Today, I told my daughter that she needed “Sex Appeal,” and you should have seen the look she gave me. I suppose this was not your typical mother and daughter chat, but then again, most of the conversations that take place in our home are not typical. Just ask anyone who graces our doors on a regular basis. We have one rule at our house: you must at least pretend to love coffee and conversations because those are two of our favorite things.
Something tells me that you are still wondering why I would say to my daughter that she needed “Sex Appeal,” and I totally get it. More than likely, you have been misinformed, much like myself for the majority of my life, as to what “Sex Appeal” is exactly and where it comes from. We are given false information repeatedly. It is shoved down our throats in such an overt fashion that it is no wonder why you seem confused by my statement.
When I say, "Sex Appeal," you hear (or read, instead) something different than what I intend - most definitely.
"Sex Appeal,"; you have been told, is the way you carry yourself. A little tighter, a little shorter, a little less material, they say. It is that "insta" pic crafted just so, to create that subtle, yet seductive, look. "More of this and less of that"; and before you know it, we forget why we do the things we do or why we dress the way we dress or why we seek after the things we seek, because we have placed our lives on auto-pilot in the hands of our culture, and our culture has lied to us.
I am not preaching to you, but I am unveiling a truth that Satan does not want you or me to see. A truth that he has been attempting to hide from men and women for decades. A truth that he has distorted and rearranged to fit his agenda in hopes to keep you, your husband, or the man you will marry someday living in extreme confusion – living to appeal to an obsession that, in the end, isn’t very sexy at all.
You find yourself confused because the very thing you find yourself desiring, that thing that the culture tells you that you need to be or need to have is the very thing that is leaving you feeling the emptiest.
GIRLS: "THE SEXIER YOU ARE, THE MORE DESIRED YOU WILL BE, AND THE
MORE YOU ARE DESIRED, THE HIGHER YOUR SELF-WORTH"
BOYS: "THE MORE SEX YOU CONSUME, THE MORE WOMEN YOU CONQUER
(virtually or actually), AND THE LESS YOU COMMIT YOURSELVES TO THE
Thus, we have generation after generation of boys and girls roaming the halls of our schools, walking the aisles of our churches, and filling the seats in our universities who are more confused than ever. This confusion does not end with our students; no, it bleeds into the hearts of men and woman of all ages and stages of life.
We are confused because we have allowed the culture to redefine one of God’s
greatest gifts to humanity. We have reduced something that was meant to bring about oneness to an image or a picture viewed on a screen or sent through a phone. We are calling that connection? My friends the only connection that is taking place within that interaction is called wifi. These interactions are merely self-centered and require no personal interaction. They are cheap imposters and are robbing us of our ability to see and experience true intimacy.
Girls are sending nude pictures of themselves because, somewhere along the line, they have forgotten how truly valuable they are, or perhaps they have never been told. Boys are requesting these pics and sending their own because they cannot begin to fathom what a relationship might look like or feel like that was built on pure intimacy, so they settle. They settle for a temporary pleasure over and over which, over time, loses its appeal and will leave behind an empty void that becomes a black hole reaching for anything and everything that might bring about contentment. If we're honest, we are sexually dissatisfied.
As Nancy Pearcey wrote in her book, Love Thy Body,
"students feel intense pressure not to admit their dissatisfaction with the hook up scene. If you admit that you want more than sex, [students said], you will be labeled needy, clingy, and dependent. A student named Amanda said, ‘It's a contest to see who cares less...But if you say any of this out loud, it's like you're weak, you're not independent, you somehow missed the whole memo about third-wave feminism.’"(119).
Young or old, please read to the end, and allow this truth to implant into your heart. To me, one of the most beautiful scriptures in the Bible is found in Genesis 2:25:
"And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed"
What a beautiful depiction of what true “Sex Appeal” is, as it was created to be. Genuine intimacy experienced between two people, completely vulnerable, completely exposed, and yet, shame was nowhere to be found. Can we even perceive what that must have been like?
There is likely not one of us who can grasp what this must have felt like because we all carry different degrees of shame in our lives. Shame from past mistakes, shame from current errors, and shame from the pain inflicted on us by others. Shame is one of Satan’s most powerful tools to keep you from believing that you could overcome the depths of your depravity and experience true healing. Shame is that thing that tells you "you are worthless," "you are unlovable," and "you will always be."
But there is someone that tells us differently. While you, within your own power, will never be able to rid yourself of such poor self-worth, there is someone who is plenty capable of handling our messes. He longs to rip the shame from our lives and give us eternal hope. The depth of this person’s love knows no bounds, and there are no prerequisites for the hope he offers. He will meet you right where you are, and he will give you a new name. Shame will no longer be the badge you wear on your sleeve causing you to be callous, cynical, and unable to see the good in anyone, but instead, Jesus will give you a contagious joy.
This joy and freedom will open the door for you to begin to experience true intimacy. Intimacy in your relationships, friendships, and marriages. An intimacy that refuses to hide behind cheap imposters and pursues holiness, because we have tasted and have seen that HE is good. No longer do we read God’s word as a list of rules and regulations meant to restrict our fun, but we know that, through the great wisdom of the sovereign God, he is offering us the keys to an abundant life - the exact opposite from the lies fed to us by our culture.
So, to my daughter and to every other daughter, I want to say, “You are beautiful,
created to have life abundant (John 10:10) in the very image of God (Gen 1:27) your creator. Carry yourself in such a way that is different from the world. Carry yourself with such “sex appeal” as to attract someone who desires to become one with you, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually when the time comes. While you wait, guard your heart, and do not fall victim to cheap imposters who set up themselves to be appealing, only to leave you feeling worthless. Anyone who would reduce you to a mere picture shared across the web in the wee hours of the morning obviously does not realize the treasure you are. Fall in love with your creator and He will teach you everything that you need to know about true intimacy.”
To my sons and to every other son, I want to say, “Grow to become the man who God created and destined you to be. Do not be conformed to this world, because the world will eat you up and spit you out, all the while making promises that will never come to fruition. Instead, choose the path less traveled. The path which will likely get you made fun of, the path which will potentially cost you friends and social acceptance, but also the one which will provide you with exceedingly more than the faux pleasures you are giving up. This path will train you to become a real man, the kind of man they write books about, the kind of man who is able to see and experience a much deeper form of beauty, love, and acceptance because you have chosen to sit at the feet of your creator.”
Finally, I want to address a specific person, a person who may be reading this and is filled with sorrow because you believe yourself to be too far gone. You may be thinking you are too riddled with shame, too broken, and beyond repair. The shame is so heavy that the very thought of ever being able to live outside of it seems impossible to you, and for this reason, you are afraid even to allow yourself to believe there is another way.
Give yourself permission to see yourself as you are. Give yourself permission to see and recognize your sin, not your sin as compared to someone else’s sin, but yours, plain and simple, as it is. Humanity will often go to great lengths to not have to see their brokenness. Notice I said "humanity" which would include us all. Many times, to avoid seeing the sin in our own lives, we will focus on the sins of others, we will compare our sins to someone much worse than we believe ourselves to be, or we will invent narratives and assign sin to people that they never committed, all because we want to feel better about our own moral failures. Thus, we sin to keep from seeing our sin. This not only hurts others along the way but the most significant tragedy is the bondage in which we enslave ourselves all because we are afraid to look at our own reflection.
Do not give Satan that power over you today. Allow yourself to feel the weight of your own sin. It will be okay. The pressure may likely crush you for a moment, it may render you broken in pieces on the floor, but you will not stay there. You will not stay there because God restores. Since the fall of man, He has been in the business of restoration. He restores families. He restores marriages. He restores addictions. He restores sexual brokenness. He restores wounds from abuse. He restores bitterness. He restores unbelief. He can even restore your self-worth and cynical heart.
Wont you allow Him to begin this beautiful restoration today?