In Canada, for about 8 months of the year, the skin conundrum is non-existent. That’s because the temperatures are cold. People wear layers to cover their bodies. The conundrum is silent.
But every Spring, from about mid-May until mid-September, the weather heats up and the skin comes out. You know what I’m talking about. Shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, and bikinis. Summer is wonderfully fun, but it brings its share of temptations. I like to call it the skin conundrum.
My exposure to the skin conundrum has intensified in the last year since my wife and I bought a house right by the beach. Don’t get me wrong, we are super blessed and I love that I can go to the beach after work every day. But it presents challenges in the sexual integrity department. I have caught myself double-taking and fixating more than usual this year.
It’s a great reminder that what you fill your mind with matters. We ingest so much content and media today that sometimes we lose sight of the role it plays in our mood and thought life. But the truth is, what you repeatedly ingest eventually becomes a part of you. The same way that the food you continually eat becomes a part of your body.
The tricky part is that most media is seemingly harmless. Sure, we can safely say that watching the American Pie series is not going to do much for us in the sexual integrity department. And yes, watching Paw Patrol is a safe bet. The ends of the spectrum are clearly marked. But what is appropriate in that middle space?
Well, I have an answer for you. Assuming the content has no spiritual, moral, or ethical issues, there is only one piece of criteria: What you can handle in your current season.
You can’t look to the left or to the right and see what your peers can handle.
You can’t blindly follow a mentor and assume his best practices will perfectly fit you.
And you can’t trust the assumptions you’ve made about what “should be the case” for you based on XYZ (ie. “I’m 34 years old, I should be able to handle this by now”).
You must simply pay attention to how the media/content/people/places affect you and then respond appropriately.
For me, that means finding more secluded areas at the beach. It means going to the beach at less common times so there are fewer people. I know that regular double-taking at the beach is the gateway to worse problems and I would rather nip it in the bud. I have a marriage to protect and men to serve.
In previous seasons, I have been able to handle bikinis and beaches without any problem. Clear thoughts, pure intents, etc. In this season, it’s different because the beach is not a one-off experience. It is regular. So I’ve had to make adjustments. The beach is a great outlet for me, so these parameters ensure that my experiences there are serving, not hurting.
I will preach self-awareness from the mountaintops until everyone on planet earth hears it, so let me use this moment to remind you:
-The media, content, people, and places you are exposed to on a regular basis matter.
-Assess what you can handle in this season and make adjustments accordingly.
-You will have to make some sacrifices if you want to curate this area of your life in a godly way, but it will be worth it.
Cheering you on,
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