When I sat down to write, my hubby offered some suggestions to help me overcome my blogger's block.
Unfortunately, I'm guessing none of you wanted to read about the steroid problem in baseball, the Mavericks' weekend trade or the Cowboys' biggest needs in the upcoming draft.
Basically, he was of no help at all.
So, let's talk about lust.
What do you first notice about this woman? Her voluminous hair? Her bright white smile? Her incredible voice? She happens to be one of my favorite singers.
What do you think men's eyes can't help but gravitate to in this picture?
How about the wardrobe malfunction she's about 1/8 inch from experiencing as she gyrates around a stage? And that girl can gyrate.
What about this woman? Admire her incredible balance? Her spiritual gift of being able to stay in those heels despite being greased up from hair to toe? The way she can still manage to look lusty despite having the appearance of a woman who, you know, just enjoys hanging from a steel bar every now and then?
She happens to be a singer and actor. But I'm guessing her theatrical talents aren't what men first notice about her. This is one of the more "acceptable" pictures I could find.
To be fair, there isn't a possible wardrobe malfunction here because I think you have to actually have on a wardrobe to experience one.
There is a part of me that screams, "What are you doing to our men?!!!" And, subsequently, "What are you doing to our women?!!!"
I'm guessing they know.
Thankfully, I don't see many women who dress like this down here in our cozy little suburb. Most of the women I see dress beautifully, but modestly. As so many of my friends are from church and have learned the beauty of modesty, I rarely worry about them being visual stumbling blocks for my husband. And, for that, I am thankful.
But, there is another trap that I believe is just as dangerous to marriages as pictures of oiled up women on the internet.
And that isn't always as obvious as wardrobe malfunctions or greased up, tanned legs that end in spiked heels.
It is most often much sneakier, starting innocently enough.
The door can be opened in the casual decision to grab coffee together. Or chatting privately on Facebook. Or dwelling on things you admire about a man that, darn it, you just wish your husband had. Or enjoying the way your co-worker makes you feel because he's such a great listener when you need to spill your guts. It has a way of making it's way in when you allow someone besides your spouse to be intimate with you emotionally.
For Pete's sake, I've been convicted about whether I've been a stumbling block for just having been "too nice." Or being just a little too witty.
And when all those little things add up to bigger things in our mind or theirs, I just picture God wanting to scream, "What are you doing to these men?!!!" And, "What are you doing to these marriages?!!!"
My dad once told me he never took any of his secretaries out to lunch one on one for meetings or Secretaries' Day.
Maybe some consider that extreme.
But, for my mom, it was a gesture to show he would go to the extreme to remove any potential for straying or even the appearance of straying.
They celebrated their 34th anniversary on Valentine's Day. They have that soulmate love. I suspect even the smallest ways my dad honors her have something to do with that.
Maybe some of us need to go to that extreme rather than chance the other. Because, boy, doesn't it feel good to get a little attention after those three babies you pushed out? Don't you want to know you still have "it" even after you've packed on a little "more to love" since you first got married? Man, doesn't it feel good to know you are desired?! And, once you open those doors, it is harder to back away.
We know that temptation in and of itself is not wrong. We can't help but be tempted. But, if we choose to dwell on that temptation, it leads to lust, which leads to sin, which leads to death (James 1:14-15).
And death ain't no good.
So, how does God say we are to handle emotional attraction?
"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual impurity, lust, and shameful desires." Colossians 3:5
Let's break that down...
1. "Put to death." Don't even leave burning embers. Snuff them out completely. Break off that relationship if it is causing you or him to stumble. You're either going to put these desires to death or bring on some death. And, remember, death ain't no good.
2. "Sinful, earthly things lurking within." We were born with these desires. It's natural to want to be noticed by the opposite sex. To covet what is not ours. But, if something lurks, it isn't out to have a girls' night out and be BFFs with you. It is out to hunt you down. It waits in the secret, dark places for the opportunity to pounce and bring immeasurable harm.
3. "Have nothing to do with..." Well, in other words, have nothing to do with these things. RUN. Flee like your pants are on fire.
I am no marriage counselor, but here are some questions I ask myself when examining whether I am opening the door for emotional attraction...
1. Is what I'm doing (writing, wearing, saying, joking about, etc.) something that could even POSSIBLY cause a man to stumble?
2. What am I watching, reading or listening to that might cause me to be desensitized to the dangers of sexual impurity? Society jokes that it's acceptable to "look, but not touch," but does God say that? Is He that dismissive of the dangers of lust?
3. What relationships do I need to end to "put to death" even the hint of attraction? Am I making my husband or that woman uncomfortable because I am a little too friendly that man? It doesn't matter whether I think he or she is being reasonable. If either is uncomfortable, I'm at fault and dishonoring my marriage or theirs isn't worth it. In Mark, we read, "If your arm or foot causes you to sin, cut it off." And, "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." Yikes. Sounds like a lot less cosmetic surgery is necessary if we just cut off the relationship that could lead to sin. Easy to do? Maybe not. But right to do.
4. Would I want my husband witnessing the way I behave around this person? How do I feel knowing God is witnessing our interaction?
5. I believe God wants what's ultimately best for me. That may mean giving me boundaries. Do I believe being in this relationship is God's best for all involved? If not, what boundaries do I need to put in place to make avoiding emotional attraction a reality? Do I remove him from Facebook? Do I not allow myself to be alone with a man, even over coffee? Do I keep emails with a co-worker business related?
6. What women in my life can I ask to help me stay accountable regarding this issue? If God talks about lust in the Bible, it's because He knows it's a real issue. No, it's not fun to talk about, but there is freedom in telling the truth about our struggles and seeking help. What women will hold my feet to the fire so my entire family will not be burned?
I'm sure someone with much more advanced knowledge about marriage could add onto this. These are just some things that help me when I need some clarity.
Wow, for someone with blogger's block, I sure didn't run out of words! And, yikes, maybe you would've preferred talking about the Mavericks or Cowboys. Or how the Saints totally owned the Colts last weekend. #1 because it would've been a lot less uncomfortable to talk about and #2 because I would've said all I could say in about 22 words or less.
I'd love to hear any thoughts you can share about lust and emotional attraction. In the meantime, I'm going to go see if I can manage heels after I spread some canola oil all over my "more to love" body. That is going to take some talent! And maybe some knee pads and a helmet.
And, boy, nothing says "sexy" like stumbling around in knee pads and a helmet.