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A: And the Bride Wore White (a book I wrote over 10 years ago) has really transformed the way young women have chosen to live their lives. Over 20,000 churches have used it as a curriculum with their youth groups or in teen Sunday school classes. For that reason, I really want my readers who trust me to know that my new book What Are You Waiting For? will be grittier in substance. But the grittiness has a purpose. This book is needed, and the language that teens use about sexuality has changed. I’m not going to shy away from topics like masturbation or words like orgasm, because I believe that teens know the words, and I think they need a biblical filter system to really sift through them, to define value to them and to figure out how their understanding of sexuality fits into their relationship with God as well as their relationship with their future spouse.
There’s one more unique difference in this book. In the last five years, science has drastically advanced our knowledge of how the body responds to sexuality. One of the biggest breakthroughs has been advanced brain scanning and chemical analysis that has provided a more complete picture of sexual brokenness. Whether you have a biblical view of sexuality or whether you have a view as an atheist, what we know now is that there is incredible brokenness in a young woman when she has a sexual partner and then breaks that relationship off.
Here’s what we know: When a young woman has sex, her brain is covered with a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine, if you will, is an addiction drug. When the body experiences any kind of pleasure, whether it’s from working out and getting a good sweat or from using cocaine, it washes the brain in dopamine. Now, it’s a value-neutral drug so the brain doesn’t determine “this was a good thing for my body” or “This was a bad thing for my body.” The activity raises the chemical level in your brain and creates a literal addiction to the source of the dopamine.
What does that do for a young woman who is in a sexual relationship with someone? She becomes addicted to that person.
So, we know a lot more about sex than we did 10 years ago when I wrote my first book, and I would like young women to be equipped with that information-- to look at everything sexual through God’s eyes and through an intelligent understanding of sexuality.
Q: What have you heard from young women that confirms their eagerness and need for the insights they will find inside What Are You Waiting For?
A: Their response to one other critical finding clearly demonstrates their hunger for this information. I’ve taken the opportunity to trace God’s word for the Hebrew word for sex through the Bible. Starting with Genesis 4: 1 where we first see it, I follow it all the way through to the book of Revelations. The word is “yada.”
In looking at this word yada, we can see what God’s heart really is on the subject of sex. We can even see it in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Every time I talk about this word, teens and college students come to me and say “that’s it.” It’s kind of this “eureka moment” in which young women realize “that’s it…that’s why it’s so sacred, that’s why I’m so sex crazed, that’s why it’s so painful when I use it casually, that’s why it’s worth the wait.” Everyone that’s ever heard me talk about yada has this moment.
This one amazing word-- I guess when you hear one word from God, it’s big and it’s powerful.
I’m excited to take it to print now after several years of teaching on it.
Q: What truth do you expect or hope will live on in readers’ hearts long after they’ve finished the book?
A: I hope that they will take away the greater significance of the word yada because it’s used in many important ways. For instance, the word is first used in Genesis 4:1-- “Adam lay with his wife Eve”-- that is “Adam yada his wife Eve and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.”
But then it is also used in verses like, “Be still and know (yada) that I am God.”
It’s amazing to me that the word God uses to describe the holy intimate sexual relationship between a man and a woman is the same word that God uses to describe the nakedness and the intimacy that He wants to have in a relationship with us. It’s mind blowing.
As I traced this word from Genesis into the New Testament, it is also used in terms of the sacrifice of Christ where Jesus himself said that a marriage relationship is really just a picture of a deeper love that He has for his bride, the church.
That’s where the “aha” moment lies.
There’s a G.K. Chesterton quote that I hope will be a catalyst to the “aha” moment: “Everyone who knocks on the door of a brothel is really looking for God.”
When you think about it, that’s so true: everyone, whether they are looking at porn on the internet, or struggling with same-sex attraction, or involved in multiple sexual relationships--under it all, they are probably really looking for God.
I hope that seeing this quote in the context of understanding yada, readers will be able to see the potential that their marriage relationship has to be a picture of Christ, and that they will be motivated to protect that picture. Because if our sexuality really is a picture of Christ in the church, how motivated do you think Satan is to destroy that picture?
I want my readers to be deeply motivated to protect and experience sex as a really holy and deeply satisfying gift from God.