atheism and your temple

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

today i’m going to open my heart to you all as readers, friends, fellow Christians, and partners in the mission of ministry through social media, and i’m going to tell you a bit about my past as an atheist, and the effect it had on my body.  i am going to spill some difficult details and admit some tough truths.   

today i’m being obedient to God’s call for me to speak about that time of my life, and to use it to work for Him now that I have entrusted my life to Him.  these are things i’m working on in my heart, but haven’t talked about publicly beyond my personal circle of trust.   

so today i’m going to talk about my past relationship with the physical body, with sex, and the way i used my body to fill a need and a void ~ which was basically an addiction.  i’m going to talk about the way that my own beautiful temple became broken because i was not filled with the Spirit.  i’m going to make strong points, briefly for word-count’s sake, and probably upset a few readers.  but i’m only telling my story, and what i’ve learned, and am in no way generalizing or intending to offend anyone.     

i used to label myself as “someone who was comfortable in her sexuality.”  i claimed my feministic stance on sex with an illusion of confidence, knowing that if i sounded like i believed it, others would, too.  i argued “why are men high-fived for their actions and women are scorned?”  i saw this criticism and judgment as meaning women were less, and i acted out to possess control of my own self, and make my own rules.   

most times it was as simple as accepting overly flirtatious comments and gestures, often behind my boyfriend-at-the-time’s back.  i felt i was just owning and embracing my womanhood.  i fed myself the lie that this was okay, acceptable, normal and likely admired by most men.  little did i know i was feeding an addiction for acceptance, affection, desire and a false sense of love.   

sometimes it was more difficult; full of questioning, fear, guilt and later, regret.

nothing that i engaged in was beneficial.  i not only trashed my own self-image, but that of the man i was with at the time.  i didn’t date nice guys.  i dated guys who enabled this part of me, though i didn’t know it at the time.  the more rude and insulting and awful a man was, the better i looked next to him (or so i thought) and the more entitled i was to accept “kindness” and attention from the real nice guys (who most times was just a different jerk.)  if i did date a nice guy, i began to feel like i was not good enough for them and found a way to destroy and ditch the situation.  it was better to leave before i was hurt.   

you see, it was easier for me to be a victim than to own my personal limitations and believe that there could possibly be a man out there that could love me despite them.  

i believed everything about me was wrong.  my looks weren’t good enough, my time spent in college was a failure.  my job was a dead-end.  what did i have to offer anyone?  the only thing i could change immediately was my looks.  the only thing i could master was a coy smile and a flirty hair flip.  the only thing i could give was myself.  i thought, if i put in a little effort i could look really pretty and make a man notice me, and maybe for a moment... the rest of my flaws would disappear.  i thought i could do this everyday and be happy.  most terrible, when that mean man i mentioned earlier turned nice for a moment, i thought i was being "loved."  

this cycle became my normal, and deep down i thought that every woman was feeling the same way i was.  i just saw it as the way the world worked.  and i was right.   

the world creates the lie that your body determines your worth.  secular society creates the lie that your body can bring you money, success and influence.  the ungodly secular population of the world insulates the false doctrines of the insecure and desperate and makes them into “standards.”  these standards then grace the covers of women’s magazines, determine red carpet attire, and are the undercurrent of high school popularity contests.  they become the way you hunt for a boyfriend, or a boy who will be your friend for a little while.  they become the thought-processes that imprison your precious spirit in a desolate ruin.      

because in the secular world, there are many ways to fix your imperfections in order to be more desirable:

if you don’t have large breasts, and you choose not to get surgery, you can shop hundreds of push-up bras and low-cut tops to make up for your lack. 
if you aren’t born with creamy cocoa skin you can sleep in cancer domes for 20 minutes so that you can attract men with your bronze glow. 
have short legs? where even shorter shorts.  pairing them with heels reeeally helps. 
smudge your lower eyeliner to can look sultry in the middle of the day. 
add shimmer powder to places that should not be seen in the first place 
once you look the part, make sure you cross paths with men so that the chance of being noticed is even greater.  

awful. awful. awful.     

this is not what our body was meant to be.  we were not supposed to wake up every morning and see ourselves as a fixer-upper; a mere DIY project.  we were supposed to wake up every morning and give thanks to God for the air in our lungs and the Grace on our very soul.   

we are supposed to embrace other women, not criticize them, or be jealous.  we are supposed to bring forth life, nurture the future of humankind, and exude a countenance that only a strong Godly woman can.  

our bodies were made to mesh with the man we choose to love,
not please the many who are simply choosing to lust.  

we were created in the image of a perfect and powerful God.  ladies, we are perfect and powerful, at the very core of our broken bodies.  and knowing that we would drag ourselves in and out of one pit after another, He still hung on that cross and spilled perfect blood so we could stand up one day and finally get the heck out of the minefield that is “the real world.”         

being an atheist gave me power over my own fate, and no protection for my own body.  i, personally, believed that everything i did was okay, but in hindsight i see that it only left pain.  the innocence, the purity, the preciousness.. everything a Godly temple would provide was destroyed.  without an appreciation for the frame He formed, we are at risk of diminishing its worth with every lustful thought and sinful encounter.  temptation rules this world through every means available and unless we understand who we were created to be, we are at risk of inviting that serpent into the house of the Lord that is, our very body.

today, i’m coming to you as a woman who knows who she is in the eyes of a gracious and loving God, and who knows that her precious body was purchased at a price she could never pay.  before i knew this, however, i "knew" my body was an object i could use to get the “love” and “affection” and “passion” that i wanted.  some was harmless and some was not, and it all sits on my heart and mind as a stain that does not easily lift.   

He is calling me from this shame, though.  He is filling those wounds with healing light and TRUE love.  He is guiding me to forget this desert, one step at a time.  and He has given me healing in a portion of the prophecy of Isaiah:

They will rebuild the ancient ruins

    and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

    that have been devastated for generations.

Instead of your shame

    you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace

    you will rejoice in your inheritance.

Isaiah 61: 4,7

if you know this place, feel free to share some of your experience if you wish

if you know this place and are not ready to face it, just know this:

beloved you were bought at a price, too.   

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