Tag, You’re It! (I Want to Hear Your Story)

The last few weeks have felt like swimming through fog. Since the beginning of July I’ve felt like I was just trying to get by, just trying to push through my days as quickly as possible until our trip back the the US on August 12th.  We all need a break from our routine and from our work  now and then, and in my case, I also need a break from living in another culture. I need a few weeks where I can relax the part of my brain that’s always on the alert, trying to figure out what’s going on. A few weeks where everything is just easy.

This last week has been a perfect storm of  emotions, both good and bad – the stress and then relief of finishing up my English camps, the sadness of saying good-bye to friends who are leaving Korea permanently, the incredible joy of welcoming our dear friends’ daughter into the world, the helplessness and distress we’ve felt learning that one of our indoor cats has gotten out and is missing, and of course all of the planning and excitement and stress of preparing for our trip. As someone who feels all the feels, I am reaching the point of complete emotional exhaustion.

We leave Korea tomorrow morning and, after a series of long flights and layovers, will arrive at my parents’ home in Louisiana where we will spend 5 days before heading on to my in-laws in Ohio. We are very much looking forward to seeing our families and enjoying the familiarity of home. We are also interested to see how living abroad for a year has changed our perspective on home – will we remember how to drive? Will we bow to greet people on accident? After Ohio we will fly back to this part of the world where we’ll spend a few days exploring Bali before settling in for a new semester of teaching.

(I know, I know, that sounds incredibly extravagant and exotic, and of course, I feel very blessed to have this opportunity, but before you give me the stink eye, keep in mind that Indonesia is quite close to Korea, and the entire country of Korea is the size of Indiana, so from here it’s more of an ordinary vacation spot, like living in the Midwest and going on vacation to Florida. Also remember that I did not complain (much) when you put up your pictures from all over Europe and the Caribbean while I was teaching school ALL SUMMER LONG).

With all of the upcoming travel I will likely be away from the blog for the next few weeks, but in the meantime I am hoping to hear from some of you. I am working on a new project related to my recent work on purity culture, saving sex for marriage, and the way the church handles pre and post-marital sex. I am collecting stories. Specifically, I want to hear about your experiences in your churches and faith communities – what you were taught about sex and abstinence (as many specific examples as you can remember), and- if it applies to you-how that positively or negatively affected your understanding and expectations of sex and sexuality in marriage. I will ask permission before using any information you share with me and am happy to change your name if you are uncomfortable using your own.

You can leave a comment here, link to a blog post you may have written on this topic, or send an email to lily.e.dunn at gmail.com. I can also provide a questionnaire with specific questions to answer if that would be easier.  Looking forward to hearing from some of you!

We-all-have-a-story-to-tell1

 

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3 comments

  1. the transparency you offer, the way you put complex ideas into words that can be simply understood…these things have brought rest to my sometimes troubled soul. i visited your blog only a day ago for the first time and was encouraged beyond what i know how to express. to offer a bit of context, since my boyfriend and i began dating just over a year ago, it became clear how deeply rooted the lies of sexuality traveled for us both. entering into the relationship, i was fairly confident in my ability to resist any form of sexuality and place reasonable boundaries. as time progressed, however, it became obvious that it was time for me to access my past…every story, every command, every threat, and most of all, every fear. as a believer, i have always known the importance of shunning a life of fear but had no idea that my actions towards sexuality were morphing into a form of fear that was keeping me bound. I wondered “what does it mean to be free in a relationship?”. i had given God access to every other part of my life but this area…this area of hormones and love…this area i kept under tight restriction. if i felt myself “slipping”, even for a moment, fear came and guilt followed. as time passed, my boyfriend and i took a dew steps back and realized “since when does God operate in a way that fills is with guilt?”. we have been set free, not so that we may do as we please, but so that we may be lifted from the ashes and walk in life directed by the Spirit. this same Spirit, we knew, was there in us to guide us in all truth, a truth that did not fill our hearts with shame, guilt or fear but a truth that encouraged us, filled us with peace and disciplined us in love. the voice we had been submitting to all along was the voice of the deceiver. the father of lies, god of this world, was telling us lies about our sexuality. he was slowing knitting together lies we had both heard in church and from our friends and family, and creating a web of confusion and fear. but is that not what he has done for centuries? lied and twisted, distorted and changed the truth so that we remain bound, afraid and disillusioned to the reality of our freedom in Christ. as my boyfriend and i have come to realize these truths, we have begun out walk towards freedom. there are still struggles but we are more than conquerors fighting the good fight of faith. our passion for this issue has grown as we have come to see a side of God we have never known. i pray this encourages you and all who read this. we have been set free and i will fight for that freedom until He calls me home. keep speaking truth in the beautiful way He has enabled you to. may He bless you greatly.

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  2. the transparency you offer, the way you put complex ideas into words that can be simply understood…these things have brought rest to my sometimes troubled soul. i visited your blog only a day ago for the first time and was encouraged beyond what i know how to express. to offer a bit of context, since my boyfriend and i began dating just over a year ago, it became clear how deeply rooted the lies of sexuality traveled for us both. entering into the relationship, i was fairly confident in my ability to resist any form of sexuality and place reasonable boundaries. as time progressed, however, it became obvious that it was time for me to access my past…every story, every command, every threat, and most of all, every fear. as a believer, i have always known the importance of shunning a life of fear but had no idea that my actions towards sexuality were morphing into a form of fear that was keeping me bound. I wondered “what does it mean to be free in a relationship?”. i had given God access to every other part of my life but this area…this area of hormones and love…this area i kept under tight restriction. if i felt myself “slipping”, even for a moment, fear came and guilt followed. as time passed, my boyfriend and i took a dew steps back and realized “since when does God operate in a way that fills is with guilt?”. we have been set free, not so that we may do as we please, but so that we may be lifted from the ashes and walk in life directed by the Spirit. this same Spirit, we knew, was there in us to guide us in all truth, a truth that did not fill our hearts with shame, guilt or fear but a truth that encouraged us, filled us with peace and disciplined us in love. the voice we had been submitting to all along was the voice of the deceiver. the father of lies, god of this world, was telling us lies about our sexuality. he was slowing knitting together lies we had both heard in church and from our friends and family, and creating a web of confusion and fear. but is that not what he has done for centuries? lied and twisted, distorted and changed the truth so that we remain bound, afraid and disillusioned to the reality of our freedom in Christ. keep encouraging and living for Him and know you have impacted me and many others i am sure.

    Like

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