friday night i was laying around the house watching tv. i had the night off so i was simply relaxing and enjoying doing nothing. like any other 23-year-old who is sitting at home enjoying doing nothing, i was on facebook. i was doing my routine stalking on there like we all do when i noticed an advertisement on the side of the page. it was obviously a dating advertisement because it was a pretty girl. surprisingly though, this girl was fully clothed and didn’t have everything hanging out of her shirt. the cut was low enough that it showed a little and guys’ eyes would be attracted to it, but it didn’t scream, “i’m a slut and these are fake!!!” i looked under the picture of the pretty girl and saw the text for the advertisement:

ichurch is the #1 online christian community where you will find real members like me! join today for free!

it was for a dating site like i had thought. unfortunately, it was for a “christian” dating site.

at the time that i saw this, i was watching a dvr’d episode of burn notice. the show is set in miami. it’s a really good show, one of my favorite on tv. no more than five minutes after seeing the christian dating site advertisement, burn notice had a cut away scene change where they showed 20 seconds of girls in bikinis in miami. every single one of the bikinis were about four sizes too small and there was skin everywhere.

it is these two things that i think combine to be the hardest part of being a christian at 23.

i’m a single, christian 23-year-old male. i am what i am. i have absolutely no problem with that. to be honest, i’m enjoying it. with that being said, every possible force around me is telling me that i shouldn’t be happy with that.

the advertisements tell me i need to find my “soulmate.”

the tv shows tell me that it’s okay to find a girl in a tiny bikini and hook up with her.

the hormones inside of me tell me that i definitely should do that.

but i don’t want to.

i know that it’s not.

and i know that i definitely shouldn’t.

i’m a guy, and i can really only speak for the guys here, but i assume that girls are at least similar enough that you can at least somewhat relate to this. however, guy or girl, there’s a good chance that by the time you’re 23 you’ve made a few “mistakes.” you’ve done some things you know that you shouldn’t. because of this, it makes the advertisements, the tv shows, and all of the other stuff that much more appealing. you know what they’re talking about and chances are you enjoy what they’re talking about but you know with everything inside of you that you don’t even need to be thinking about what it is they’re throwing in your face.

but there’s no way to get away from it.

if your struggle is alcohol you can try to avoid it by not going down the beer aisle at the grocery store. you can’t drink unless there’s alcohol around. if you don’t put yourself around alcohol, you can’t drink. i don’t want to simplify it and say that getting over an alcohol struggle is easy because it’s not, but it’s something that you can physically prevent.

this struggle, and let’s call it what it is – lust – is something that is so extremely hard because there’s no way of avoiding it. let’s say that somehow you avoid the advertisements online, the pictures of the parties on facebook, the shows on tv, the songs on the radio, the magazines at the grocery store, and the random people on the street. even with that, the struggle we have with this is in our mind and with our hormones and with every little piece inside of us. even if we don’t physically engage in an act, we still sin when we even think about these things.

when we stop sugar coating everything and get to the real meat of this problem, we realize that one of the things we were created for is to make babies. we are supposed to enjoy making those babies and everything that goes with it.

but we’re not supposed to enjoy it until we’re married.

and that’s the part that is so ridiculously tough.

if you were like me growing up, anything sex was completely taboo in the church, especially if you were single. you couldn’t mention anything anywhere related to it. if you even talked about a struggle with something, you were looked upon like a terrible person by people that were likely struggling with the same thing. it led to this idea that we have to deal with this problem on our own and be ashamed of it.

and quite frankly, that makes it worse.

i freely admit on this website that my biggest struggle is keeping my heart and my mind pure. i don’t like that about myself but it is what it is. it’s the thing that i have to wrestle with on a daily basis. i’m not ashamed of it. i win some and i lose some, but i never quit and i never give up and i never give in.

so if you’re like me, and you agree that this is the biggest problem for you as a christian, man up to it. own it. stop being afraid to admit that it’s a struggle. realize that there are a ton of people your own age that are going through the exact same thing. realize that you’ve got friends that are dealing with the same problem.

you’re not alone in this.

and next, once you admit it to yourself, don’t be embarrassed to talk about it with your friends. we’re not meant to go through life on our own dealing with our crap on our own. god’s put people around us that are there to help us through our struggles.

when you screw up and think about something you shouldn’t, admit it, repent from it, and move on. don’t focus on the fact that you screwed up and beat yourself up over it. that just leads to things getting worse and worse.

if you’re reading this, please know that i understand how tough this is. it took me a long time to even admit to myself that this was a problem. i understand it can be embarrassing admitting you have a “dirty mind.” in the world that we live in, this is a battle that we’re going to have to fight over and over and over again.

but battles are won by teams.

they’re never won alone.

and i’m more than willing to team up with you on this.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.