Posted by: JennyRain | December 14, 2009

Are you having sex or making love?

Are you having sex with God?

Scandalous, I know.

Before you brand me a heretic and un-subscribe please indulge me for a few paragraphs and trust my heart on where this blog is going…

For years, I was indiscriminate in my relationships with others.

Whoever I happened to be dating had my attention, my feelings, and my “self.” These individuals were not unique or individual, they were simply filling needs I had.

The relationships were about me. They began with me and ended at me. My needs were the most important, so disagreements tended to center around when my needs were not being met.

Though I gave plenty of myself to these relationships, most of my giving was self-motivated. I gave because there was something in it for me… attention, presents, affection, or perceived relational “consistency.”

It was all about me.

What I did not realize, however, is that I was selling pieces of myself to get something in return.

Sometimes I think we approach God like this.

We think God is someone to have sex with rather than someone to enter into a deep, abiding, intimate love relationship with. Our interactions with God are temporary, fleeting, and self-focused. We take more than we give.

Our affections towards God are self-motivated…We spend our time “devoting” so that God will “give us” a word, direction, or answer the list of prayers that we might bring to Him that day.

Our attention towards God is narcissistic… We only give God attention when we want something.

Our bodily sacrifices are self-serving… We serve because we have decided to serve, not because we have become a servant by identity.

God did not design us for a quickie.

When I think about the depth and breadth of the relationship that God wants with me, I am wrecked.

The God of the universe descended from heaven to walk with humanity so that He could enter into our lives in an intimacy that threads itself through every fiber of our heart.

This kind of love takes time. This kind of love takes transparency. This kind of love takes vulnerability.

Time, transparency, and vulnerability are three things I tend to hold close to my chest.

My morning routine is regular.

Wake up, take care of the dogs, get ready, drive to work, turn on my computer, grab my devotional books, run downstairs to spend 28.5 minutes with God, prayer journal with my list of things that I need to get through the day, beg him for a quick word, then run upstairs to attack the day.

My routine is safe. It is predictable. It is consistent.

In my routine, I can stay comfortably inside of myself and keep God at a distance. My little self-created religion works for me.

Yet, it is only when I give God my time that I have the opportunity to gaze upon His beauty.

It is only when I am transparent with God that I allow Him a window into my soul so that we can authentically find connection.

It is only in my vulnerability that I allow myself to be taken by God and admit my need for Him.

Safety verses surety.

It is much safer for me to ask “are you having sex with God” than to ask myself “am I allowing God to invade the deep places of my soul?”  I long for this connection yet I fear it at the same time.

Those who have gone before me on the road I now walk teach me that intimacy with God is not safe, but it is good.

David teaches me that it is ok for my soul to desire a deep and abiding connection with God…

0 God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you… Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands… On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night… My soul clings to you. (Psalm 63.1, 3-4, 6, 8) 

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27.4)

Solomon teaches me that my approach to God cannot be rushed. In hurry I miss God’s beauty…

My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. (Song of Songs, 2.14)

…when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go (Song of Songs, 3.4)

In Song of Solomon 4, an entire chapter is devoted to the Lover’s beauty…

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! (And then piece by piece the beauty of the Lover is exalted..eyes, hair, teeth, mouth, lips, temples, neck)

The Lover’s neck… I mean, when was the last time I adored God for the elegance of His neck?

So how does this all relate to my original question?

I am finding that only when I am deeply and intimately loving God does He begin to unlock the mystery and depth of who He is. It is only in this deep place of communion that I can begin to experience the “God beyond my needs” Who existed prior to my prayer lists and will exist long after them.

It is only in this place of enrapture that I can cast off my needs and wants because in Him all things are fulfilled.

So why do I find myself constantly settling for less than all God has to offer me? 

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Responses

  1. Very interesting insight in this post. However, I just want to pose a question here: is it possible that ones spiritual indulgence in “god” still mirrors a narcissistic poise? In other words, whether making love or having sex (figuratively and literally) the desire, want, and lust for reciprocity still exists–is not merely a matter of semantics?

    • Thanks for reading and great point! What I am wondering about in my post is when we get to a point of really stepping back from self and entering into that place of “adoring” God, is it possible that we begin to understand that all of those things we bring to God (our laundry list) just pale in comparison to His beauty… you know? Kind of like when you are in love with someone else and you just want to look at them all the time because they are simply the best thing since sliced bread…

  2. Jenny,

    I found this post via a Google Alert set for “Song of Songs” I’ve been running for some time. It yields a lot of trash hits but also a lot of good fruit.

    Your post is an example of good fruit. It’s rife with things to stimulate a response, and each could lead to its own discussion. I can’t afford to do that (I’d drown in it and lose the attainment of my own goals today in doing that) but let me say I think you’re on the right track. Perhaps I can add something to help sharpen your focus, but I have to offer a contextual disclaimer first, in all honesty.

    I am a devout Roman Catholic, returned to my church after 31+ years in the wilderness of seducing women. I had taken enough baby steps away from much of that life when He tapped me on the shoulder and invited me to come home more fully to Him, and I accepted. I didn’t know THAT was only the beginning.

    Three years later I was led into something that turned my life upside down. Since we are from very different traditions who share some good things while remaining separated by serious disagreement in other areas, I wouldn’t ordinarily bother to write you. However, what I want to share with you is resonating so powerfully with other non-Catholic Christians it may have value to you, too. I hope so and I’m willing to risk possibly wasting my time – and yours. 🙂

    I discovered the Theology of the Body, a work written by Pope John Paul II and published long after it was delivered piecemeal in 129 separate addresses between 1979-1984 (FYI: no infallibility claim here – by him or me). TOB is scripturally based, and JP II uses the Song of Songs as a part of his illustration of marriage as a reflection of Trinitarian love.

    There is way too much depth in this to give you a full-bore presentation here, but I will say many folks see TOB as a Holy Spirit-inspired gift by which we, the Christian Church Universal (ALL of us), will be able to take back our Christian culture (what once was known as Christendom across the world) from the secularized and hyper-sexualized cesspool into which it has descended.

    I had already been chaste for 18 months when I encountered TOB, and it transformed my heart so that my chastity was no longer a matter of humble submission to the law. Such obedience to His law is wholly adequate for salvation, to be sure, but TOB wrote into my heart a joyful exhilarating desire to participate fully in the Father’s plan for man and woman, seen from the first marriage of Adam & Eve in Genesis through the Marriage of the Lamb in Revelation. Such participation elevated me from my simple, sometimes grudging compliance (oh, what a sacrifice!) to His law to “I am THRILLED to live MY part in YOUR plan, Father!”

    I understand that folks from your tradition will not agree with some of the details in JP’s TOB writings. However, my church used Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven Life” as the focus of our small group discussions a few years back, and while – as expected – we did find a number of points contrary to our theological beliefs, we acknowledged our disagreement and tip-toed around them to zero in on the significant contributions Warren could make to OUR faith journey. That approach mirrors a major slogan of Alcoholics Anonymous – “take what you want and leave the rest.” It allowed us to profit from Warren’s insights that enhanced our own faith while not permitting his ideas incompatible with our own from preventing our harvesting good fruit.

    You can do the same. Rather than get caught up in our differences small numbers of Protestant groups are beginning to latch onto TOB in their own ministries. We all need to fight back for the sake of our children but also for the many older folks drowning in a fruitless search for love because they got it so wrong all their lives.

    Anyway, the thing that struck me about your post is your remark about your loving someone else in relationship having really been all about you. JP II teaches us about self-donated love – where the lover puts the well-being of the beloved over HIS own interests and desires – every time. THAT is what Christ did and does, and we are called to it as well. Man needs to provide spiritual leadership in offering the Gift of Christ-centered self-donation, and woman is called to position herself spiritually to receive it. In marriage it is consummated as a reflection of Trinitarian love – a communion of persons that imitates the outpouring of love seen in the first Communion of Persons, the Trinity – the Ultimate in MUTUAL self-donation.

    Again, there is so much rich depth here I am painfully aware I am barely scratching the surface, but I invite you to begin some Google searches on Theology of the Body. Again, you’ll probably have to wade through some Catholic stuff but rather than allowing yourself to feel put off by that you might add other words (evangelical, perhaps) to your search to steer it towards your own tradition. The trouble is the whole trend is still in its infancy.

    I think I may have some links, so if you e-mail me I’ll send them to you. I’ve been meaning to search myself for this because I have a bunch of non-Catholic friends and acquaintances who want to know how it was I became so transformed and set afire (they know about my past).

    Some have described TOB as a theological time bomb set to go off in the 21st century. Indeed, TOB is just beginning to set off fires all across the country and the world in the Catholic Church. I will tell you we’ve put over 200 folks through our TOB program at my church, and we are just one of hundreds of local efforts across the nation.

    I took more time than intended. However, I’m willing to act as a resource for you if you like. You have my e-mail address, so feel free to respond.

    I wish you the best.

  3. Phil – thank you SO much for taking the time to share this – it definitely resonated with me and I will check out your resource too.

    “Self-donated love” I love this… it makes me think of a scripture that has come to mean so much to me… “For Christ’s love compels us…2 Cor 5.14” That love is gift… gift of self… of time… that was first given to us by God.

    My prayers are definitely that the post will encourage people to dig deeper w/God… Thank you so much for the encouragement and the feedback too – I greatly value it!

    Jenny

  4. i like the way you wrote this. you unpacked wisdom and richness and truth in a way that definitely grabs attention, raises eyebrows, and invites controversy. hmmm… sounds a lot like what Jesus did.


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