Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vampires, Werewolves, teenage love … oh my!

Hello all! Long time (again) since I’ve blogged. That’s all about to change. It’s time for this Princess Warrior for Christ to start encouraging and challenging other Princess Warriors to be all they can be as daughters of the King. When I challenge you, guess what? I end up challenging myself to live life for Christ on a deeper level. It kind of works like that doesn’t it? We tend to teach what we need to be taught, or we get to share about things we’ve overcome by the grace of God.

So, the new format will be as follows.

At first, you may get a little update about my personal life.

Secondly, I will pick a topic or theme related to Christian living, an attribute or behavior that brings God glory, and expound on that. I may also feature a theme that relates to something we might be better off avoiding, if you know what I mean.

At least one scripture will be referenced and I will include a real life story or anecdote that helps us better embrace the topic, OR I’ll write a fiction scenario to depict what we’re exploring. If there is a resource or book that might help us in relation to the topic, I’ll make sure to share it with all of you. With that in mind …

Why wait? Let’s start, shall we?

My personal note: It is Thanksgiving evening. I am thankful for so many things … my relationship with God, my family, and friends. My job. My home. My ministry. I really, for the most part, like my life. Despite the financial challenges (and they’re big ones) and issues with my kids, I am still grateful.

When I had the swine flu something happened spiritually speaking. My misery drew me closer to God, the only place I could find even a smidgen of comfort. I did a lot of silent praying and God in His perfect wisdom responded in ways that continue to astound me. I’m getting ready to head out of town with my daughter. We were invited to travel with a dear friend and her daughter who is the same age as mine. Road trip! Tomorrow, bright and early, we’ll be on our way to Klamath Falls, Oregon. We’ve heard there may be some of that cold white stuff covering the ground. Just the potential of snow has the girls in a tizzy. Personally, I’m okay with a book, fire in the fireplace, and the gorgeous view we get to soak in. That’s my new news in the condensed format.

I’m sure some of you are bemoaning your over-stuffed bellies and wondering what vampires and werewolves have to do with our Christian walk. Add teenage love to that and it sounds like I’ve lost my mind. Stay with me.

None of us can fully avoid the latest phenomenon that’s running rampant in the media – Twilight, New Moon, the Cullen family of vampires, and a pack of handsome young werewolves, are on the minds of more than a few gals – both young and older. Much older! I’ll admit that I, too, have seen the movie and read the books.

When you have a preteen who is eager to embrace what society is spitting out, you tend to take it upon yourself to investigate. After reading, I’m not so worried about the war between vampires and werewolves. I think most of us are pretty clear that that particular battle won’t be happening anywhere but on the Big Screen or in the pages of the nation’s bestselling book series. Seriously, I’m not bothered by all that. What concerns me, big time, and more so with the latest movie installment – New Moon – is the addictive, codependent nature of Bella’s (the heroine) and Edward’s (vampire love interest) relationship.

Do I need to give background? I doubt it. I suspect if you haven’t see the movie or read the books, you know enough about the storyline to follow along.

For some reason, I really noticed the problematic theme to their relationship in this newest movie. They’ve been dating now for some time. She is human. He is a vampire. Good girl. Bad boy. We all know that story. There’s just something that seems to be engrained in most women that leads us to desire (secretly for the most part) that “bad boy” image. That’s a topic I don’t even have time to start on.

Anyway, what I noticed as I sat through the first half of New Moon was the pathetic, anguished, never-joyful love Edward and Bella shared. Geeze! If it hurt so much why bother? That’s the problem, though, isn’t it? From soap operas, to nighttime dramas, romance novels, and the Big Screen movies, we’ve been conditioned to think that being in love mean being in pain. Even when Edward and Bella kiss they look like they need a strong pain killer. Where’s the joy? Maybe a big smile now and then might be nice.

I know. I know. Some of you are saying, but Carol they don’t have sex and teenaged love is mushy, after all. That’s great. I can appreciate those points. However, when Edward leaves, we are forced to watch Bella dive into a depression so deep she can barely keep from drowning. And I don’t mean for a few weeks, or even a month, but for months and months and months. She becomes the walking dead. Her whole existence is wrapped up in her feelings for her vampire beau. She even starts to do crazy, dangerous stunts so she can hallucinate about him, and people find that romantic. Scary, huh?

Granted, she’s not the only one looking gloomy. Edward apparently can’t function either. In fact, he plans to kill himself when he believes that she is dead. This whole Romeo/Juliet love thing, with suicide as an option, is just plain evil. When we put a person and relationship ahead of God, we’re in big trouble.

This movie sends a very specific message to young girls everywhere. When you’re in love, nothing else matters but the object of your affection. You can’t possibly survive without that person. Love is supposed be filled with pain, heartache, and anguish, along with strong doses of insecurity and fear.

Am I making too much of a teenage love story? I don’t think so.
God’s Word says specifically:
“Do not worship any other gods besides me.” Exodus 20:3 NLT

When our world revolves another person, place, or thing, we are quite simply said: worshipping that person, place, or thing. Some people worship their wealth, others their careers, and some their cars, the list could go on for miles. For many women, men and relationships are the focus of their worship. If we feel that we cannot survive without a certain someone or something, we just might be in trouble.

I’m not downplaying real love. Godly love is a beautiful thing. Godly love is good for you, though. Consider the following words about addictive love versus what the author calls authentic love:

ADDICTIVE LOVE SAYS:

1. I can’t live without you. You give my life meaning.
2. You make me feel valuable. When I am with you, I am somebody.
3. I can’t make it on my own. I’m helpless without you.
4. I want you to be a total part of my life, and I want to be a total part of yours.
5. All of the hard times are worth the good times. I will be here forever, no matter what happens, no matter how terrible or harmful you are for me.
6. I can’t bear to think of you sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone else. You are the only one who has ever understood me.
7. You should be sensitive to all my needs. I have feelings you should take into consideration before you do anything.
8. If you really care, you will treat me the way I want. Your job is to make me feel good.

AUTHENTIC LOVE SAYS:

1. I can live without you, but I chose not to.
2. I am a valuable person, and you affirm that value to me.
3. I can make it on my own. Having you as part of my life makes it easier, or more fulfilling.
4. We are two separate people with two individual lives to lead. I encourage you to pursue interests, and I will pursue mine. This kind of space and diversity is good for us.
5. I believe love should seek another’s highest good. To the best of my ability, I will do that for you, even if sometimes I fail.
6. We are richer for sharing our lives with other people. I encourage you to have other friendships.
7. Mutuality is the glue that holds us together. I enjoy you, and in that enjoyment, I find that many of my needs for importance, belonging, and intimacy are met.
8. I will accept the way you show me you care about me. Sometimes I may have to ask you about your actions, but generally, I will take at face value what you say and do.

I wish I could give credit to someone for coming up with those descriptions, but I can’t for the life of me recall where it came from. It makes some very valuable points that both non-Christians and Christians can both easily relate to.


The Bottom line remains: As Princess Warriors for Christ, our love and attention, first and foremost should be on our Heavenly King – Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate Source of real, authentic love. We can never think too much about Him. When we’re filled with His love we are better equipped to truly love those around us. He will also give us the strength to continue when we lose someone we love deeply.


My final thought: If you plan to watch the Twilight saga with a younger woman or teenager, why not discuss the nature of true, healthy love and where it ultimately comes from – an intimate relationship with Christ. In addition, point out that being in love isn’t supposed to be filled with excruciating, gut-wrenching pain. Our special person should lift us up, bring us joy, and most importantly draw us closer to God.

1 comment:

Beaner said...

I'm so glad you addressed this current phenomenon. I have a friend who compares her relationship to this such thing and wishes it WAS like the movie, full of aching for each other. It is so difficult to correct the twisted view of love the world has given us. Thank you for addressing this.
much appreciation
- a bride of Christ :)