I need to provide an update on the hot Italian who graced my office floor with his presence for about two months. After spending much of that time squeaking and lobbing a mince pie in his direction, I ended up having some really fun and light chats on coffee makers.
The lust creep was subtle at first. I just caught myself staring a bit at him and not focussing on my work; nothing more than that. Then it hit me like a wave. I did not even care about knowing him or about his background, family or dreams. I just found myself wanting his body.
We all went out on Friday night to say goodbye to him and I met his girlfriend, who was perfectly sweet. I wanted to find a way of putting laxatives in her drink! I was breathtakingly jealous about the fact that she was going out with this guy who I had no emotional interest in whatsoever.
I recognised the symptoms of lust and laughed about it with God as I remembered the journey I have been on.
The bible is uncompromisingly clear when it comes to lust. There is no argument and no vacillation. He does not want us to do it, which is fine except that I do. And I know that I am not the only one who does. The question is... What is lust and how do we engage intelligently with our sexuality and sex drive without dishonouring one another. If God wants us to be lust free - how do we do that?
I think that we can say with relative safety that lust is the act of imagining sex with another person or people and it is specifically when it becomes more than the thought that goes over your head. It takes residence and it poisons.
My experience of growing into my sexuality tells me that lust, however is as much about you and your character as it is about external objects of desire. Lust is imagined and sometimes acted on. But it starts first in our imagination. Our minds are what drive our behaviour. It is there that we put all manner of hopes and wishes, which we dream of being fulfilled. Lust to me is about sex, but it is also about an attempt to fulfil aspects of our character.
This revelation hit me a bit, as I was obsessional about cutting down the time that lust took my thoughts, without ever thinking about why I was lusting and what it really meant.
Is there such a thing as safe lust?
There probably is not! But I would encourage anyone who finds lust an issue to go to God on it. The answers will surprise you! I love tennis and have done for a while. I have a massive crush on one particular player - I found myself thinking about him and another player kissing I was really turned on by that.
It was strange. But rather than hide this under the carpet I went to God on it and literally went - what was that all about? When God had finished laughing he said that I should relax as it is a sign of a healthy sex drive – which made me laugh a lot!
But there is also a less healthy place for lust and that is when it is about wish fulfilment. A varied sex life is a really great part of every marriage. It is really key - it is not about whether the sex is good or bad, but about mutual sharing and intimacy.
When sex becomes a show of domination though fear of intimacy or lack of confidence that is what needs dealing with. Whenever I have thought about sex, it has mainly been about me taking control and having the upper hand - being able to say if somethings pleases me or not.
What I realised through thinking about why I think about sex this way is that I feared intimacy. I did not believe that a man would stick around and get to know me, so I thought that I should get what I want from him first. Writing it now brings me close to tears as I reflect on the lie that I have just put on the page. But this is what I thought. The lust was not the issue in this case, but the confidence, or lack of it.
The journey has been long and painful but I finally think that I am worth loving and worthy of mutual love, that is not about dominating a situation until you get your desire, but equal and expansive love for one another. It is no co-incidence that when I finally addressed my confidence issues and dealt with those, my lust in this area began to fade.
It was no longer a prison that held me to ransom. I felt and still continue to feel free on this. There is still work to be done in this area but I know that I am experiencing victory. When I do, I talk about it to share the goodness and patience of God in this area, but I still feel that there is work to be done. Friends would describe it as a struggle, but I believe that I am experiencing a progressive and resounding victory.
I want to share my journey, not so that you feel embarrassed to read this article or ashamed that you feel a bit the same as me, but to encourage you to take this to God and ask him. Be prepared to be surprised and loved into the change that you wish to see.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works for an international financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films and slowly discovering life with Jesus.
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html