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7 Things To Do Before Seeing 50 Shades of Grey

50 shades

Although it seems that I’ve been posting about movies a lot lately (okay, this is only my second post about movies this month, but still…that’s more posts than I usually devote to movies), I promise, this is not turning into an entertainment blog.

I guess it’s just that the movies that have come out lately have snagged my attention, and for one reason or another, compelled words.

And today’s topic? 50 Shades of Grey. Of course. Isn’t this the only thing people are talking about right now?

The movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything like the book(s), will be wildly popular.

That makes me sad.

Let me be totally transparent with you from the get-go. I haven’t read the books, nor do I plan to. I will not see the movie.

I could devote this entire post to the reasons why I’ve chosen not to read the books or see the movie. I could tell you all about the Biblical reasons and how I believe that sex belongs only in marriage, but there are a zillion posts out there that have pretty much said what I would say, like this one, written by a pastor and literary agency mate of mine. Read it. It’s full of truth and grace.

You’re going to make your own choices about these books and movies regardless of what I have to say, but I hope you’ll briefly consider a few things—things I think you should do before you go see this movie.

  1. Consider whether or not your movie ticket dollars could be better spent.

Instead of paying for a ticket to this movie, perhaps you could put the money toward bills that need to be paid. Maybe it could go toward groceries or clothes or something else in your life. Perhaps you could be a blessing to a stranger today and use those dollars to “pay it forward” while you’re out and about—purchase the order for the person behind you in the drive-thru, etc. Maybe you could give the money to charity for a cause worth fighting. Check out WorldHelp’s child sponsorship program. Do something with the dollars that will either make a positive difference in your life or the life of someone else.

  1. Talk to your spouse or significant other.

The vast majority of ticket holders for this movie will be women, so ladies, I’d like to challenge you to have a real conversation with your husband or boyfriend about this movie—about how they feel about you seeing it. Does your husband support you? Is he aware that this movie promotes graphic sexual situations based on pain as gratification? Have you discussed with him the reasons why you enjoyed the books (I’m assuming you did if you want to see the movie) and why you want to see the movie? I want you to consider how you might feel if your husband went out to see a graphic sexual film because he was “turned on” by the premise or by one of the characters. I think you should discuss this with your man and give him the opportunity to share with you any feelings he may (or may not) have on the subject. Open conversation about difficult topics is a positive attribute of a strong relationship (something I think the characters in the 50 Shades story-line sorely lack). PS, check out one of my favorite relationship bloggers for more.

  1. Consider how seeing the movie (or reading the books) will have a positive impact on your life.

Will seeing this movie, in anyway, make you funnier, more intelligent, more compassionate, more aware of others, kinder, more devoted to helping people, or set your mind, in any way, on positive things that will help you grow spiritually?

I think we can ask ourselves the question above about a lot of forms of entertainment to help us weed out things that fill our brains with garbage, taking up the room we could be devoting to things that help us grow as humans; things that connect us to other people, not in a way that makes people appear as sexual beings, but as human beings with brains, hearts, and souls that are valuable to humanity and precious to God.

  1. Question your definition of love.love

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day—the day when all the world gets mushy and gushy about love. And yet, while we’re all thinking about hearts and cupid and giant teddy bears and boxes of chocolates, too many people are walking around saying that the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey is a love story. I disagree wholeheartedly.

Love is not someone who spends lots of money on you.

Love is not jumping into bed with a person you hardly know.

Love is not sexual gratification from pleasure in pain.

Love is not one person’s needs being met at the expense of another’s.

Love is not sex slave and dominant.

Love is not sex.

Love is not what this movie is about. At all.

Love is commitment. Love is devotion. Love is a man who makes a woman feel like a princess and a woman who makes a man feel like a hero. Love has nothing to do with money. Love is beautiful and kind and patient and not prideful. Love is sacrifice. Love is what a strong marriage is built on, and most strong marriages have very healthy and not-at-all boring sex lives.

Before you see this movie—question whether or not you’re justifying by calling this a love story.

  1. Invite your grandma.

I’m not even going to tell you to consider what Jesus would think if he was with you in this movie because folks, he IS with you in the movie. God is everywhere and He sees all things. That being said, I want to just encourage you to invite your grandmother to go with you to see 50 Shades. Would you feel comfortable sitting by grandma during “those scenes?” If not, question why you’re comfortable going at all.

  1. Read about how the actors feel about the movie.

This article was interesting. It appears that the actors from this movie don’t even like each other and also disliked pretty much everything about the movie. The actor playing Christian Grey mentions that he had to take a long shower after filming before he could touch his wife and young child, presumably because he felt dirty from filming. Gotta wonder why that sort of filth would appeal to anyone. (However, if they truly hated it all that much, I have to question why they’d sign on for it at all.)

  1. Consider some alternatives.

There are tons of movies that you could watch that are far more romantic than 50 Shades of Grey will ever be, because unlike 50 Shades, they are actually romantic, not just about sex.

A few suggestions: Becoming Jane (one of my favorites), Austenland (hilarious!), A Walk to Remember, The Princess Bride, Say Anything (my husband’s suggestion), Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility (yeah, I love Jane Austen), P.S. I Love You, The Vow, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a classic fave), The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, etc…there’s a VERY long list of alternatives.

I’m not asking you to agree with me that 50 Shades of Grey is not a good movie for anyone to see and could actually do harm to your relationships and your outlook on love, marriage, and healthy sex.

I’m just asking you to do the things above and see if you might decide that you have better things to do with your valuable time and money.

Share with me: What’s your favorite romantic movie?

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For Those of Us Who Are Bad At “Quiet Time” –Why We Need It

Bad at Quiet Time 1

Quiet time.

As a mom of three boys, that phrase is a magical myth. Like unicorns, elves at the North Pole , and wizarding worlds, “quiet time” is up there in the La-La Land of “things I wish were real.”

In today’s world of constant connection, trying to find the time in the chaos of life to sit quietly and focus on God is nearly impossible for many, including me.

Quiet time– moments of peace and literal quiet set aside to spend with God while reading scripture, meditating on it, and praying.

I’ve never been any good at quiet time. While I’ve been a follower of Jesus for most of my life, I’ve spend the majority of my adult life listening to other women talk about “quiet time,” resulting mostly in me feeling jealous and guilty. They had time set aside for God, I didn’t. That was convicting.

But I justified my lack of regular quiet time with the fact that I’ve always been insanely busy– the kind of gal with too many irons in the fire at any given time.

It wasn’t until this past school year began that I finally established a routine of regular, daily quiet time. That’s right– it’s only been a recent addition to my life.

And I have to say, I wish I’d done it years ago. I know now what I’ve been missing. I’ve become a quiet time junkie. I crave it.

That’s right– I crave it.

Now, don’t get me wrong– it is a sacrifice. It’s often difficult to rearrange my time to “make time” for God.

But (and not to dump a ton of conviction on you, but…), the sacrifice that Jesus made for me, the sacrifice God made in sending His only son into this world to take on the ugliness of my sin–it is so huge that the “sacrifice” of my time is nothing NOTHING nothing.

Quiet time becomes my number one priority when I remember that I am God’s number one priority. So are you. Number one.

Why do we need quiet time?

— In this demanding world of instant gratification, we’re glued to our cell phones, computers, tablets, and TV screens. We desperately need time to just sit, connected only to God, which means disconnecting from everyone else. Yes, even our family members. We need to be alone with God, even if just for a few moments. We need to be still. God commands it.

Be still and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10

— Quiet time gives us the opportunity to talk to God uninterrupted, and even more, to listen to God–uninterrupted.

— Quiet time forces devotion and helps us learn dedication.

— It gives us the opportunity to show God that we truly value Him and his word. We make him a priority.

— We need quiet time to help us focus on the things of God, not on the things of this world. When we neglect alone time with God, it is much easier for us to fill that time with things that, in the grand scheme of life and eternity, mean nothing.

— When we feel far away from God, like He can’t hear us or He doesn’t care, quiet time before Him–with Him– is the best way for use to draw closer to Him.

— Dedicating yourself to daily quiet time is worship.

— If we really want to know God, we have to spend time with him. Think about your significant other. How did you get to know this person? Most likely it was by spending one-on-one time with him or her. That one-on-one time was invaluable to your relationship and brought you close together. It’s the same with God. We won’t know him if we don’t spend time with him.

So why do it? What are the benefits?

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— Focusing on God first thing in the morning gives us the proper frame of mind to handle whatever comes our way throughout the busy day.

— God rejuvenates. Better than a cup of coffee or a protein bar, quiet time focuses our thoughts and our hearts to accomplish everything on our to-do lists. He is our source of energy and strength.

— Peace and trust: the two things we long for most. When we take time to be still before God, we establish that kind of relationship with him. We get to know Him so well that peace and trust become easier for us. Not easy, but easier.

— We focus on discerning God’s voice. When we shut off all of the other voices in our lives, hearing God’s voice becomes much easier.

— We learn and study scripture. We get into God’s word which not only helps us to know God, but helps us to know who we are in Jesus.

— We make time to pray. All those things we tell other people we’ll pray about– make time to do it.

God honors and loves obedience. When you are obedient to spending time with Him, he blesses that.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1 (The Message, emphasis mine.)

But the most important reason we should have daily quiet time, or alone time with God, or whatever you want to call it– is because God WANTS us.

He wants all of us. Every part.

Jesus gave every part of Himself for us. The least we can do is give some daily time to Him.

Want some tips on how to get the most out of your quiet time? Check back for tomorrow’s post!

Share with me: Has Quiet Time always been part of your daily routine, or like me, have you spent too much time struggling to make it part of your routine?

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One Word for 2013– The 6 Months Check-Up

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Commit.

That’s my word for 2013.

The year is going by quickly– over half gone already. If you’re like me, you find that hard to believe. Something about becoming a parent, or perhaps just growing older, causes time to fly.

So it’s time to evaluate how the word commit has influenced me so far.

I chose the word with the intention of using it to force me to change certain behaviors, adapt to new behaviors, and make me stronger both physically and mentally.

Some of the commitments I made for 2013–

I’ve committed to seeking God with every part of my life. Not that I wasn’t doing this before, but I will thread Jesus into every fiber of my being so tightly that when others look at me, especially my children, they see that my life is nothing without Christ. I am nothing without Him. I’m only held together by Him.

  • My children are eager to learn scripture and read Bible stories. They love talking to, and about, Jesus. This is not of my doing, but I hope it’s partly because we’ve set that example in our home.

I’ve committed to  exercise and health. I will lose all this baby weight, and I will be healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.

  • Because I’m eating healthier, my entire family is eating healthier. We’re not perfect (I refuse to give up chocolate), but I’m thankful that my family appreciates some healthy foods. My boys watch me exercise and I encourage them to join in. Their little bodies being a temple and all– I want them to establish healthy routines early.

I’ve committed to service and teaching. I will serve when God asks.

  • God has opened several doors for me in this area. Not only am I now teaching Sunday school, I will soon be leading a Bible study and re-launching the Women’s Ministry at my church. Big things are happening.

I’ve committed to writing. I will carve out time to write new material. I will be more active in the writing community than I’ve been in the past year.

  • Because I’ve spent the first half of this year either being pregnant or caring for a newborn (he’s three months old already!), I haven’t gotten very far on this one. I have story ideas popping in my head all the time, but I haven’t been able to establish a routine that allows me good writing time– yet. School starts back soon so my oldest 2 will get back to their normal routine and the baby will adapt to our routine. I’m looking forward to carving some writing time in there somewhere. I’m committed to it.

What has inspired me most about this word for 2013 is that along with it comes determination. I can’t “commit” to this word without directing that I will do certain things. It has forced me to do exactly what I’d hoped– change behaviors, make new behaviors routine, and seek out opportunities.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year brings.

Share with me: What is your word for 2013? How has it affected your life so far this year? (It’s not too late to choose a word if you don’t already have one!)

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