The Real Talk Challenge

Issue 41  //  ·  ·  · 

CHALLENGE RULES

  1. Read three chapters of Real Talk: Exposing 10 Myths About Love and Sexuality and respond to the reflection questions at the end of each myth.
    Myth 2: Guys are more interested in how sexual a woman is than how pure she is.
    Myth 5: Sex is just for self-pleasure.
    Myth 8: There is nothing wrong with watching porn; I am not hurting anyone in the process.
  2. After completing the reflection questions at the end of each chapter, schedule a call/meet up with each other to share your thoughts and struggles with what you’ve read. Pray for each other at the end of each meeting.

Challenger: Janelle Fong & Jana Ponnia, 16

Fun Fact:
We have been table partners in school for over a year, have totally opposite personalities, and both love stickers!

INITIAL THOUGHTS
Jana: I was not expecting the topics to be so difficult. However, at this age, it is important to delve deeper into these myths. I am not sure how this will progress but I am certain this challenge will help me be more confident in my faith and draw me closer to God. I am very grateful that I am able to do this challenge with Janelle because we are close, so it will be easier and more comfortable to talk about these myths. Despite all my uncertainties, I am excited! The myth I am most eager to discuss is: Guys are more interested in how sexual a woman is than how pure she is. I personally do not agree with this statement. However, I don’t quite know how to express my thoughts on this, so I hope that reading this chapter will help me gain clarity.

Janelle: When I first found out which chapters we would be reading and discussing, I found it a bit weird because they are topics that usually aren’t discussed in normal conversations. However, I think that this will be a good learning experience and will help me grow closer to God. I’m also very curious as to how my discussions with Jana will go. Similar to Jana, I am curious about Myth 2 because I have heard it many times but I strongly disagree with it. I am interested to find out other viewpoints about this myth.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
Jana: For me, Myth 8 was an interesting chapter. I was always told to stay away from pornography and explicit content; I have just accepted that it is bad but I have never been told what makes it bad. I have always believed that watching porn is a sin but it was important for me to understand why it is against God’s will. I especially liked the line, “[there has been a] shift from sex for procreation to sex for recreation” because I felt that it clearly summarised the difference between God’s intent of sex for love versus worldly desires and lust. I have always believed in sex after marriage and this chapter reinforced that too. I am glad that I can now articulate my beliefs clearly!

One thing that really struck me in Myth 5 and 8 was the impact of consuming explicit material on others globally. I never really thought about the impact of pornography on prostitution and sex trafficking. This is really a big issue especially in poorer areas in the world as children are being exploited too.

Janelle: Myth 2 listed ways to identify a godly man (e.g. one who respects the boundaries you have set for yourself, who tries his best to flee from physical temptation etc.). That was very thought provoking for me as I have never really thought about the qualities I would want in a future partner except that he has to be a Christian. These were very useful pointers that I would definitely keep in mind in the future!

Myth 8 was also a very eye-opening one! I realised that so many people are impacted and affected when people watch pornography. It deepened my perspective that porn objectifies people and this objectification can be carried into real life where what is seen in porn is reflected in the expectations we have of how people should look or behave. The pornography industry is one that exploits people and it saddens me to think that there may be some who have no choice but to enter the industry for a living. It must be incredibly painful for God to witness His creation treated in such ways and I think it is important for people to realise that watching porn goes way beyond fuelling their lust. Watching porn also affects our brains and the relationships we form with other people as well. It is even more important that we stay away from porn in order for us to be able to build healthy relationships with others.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Jana: Honestly, it was a little awkward at first as we didn’t really know how to begin. But as we progressed, we delved into deeper discussions which were helpful. I enjoyed talking to Janelle about these topics because I was able to hear her views too. The last time I delved into such topics at length was around two years ago with two best friends from church. I really feel that it is essential to discuss such topics with close friends or our parents. I also grew in my walk with God because I understood more about His plan for me and what is against His will. I hope to apply all the things I have learnt to truly be a woman after God’s own heart!

Janelle: Broaching these topics are always a little hard initially. It helped that I am quite comfortable around Jana. My first conversation about such topics was with a non-Christian friend. At that time, we both shared similar views, such as how pornography can be harmful to others (those who work in the industry and the people around us), and how we believe in abstinence before marriage. This time, the conversation with Jana was more God-oriented and we were able to discuss how God fits in the whole narrative about sexuality. Furthermore, the discussions made me think that although these topics are considered “taboo” in Asian countries, they should be discussed more openly. Doing so in the context of church and cell group would help to educate young people about sexuality too, and help them to hold each other accountable in their struggles. Overall, it was a really interesting challenge for me and I look forward to growing closer to God as I journey to stay pure both in heart and mind!

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