Oh, romantic comedies. I’ll admit, I have a few faves. I might be able to recite parts of “The Holiday” as if I auditioned for the movie myself, but that’s not the point.
The point is, I’ve watched my share of “fun-loving girl ends up with some guy knowing her true worth and she finally believes it, too” type of movie. They’re great but very predictable.
Every time the movie gets to the part where the hot guy has the long monologue about how much he loves the woman—bam—here comes the sex!
Apparently, the writers of these movies believe you can’t have a good storyline (or a good relationship) without it. I used to agree. I used to believe sex would be the thing that made a relationship feel different. Maybe it would make me feel different.
I was a stereotypical church-type girl who was holding onto her “V-card” until her future husband put a ring on it. Though I don’t remember officially having “the talk,” I learned from a young age that I carried something very special that was not meant to be experienced by everyone.
But somewhere along the way, my beliefs began to unravel.
It started in high school. Aside from one very odd first kiss sophomore year, I basically felt invisible to guys. Many thoughts ran through my mind as to why I wasn’t being pursued like what appeared to be every other girl around me. I wrestled with lies about what set me apart in the wrong way. My skin wasn’t light enough, my body wasn’t skinny enough, my hair wasn’t long enough. Whatever good qualities I did bring to the table seemed to fall short of what was desired by most guys. I just accepted the fact that I was not “that girl.”
Then, at what seemed like the exact same time, everyone around me started getting “booed up.” Here we go again (exasperated sigh). And as if they were set to a timer, those destructive thoughts and questions started going off in my head again. Thoughts and questions about my appearance, my identity, my worth. For so long, I had been more than OK with not sharing myself with guys in that way.
But the longer I waited, the more I believed that I was not enough. So I lowered my standards to increase my options.
Live a little, right? What could go wrong?
This led me down a path of accepting the bare minimum commitment from men. With the exception of one very decent man, my track record is a hot, flaming mess—a string of men who had wandering eyes, no desire to commit, and who made very little effort to pursue me.
Why in the world did I keep returning to that type of man? As cliche as it sounds, I believed that some attention was better than none at all.
And so it happened. It was not a random encounter; it was surprisingly well thought out. I was dating the guy, but we were not an official couple because he didn’t like titles (insert puking emoji). I knew him well, so I felt mostly comfortable. I thought, “This guy must think I’m attractive. This guy kinda pursued me. This will be different.”
And it was…for a few months. Then reality set in. I was chosen for a moment, but sex did not make him want to claim me or commit to me any more than he had previously intended to. Humiliation and disappointment hit hard. Then the downward spiral of regret and an even greater level of insecurity began.
I struggled with new lies of feeling tainted. That terrible phrase “damaged goods” came to mind. What little confidence I did have quickly faded, and I was left to pick up the pieces as I tried to come to terms with what this all meant.
I spent many years passing off that experience, and the few similar ones after that, as minor and insignificant just to make myself feel better. My thinking got totally out of whack.
If I continued to view sex as special and sacred, then that meant I had wasted one of the sweetest gifts I had. That was too painful to think about, so I put sex in the box of “it’s not that big of a deal.”
Then I had an a-ha that changed everything.
I finally stopped having sex when I realized the reason I started having sex was terrible. My decision to wait for sex wasn’t rooted in the belief that what I had to offer was worth protecting and preserving. It was simply my default response to feeling unwanted and undesirable. I basically said no because no man was saying yes.
The moment I made the purposeful decision to stop having sex, I began reclaiming and more fully understanding my sense of worthiness. I started believing I was worth much more than a moment of temporary pleasure.
Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t easy at first. I was always told that once you “awaken the beast” it cannot be tamed, and that was somewhat true at the beginning. But I soon began to experience the benefits of my decision. I’m talking amazing benefits.
I have peace of mind. I have a more accurate and sweeter picture of intimacy. I have no anxiety when I enter my doctor’s office. I mean, that is a real thing, y’all! A thing I don’t have to think about anymore.
More importantly, I started believing I still carried a gift and that the God I follow was capable of restoring and redeeming the value of it. The only damaged and tainted parts about me were the negative thoughts that were running through my head.
If you are reading this and thoughts are popping into your head about what you did five years ago, five days ago, or even last night, STOP IT. Seriously, right now.
It won’t be easy to believe the truth until you start fighting against the lies. Those thoughts that tell you that you’re not enough, you have gone too far, and you can’t undo what you have done. Trust me, I heard them too. I know it is hard to reject and unlearn those nagging thoughts but do the hard work. You are worth it. You deserve to live fully in the truth of who you are.
For me, the hard work looked like spending a lot of time reflecting on what I truly desired. I realized it wasn’t really about sex. I mean, the curiosity part, yes, but my desire extended far beyond the physical. I had a desire to be chosen, and when I began to understand that I had already been chosen, that was a game changer for me.
I don’t live in the camp of “Jesus is my husband,” but there is something very special to feeling seen, known, adored, pursued, and chosen by someone who sees you as beautiful, as is. That’s why those romantic comedies are so darn enticing because you get to see the girl feel all the feels when she finally stands out to the guy, and he begins to pursue her at all costs. But Hollywood basically took that storyline from the Bible and remixed it. We’re drawn to it because it’s our story. It is a reflection of the relentless pursuit that God is actively engaged in with us (minus the drama).
With Him, I have constant access to someone who will always remind me of the truth. God reminded me that I was worthy of the best in a relationship, emotionally and physically, and that I didn’t mess that up by making a decision (or many) out of insecurity. I am still worthy of what God intended for me to experience in a safe, secure covenant. My decision to stop having sex was birthed out of this newfound belief that I did not need to be desired by a man to be considered worthy. I only needed to believe it myself.