I WANT to read 50 Shades of Grey...I want to read it so badly I cried...actually cried.
For those of you who read that and say, “What? Cried? Really?” I say, “Yes. REALLY. CRIED.” And I rejoice for you that you have no idea, reason or reckoning that something like this book could bring this Austen/Shakespeare loving, Mommy to two beautiful little girls, Jesus Girl to actually cry out to God and tell Him honestly, “I want a reason to give in…to feel good, entitled even, about this teensy weensy indulgent read.”
You see, for ALL of my teenage years I didn’t just read trashy romance novels….I ABSORBED them. How did it start? My mother, who finds no enjoyment in anything fiction and was at one time an ad vide nonfiction reader on just about any topic…was given a book by a friend who raved about this book. It had the most beautiful princess in a light blue gown laying in the lap of a handsome man on the bank of cliffs somewhere oversees. I was maybe 9 and I was dusting behind the couch and it was a forgotten book on the bottom shelf.
Sin finds a match to our hearts...know that for your children…and I surely met mine.
I found this book, and subsequently other like books, gave an easy, instant fix to heart cries I didn’t even know I had. To be wanted, to be “loved”, to be needed, to be desirable, to be held with regard…for someone to go to the greatest heights and depths for me…uh, I mean…for the beautiful damsel. It was tantalizing, sensationally, and for a moment in time…satisfying even.
Now, I was not popular in school…at all really…but I fit in okay with the drama crowd and was even accomplished enough to get some star leads and the Principle’s Medallion for the Dramatic Arts my senior year in High School, a time when it was all about ME. Even so, I do remember this…the most popular, beautiful, intelligent (our junior year she won some huge award for some national test beating out people statewide –academics was not my strong suit so I have no idea what the test was J) THIS girl, who could herself have been on any one of those covers, traded these books…with me.
Back then, I just thought it a neat thing we shared…now I realize…trashy romance novels are not just for the “poor, obscure, plain and little”…they are for those who desperately want to FEEL loved…even if it’s sex based, even if it’s twisted. And a virgin can be counted before God just as promiscuous as a seasoned cheerleader hiding an abortion from her father.
Reading, for women, makes the emotional connection, that easy "fix". But it doesn’t last…and you want to read more of the same, and most often racier things…But then, if you’ve battled this…you know that already.
So…what happened with me now? Why am I at peace, writing about this…knowing that, for now, the battle has been waged and won…I no longer have that persistent nagging and secret desire to read it. But how? How is it I don't have that dread of coming across yet another well-meaning Christian on facebook ~from beloved John Piper and Kirk Cameron, to well-known and celebrated Jesus Girls getting on the “Why 50 Shades of Grey is bad” ban wagon that has actually brought this struggle to the forefront, instead of being a distant memory of a sin I once indulged. Which, frankly, is not a bad thing…and they have lots of accurate things to say about why it is just plain wrong from lots of angles. So if you want to find out the “why it’s bad” go there…I agree TOTALLY…while STILL wanting desperately to read it!~
AND I would love to say it’s because I know my Lord better now than I did when I was a teen, and THANK YOU LORD, that is true, I do know You more, I’ve walked WITH YOU and you have testified to my heart of your faithfulness, over and over and over in so many ways I want to weep for the reality that YOU SEE ME and you have done and are doing on my behalf…but...that’s not it.
And I’d love to say I used lots of scripture and ‘cast out the demon’ so to speak…and yes, I did a lot of reminding myself of His words, and promises in scripture that are there for ALL in Christ. Reminding myself that he has “satisfied my longing soul” before…but no that didn't quench the want to.
And I’d like to say I’m in such a better place than I was when I was a teen…that I don’t have feelings of littleness, or obscurity…And though my girls are a sweet reminder of God’s love and blessing, the fact is life is REALLY hard right now, and I’m suck in the middle of a place I once dismissed as far away as China…In fact...in many ways I’m more lonely that I’ve ever been…so no… that’s not it either.
You want to know what broke the pull, the yearning, the wanting…being real with God…I finally, FINALLY did what He tells us to do when we are caught in something we don’t see the way out of and sometimes don’t want a way out of…”IF you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and CLEANS US from all unrighteousness!” Those aren’t just words on a paper…every word of that promise is a pact sent from the heart of our Creator to our broken souls longing for something to fill in what ONLY HE was meant to fill…
For the weeks that this struggle has been I said a few broken sentences born of frustration…words that amounted to something like: I WANT to read this dumb book more than I want YOU and it doesn’t help that everywhere I am…there is something reminding me of what I want more than YOU!
And there is was…the REAL sin.
You know Jonah?
Big fish, bleached skin, Nineveh spared…yeah him.
Some say he never repented…But there are those who think the Book of Jonah IS his repentance. Repentance does not always say the same thing, “Dear Lord, I’m sorry I’m such a sinner and I’ve done this deed.” The heart is not always so coherent, nor the tongue so eloquent.
Often…It is the heart of surrender under the weight of something we CAN’T fight that the Lord honors and rushes in to cover, to rescue and to restore. That we may know where our strength comes from and say with glad, thankful hearts words from the Psalmist, “My strength comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth!”