Wait! Shouldn’t that say Love is Bli-
Nope, I have written what I have written. The definition for ‘Lust’ according to google is: sexual desire for someone. For the purpose of this blog I will borrow the definition for infatuation, which means: an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something. For those questioning my very complicated way of defining lust, I am trying to gain grammar points for using alliteration (Lust vs. Love), english teachers around the world would be very proud.
Quick intro- my name is Joy Mbugua. I love God and videography, water, and music (Country music is my favourite genre). I am a twenty-something who is very ambitious, but I am also learning to be content with my journey. ‘Content but not Comfortable’ is what I like to call it- looking ahead but not missing our present opportunities.
Having grown up in church, I was introduced to the term ‘Lust’ when they described David’s hots for Bathsheba, it was depicted as the great and mighty fall from the man after God’s own heart
(Spoiler: he gets her pregnant, the baby died, David reconciles with God, they become friends again and then he gets another kid- Big up King Solomon!).
I heard it again a thousand more times in youth relationship seminars, and with the surge of Christian couples on YouTube and Mike Todd’s relationship series, it comes up a lot more in conversations. The problem is, we often ascribe it to what google calls it, ‘sexual desires’- but I would like to argue that it can be as innocent as getting butterflies for that person you see at work, at school or at church. In your eyes they are attractive, and they tick all the boxes, seemingly, but how do you know you are not in love with the idea of them?
Stay with me here. I want to put out a few points to get you thinking about how genuine you are about starting that relationship. I want to reveal how easy it is to be blind to the other person’s shortcomings, but, even more so, our own.
Ready? Let’s get it!
Agendas = Expectations
We don’t always like to admit we have personal agendas when we enter relationships, but we are very quick to point the finger to those who do- i.e Gold diggers. The brief synopsis of Gold diggers is that they get into relationships to be spoilt and pampered with gifts. Thus, they are likely to seek partners who are wealthy or appear to have financial stability. Do they know they are gold diggers- well…that is another story.
To show you how easy agendas can creep in, I will give an example from my own life. I remember I once told God that whoever I get into a relationship with should be musically inclined, they should know how to play the guitar, or the piano and they must also know how to drive. I thought these were harmless expectations and not too shallow. Then, I got hit with the biggest conviction from God, he asked me, “Joy, do you know how to drive?”
He continued “ Do you know how to play the guitar?”
I cannot drive, but I would love someone to drop me home. I cannot play the guitar, quite frankly it is gathering dust in a corner- but I would love someone to accompany me when I sing. That is when the pin dropped, and I realised I had the agenda to have someone who compensates for my lack thereof. My expectations for future bae exposed my lack of commitment to attaining certain skills. That day I began to question some of my other standards and I quickly realised I was learning more about myself and how I would not even qualify.
One of my favourite relationship speakers and authors, Sonia Harris, posed this question- ‘ Would you date you?’ Just think about it- do you even tick the boxes for your own expectations? Lust is based on personal agendas and shortcomings- it reveals more about who we are, than it does about the other person. What is it about them that you find appealing? Their comments on how good you look today? Their continuous appraisal of your work? If so, that could be hinting at a personal insecurity. If we fail to see these red flags in ourselves, we will most certainly fail to see them in the other person before it is too late.
‘ My momma don’t like you, and she likes everyone….’
If you have not heard this song, it is called ‘Love yourself’ by Justin Bieber, please take some time out to listen to it before you read on.
When I first heard this song, I fell in love with it. I loved the music production and how Justin sang it so effortlessly. As I played the song a couple more times, I focused on the words and I began to question why Bieber, the storyteller in this ill-fated relationship, did not see the red flags.
‘For all the times that you rain on my parade…’
Bieber’s so-called relationship partner was always shutting him down. She may not have championed his ideas, celebrated his achievements, or supported him in other areas. It also seems that this was happening quite frequently-‘For all the times you made me feel small ‘.
This is not to say you cannot have disagreements or opposing opinions, but it becomes an issue when it is no longer constructive criticism but just- criticism, continuous hurtful words, and passive aggression. How could Bieber not see this? Well, like most of us , he could have easily excused this by focusing more on their appealing traits right from the beginning. If you are lusting after someone, you will ignore every voice of reason or your gut feeling because in your eyes, that is minor compared to their positive features. As mentioned earlier, our judgements can be influenced by our own agendas. James 1:14 says ‘ But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.’ Therefore, when we approach relationships, our thinking is not 100% and this is no fault of our own- our emotions can get the best of us. Thus, in these circumstances let us be wise and involve others, honest friends, mentors, siblings and even parents.
‘When you told me that you hated my friends..’
The friends that you surround yourself with are very important. We may have heard the scripture that says ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’; but what if you are surrounded by friends who encourage you and make you a better person; they give good advice and are as this scripture describes ‘a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ Your friends are a part of who you are, if they lead you towards the right direction and have proven to be loyal it’s worth taking their opinions on board. Thus, If I were Bieber, I would have thought twice about whether her remarks on his friends were valid or out of spite. Moreover, I would also observe her friends and see how she interacts with them, it would give him a better idea of her character and values.
It is also a good idea to have some mentors around you. Preferably those who are ahead of you, either married or engaged. They carry so many gems and words of wisdom to pour into your life and they can help you challenge your emotions and face the realities.
‘My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone….’.
Most of us grew up in households where we often heard ‘no boyfriend or girlfriend till you finish university’, I heard it before I started secondary school. When my parents lectured my brothers about this, I automatically got the talk too. It is not uncommon that a lot of us would rather keep our relationships on the down low than tell our parents about it, especially if we know they would strongly oppose it. I always admired how open some of my friends were with their parents, they could bring their boyfriend or girlfriend home and even tell their parents who they liked at school. As I got older, I began to see the cultural difference between my parents and I; it’s not something they’re accustomed to. How could they discuss such matters if they were never taught? By telling us not to date before we finished school- it was their relationship advice to us, and I learnt to appreciate it.
One day, when my dad was driving, I told him about a certain guy I was interested in. He did not overreact, and his face expression remained the same, but I knew inside he was unsettled because this is not culturally appropriate. What he did next surprised me. He gave me his opinions on whether it was worth pursuing and we ended up having a healthy discussion on relationships. It was like a curtain had been drawn and I gained a new level of respect for my dad. This may not work for everyone, and I had to wait a few years to have this conversation- but prior to this, I also had a church community where there were other parental figures who I could be open with.
There are endless options of advisers and we should not leave ourselves uncovered without the counsel of others, because when you cannot see the red flags, they can. Lust does not consider others’ advice- it wants its own way now. Love is patient. If you are willing to wait for the confirmation of wise counsel before you begin a relationship, you not only help yourself in the present time, but in the long term.
Love is visionary
Ladies, we always get teased about how we overthink when we meet a guy, we’re interested in. We think of our wedding; how the babies might look like or even what house we will live in. I am very much guilty of this, in fact I go as far as seeing how we would get on as pensioners- would it be smooth sailing or would I be counting the days for the lord to take one of us home. Personally, I think it is good to think ahead but sometimes we can get carried away.
Compared to the instant gratification of lust, I have found that Love does not always bring immediate rewards. If you speak to newlyweds and those who have been married for some years, they work for their love. They make conscious decisions each day to love their partner, through their actions, their words, and their prayers. The fruits are almost never instant but appear overtime. Thus, when you find yourself thinking about someone romantically, it is good to ask yourself whether you can invest in that relationship or even in ‘a relationship’.
One very lustful human interaction is Situationships. The irony of this word is that it cannot be defined by the Oxford dictionary. The word is commonly associated with romantic interactions with no title, no public confirmation and it’s merely for pleasure. Situationships are about the present. There is no intention of building a lasting relationship and It will leave both parties empty, because there is no goal to work towards.
‘I fell in love, now I feel nothin’ at all….’
I do believe Bieber was in love with his former girlfriend. It may have begun as lust, but as time went on and he stayed with her, he chose to love her despite her faults. The problem was this same love was not being reciprocated. This is when it becomes harder to leave a relationship that has turned sour, because if he were blinded by lust at the start, he would not have been able to leave before he became too invested. Love becomes easier when both of you are on the same page, and you are both willing to work for it.
Finally, my fellow readers who have managed to get this far into what appears to be an essay. I write to you all, not as a relationship counsellor, or a married woman but one who has experienced one or more of these circumstances and has seen friends go through this. My journey is not apart from lustful pursuits- but the lessons God has taught me and is still teaching me, is what I have shared with you here.
Whenever I have gotten too involved with the wrong person, God always made a graceful way out. So I leave you with this one thing, as you do a self-check on your agendas; as you allow the counsel of your trusted friends and family to help you decide about your romantic interest, invite God into such decisions. Whom better to ask than him, after all, he knows them better than you do, and he knows you better than you know yourself, 1 Samuel 16:7…’the Lord looks at the heart.’
Love is visionary because it looks towards the future. God holds time in his hands and knows the future, God is the definition of Love. Before you let someone else in, let God in.
Love and Peace beautiful people _ Joy
Credit: Love yourself
Written by: Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco