Love, Lust & Fairytales

I just saw an interview with two actors promoting a popular new tv show they’re in. I heard the name of the show before, but didn’t have any idea what it was about. The interview that followed left me…speechless. As the host started to go into detail, I couldn’t stop listening.
Has someone ever talked to you & you’re thinking to yourself, “Is this person really saying this or am I hallucinating?” Yeah… it was that kind of moment.
The host explained how in this episode, the two characters experience a powerful emotional connection with one another & find a sense of excitement in one another. They begin to find happiness in their new relationship. Oh, but one tiny detail: they’re both married to other people. Which apparently, shouldn’t stop anything, but it does “complicate” the beautiful, romantic situation. What starts as an emotional affair, quickly turns into a physical one.
R e a l l y ?
It breaks my heart that this plot is not only considered ok, but that the characters are somehow presented as admirable for not letting marriage stop them from finding new happiness with someone else. Unfortunately, this show will probably become one of the most watched this season. I have to acknowledge the fact that these shows are being created because they know what people are drawn to & what will get millions of viewers. 
Can I be totally transparent with you? For a while now, the Lord has been revealing areas of my heart that I really need to guard & treasure. I have intentionally stopped watching shows & movies that allow me to be caught up in a romantic plot. I don’t even mean plots where people are cheating on their spouses- I’ve never been a fan of those. I’ve had to be aware of even the common “chick flick”. I really haven’t shared that with too many people because I felt embarrassed to stop watching something that most people don’t give a second thought to, something considered harmless. And I almost felt alone; like something was wrong with me if I couldn’t watch a cute love story without it effecting my emotions so deeply.
Now before I go on, let me say this: every person’s heart is different. Every person has to be aware of their own weak spots in their own hearts & lives. And the Holy Spirit is so tender & loving to show each of us those areas if we listen. So please understand that I am not bashing “chick flicks” in any way & I am not saying that a romantic storyline is bad. I’m merely sharing what the Lord is teaching me about my own heart & emotions & what I now know to be aware of.
As a woman, it is very easy for me to allow my emotions & thoughts to be carried away in these romantic plots. It is easy for my heartstrings to be pulled or for my heart to flutter as I watch a love story unfold. That is how God designed us. We are definitely emotional beings. And that’s a beautiful thing. But as with every good thing, it can be manipulated or used in a way that it wasn’t designed to be.
There are 2 main things that entangle me: The first one is feeling insecure about myself. I’m not as captivating in real life as that actress is to her movie star lover. Her body, her sense of humor, her quirks, her flawless hair & face all form this unattainable, unrealistic image that I compare myself to. If I could change this or that about myself, I would be more charming, more intriguing & just…more. My second problem is that it’s very easy to begin comparing these perfectly produced Hollywood shows or movies to my own life or marriage, whether I realize it or not.
Even though men are generally more “physical beings”, it’s so easy to judge a man for physically lusting after a woman. It’s very easy to say, “that’s a sin”. But the word “lust” means so much more than simply “sexual desire”. By definition it means, “to passionately desire something”. So if I’m being honest with myself, isn’t it just as wrong for me to emotionally lust after that perfect, heart-fluttering, goose bump giving, fairytale of a relationship…even if I was created to be an “emotional being?” Just because it’s more socially acceptable to emotionally lust after somethingthan it is to physically lust after someone, doesn’t make it any more right. It doesn’t make it a harmless guilty pleasure. It doesn’t make it cleaner or less damaging to my heart.
I saw a really great quote just yesterday. It said, If your marriage doesn’t look like a Fairy Tale or Hollywood movie, just remember that most of those stories are over in two hours or less. Real love takes a lifetime commitment through paying bills, changing diapers, overcoming obstacles and never giving up on each other. That kind of marriage is better than anything Hollywood can create!” { https://www.facebook.com/strongermarriages }
As I asked God to help me guard my heart, He immediately showed me that my mind & thoughts are the doorway straight to my heart & emotions. All those verses that I have read my entire life about keeping my mind steadfast on God & meditating on things that are good, pure, holy…they suddenly started to click. If I’m focused on God’s word & loving my husband, then that is what my heart & emotions will begin to soak up.
I know this will be an ongoing process. But I’m thankful that I’m aware of it now.
So as I continue to ask the Lord to help me guard my mind, heart & emotions, I encourage you to step back & ask God if there is something you need to be aware of that is taking more of your heart than what it should be. It may have nothing to do with watching movies or shows. It could be something entirely different. But your heart is a treasure & your emotions are precious, so guard your mind because it holds the keys to both.

 
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

The Great Parenting Challenge

We’ve all experienced it in some form & many of us, in multiple forms. A glaring look, a backhanded compliment, a rude comment on Facebook. To make matters worse, all of these come from fellow mommies or daddies. Whether it’s directed at your child’s behavior, the way you’re parenting, what you’re feeding your child or at a decision you’ve made, it stings. It beyond stings. It tears away at that part of your heart where you so deeply long to be a good mommy or daddy- to be a great parent. That part of our hearts already battles feelings of being unprepared, inexperienced, inadequate & sometimes, just plain scared! So those looks & comments are brutal.
Within the first 30 minutes of announcing we were pregnant, my husband & I were abruptly introduced to the harsh, cut throat, judgmental side of the club called, “Being a Parent”. It doesn’t matter if your baby is still inside your womb & looks like a gummy bear or if you’re holding your sweet little bundle in your arms; you’re in the club.
Epidural? No epidural?
Cloth diapers? Disposable diapers?
Vaccinations? No vaccinations?
Traditional? Non-traditional?
Breastfeeding? Formula?
I quickly realized that I was being asked all these questions, not because the other mommies were truly interested in my opinions or thoughts, but because they felt the overwhelming need to tell me why my decisions were wrong…if they weren’t the same as their own.
Good grief. There are enough challenges & decisions to make as a mommy & daddy without tearing each other apart for choosing something we wouldn’t. We are all trying to love & teach & take care ofthe precious lives that God has given us to the best of our ability.
I’m all about sharing good information with each other. I have been abundantly blessed with a circle of mommies that look straight to the heart & are supportive in this journey that we’re on together. They just don’t get caught up on all the details along the way. So the club can be a great one to be a part of too.
I think being educated & well balanced is wonderful. But when you feel that little fire inside of you start rising up because someone isn’t making the same choice for their child as you are for yours, maybe that’s not a good time to talk. Or comment. Or stare.
Sure, there are some things that I am unwilling to negotiate on. There are decisions that my husband & I have made that we believe are the best decisions for our family. But just because we say “yes” to something for our family, doesn’t mean that a “no” is wrong for another family. Every child is different, every situation is different & every parent is different. And so are options & decisions. And that’s ok. Actually, it’s more than ok! It’s wonderful that we are all different! We are all aiming for the same goal: to grow our children into strong, smart & well-rounded little people. Can we step back from the details & support each other for that?

So if you have received “the look” from another mommy on the playground recently, or if you’ve read a hurtful comment on Facebook, can I just encourage you today? You are doing a great job! It’s all right that your kid was the only one screaming & trying to go up the slide the wrong way. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t.  If you’re all about cloth diapers, you go girl! If you use disposable diapers, you go girl! It doesn’t matter what your child poops in. You love your child more than life itself; you’re making decisions that work for YOUR family; & that, my dear friend, is not only good, it is admirable & beautiful.
 
Above my own opinions & ability to parent well, I rely on my God’s grace & direction. And He gives them abundantly & clearly. I declare my God as faithful!