February is heart month and with Valentine’s Day approaching lots of folks have their minds on affairs of the heart.
Let me just say that I am all about relationships. I think that would be obvious since I make my living attempting to help people have healthy, fulfilling relationships with self, others and God. So I love a great love story just like most of you.
Real Love… Fantasy or Reality…
We are wired to need love and to give love. We tend to be fascinated by a good love story. The idea of a damsel in distress and a prince charming coming to save her still captures our attention, and if we are completely honest we notice the desire within us for rescue, adventure and happily ever after.
There is good reason for these yearnings. We are created by God to be in relationship. We ARE created for adventure, love and happily ever after. The problem lies in the many books, songs and movies that have painted a distorted picture of what real love is. It has been simplified or manipulated, and often appears harmless, but it’s not.
As a result, our perspective and definition of what real love is continues to move away from reality or truth, and into fantasy. We believe that our need for love will be satisfied within a human relationship, where one person will meet all our needs and fulfill us: “He or She completes me.” It’s just not that simple, nor REAL.
It Almost Cost Me My Marriage…
For those of you who have read my book, The Perfecting Storm, you know that I struggled with this same belief system. Even though I grew up reading the Bible and loving God, my beliefs regarding love were influenced and formed by the media and worldly role models. These viewpoints had a negative affect on my marriage and me.
The scary thing is the affect was subtle and so much of it looked good, or even benign. I had no idea I was being seduced by lies that would lead me down a path of destruction. I bought into the promises that the media sold. I was lured into fantasy, which appeared like reality!
I would later realize how unhealthy these sorts of books were for the state of my heart. It was part of what led me to become dissatisfied with my husband…
“Why wasn’t he like the guys in the books/movies? How come he didn’t understand my feelings like they did? How come he couldn’t meet my needs like they could?” I started believing there was a man out there who could. And I started believing that I deserved to have him (who ever that was; no one in particular, I was just convinced based on what I read that there was one). Sound familiar? This is many people’s story.
Fifty Shades Is Not The Solution…
With the upcoming movie release of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, I am deeply concerned with how this will affect our constant struggle to understand and navigate real love. There are many ideas that are just plain false and that is where my concerns start. The most obvious is that this story is portrayed as a “love story”. It depicts that one person can heal/fix another, but it does it in the context of erotica, and some would even call it pornography. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a healthy sex life, but I believe erotica is to remain private between a husband and wife. However, the media is helping us become desensitized to the need for sacredness.
Another concern is the number of marriages negatively affected by this story. Many have been deluded into the fantasy that a relationship can heal or fix them. Or, that they deserve a better more satisfying relationship, whether it’s emotional or sexual. Of course, this is not the first book/movie, nor will it be the last, that influences us in subtle negative ways, but due to it’s widespread popularity, and erotic content, I am concerned about its impact and people’s naiveté on its possible affect. These books and the movie are not a good handbook on how to build a healthy relationship.
There Is A Better Way And A Healthier Way…
Perhaps, we all need to stop and think, do our own research, and make informed decisions about what and whom will influence us. Ultimately, it's up to each of us individually to decide, but make no mistake: what we watch, listen to, and reflect upon affects us greatly! My prayer is that good common sense will prevail as we use our God-given freedom to say no to the deceptive flow and yes to the very real things of God and all He has in store for us.
Here are some things to consider….
- Is what you are reading, watching or listening to good for your heart?
- Does it draw you closer to your spouse?
- Does it leave you with more peace and contentment than you already had?
- Does it inspire you to love those who you are committed to more deeply and authentically, even sacrificially?
- Does it draw you closer to loving as God intends for us to?
- Does it create a discontentment, obsession or desire to explore outside of your committed relationships?
- Does it make you dissatisfied with your life?
- Does it draw you into risky, unhealthy behaviors and thoughts?
- Does it lead you to focus on yourself instead of others?
- Does it draw you closer to God or away?
“We are allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for us to do. We are allowed to do anything, but not all things help us grow strong as Christians.” 1 Corinthians 10:23
God Cares About Your Heart…
Remember, God cares about your heart. It’s not about behavior management or what is ‘right or wrong’. The bigger issue is the state of your heart (which includes your mind). Does it lead you to Philippians 4:8?
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Let’s be smart and informed. What we see and read, influences how we think, which then influences how we feel and what we act upon. And that leads to our destinies, one decision at a time.
We ARE created for love, adventure, rescue and happily ever after…but the only person that can and will fill that place of longing is God. He is the perfect lover of our souls. Life with Him is a grand adventure; one that will go on for eternity. Let’s not settle for the counterfeit. Let’s get the real thing!
This Valentine’s Day seek God’s heart for the true love you desire and need. He created us out of His love and for love. He desires for us to have fulfilling love relationships! May your day be filled with real, authentic and lasting love.