Feb 7, 2010

Romance: How Much Is Too Much? (Part Three)

     Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

     How do we protect our hearts? The same way a fortress is defended; by keeping it well maintained and fighting against those who seek to invade it and tear it down.

     Our lives should not be centered on anything except God. In order to maintain our hearts, we must have a strong relationship with our Savior. He loves you more deeply than even your spouse will. Nothing in life matters more than God, not even your marriage. Do not forget that. Ever.

     Our hearts can easily be invaded through our minds. Every action we make is first contemplated. The mind is the plain before the heart where the battle is fought.

     If you could avoid a bloody war, wouldn’t you? One way to avoid a long war in your mind is to stay away from outside influences that may tempt you with thoughts and emotions that you simply do not need at this time in your life.

     This is why I do not think romance stories for children and teens are a good thing. These age groups are not ready to be married, and therefore not ready for romance. Books and movies can plant tempting thoughts and dreams in a young person’s mind.

     Daydreaming can be a distraction from your goal. Of course, we all wonder about our future, but to think about it all the time will pull you away from the work God has given you to do. Make His plan for your present life your number one priority, and let Him handle what is to come.

     Again, every action we make is first contemplated. The battle begins in your mind. Be very careful of what you put in front of your eyes.

     Maybe you are reading this and thinking, ‘I can’t do that. It is way too hard!’ You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  It has been done, and if you desire to live a life of absolute purity, the Spirit within you will help you. Yes, it is hard; all battles are hard. But the reward is worth it.

     Perhaps you have already given your gift away. You may think you could never achieve the picture I have painted, because you’ve already messed up. Listen, what good is grace if we can’t use it? The Bible says that God forgives those who repent. It is never too late to begin again. It is never too late to fight.

     ‘Ok, sure, ST,’ you might be thinking, ‘but if I don’t date, then how am I supposed to meet my spouse when I am ready for marriage?’ That is where the faith comes in. I am sure that you know many people of the opposite gender that you haven’t dated. They may be at church or at your job. You meet people of your age throughout your life and someday one of those people may be the one you will give your gift to. Let God write your love story; He is the best One to do it.

     I hope these posts have been helpful in explaining my beliefs on this subject. If you have any questions or if you have something to add, feel free to comment on this post or, if you would rather, email me at storytellerjourney@hotmail.com.  

Post Tenebras Lux!


Anonymous said...

Hi ST,

I understand and totally agree with what you say about guarding our hearts!

But I do not quite understand why you believe romance stories are never good for kids/teens. I am not saying that kids should be reading romance novels all day, but simply that they can learn from stories with a God-honoring relationship between a man and woman, where they do not give their hearts away thoughtlessly. It shows them how a godly courtship works where their hearts remain pure.
I believe these kind of books encourage us - not to give our hearts away, but wait in joyful expectation for God to bring along the right spouse. If the romance in the book was all about feelings (which is not real love), and giving their hearts away, of course we should not read it, for it would encourage us to do the same! But we can be encouraged by stories with pure romances.
To summarize, I do not think Godly romance (sorry for all the "romance" - I'm lacking for a better word!) encourages us to give our hearts away before marriage.

Sorry if I have offended you at all! I really appreciate your blog.

God Bless!

Nathan R. Petrie said...

I was going to wrtite exactly what Emma said, but she beat me to it ::pokes:: LOL

Storyteller said...

Yes, Emma, I think that there could be a romance that gives a lesson. That would be a wonderful story! I ought to have mentioned that in the post; my apologies. I did not even think to say it, honestly, and I believe that is due to the fact that books like such as those are unbelievably scarce.

If a story is going to give an example of a godly romance, I think it needs to be fist of all clear. The point of the story should be very obvious to the reader or they will be able to overlook it. I also think the characters should be able to apply to most people (i.e. there should be a parent or guardian overseeing the courtship).

I think I must add, though, that even good romance can encourage excessive daydreaming. Even if we are thinking about good things, it can still cause us to focus on the future and not what God has for us today. However, we would probably be in danger of that if we were reading romance constantly. "Everything in moderation", right?

Thank you for bringing that up. I agree with everything you have said; it saddens me that there are not many books like that.

Nathan, I am being convicted to apologize to you. I've been taking your comments and Barie's too personally without even realizing it. In defending my beliefs I became a bit overly defensive. I am sorry if I offended you with the way I said things.

AB said...

Well said, ST. :)

Nathan R. Petrie said...

ST, don't let it affect your conscience! You never offend me :P You can disagree without meaning disrespect and can make it clear ;)

No worries :) I don't get offended about most things, unless my character is questioned LOL.

Fight the good fight!

Storyteller said...

Well, I am glad to hear that, Keeneye. Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

I completely agree - everything in moderation! Thanks. I do wish there were more books that! That's one of the reasons I'm writing a few... :)


P.S. lol, Nathan, sorry. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello folks :)

I was wondering if yall would help me find that scripture that says we can have everything in moderation :)

Thanks Millard

Storyteller said...

Greetings, Millard.

I do not think that exact wording is in any one verse, though Philippians 4:5 says, "Let your moderation be known unto all men." And there are certainly many places in the Bible that instruct us to be wise in the things we do. Does that answer your question?

Storyteller said...

Oh, botheration. I believe I took that verse out of context. I'm so sorry, Millard. I looked at some other translations, and they use gentleness instead of moderation, which leads me to believe that verse is not talking about the kind of moderation I was. Oops.

Jessica said...

Oh, Storyteller thank you for this beautiful series of posts absolutely GREAT! Strangely enough I was just getting ready to do a post about this too, (Is there too much romance in the air?). I really appreciated your views on things and what you had to say. Before You Meet Prince Charming is one of my favorite books.
It does get discouraging in this supposedly "modern" age to have romance books running around advertising themselves in front of your eyes shouting read me! Just yesterday I was at the Christian book store looking through the sale price books I picked about 20 novels and read half the description before I put the book back right were I found it. They all were advertising falling in love, searching for the perfect partner, broken and damaging relations but at last (after you suffered all of that garbage) redemption in the love of the character's life. I felt sad.

Romances can be so hurtful...I saw that recently in some girls lives, because we don't live in a novel they have been disappointed by the expectations that these books have made them believe are true and possibly real for their own lives. Hmmm can you tell I am stoked about the subject, maybe I will go write that post after all. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom shared.

Merriette said...

Thank you so much for this post! It is something I have been wanting to say for a while. I love the points you made and how you showed why it can be harmful to read romance. I, personally, gave up reading most romance about a year ago (I find there are some books with romance that I can handle) and it is wonderful to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way.
Thank you for stating your message so clearly.