Have you ever watched the movie Grease? It came out in 1978. Seeing this movie was the first date my boyfriend, now husband, and I went on when my parents finally allowed him to come down to our beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is one of my very favorite memories of those early days with my husband.
I remember wishing I was like Olivia Newton John, aka Sandy. She was blonde, polite, pretty, and pure. She seemed just about perfect to this confused, seventeen-year-old brunette. Truth be known, even if it was not public knowledge, I felt more like Stockard Channing who played Rizzo. Rizzo was dark, angry, rebellious, and popular. In my eyes, she was a leader. She was also promiscuous. Granted, she was not the only one, but she is who I resonated with.
At the end of that date, imagine my surprise when I, who was expecting to have to go further than I wanted to in order for George to love me, had him simply take my hand into his and thank me for a great evening! Afterall, the last boyfriend I had promised to still love me after. Why didn’t George want me to show him how much I wanted him to love me?
As I started this blog post, I asked George what his impression of Rizzo was. He replied that she was a girl with loose morals and that she slept with whoever would sleep with her. Now, in my defense, I did not sleep around with whoever came along, and I do not think Rizzo did either! But in the movie, she did trade her body for affection from a boy or two. And so have I! Chances are some of you reading this post are saying: “Yep, me too!”
I have certainly been blinded by lust and confused it with love, because I wanted to be cherished, treasured, and claimed as someone’s girl. Midway through Grease, you catch a glimpse of a girl that feels she cannot say “No”! Rizzo was Rhonda. And, perhaps, she was you!
I know that there are a multitude of opinions about why one acts promiscuous. For the sake of this blog post, we are going to go with the reasons I personally struggled with promiscuity. I felt inadequate. I felt unworthy to have any boundaries in my relationships. I longed to feel loved more than I cared about what I felt like inside afterwards. People pleasing has caused so much havoc in my life. Promiscuity is just one of the ways I attempted to win the favor of others.
I became a Christian at age 14, yet I was immature in my faith and did not fully understand God’s thoughts concerning me. I did not recognize that I was precious in His eyes. I knew I loved Him but did not fully grasp His love for me. Even though I had accepted Christ as a young teen, a few years later the day came when my innocence was shattered by what the world offers as a cheap imitation of love. Flirting and behaving in a tempting manner led me to a dark, scary place devoid of love. A place that filled me with a broken spirit and great remorse. There is more to the story, but we will leave that for another day.
You see, my earthly father never made me feel cherished and loved. In his eyes, I was never good enough. He did not sexually abuse me, but he also never showed me any true affection. I can count on one hand the times my father has hugged me. I witnessed firsthand my dad abuse my mom and treat her with disdain.
But this blog is not about my broken relationship with my dad. It is about how vitally important it is to know that God cherishes each of us as His daughters.
Even if we do not feel loved by those that are responsible for teaching us about love, God loves us. God has surrounded me with an undeniable peace that cuts through the tears I have cried in my darkest hours. He has sent people into my life to speak over me and to help me finally accept how much He loves me. He will do the same for you. In fact, He is probably already doing that –look around.
The story of the Samaritan woman illustrates that God will reach out for us regardless of how society sees us. To God, we are worth everything. He will go out of His way for us.
Jesus had to go to Samaria for her. He had to be there – for her. Her need exposed, he revealed that he could, and wanted to, meet her need. He had to show her a love that would never fail her. He wanted to validate and affirm her. He had to go through Samaria to speak the truth, full of grace to her, and be present for her. He had to go so he could reveal his true identity – Messiah, the Christ – to her. His presence told her she mattered.
–CJ Rapp, Christian Post Contributor …CP Opinion, Christian Post, 4/29/14.
After the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, everything changed for her. I can picture her telling everyone about the living water that had changed everything about her life. She no longer felt invisible. She stood taller. And she never had the need to compromise herself again in order to feel worthy.
Scripture tells us that promiscuity differs from every other sin.
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Corinthian 6:18 ESV
So, shy of actually bumping into Jesus at the water cooler in the office, how do we come to an understanding of our worth? I believe a relationship with the living God changes everything. I think this is where we, as the daughters of the living God, need to stand up and reach out to our younger sisters.
I did not have a mentor growing up. Both of my grandmothers were godly women, but they were from an era that did not speak of sex. These issues were not addressed in Sunday School when I was a teen and honestly, I think it was a missed opportunity.
I challenge you to think about the young women in your sphere of influence. Speak to them about how not to compromise their self-worth by behaving in a promiscuous manner. Teach them that saving themselves for their marriage is not an old fashioned, out of style, prudish thing, but a beautiful gift they will be proud of in the future.
If I can take the sins I have committed and use those mistakes in a manner that saves another from stumbling, then God is using my story to complete His mission. I am humbled by the opportunity. How about you?
In closing, let’s circle back around to Grease. At the end of the movie, even though that song and dance was steamy, and Sandy seemed to be giving in to behaving in a less than pure manner, she ultimately insisted that Danny step up and become the type of boyfriend that was worthy of her. Not the other way around. And that is a lesson we can all take to heart.
And what about George and me? That night after the movie when George took my hand into his, my first reaction was that he did not like me and that he would never want to love me. Now, 42 years later, I cherish that simple gesture that showed how precious I was to him and that he recognized how my Heavenly Father expected him to treat me. I wish that for you too!
Written by Rhonda Carlsen
All scripture taken from the ESV.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.