The Empty Promise of Promiscuity
Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."1
"Recently I've become promiscuous," began 20-year-old Ellen's sad email. "I've been boy crazy for as long as I can remember. My father left my life when I was twelve. My mom worked long hours and had little time for my brother and me after our parents divorced. I don't understand why I feel I can't function without a significant other in my life. I had a baby when I was 16, married at 17, and now I'm 20 and divorced. I'm searching for a 'soul mate' and I'm in love with the idea of love. It's ruining my morals and my values. I feel empty. Can you help?"
The above message was sent to a counselor friend of mine, Dr. Bruce Narramore. Tragically, situations like this in today's permissive society are far too common where so many lonely people seek to fill the empty void and hunger in their heart with false substitutes such as meaningless sex and empty relationshipsóboth of which serve only to increase their sense of despair.
Bruce said, "I encouraged Ellen to seek help to gain an understanding of some of the causes of her problems. I pointed out how the void left by losing her dad and mom programmed her to feel an unusually deep need for human connection which was probably the driving force behind her promiscuity and excessive need for a man in her life. I also told her she could never fill the void coming from those childhood losses through a sexual relationship or even through marriage. We can't fill childhood voids with adult relationships. That is like pouring water through sand. The water is temporarily cooling but soon vanishes. If Ellen doesn't reverse this pattern, she will go through life trying to find the parents she lost through one tragic relationship after another.
"Ironically, not until Ellen becomes emotionally and spiritually strong enough to live without a man will she be ready for a healthy relationship. At that point she will be a mature adult ready for an adult relationship, rather than an emotional child searching for a lost daddy. And she will no longer 'be in love with the idea of love' which is simply a childish fantasy. Instead, she will be ready to love and be loved by a real person."2
Fortunately, Ellen admitted that she had a problem and needed help. She did seek counseling to help her resolve her childhood losses. We trust that she is now well on the road to recovery and ready for healthy relationships. Ellen's situation is a reminder to all who have unresolved losses that they also need to resolve their losses so they can get off the endless merry-go-round of seeking to fill the empty void in their heart by looking for love in all the wrong faces and places and by trying to fill their void with "things" instead of healthy relationships.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to admit to any unhealthy relationships and/or behaviors in my life, see the cause/s of these, and find the help I need to overcome so that I will grow in maturity and learn to fully live and fully love so my life will be a clean channel through which Your love can flow to others. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Matthew 11:28 (NIV).
2. Narramore, Bruce, Project Letter of the Narramore Christian Foundation.