I should say that I am a new Christian, or as I would be labeled within the community, I have opinions and I have not lived a ‘Christian Lifestyle’ prior to becoming a Christian. I have lived with my partner, have had sex, have done naughty things, have lied, have said the Lord’s name in vain.

However, I feel as though becoming a Christian has been one of the most FREEING and CONFINING things I have EVER committed myself to.

One of my biggest gripes and ‘soap box inducing’ is relationship ‘guidelines’ in the Church. I find things like this, very confining: (this is an e-mail I recieved that was part of a mature adult group I belong to)

Honouring Jesus, Your Date, and Yourself!

Dating Tips to Grow a Strong Relationship!

  • Pray –Spend time asking God to help you honour Him and your date.
  • Talk a lot –Get to know someone by talking to them about a wide variety of topics.
  • Let’s be friends! – The person you are dating could be someone else’s future mate.
  • Pray in groups – don’t pray together alone as a couple too early in your relationship.
  • Choose to not kiss – Avoids unnecessary stimulation,
  • Avoid physical contact or being alone

Christian dating is not a subject heavily taught on in the church so we thought we would offer some tried and tested advice courtesy of Christian life advisor for those who are in this season in their lives

My response to this was:

Apparently as a mature Christian women, if I want to date I shouldn’t kiss. I am offended not only as a woman, but as a Christian because it pre-supposes that I have no control or commitment to my faith.

It is NOT one person’s place to put blanket ‘rules’ on what should and shouldn’t happen between two consenting adults. In fact, I think that it’s incredibly dangerous and pompous. I was highly offended by the advice (and I have included the whole of what was written) because I think that it makes a sweeping generalisation that all Christians can’t control themselves. That all dating Christians will give into temptation.

Yes, some of them do/have/will do.

What annoys me the most is that NOTHING was written about the idea of discussing why we give into temptation. Ways of being intimate with someone that maintains the Biblical teachings (which are also debateable for some) and what it is like to discover and enjoy the dating/intimacy/sex/relationship experience.

Instead, just incredibly conservative, confining, stagnent guidelines.

After posting my comment I had people weigh in on their thoughts as responses. Some had abstained from kissing their partners, other atheists, others reformed from past experiences. I spoke to friends who, in my opinion are in some of the MOST healthy relationships I have EVER seen (kissing included), and their response was ‘well, I have gone against those rules already’. I mean, COME ON…to put such standards on people negates all of the fabulous relationships out there.

What I think that these type of condemnations do, is take away the beauty of the evolving relationship. The connection. The physical touch. The intensity. The passion. The boundaries. The needed communication. It puts a normal and progressive process between two people into boxes that are so tight, either people conform out of the immense guilt they would feel, rebel because they feel oppressed or walk away from their faith.

Although, perhaps there are people who need to check their physical endeavours with others (I have been there)…it wasn’t conversations with friends who told me I was doing terrible things and needed to go cold turkey. RATHER, it was friends who gave me their opinons, how they overcome temptation and found a happy ground. It was open, honest, non-judging/confining discussion.

I detest that these types of things are being sent out to hundreds or already stagnant Christians daters who are struggling to sort out how to date…as yet more guidelines to shut out the natural flirtation and progression of relationships.

I am not saying got shag or even get naked.

But a kiss…I think I can control myself.

~Farm Girl

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The whole journey of becoming a Christian has enabled me to really think a lot about the idea of resistance. Why would I choose to resist God, myself, others at times?

Because I wasn’t ready to let myself, God, others in. One of the areas which has been the biggest struggle for me, is the idea of Love. Self-love, Others loving me, God’s love for me. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that others would actually love me. That GOD would love me!

I have heard OVER AND OVER again in Church and through friends:

  • “Just hand it over to God, he’ll take care of everything”.
  • “Can’t you see the beauty that God has for you, since you’re beautiful and made in God’s image, look at the love and beauty God has for you”
  • “You are made in the image and likeness of God to be JUST the way you are. So be glad”

BUT IT COULDN’T and didn’t understand these things. In fact they annoyed the bee-geezes out of me when people said these things to me, because I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t feel that love and it felt syruppy/unattainable.

What I did, was stopped trying to see God’s love for me. (can I write that as a Christian) Instead, I started working on myself. I started working on the love that I had for myself. It was fleeting and then has become more solid. I knew that the walls around me heart had to be chipped away by me first. God, couldn’t do that directly by me seeking him, because my heart wasn’t opened yet. I knew that God was chipping away on the other side, but it was my effort as well to draw new him.

Yet, the idea that God LOVED me was still foreign. Appreciate, like, understand, appreciate me..all made sense. Love me? Yeah RIGHT!

I went to a worship conference last night. I love to sing.

I love to just be in the place where whatever I feel is through music. I was in the middle of worship and there was just music playing. No words. Just suspended musical arrangements.

Hands folded I stood there swaying along to the beat.
I was in a moment where I felt connected and surrendered.
“God”
(I look a breath, a complete exhale, a surrender, a calm) “I love you”

It was weird, because I think that I have wanted to say it for a long time but I was afraid. I was afraid of letting someone else into my world, because I hadn’t let myself in yet. I was afraid of having someone run away from me, or tell me that I wasn’t good enough or feel inadequate.

None of that is what I felt in that moment.

I get what my friend was talking about. I think that I could have thrown around the idea of Love before this moment. However, the peace of saying it was effortless and right.

It happened, because I first started loving myself.

~Farm Girl

There have been many times when I have felt like pushing God out of my life. In fact, there have been many conversations with some close friends where I just wanted to ‘give up on this Christian thing’. I believe that there have to be many times in all of our lives when we just want to give up. Stop trying. Just be where we are, even though it isn’t exactly what we want. The plowing ahead is almost TOO much!

However, I have brought myself back to the idea of forging ahead with my journey in my faith.

This morning I felt it again. I was tired, had tons of things racing through my brain and felt like my connection with God was weighing during worship. The Pastor started to pray and I was just about over it all. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Then I stopped.

It wasn’t about the Pastor or anything else. I was a bit annoyed, but really it has nothing to really do with church or the people around you or the rules that you think you should be living by. It has EVERYTHING to do with opening your heart to God. I believe that many times we try to legalise our lives…wanting specific answers to questions NOW. In the most clear/concise/rule-focused approach to faith, you won’t be able to find God in your life. Well, I think that you maybe able to find God in your life…but I don’t know if you’re owning the relationship with God for yourself..or for outside reasons.

I stood in church today and shut out the yammering away of the Pastor and just let God into my heart. I have to admit that today it was hard. I didn’t feel in my element…I am exhausted. But the amazing thing is, that when we stop thinking about how it should be…it just becomes what is.

My heart was set on fire and God was with me, because I stopped pushing against everything that isn’t God.

~Farm Girl

I don’t want this whole blog to be about relationships…but I feel like it’s become that due to some of the interactions in my life.

I have NEVER EVER been in a place before whereby dating/marriage/finding ‘the one’ is SO important and relevant in conversation etc. Usually it’s weight. Since becoming a Christian there have become some BLARING realities of the xian world in regards to males/females/dating/hanging out…etc.

1. Sitting next to a guy or girl….can make people think that you’re dating.
2. Walking in together or out other….can make people think that you’re dating.
3. If you go out with too many guys…you maybe labeled a hussy.
4. If you go out with too many girls…you maybe pulled aside and told to ‘pull your head in’
5. If you ask someone to go out to coffee as friends…you may get a response back saying ‘thanks, but you’re not my type of girl.’
6. You may hear in a sermon that ‘Christian men need to step it up and ask girls out’ from a bloke…you may think ‘yeah that’s right…but why would they when they might have to present a ring after one outing.’
7. You may have a friend tell you that after hanging out one day, their partner is telling people they’re dating…and you freak out cause that’s way to fast for you.

I don’t get it.
Why is this?
Do Christians have NOTHING better to talk about than who is going out to coffee/dinner and/or walking in together and/or sitting next to each other?

We are creating a culture of such high expectations and anxiety it’s no wonder that women are sitting on one side of the fence becoming so enraged by not being asked that they sharpen their pencils and make their ‘lists’ longer and more detailed.

It’s no surprise that men sit and decide to pull away from women, because frankly ‘aint no man gonna wanna put himself in a situations that a) he’s gonna get called out b) it means ‘da da dada’ c) where he knows he won’t reach it.

I used to get UBER annoyed by all of this crap that floats around in the xian dating world. I actually find it overwhelmingly toxic, apathetic and not focused on what we Christians are meant to be doing.

So, you know what?
Go ask that guy/girl out to coffee and develop a friendship with no expectations except to learn more about yourself, what you want out of life, and find a good place for coffee.

Really…coffee shouldn’t have to equal marraige

~Farm Girl

The moment I let it go…I got it.

I was stressed out beyond measure with money and in the past week I have had 1,200+ sent my way through unexpected work deals.

In this Lord, I cast my anxieties about my ability to control my weight, listen to my body and yes even men upon you. I have too much to worry about to think about all of this stuff.

(beep) — sound of it being sent.

Thank you for always providing and giving me hope in your ability to just take things away and making me be patient.

~Farm Girl

I remember once when I was at my church and the pastor telling a story about his wife.

She was a new Christian at a gathering. They were all talking about their favourite parts of the Bible. She didn’t know many of the books. However, when it was her turn she spit out the one that first came to her. It was ‘Songs of Solomon’. (laughter erupts) If my wife thinks her most favourite book of the Bible is ‘Songs of Solomon’ then I am one happy man.

Man, I could probably still not identify my most favourite book of the Bible because honestly I haven’t read through every single one of them. Thus, I don’t think it would be fair to exclude one without due just. If I had to say…I would say Isaiah, OT, and 1 Peter NT.

But that’s not the point of this conversations. It’s actually to talk about my first impressions of Songs of Solomon. I will totally admit that I read this the other day blindly..ok I am not blind. I mean intellectually/background blind. I actually still have not researched anything about it. I am ok with that for the purpose of this conversation.

What struck me were two things.

1. The beauty of courtship
2. The idea of waiting

The beauty of courtship is so evident and I love it.

I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking; “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with dampness of the night” SofS 5:2

But my own vineyard is mine to give; the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit. SofS 8:12

But what caught me off guard, honestly, was in the following passages 2:7 and 8:4 and the idea of waiting

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you. Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires

I actually highlighted both times it was said in this book, because it struck me.

First, because I have written about sex, relationships and how I have found that to be the hardest thing for me to overcome as of late in my walk as a Christian. Having not abstained before,  and now  approaching relationships as a Christian, I find that it is so much harder to abstain then if I hadn’t done anything.

but it made me think.

Secondly, I think it’s almost out of place at first glance. Why in the midst of the sexual courtship of words does the beloved mention this. A cautionary tale, word of advice, snipped of wisdom,

and yet I find it beautifully placed.

I don’t know if it is a warning per say. Rather a ‘heads up’. Don’t rush these things ladies. Don’t push yourself onto anyone because it’s not genuine when you do that. Men: love, court, intoxicate and appreciate a woman. But it’s more than just the sexual innuendos and suggestive wording of this book. I think it marks a much larger area in the development of relationships

intimacy

Intimacy in our world is one which is commonly caged in sex. Sexual intimacy.

What intimacy has been robbed of is emotional, spiritual and respectful beauty. We no longer place value upon getting to know someone, whilst showing interest. We show interest through often times, in the least intimate way by engaging too early in sex. Thus robbing the tree of the roots. Starving it of life.

What I believe the beloved is saying is…plant your roots. Don’t force it to grow if it isn’t ready. Be patient and nurture it.

This is one passage in the Bible that has reached out, smacked me across the face, and has made all of the angst I have had about waiting…dissolve slowly.

Cause really…doesn’t every girl want this?

Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice laden mountains. SofS 8:14

~Farm Girl

I love this song.

Thank You Lauren@TeamGiles for hookin’ a girl up!

~Farm Girl

The more and more that I get into my OWN faith I realise that it has NOTHING to do with what others perceive of me.

One of the most amazing things that I have heard recently is: Live less of what you think you should be for others and more for what Jesus was.

It has been interesting reflecting upon my last six months as a Christian, because to be honest I have been someone who have spent a vast majority of my life worrying about what others think about me. What do I look like to them? Did I say the right thing?

This has become even more present for me in my walk with God. As a new Christian I have struggled with different areas of how to worship, how to pray, responding during a sermon, dating, sex, and basic socializing.

How do I do this Christian thing?

When you try and compare yourself to others, you’ll always fail. You’ll try to morph into someone and/or something that is NOT authentically you.

I have had to step back and ask myself what I really want in my walk with God and how that manifests itself in my inwardly and outwardly interactions.

Who am I really?
Who am I am as a Christian?
Who am I as a budding nurse?
Who am I as a single woman swimming through the ocean of dating?

I have to admit that internally I am a quiet rebel. If I don’t believe in something I will rebel. In recent history that has been in a sexual realm with men and it killed me spiritually. My choice to rebel, put a HUGE strain on my relationship with God. However, what started my rebellion was the fact that I couldn’t be ‘one of those Christians’…or what I thought was the perfect sexually pure Christian. That just isn’t me.

However, what the last two weeks have proven to me is the God is Faithful. Oh My Heavens. So Faithful. That you don’t have to be anyone other than yourself….and in that you have to keep your heart open to God to move in you.

That it’s ok not to be like ‘all of the others’ because you know what…I have learned that even though outwardly apperances are switched on…the innards of people’s hearts are struggling at times.

And the most powerful…is that I need to get to know Jesus. Have him over for a cuppa. Have in my life each day. Kick it with Jesus. Understand is message FOR MYSELF through the word. Let my understanding of his message drip with the words of the Bible and my own ability to filter it. Through honest conversation, open heart, and appreciation that Jesus was an amazing person.

So I am on a mission to get to know Jesus. Jesus..you ready?

~Farm Girl

I had a great conversations with one of my friends last night over tea and soup.

This kinda of goes on the crux of my sexuality post and the fact that the past month-ish I have been in neutral with my faith. It just hasn’t been doing much for me to be honest. Nothing has really gotten me going, in fact everything has been making me question what I really REALLY want out of everything.

Why even be a Christian? I can be my OWN person with my OWN faith!

I do agree with the notion that you’re faith is ultimately yours. That you are the master of your own destiny and faith.

However, I do think that you do need to ask yourself one question

Are you doing the will that YOU want -or- are you ASKING God to let you LIVE the will of God?

I was talking to my friend about this, because in my processing of my stagnant, dare I say ‘backsliding’, state I have been thinking a lot about my OWN WANTS from God. I want to be able to have my own sexual definitions, my own prayer routines (ie before major things) and my own definition of what I want from my faith.

I have NOT been asking God to help me do God’s will.

I have NOT been keeping my mind/heart/soul/ears/eyes open to the fact that I would agree that we are here to live God’s will through the actions that we do everyday. For some of us that’s living in a rural place being a nurse, being a teacher, working at the church, mowing someone’s lawn…being present daily with God.

What I have bitched complained about before is the idea of relationships..as a prime example.

Friend: “I just thought I’d be married by now, with kids, a husband. I am losing hope again.”
Me: “So, what you’re going to tell me is that you’re losing hope in God’s ability to provide what God has laid out for you? What if you are not meant to get married for three more years and in that time God wants you to focus on nursing. God wants you to live in the present and live a beautiful, diverse life?”
Friend: “That’s an interesting thought”
Me: “There is NOTHING more unattractive than someone who is desperate, and trying to force upon their life their own will instead of Gods. The most attractive people to me, are people who have their own passions, follow their dreams, are warm to people and who realise that there’s more to life then getting married as the only validating exercise of God’s will”

The point that I am trying to make..is that we start demanding our will upon God..we start losing track of what our ultimate will is from God. Yeah, ok..so you’re not exactly where you want to be…so are you going to rob the rest of your life getting to a place you thought you should be now and/or were in the past?

Stop forcing your will upon God..and let God give you God’s will.

~Farm Girl

Thank You.

~Farm Girl

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