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Four Reasons Why the “Good Old Days” Sucked for Introverts (Besides the Obvious “No Internet”)

October 19, 2014

The movie Austenland is terrible for many reasons, but what most offended me is that one of the main characters is a history professor who moonlights as Mr. Darcy at a Jane Austen-themed “resort” because he wants to experience life in a simpler time. Anyone who knows that much about history knows that such idealism is complete crap.

By all means, enjoy Downton Abbey and fantasize about those fabulous gowns, but don’t pretend that you wouldn’t totally be a kitchen maid if you actually lived back in 1918. Pine for the days of knights and ladies all you want, but don’t come crying to me when you contract the Black Death. Have fun with the world of Mad Men, and let me know what you think about the lung cancer and race riots.

Some bygone eras are better left bygone. And some of them would have been downright agonizing for us introverts.

And why is that?

1. Phone calls were even more painfully awkward.

Talking on the phone is bad enough for an introvert: you can’t use body language, you create weird silences when you don’t think and talk fast enough, and you use up valuable social energy. But the early days of telephones were even worse. Not only did you have to talk to the intended recipient, but you had to talk to the phone operator who would connect you. If no one was there, you couldn’t leave a voicemail and breathe a sigh of relief—no, if it was important, you had to keep trying. Or, if someone besides your intended recipient answered, you had to leave a message. That’s two whole other people you could be talking to without even reaching the person you wanted. And that’s if the operator connected you correctly on the first try. And if you were talking on a party line, who knows how many other people were listening in.

“The sofa cover. What are YOU wearing?”

2. Traveling often meant sleeping with strangers.

No, not that kind of “sleeping”—I mean an actual snooze-fest. Before railroads, commercial airplanes, and interstate highways made it a way of life, travel was limited to the very few who could afford it—and there was still no end to the inconveniences. Besides the risks of impassible muddy roads and literal highway robbery, there was the issue of privacy. Only the wealthiest travelers could afford a private room—and only if there was an empty room available. At best, people bunked up with those they had already shared a stagecoach with—at worst, they had to fight over the blankets with someone whose name they didn’t even know. In chapter three of Moby Dick, Ishmael tries to get a room in a crowded inn, but the proprietor can only offer him a shared bed. He’s not happy about it, but he doesn’t act like it’s unheard-of. Of course, many travelers would have been used to sharing a bed anyway—family members and sometimes whole households shared beds, especially in those one-room cabins on the prairie. For people who want a historical travel experience, though, there are always hostels.

Pictured: Jack the Ripper’s next victims

3. Salespeople in stores wouldn’t go up to you and ask, “Can I help you?”

Sure, this sounds ideal for an introvert who doesn’t want to be bothered while browsing, but here’s why clerks didn’t go up to you: you already had to go to them. Well into the previous century, shops were not self-serve. Customers at butchers, grocers, haberdashers, general stores, etc., couldn’t just go in and pick out what they wanted. You had to go up to the clerk and ask them for exactly what you wanted, and they would get it for you. It’s bad enough having your embarrassing purchases rung up at a store that doesn’t have self-pay stations, but can you imagine having to ask for them?

“I need five pounds of coffee, two tins of tobacco, a package of bullets, a box of regular tampons, and your best hemorrhoid ointment. Oh, and what’s the strongest deodorant you carry?”

4. Executions were public events.

Being put to death for your crimes was bad enough in “olden days.” Unless you were a French aristocrat,* you were unlikely to get a swift beheading via guillotine, and lethal injection wasn’t popular until the late 1900s. It was probably the rope for you—not the quickest or cleanest of deaths (let’s not even talk about burning at the stake). But if you were an introvert, it got even worse. Recreation was scarcer before the invention of literacy and moving pictures. If the Globe wasn’t showing Titus Andronicus that weekend, people used more gruesome ways to satisfy their desire for violent entertainment–often in the form of a public execution. In fact, it became a tradition to execute prisoners at dawn because too many crowds would gather if they did it any later in the day. For those introverted criminals who hate being the center of attention, that made capital punishment even more awkward.

Pictured: the season finale of “Game of Thrones”

*Actually, the final use of the guillotine for capital punishment in France occurred in the 1970s.

Vague Updates and a New Road Trip

October 7, 2014

This blog has been pretty quiet recently. I won’t go into details about why—there have been a lot of emotional ups and downs, vague decision-making about my future, some disappointments here and there. But God is at work, and He is gradually feeding me the information I need as I need it. I do wish I had more to go on, but I’m working with what I have.

Right now, actually, I am in New England. I left last week and drove through Pennsylvania and New York, had another good AirBNB experience, and stayed with friends in Boston. I went to New York City, Salem (for the first time), and Rockport MA (also for the first time). I’m planning to go hiking in Maine and Vermont, and I don’t even have plans yet for my return. I have to be back in Ohio for a meeting in the last week of the month, but aside from that, I’m keeping things pretty open-ended.

Unlike my trip out West this summer, I am deliberately trying to be better at trusting God and not giving in to anxiety, the better to enjoy the journey. After months of depression and insecurity and uncertainty, I have friends praying that this trip will be enjoyable and spiritually refreshing, and so far God has responded with great generosity.

Someday I will post more pictures of my trip from out West, but until then, enjoy a few shots from the last week:

Looking across the Hudson from Hyde Park, NY

Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park NY

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Your blogger, on the train to NYC

View of Central Park

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Gutenberg Bible at the New York Public Library

October in Salem

Massachusetts coastline

View of/from Rockport, Mass.

Six MORE Ways to Not Be Hated by an INTJ

September 11, 2014

Disclaimer: YES, a lot of this post is tongue-in-cheek. I am not actually trying to change the behavior and the mental processes of everyone in the world who is not an INTJ (or who is not me). It’s partly my own venting of things that frustrate me, partly (for non-INTJs) insight and advice about our way of thinking and seeing the world, and partly (for INTJs) a “Haha, if only, right?” kind of inside joke. If you’re wondering whether or not to take any of this personally, just repeat to yourself: ‘It’s just one person’s overly opinionated blog post, I should really just relax.’

Months ago, I wrote How Not to be Hated by an INTJ, which surpassed I’m Not a Sociopath, I’m Just an INTJ as my most popular blog once it was shared on Reddit and some Facebook groups. This sequel will provide a few more tips for keeping the INTJs in your life from hating you.

1. Is it obvious? Then don’t say it.

I’m not saying that INTJs are smarter than everyone else—it’s just that our brains tend to be three steps ahead. Whatever joke, observation, or piece of advice you’re about to say, we probably anticipated it. That’s partly why we hate small talk—most of it is obvious, like the weather. INTJs choose their words and their time carefully, unwilling to waste either. If you say something that went without saying, it may trigger irritation or disdain from the unfortunate INTJ who is within earshot.

This is most frequent with unsolicited advice. The general rule of thumb is: Didn’t ask? Don’t tell. Even if an INTJ is complaining about something, don’t try to fix the problem unless they actually ask for help. Whatever you’d recommend probably has already been considered, tried, and failed. Just nod and let the moment pass.

 

2. Don’t act like you know more than you really do.

A problem with INTJs is that, even if we know not everyone thinks like we do, we still expect them to. We want things to be logical and make sense—even other people, much to our disappointment. INTJs are great at knowing what they know and don’t know. They’re unlikely to tackle an issue beyond their capabilities; unfortunately, we expect other people to be like this, too.

INTJs often can tell if another person is full of crap, which hits a number of INTJ red buttons. A falsely knowledgeable front goes against the INTJ disdain of sugarcoating and being disingenuous. Talking about something beyond one’s knowledge flies in the face of the INTJ’s appreciation for competency. Listening to a person who doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about is a waste of time.

As a type that values logic and practicality over emotions and pride, we tend not to understand why someone would try to put up a front to salvage their feelings. If you don’t know something, don’t fake it—be honest about your ignorance, and don’t waste our time.

3. If you DO know, speak up!

Did an INTJ just call you by the wrong name? Say something offensive? Is there spinach between their teeth? Do you have bad news that they will have to find out eventually? Tell them. Don’t spare feelings. We INTJs might not like what we hear, but we would rather have all the facts than feel good. The INTJ will be more mortified by finding out they’ve been living in ignorance than by anything negative you have to tell them. Suck it up and get it over with. (Side note: If an INTJ is upset by something you tell them, odds are that it’s not personal, so relax.)

Most INTJs would rather…

4. Avoid surprises at all costs.

Like I said, INTJs want to have all the facts. INTJs want to know what they’re getting into. We like to perform cost-benefit analyses to decide if something is worthy of our time and resources. Do not deliberately plan any sort of surprise for an INTJ, unless you have known that INTJ for a very long time and are 150% certain that the surprise would be accepted. Even then…think again.

5. Don’t expect us to feel or react a certain way.

I like to emphasize that INTJs are not emotionless robots or unfeeling monsters. Things that send most people into paroxysms of joy or despair may leave us unmoved. (“Common feelings common men can bear,” to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.) I, for example, am completely bored when I hear about marriage proposals, and I don’t understand why other people like to hear about them. That doesn’t mean an INTJ is always unmoved. Shortly before I left for my trip to England last year, I told a friend that I was “bouncing off the walls” with excitement. (She said, “I wouldn’t have guessed that,” because I was not literally bouncing off the walls.) Don’t assume that what you see on an INTJ’s surface is what’s going on underneath. And again, don’t take it personally if an INTJ doesn’t react the way you expect or want.

 

6. Understand that pointing out flaws is different from being a pessimist.

INTJs are big on problem-solving, which makes us good (too good) at criticizing and consulting. This can lead to accusations of negativity and pessimism by lesser beings who are content to live with the sub-par.

Don’t accuse an INTJ of just “being negative” without trying to understand this problem-solving tendency. Yes, problem-solvers and pessimists both focus on flaws, but for different reasons. Pessimists usually can’t see the positive side of an issue, or they refuse to, and just want something to complain about. An INTJ can see the positives, but often ignores them to focus on the flaws, because they mean to do something about them (or tell someone else what to do about them), bringing everything up to its full potential.

I can’t tell you how many times I was yelled at as a child for correcting my mother and—gasp!—other elders when they got a fact or a quote wrong. I really did not understand why everyone got mad, because I did not understand why they wouldn’t want to know the correct version. And I’ve been called a pessimist and negative, too, for daring to notice that things aren’t always perfect.

 

And that last one, I’m sure, is why this post is going to get a good share of criticism. But it’s okay, because…

Updates at Summer’s End

September 6, 2014
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It’s been a couple weeks, and even though nothing exciting has happened to me, I thought it was time for an update because I don’t like this blog to be dormant for a while.

I am planning a road trip to New England for October. I’ve never been to the region in autumn, and it’s something I have always wanted to see. I’m looking forward to all the colors, and to seeing friends in Boston.

Paul Revere

WHAT UP, PAUL

I’ve made no decision yet about where to move. I spent some time trying to do research and freaking out about it. Then, when I decided to do an October road trip, I got the sense that God wants me to plan this trip, and nothing further. That has been immensely challenging, because even though I wouldn’t know where to begin anyway, I still want to do something. I hate living in this limbo state, and I really hate living at my stepdad’s house, and in this town. I feel like I’m growing fat and complacent here, because there isn’t much to do or many people to see. I’ve been trying to exercise and practice piano, and I’ve been working, of course, but I haven’t felt much motivation to plan my trip. I’ve been marathoning a lot of Parks and Recreation lately. Also, I have had almost zero interest in either writing or cooking, which are two of the biggest joys in my life.

I had been pretty interested in moving to Bozeman, Montana, but I’m cooling on the idea because I cannot accept the idea of living hundreds, even thousands, of miles from everyone I know. And I mean everyone. Maybe someday I can take that step, but I’m just not ready. So I am just going to plan my next road trip, and then see how things stand when I return. By November, I might have fallen in love with someplace in New England, I might decide I could do Montana after all, I might think of something else, or I might even move back to Columbus (I really don’t want to, but I am not ruling it out completely). Or I might be just as clueless as I am now, and that is the most terrifying possibility of all.

However, I have at least narrowed down my search to a few requirements for wherever I end up living. Besides “within a day’s drive of someone I know”

  1. I want to live where I can afford to live alone. I thought that doing AirBNB and staying with friends and family would kind of prep me, warm me to the idea of having a roommate again, because it would be so much cheaper. However, I have only become convinced that living alone is the best option for my mental health. (Unless God sends the most obviously perfect person to live with and plops them down right in front of me.) I may have to get a second, part-time job to cover the added expense, since my current job won’t pay me a higher rate, and also because
  2. I want to live where I can have pets. Small, caged pets, because I am allergic to cats and dogs (and rabbits, I have found). What I want right now are a pair of guinea pigs, a bearded dragon, and a snake (probably a milk snake, they’re pretty and supposed to be good for beginners, but eventually I’d love to get a ball python because they are the cutest). OK, not all at once, but eventually, yes.
  3. I also need a place with a decent church community. Basically a church with good teaching, where there are actually people at my stage of life (dare I hope for single professionals in their 30s?), and hopefully some kind of ministry I can be involved in.
  4. I need a place that gets cold. Preferably also a place that doesn’t get unbearably hot in the summer, but at the very least someplace that gets cold for part of the year.

I WANTS ONE. (photo not mine, click for source)

I have at least two blog posts in the works, both of which have been half-finished for ages now. One of them is another Screwtape Letters-style post. The other is a part two to my “How Not to Be Hated by an INTJ” post. That’s another problem I’ve been having: that post ended up on Reddit, and several INTJ Facebook groups, and became my most popular blog post. Unfortunately, with fame comes criticism, and I’ve gotten a few negative, borderline-nasty comments that have accused the post, or my style, or personality types in general, of being “pointless,” or “stupid,” or “juvenile,” or inaccurate, or not concise enough. (It’s not even constructive criticism, jeeeeze.)

Even though I know that INTJs are naturally critical, so such comments are expected, and that people on the Internet are often rude, it’s discouraged me from writing any more on the subject. And it pisses me off that I feel that way, because I enjoy writing about being an INTJ, and I shouldn’t allow a few random strangers to make me feel like I shouldn’t. Besides, even though it is impossible to please everyone, and I should just make sure that am the one happy and satisfied with what I post on my own blog, it remains that for every negative comment I get, I get at least five from people who are either INTJs happy to find a sympathetic perspective, or non-INTJs who have found my posts helpful for relating to the INTJs in their lives. I wish that were enough to encourage me right now.

So that’s what’s up lately. Perhaps soon I will post photos of my return trip from Seattle back east. However, I took fewer photos then, and I don’t think I got any of the Montana landscape. I’m wishing now that I had, but by then I was tired of taking pictures only to find that they did not do their subjects justice, like the trees in Oregon. So forgive me. But I will have zoo and museum photos up eventually, that I promise.

At the End of the Oregon Trail

August 21, 2014

I reached Portland, OR, the late afternoon of Friday, June 20, so in a way, my cross-country journey ended then. However, I did not arrive at the official “End of the Oregon Trail” in Oregon City until the next morning, Saturday June 21, when I met up with old college friends Elizabeth and Michelle for one of the best days since leaving Marcella and Phillip in Kansas nearly a fortnight earlier.

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Your plucky blogger, standing at the last model wagon she would see for a good long while!

Given that it was at the freaking end of the Oregon Trail, this particular “interpretive center” was a little disappointing. It takes up a good amount of room, but the exhibits feel small, with little information that was not already available at other sites along the route. I knew from reading TripAdvisor reviews that they had undergone a recent renovation, as well as budget troubles, and it kind of shows. As much as I hated Casper, WY, the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center there was one of the best I saw in those 11 days, as was the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, OR.

I will say that the End of the Trail museum had a section about Oregon roses that was very informative, concentrating especially on roses brought across the continent on the Trail. I did not know that roses are kind of a big thing in Portland. There is also an exhibit that takes a look at some of the real individuals who traveled the trail, and what they did upon arriving in Oregon. For example, Tabitha Brown traveled the trail when she was 66 (already past the average life expectancy in those days), helped found an orphanage, then helped found Tualatin Academy, which eventually became Pacific University in Forest Grove. She also became known as “The Mother of Oregon” and had a WWII Liberty ship named after her. So yeah, age is never an excuse!

The area around the interpretive center was also very pretty…

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…and the gift shop was well-stocked with themed merchandise.

Elizabeth helped me model some of it.

Elizabeth helped me model some of it.

The venue also featured a movie that described the journey on the Oregon Trail, and although the voice acting was hit-and-miss among the cast, there were some very moving moments. One part talked about how the pioneers often had to jettison weight from their wagons. There was a voiceover about a man who cried when he had to dump the rolling pin that had been his mother’s, and how she used it to make the best biscuits, and I definitely cried, too.

After a cruise through the museum, we parted ways—Michelle and I went for lunch in downtown Portland, and later I met up with Elizabeth for dinner. It was a fabulous day full of good conversation and catching up, and seeing some of the sights, like Portland Saturday Market and a naked bike ride. (This was especially funny because in Milwaukee, Laurel and her mother were shocked to see an underwear-themed bike ride, and I was just like, “Pssht, amateurs.”) I don’t think I had seen either Michelle or Elizabeth since our graduation seven years ago. If you want evidence of the benefits of social media, I submit that entire day in Portland, which probably would not have happened without Facebook.

A few people who don’t know me very well were convinced that I would fall in love with Portland. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, the city itself did not impress me. Part of the reason is that I’m not cool/hipster/hippy enough. The types of jobs, food, art, and other recreational activities that draw many people there are not something that I’m interested in. I’m starting to realize that I have simpler tastes than I previously believed. Another reason was that, after spending 10 days driving through small towns, mountains, farms, and ranches, I came to really enjoy less-populated areas. Although I loved the drive along the Columbia River, I found Portland absolutely suffocating. I would definitely go back for another visit, but I’m not cruising Craigslist for apartments just yet.

And there you FINALLY have it, two months later, an account of my final (very successful) day on the Oregon Trail!

Oregon Trail Days Nine and Ten

August 15, 2014

I’m combining two days into one post because there aren’t a lot of pictures, or much to say at all, about either of them. They were good days, just not a lot to say about them.

I realized that I had more photos that I remembered, and also that, upon rereading my initial intro for this blog post, I’m a filthy liar.

Day Nine, Thursday June 19, I did my morning work, used the hotel pool, checked out, and headed over to the Fort Walla Walla museum. This was a cute local museum that had more than I was expecting. There was a room full of Civil War-related items, but as I’m not big on the Civil War, I gave it a pass. They had clothes and other items (including medical equipment) that had been donated by locals. They also had photographs of the graduating classes from a local nursing school, and lots of exhibits on farm equipment.

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This one was so cute and nostalgic I had to share

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For once, this wagon isn’t a model, it’s a real wagon that traveled to Walla Walla!

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Walla Walla is also home to the Washington State Penitentiary, and the Ft. Walla Walla museum has an impressive model cell, with lots of “memorabilia” housed in cases nearby

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They don’t f*** around in Walla Walla

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I didn’t take a lot of photos of the farm equipment, but I couldn’t resist the thresher that was originally powered by what I think were 30 mules. It was very advanced in its day.

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You might be able to click on the image to read the text? Sorry, crappy iPod photo again.

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The inside of the chuck wagon that provided meals to farm hands in the Walla Walla region. I wanted this job until I found out they started their days at like 4am.

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Me with a new friend

There was also an outdoor “pioneer village” set up with buildings that had been collected from the area. Although it was a lot of fun, there was a bit of a “been-there-done-that” feel to it, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures. Although the park area around the fort/museum was very pretty:

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So, funny story. Almost every time I mentioned my Oregon Trail trip to my friend Kara, she would remind me that I was going to be near Mount Hood. I didn’t know much of the geography and natural landscape of the Northwest before I went out there, and I thought Mt. Hood was going to be one of a chain of mountains, and so I was like, “Well, I won’t know which one it is, so it probably won’t matter.”

But as I drove from Walla Walla, WA, to The Dalles, OR, my car rounded a corner on the highway, and …

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… Oh.

After I got to the Dalles and another less-than-great hotel room, I was tired but it was early so I decided that my hair color needed a touchup. So I bought a box of coloring from the Walgreens down the street and spent the evening coloring my hair in a hotel room. I felt like an Alfred Hitchcock protagonist.

So the next day, June 20 . . . that was fun. I got up, did work, checked out of the hotel, and drove to The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, just west of the hotel, and it was one of the top three museums I saw on my trip (to and from Oregon).

It started with the third rainbow of the trip.

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The museum provided history of the Columbia Gorge, including natural history dating back to the Ice Age.

The Game of Thrones fangirl that is still lurking within me somewhere had a bit of a moment . . .

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Yup, that’s a direwolf skeleton.

In several places, the Oregon Trail overlaps with other historic trails, including the Pony Express Route, the California Trail, and the Mormon trail. At the Columbia River, it overlaps with Lewis and Clark’s famous journey, so naturally there was an exhibit for them in the building, as well as very entertaining and informative film shown periodically in the auditorium (bonus points for both Lewis and Clark being played by cute actors). It made me want to learn more about them (and possibly drive the Lewis and Clark route someday) and about Sacagawea, who was a frickin’ badass.

I think the one major complaint I had about the museum was a lack of labeling. There were a lot of items on display in the Lewis and Clark exhibit, but nothing to indicate whether they were authentic items that the explorers had carried with them, or just historically accurate reproductions.

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For example, I don’t know whether these are the ACTUAL spyglass and compass that Lewis and Clark carried with them, and so I don’t know whether I should lose all, or only part, of my little fangirl mind.

There were also exhibits about the industries that were developed in the area, the growth of technology (woo, steamboats!) and towns, and of course a reminder of how dangerous the Columbia river was for the Oregon Trail emigrants.

There was also a lot about the construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway, which I had the good fortune of driving along for a stretch after leaving the museum.

The discovery center also houses several types of raptors. These birds are found in the wild, but kept at the center because they otherwise would not survive, like the red-tailed hawk with a gimpy wing, and used for educational purposes. They had a “show” with a couple of the animals, and the great horned owl kept staring at me.

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Just…not in this photo

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The area surrounding the museum was also gorgeous.

Looking across the Columbia River at what is technically Washington state

Now THAT is camouflage! Anyone want to identify?

This red-tailed hawk is the same beautiful lady who was at the raptor show

Eventually it was time to head out … along that exhilarating historic highway, so close to my journey’s end.

View from Vista House

Does the shape of the building look…familiar to you?

Although June 20 (the day these last photos were taken) is when I technically reached Portland, of which Oregon City is now a suburb, I didn’t reach the official end of the trail until June 21. That’s the next post. ;-)

 

SEX: Why Are You Pure?

August 9, 2014

Originally posted on Maci Shingleton:

unnamed (11)   As a single college student in the middle of Christian culture, people tell me to wait for sex a lot. “Wait until you’re married. It’s better when you’re married!” “Save yourself for your husband, you don’t want to take that baggage.” “Stay pure for your husband, it’s worth it!” All of these encouragements may be true and come from good intentions but they don’t make sense. What if I die tomorrow? What if God doesn’t want me to be married, ever? Why would those reasons be reason enough to remain sexually pure now? With good intentions, many of us in the church have begun telling students to remain pure for their future spouses. That sounds nice, but it is not exactly why Jesus calls us to purity. I remain pure not for my future imaginary husband but for my very real right now God.

   Our desire in being…

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