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Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Getting Lost in God’s Love (Part 2 of 2)

Getting Lost in God’s Love (Part 2 of 2)

Popular author Dannah Gresh encourages young women to find contentment in God's love instead of seeking attention from men and falling into the trap of feelings-driven relationships. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: April 30, 2013

Opening:

Recap:

Mrs. Dannah Gresh: And so, we broke up and it stunk. It was awful. But I wrote in my journal, “Until I really believe Jesus is enough and God is sovereign, I’m probably not ready to be in a love relationship.” Because here’s the thing about love relationships on earth. They are just a momentary picture of the ultimate love relationship of Christ and His bride.

End of Recap

John Fuller: Dannah Gresh, talking about the turmoil that she experienced during her dating years and what she described as a violent craving for a boyfriend. And you’re going to hear more of Dannah’s story and her insights today on “Focus on the Family.” Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and this is a classic program and it’s still very relevant for today, not just for teens and single adults, Jim, but for parents, as well, because we’re lookin’ at relationships and what culture says about relationships.

Jim Daly: That’s right, John and that is why we’re bringing this program back as part of our 40th anniversary this year, where we’re celebrating some of the best guests and topics we’ve address on the radio. If you missed the first part of our conversation with Dannah that we shared last time, get the CD of the download or get our app for your smartphone so that you can listen. This is great stuff.

I was fascinated by her concept of the violent craving women have for a man, which comes from Genesis, where God placed that desire in a woman’s heart. Dannah also talked about a word in the Bible that has some danger associated with it, ahava, which means “falling in love” and refers to a love relationship that’s built only on physical attraction. Boy, that’s relevant to our culture today. We know those kind of relationships don’t last long, not forever, that’s for sure.

All of these desires and drives that we have are part of God’s plan to help us connect as a husband and wife and create that one-flesh bond that is marriage. But as we heard last time and will hear more about today, when young people give in to those drives and experience intimacy before marriage, they run into all kinds of problems.

Let me remind everyone again, like we said last time, Dannah addresses some mature themes, so you want to move young children elsewhere or get them occupied doing something else.

John: And the basis for the conversation today is Dannah’s book, Get Lord: Your Guide to Finding True Love. It’s a terrific resource. We’ve got it at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Let’s go ahead and hear now Dannah Gresh on “Focus on the Family.”

Body:

Jim: Dannah, you describe a college student named Sarah, who felt God calling her to fast her relationships. I can relate to that, because before I was married, uh … I … the Lord did the same thing in my heart. He said, “I don’t want you to date a girl” and it was about two years before I met Jean.

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: And so, I … I’m interested–

Dannah: Neat.

Jim: –in the story, because I think the Holy Spirit, if you’re listening, He will really guide you in that moment when you’re seeking a … a possible mate for the rest of your life.

Dannah: Well, Sarah’s special to me, ‘cause she’s a relative. I just love her. I’m so proud of her. She was headed off to Christian college when God said, “You know, Sarah, the guys’ thing might not be exactly right in your heart right now. Those guys are kinda occupying a place on the throne of your heart that really belongs to Me.”

And so, Sarah made kind of just a private covenant with the Lord, that for her freshman year of college, she was just gonna focus on her love relationship with Jesus. She was gonna say no to every date request. She wasn’t gonna get into a relationship.

Well, you know, that was going really well and she was falling more deeply in love with the Lord. But this one guy, this really cool godly guy named Nate kept popping up everywhere she was. And it became apparent that there was attraction there. And I don’t want to oversimplify things and say, attraction isn’t part of what brings us together. It can’t be primary.

And so, she noticed this. She also noticed that the inner qualities of a man she would want to be with was in this guy. And so, when they started to make it known to one another that they were hoping to maybe start a relationship, she told him there was one problem. “I’ve got four months left in my commitment with the Lord.” And as a godly guy would, he said, “Well, you know, that is a bummer, but what is four months if it will draw you closer to God?”

Jim: Hm.

Dannah: “Because that will draw us closer to each other,” and he honored and respected that. And that’s kind of, I guess, the epitome of how we can feed what our spirits really want. We have to talk about this. You know, the culture is telling us every day that falling in love is the way of the world.And so, if we don’t rise up and teach them that there’s something more powerful that will satisfy your heart and ultimately, I don’t want to … it’s pretty simple. The opposite of ahava is agape, a committed, chosen, self-sacrificing love.

Jim: That’s agape.

Dannah: That’s agape. Only God is the source of that. You know, um … I was at a point in my life as a young woman where I wanted so much to be loved. And I wasn’t being loved well. It was actually after I was married and I don’t know if you guys ever talk to men who are just weary, because their wives want something from them that only God can give them.

Well, that’s kinda how my marriage was. You both kinda sighed, like you’ve heard of this, right? (Laughter)

John: We have friends.

Dannah: We have friends, okay. Um … you know, I was at that place where I wanted things from Bob as a young married woman. I was just so dissatisfied. And God took me to Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore.

John: Uh-hm.

Dannah: And there’s a passage in there that talks about, what a man desires is unfailing love, better to be poor than a liar. And Beth pointed out that the term “unfailing love” is used 32 times in Scripture and never is the source anything but God Himself.

Jim and John: Uh-hm.

Dannah: And when we get that as women, our relationship with one man is gonna be just a beautiful gift from God.

Jim: Uh … Dannah, when you talk about reluctant lovers in your book, Get Lost, uh … what do you mean by that? What is the “reluctant lover?” And what should we learn from that attitude?

Dannah: Well, a reluctant lover in marriage is the one that, you know, isn’t really willing to go out on a date with her husband when he asks, because she has kids and she doesn’t really want to leave them with a–

Jim: I’m tired and…

Dannah: –babysitter. She’s tired. Um … even when he reaches for her in bed and she doesn’t … she rebuffs him, those are signs of a reluctant lover. And I think a reluctant lover before marriage is the one that puts her career and her grades and her success ahead of the value of being a wife and a mom one day.

And I think in the spiritual parallel, we are often reluctant lovers of Jesus. When He nudges our heart and says, “I … I need time with you. I want to be with you,” and we roll over–

Jim: Yeah.

Dannah: –and … and push snooze on the alarm so that we can just feed our flesh rather than our spirit, we’re reluctant lovers.

Jim: How much of a blanket do we throw on our journey in this life as Christians with the reluctant lover attitude? In other words, um … you know, we spiritualize the fact that, well, no, because that’s not … I don’t want an intimate relationship with you, my husband–

Dannah: Hm.

Jim: –because you know, I’m pursuing God.

Dannah: Yeah, that is probably one of the most twisted lies that a woman could believe, because my friend, Dr. Peter Jones says that because marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, that if we don’t wake up to have a solid sexual theology and a passionate sexual relationship inside of marriage, we will wake up one day to see the gospel marginalized.

And so, it’s really the woman who is repressed in her desire for her husband or who believes the lie that, I’ll do this because he likes it, but I’m never gonna like it, those are issues of spiritual consequence that need to be addressed in our hearts.

Jim: So, it’s much deeper than the act. I mean, that’s not really the issue that we’re describing. And I’ve often asked marriage experts when they come to the microphones here, what’s happening in a man and a woman’s heart when they have lust, when they are out of control in that physical appetite? And I don’t know that I’ve found a really adequate answer yet. But there are many things much deeper like what you’re talking about in your book, Get Lost, things that are much deeper than the physical intimacy.

Dannah: Hm.

Jim: It’s the relationship with the Lord and your confidence and where you put your trust and your hope and where you derive your benefit out of life. Is that fair?

Dannah: Yeah, I think that’s fair to say and I think one of the reasons why we don’t always have all the answers is because the Apostle Paul calls marriage a “mystery.”

Jim: (Laughing) Yeah.

Dannah: I’m not sure we’re ever gonna figure it out and–

Jim: Did he mean that in a–

Dannah: –how can we–

Jim: –positive context–

Dannah: –answer.

Jim: –or a negative context?

Dannah: Um … it’s a mystery–

Jim: That is a mystery.

Dannah: –that you know, it’s not entirely meant to be solved and understood. We want solid answers, but really what our spirits really yearn for is the mystery and that’s kind of the beauty of it.

Jim: Hm. Dannah, you talk about young women who settle for less than God’s best in terms of their boyfriends and future husbands.

Dannah: Hm.

Jim: This is a really important issue, because I think single folks need to hear your answer to this question. So often we’re looking for Mr. Perfect or Miss Perfect and we continue to deny that relationship, looking for the perfect guy. How does a woman settle her heart to know God’s will in that moment–

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: –especially a woman that may have three or four or five guys who are interested?

Dannah: Hm. What a lucky girl. (Laughter)

Jim: Well, maybe.

Dannah: She um … you know, she needs to be intentional about what she’s looking for and …

Jim: How would you go about doing that? What …

Dannah: Well–

Jim: Put yourself back.

Dannah: –certainly some of it is personality, you know. And listen to your parents on … or look at your friendships and say, “Wow, this personality worked for me. This is my best friend. She’s an extrovert; I’m an introvert. Maybe I need an extrovert.” Um … ask your parents’ advice on what you think is a good relationship. I respect my son so much, ‘cause a couple of years ago he was in a relationship and he came to us and said, “What do you think about this one?” (Laughter) And we had (Laughing) …

Jim: This one.

Dannah: This one (Laughing)

Jim: I love that.

Dannah: Should I say that differently?

Jim: No. (Laughter)

Dannah: And he had really respect for our advice and we had a lot of caution in our spirit. It was very painful for him, but he listened to our advice.

Jim: Ah.

Dannah: But here’s the bottom line. Go to the Word of God. Not everything about what you’re looking for in a mate is written down, but for the girls, there are five things written in the book of Ephesians 5 that clearly state what a husband should have. And for the guys, the book of Titus has five things about a woman that his wife should have. These are primary things, okay. They’re not like personality. They’re not like career and desire. But these are five things that God says, listen.

Jim: We gotta hear ‘em.

Dannah: You gotta have ‘em. Well …

Jim: (Chuckling) Let’s hear ‘em.

Dannah: One of ‘em, for example, is that the husband should be one that washes his wife in the water of the Word.

Jim: Wow.

Dannah: Now we don’t get this all that readily, because in the day that Paul wrote it, it was tradition for a woman to go into a ritualistic bath the night before her wedding. And she would go into the Jewish temple and bathe in this bath and she would be cleansed for her husband. Now she would be doing this her whole life. Every time she menstruated, she would have to go back to that bath before she was intimate with her husband once again. What a burdensome thing for that Jewish woman to go back again and again and again.

Now they say it was sort of spa like. I hope so for her sake. But the Apostle Paul says that when Christ came, He did away with all old things. And now the washing will take place as the husband bathes his wife in the Word of God.

Jim: Hm.

Dannah: He will cleanse her symbolically with the truths of Jesus’ words. And so, what does that mean for the dating girl? Well, he better know the Word of God. Does he feast on it every day? Is he familiar with it? Are the love notes that he writes you just about how hot she looks? Or does he occasionally give you a Scripture and tell you what it means to his heart or what it means for her life?

Jim: Hm.

Dannah: So, there’s [sic] five things like that in the book of Ephesians that we can look at and a girl can know, this guy is or is not a candidate.

Jim: Well, let’s have one for the guys, just to even it out, out of Titus.

Dannah: Well, she likes to work at home and this is not one that’s very popular these days. But I think of the fact that in Proverbs 7, the wild woman of the Bible is one whose feet do not stay at home. She’s always headed out to the party, to the street corner, to see how she can interact with people.

In contrast, the Proverbs 31 woman cares about those who are around her. Now for a 19-year-old, 20-year-old girl, that doesn’t mean that she has a family or meals to prepare. But I have just loved watching my daughters care about being at home. They’re both homebodies. Now they can party and they’re beautiful and they’re asked out by guys. They’re not undesirable, but they love, love, love being at home.

Program Note:

John: This is “Focus on the Family” with Jim Daly and our guest is purity expert, Dannah Gresh, talking about some of the content in her book, Get Lord: Your Guide to Finding True Love. And we’ll recommend you get a copy of that when you call 800-A-FAMILY or stop by our website where you can get a copy of the book and a CD or download of our program, www.focusonthefamily.com/radio . Coming up next, we invited a group of single adults into the studio for a question and answer session with Dannah.

End of Program Note

Nathaniel: My name’s Nathaniel. I’m from College of the Ozarks and there’s … with like dating books, stuff like that, there’s always the advice of, go to get counsel, your parents, your church and stuff like that. But the reality is, we live in a culture where [the] average marriage is seven years. Divorce is rampant; broken homes are rampant. Where do those people go that want advice, wanted guidance, but they don’t have any in their life?

Jim: Hm.

Dannah: You mean after their relationship has fallen apart?

Nathaniel: Um … I’m talking about like–

Jim: Mentors.

Nathaniel: –as a … yeah–

Dannah: Oh.

Nathaniel: –like you go … wanting to go into a relationship, but everyone around you is already shattered.

Dannah: Ah, well, I think that’s why it’s so important that we have spiritual parents for lack of a better word, when our own parents aren’t able to do that because they’re in their own brokenness. My children from a very young age, we encouraged each of them to have mentors in their lives, other than myself and my husband, because we’re broken, you know, and they see that.

We have a beautiful marriage. We are beating the odds. We are falling more in love with each other after 20,almost 25 years of marriage. And yet, my kids see the brokenness. So, I guess my encouragement would be, that even if you do have great parents and a godly place to seek advice, it’s always wise to have a mentoring couple or a mentor outside of that marriage–a pastor’s wife, a youth pastor that meant a lot when you were younger–to also speak into what your parents are saying to you.

John: Okay, next question then.

Kelsey: Hi, I’m Kelsey from Indiana and I just feel like in today’s society for women, there’s a big push that we can have it all. We can be the best mom, be the best wife and excel at work. In looking at Titus and it calls us that we need … that men should go after women, not like to be at home, is it actually really possible to have that balance and to have it all as a woman?

Dannah: Well, what I have learned is, that I can haveit all; I just can’t have it all at the same time. And balance, I think that’s a compromise, because at the end of my life, the most rewarding thing that I will ever have done was to raise these three beautiful children, Robbie, Lexi and Autumn. And I believed the lie as a young woman that I could be a working mom and raise them well.

And I found out when they were very, very young, that I couldn’t do that, that I couldn’t give them my best. And I was able to be creative. I was a marketing consultant at the time, so I was able to do some work at home. But I quit my job to be home with my babies and to focus on them.

And I think it’s not just me that believed that lie. When Nancy Leigh DeMoss and I wrote Lies Young Women Believe, one of the top 25 lies that Christian young women believed was, that having a career was more important than being a wife and a mom.

And if you look at the Scriptures, God encourages us to be authors and businesswomen and CEOs and He gives us that affirmation. But He says, above all, I want you to love being a wife and a mom. And you know what? If the guys in this room right now were to say, “Yeah, I guess I’ll have a wife one day and maybe kids, but I am a career-driven man,” you would look at that guy and say he was a jerk. So, why do we say it and get away with it?

Jim: Well, that’s a great point. That’s a great point. A follow up to that though in my mind, what does it mean to have it all? I mean, in this life that we live, the 80 years, if you know, we’re blessed enough to have that many, it seems like we’re always in a tension–

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: –between riding some perfect line that we have in our minds that a perfect life would be this; “having it all” would mean this. I have found that (Chuckling) in a lot of it, scripturally it’s about contentment.

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: Don’t look for that perfect spot, because life isn’t gonna deliver it. And we’re not living in heaven in this journey. We’re here and we’re in an imperfect environment. Is that healthy, or should I be expecting more out of myself?

Dannah: No, I think that’s in part, the purpose of the book. When I talk about getting lost, what “get lost” means is to be absent of something–absent of directions, absent of familiar settings.In the emotional and spiritual realm of love, it’s getting over yourself, being absent of yourself. For what? So that you can put on the desires and motivations and drive of our Lord and Savior.

John: And Jim, we’ve talked about that time and again here at these microphones, that we map life out in our own human ability.

Jim: (Chuckling) Yeah.

John: And sometimes God’s best gifts are really hard. They’re not in the script. They’re not things that we would aim for.

Jim: Yeah, it’s not the lightning and the thunder. It’s usually the gentle breeze where you find God peace. All right, any other questions?

Josh: My name is Josh Anderson and I’m from Northern Minnesota. And one of the questions that I’d just like to ask of ladies is, how can we as guys make it easier for them to be pure? And how can we make that an easier struggle for them?

Dannah: What a good question. I love that question. You know, one of the interesting things I discovered in researching this book is, the fact that in the Scriptures, a woman, a girl is called to protect her own purity, but there’s never a place where she is specifically called out to protect the purity of her marriage.

However, Ephesians 5, one of the qualities of a husband-to-be or a husband is, that he presents her a pure and spotless bride. It is the responsibility of the guy in a relationship to drive the purity and integrity of that relationship.

While he is responsible for his own purity and integrity and she is responsible for her own purity and integrity, the only called to task by the Lord for their integrity of their relationship together is the guy. So, just the fact that you’ve asked this, blows my mind and thrills my heart.

I think the main thing is accountability. In a day and age where guys are constantly fed Hooters billboards and Victoria’s Secret posters and everything sexual, it is so critical that you are a godly man who is in a transparent accountability relationship with another godly man.

Jim: Dannah, I would think it’s important, too, to set those parameters. T his is what we expect from each other. And then it does create that accountability. I’m really thankful Jean and I were able to do that. Here at Focus we receive a lot of input from young couples who are not married yet and they’re choosing to either become sexually active or do things that certainly open the door to that.

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: And it is such a good thing to do exactly what you said and what the Scripture said, for the man to take the role in that, to honor–

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: –his future bride, to not violate that–

Dannah: Yeah.

Jim: –promise and to save that for the wedding night.

Dannah: Yeah.

Jim: It’s a gift and it’s hard to do because your hormones are flowin’.

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: But I can speak from our own experience when we got married, I was proud of the fact that we didn’t violate that commitment–

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: –before the Lord.

Dannah: Yep.

Jim: And it was only through His strength, because there are many times I wanted to.

Dannah: Yeah.

Jim: (Laughter) But … but–

Dannah: Honest man.

Jim: –you … you … you bridle it.

Dannah: Uh-hm.

Jim: You bridle it through discipline–

Dannah: Yeah.

Jim: –to say, “Lord, I want to love You by doing this for her.”

Dannah: Right. Two things come to my mind that I think are really important. One is, just don’t be alone. I mean, you can be alone in a library and have the intimate communication that you need to get to know each other better without the temptation to do things, ‘cause you’re under the public eye. That was the guideline that my husband set forth for us when we were dating.

And it’s a very radical guideline and I say that because one of the things that’s breaking my heart right now as we counsel college students is, they’re sleeping over with each other. And it’s happening with Christian students, who you know, he’s in this city and she’s in that city and they’re dating each other. So, the only place that he can stay is her apartment. Now she has roommates, but … and the only place she can stay when she visits him is his apartment. That craziness. You are just asking for things to happen and I promise you, they will happen. Your body was created to be on overdrive in those kinds of situations.

So, the sleepover thing, even in their own homes, I’m … I’m talking with students who, the guy is coming into town and sleeping over in the parents’ house and things are happening in the basement in … in the dark of night, after mom and dad go to bed. You know, stop putting yourselves in these compromising positions. You have to live differently than the rest of the culture, no matter what they say about you.

Jim: Well, dads, you … that’s a good time to spring for a hotel (Chuckling)

Dannah: You should.

Jim: –for the boy. Hey, there’s a hotel just down the street. It’d be great–

Dannah: Right.

Jim: –to have you there and I’ll even pay the night. (Chuckling)

Dannah: There are always friends in a community that would gladly put up your boyfriend or your girlfriend for you.

Jim: Dannah, this is a great place to wrap up. I so appreciate what you’ve talked about. There’s wisdom in what you’re saying and I know it’s because it’s rooted in God’s Word. These aren’t Dannah Gresh concepts. These are things that you’ve gleaned out of Scripture that are right there. We need to apply ‘em andthat’s the gift that you have, is raising that up out of Scripture, so that women particularly, can hear what you’re saying, hear your heart and really God’s heart through you so that they can apply it to their lives. Thanks for being with us these last couple of days on “Focus on the Family.”

Dannah: My pleasure.

Closing:

John: What a great conversation with Dannah Gresh and we hope that you really appreciate the content. I sure did. And you’ll find more wisdom and insight in her book, Get Lost: Your Guide to Finding True Love. Just contact us about a copy of that book, along with a CD of this conversation, both days. In fact, we’ll include more content than we could fit into these radio programs. The starting point is 800-232-6459; 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY or stop by www.focusonthefamily.com for more.

And if you’re able to make a financial contribution to Focus on the Family today, we’ll send a complimentary copy of Dannah’s book, Get Lost as our way of saying thank you for your support. And also, let me mention that we have a free audio download, featuring Lisa Anderson. She’s the host of our “Boundless” outreach for single adults. The download is called Dating and Pursuing Marriage with Purpose. And you’ll find that at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Coming up on the next program, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby will talk about giving back to God with the right attitude.

Excerpt:

Mr. David Green: God just wants us to have a heart. I think it all starts with the heart. Do we really have a heart for Him and for what’s important to Him? And that’s to see people come to know Christ. And so, that’s what we want to make sure that we are always in prayer and do we really care about these people? And if we do, we’re gonna give.

End of Excerpt

John: I’m John Fuller and on behalf of Focus president, Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. Join us again next time, as we once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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