Hooking Up vs. Holding Out:
Helping Singles Find a Healthy Sexual Balance
(Part 1 of 7)
(This article originally appeared in Enrichment Journal, 03/2011)
I’ll never forget the day one of my best childhood friends got a new swing set for her birthday. Why? Because the scar on my forehead won’t let me forget.
The contraption had your typical swings, a slide, and a U-shaped bar for twirling around, but it also had something cool I’d never seen on a swing set before. It was the shape of a cage and had two benches facing each other, allowing two people to “pendulum swing” at the same time. Two of the birthday party attendees climbed onto the benches, and I offered to push them, hoping I could have the next turn inside the cage. As I pushed, the girls squealed, “Higher!” so I decided to push the way I often pushed someone on a typical one-person swing–putting my hands on their back and plowing forward until I ran all the way under the swing to the other side. I braced myself to give it the old heave-ho, then pushed as high up in the air as I possibly could.
At that moment I realized the weight of the second person prevented me from pushing the swing high enough to have complete clearance, but my body movements were already committed to the task. Rather than running all the way underneath and through to the other side, I was caught up in the backlash of the pendulum swing when the foot rest caught my forehead and dragged me down to the ground, flat on my back.
As foolish as this maneuver sounds, many young people in churches today are getting caught up in a similar dynamic. They assume they’re strong enough to fight against their own flesh, so they push the envelope — watching whatever movies they want… listening to whatever music they want… dressing as provocatively as they want… spending as much time alone with the opposite sex as they want. Only then do many discover that their sexual resolve wasn’t nearly as strong as they originally thought. Rather than saving sex for that special someone, they begin letting life (and all of the sexual temptations that come with it) drag them down. They start hooking up instead of holding out. “Why bother resisting once you’ve lost your virginity?” they reason. Unfortunately, I know this mindset all too well.
And that’s why I’m committing this 7-post series to the topic of “Holding Out vs. Hooking Up,” so stay tuned…
 This illustration originally appeared in my book Every Woman’s Marriage, WaterBrook Press, 2006.
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