according to this belief. I continue to figure out how I can choose God first AND pursue authentically these other things that are also significant to me and many others. The process of figuring all of that out while maintaining integrity certainly makes life an adventure and bothers plenty of people, but I believe that it’s all possible with God. Like Janelle Monáe says, “even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.” I don’t have to compromise myself or my faith in God—it’s just tempting to do so when other desirable things contend for the top spot.
I’m grateful for all the gifts God grants while on this adventure and grateful for all of you who walk alongside me as I journey. I know choosing God in this way means sacrifice, and I know I am not alone here; I cannot understate how much that helps me to keep going and keep choosing God first.
Love Love Love,