Tag Archives: culture

Pain

By Angela Tooley

Pain – it’s an inescapable part of life, yet we do everything we can to escape it or numb it. There is physical pain in our bodies – temporary or chronic. Then there is pain from our own choices and pain that comes from the choices of others.

The current opioid crisis demonstrates how far we have come in our culture in our inability to deal with pain. This crisis born of misguided notions of pain management with highly addictive forms of synthetic heroin

kills 91 people per day.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not unsympathetic to being in pain. I’m not unsympathetic to those who are addicted. I would like us to understand that there is something to be gained from pain. We must be willing to pay attention whether that pain is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

CS Lewis called pain “God’s megaphone.” Pain gets our attention so that we may know God is present. We see this in Job’s suffering, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5

Priscilla Shirer describes pain as a mysterious blessing, “it compels us to more accurately assess the wisdom or foolishness of our choices. Pain is ironically the key to being spared even worse discomfort.”

The reality of pain is that it should be confronted. The good news is that we do not have to do this alone. Our pain was never meant to be ours alone. Whether our pain is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual we have help through Christ and through each other.

This is part of our mission at Noble Choices – to come alongside others who need recovery (and we all need it). We lead Celebrate Recovery in Richardson, TX and recommend it if you live in other areas. We offer life coaching and counseling to those struggling with sexual sin in their life or the life of a loved one.

We have had to face our own pain and by God’s grace we are here to help and offer hope. There is always hope!

“we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”  —  Romans 5:3,4

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017, August 30). Understanding the Epidemic. Retrieved from Opioid Overdose: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

Lewis, C. (1940). The Problem of Pain. United Kingdom: The Centenary Press.

Shirer, P. (2017). Awaken. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group.

Teaching Kids About Same-Sex Marriage

Same Sex MarriageThe Supreme Court’s ruling about same-sex marriage is a monumental change in our culture.

Noble Choices is not changing. We still help people see all of their choices and empower them to choose the highest quality of life. We must now help people make Noble Choices about marriage.

Here are five things parents should do to help their children with this choice.

1. Talk about it!
It is uncomfortable. We fear being judgmental or hypocritical. We are unclear what or how to say it. Do you fear that talking about it will “spoil their innocence,” or “make them desire it?” A 2014 study of 118 evaluations of sex education programs found that 99% did not increase the start of sexual activity. 56% actually showed some positive results. The most effective programs encouraged youth to have genuine talks with their parents.

2. Save sex for marriage.
Saving sex for marriage (same-sex or not) is still the best choice for health, emotions, and success of the marriage. Nothing changes for this value.

3. Acknowledge the choice.
Like it or not, your children have the choice of same-sex marriage. “This is not an option” closes communication and denies their reality. I have always listed abortion as an option in dealing with a teen pregnancy. This allowed me to address abortion and show other options as better. The same approach should be taken with same-sex marriage.

4. Teach the positive.
From an early age, teach your children what you believe about marriage and why you believe it. Teach more about what you are “for” than what you are “against.”

5. Acceptance is not approval.
God gives us freedom to choose His way or not. If we choose another way, He still loves us and wants the best for us even if He does not approve. We should be like God. You already do this with a host of other issues: drinking, divorce, smoking, using God’s name in vain, over-eating, church attendance, etc. We must now do it with same-sex marriage. Your children will encounter others who choose same-sex marriage. Talk about how to respond to them.

Fish, H., Manlove, J., Moore, K. A., & Mass, E. (2014, December). What works for adolescent sexual and reproductive health: lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and interventions. Retrieved from Child Trends: http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2014-64WhatWorksTeenSexualReproHealth.pdf

Expectation Problems

Ranger GameI love Texas Rangers baseball. I love TobyMac’s Christian music.

A couple of years ago, TobyMac did a concert after the Texas Rangers game. It just couldn’t get any better, right?

After the game, we’re told we have to move to the lower bowl for the concert. We struggle through the crowds to get to the elevator. The elevator is broken! I hear the concert begin just as the elevator becomes operational.

On the lower level, we can only find obstructed-view seats from behind the stage. At times we can’t hear because the Rangers’ ground crew is using a tractor on the outfield grass!

As my anger builds, I look up at our original seats on the top deck and there are lots of people seated there! I am furious!

What happened? I saw a Rangers victory. I am at a TobyMac concert. I have a chance to worship God with thousands of people in Rangers Ballpark led by TobyMac. AND. I. AM. MISERABLE!

The problem was expectations. My expectations were so high that all I could see were my expectations failing to be met.

As we work with young people, be aware of expectations. Music, novels, television, and movies set lofty expectations for romance, marriage, and sex.

Even Bible classes, sermons, and sex education set lofty expectations.

  • “Save sex for marriage to have the best sex.”
  • “Marry a Christian to avoid divorce.”
  • “God has chosen the perfect person for you to marry.”
  • “My spouse will be my best friend and soul mate.

When our actual romance, marriage, and sex happen, it doesn’t meet expectations. It must be wrong then. So we break up or divorce to continue the quest to meet those expectations. We cannot see how good we have it because we are too focused on the unmet expectations.

You see blessing is not the absence of struggles. It is because of the struggles.

“Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4.

Parental Romance is Crucial

Couple dinnerIndulge me for a moment in a thought exercise.

Suppose you are a teenager growing up today. Like most parents, your parents have not talked to you very much about sex. They just said you need to save sex for marriage.

You now have your first serious boyfriend or girlfriend, and you are feeling the urge to have sex. It is time to make up your mind.

Television, movies, music, magazines, and even your friends push the idea have sex now. Your parents seem to be the only ones saying to save sex.

Does your culture make the idea of sex now look good? YES! Be like everyone else, be happy, enjoy life, consequences are rare. It is thrilling and exciting.

Now how do your parents make the idea look of keeping sex in marriage? Well, they had sex once, maybe more if you have siblings. Do you see any thrill, excitement, happiness, or enjoyment in their romantic relationship? No.

So which would you choose?

Do you model romance for your kids? Do you make sure they see their parents in an exciting romantic relationship? You should. I’m not talking about having sex in their presence. I’m talking romance.

Bill Maier shared a great idea on Focus on the Family. Tell your kids you want to surprise your spouse with a romantic dinner in the dining room. Let them choose the center pieces, set the table, make decorations. Perhaps they can even help prepare the meal. Maybe they just clean their rooms or clean the dining room or living room.

Set up a table for the kids in another room while you and your spouse have a candle-lit dinner alone. Your children get to see up close and personal the thrill, excitement, happiness, and enjoyment of a romantic marriage. And … you might just enjoy it yourself.

Maier, B. (2013, March 21). Dining Room Romance. Family Minute With Dr. Bill Maier. Focus on the Family Podcast. Retrieved from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/FamilyMinuteBillMaier/~3/zuso4PvosYw/fmdb_20130321.mp3