by Harmony Dust
One of the deepest desires of the human heart is for true intimacy—to be fully known and fully loved. Yet in my own life, for so many years, it seemed that the harder I chased after love, the more it eluded me
Scars and Stilettos tells my story. Growing up, I never had a clear picture of what healthy love looked like. Abandoned by my father before I was one year old, then sexually abused at the hands of multiple people—my picture of intimacy was completely skewed. I was desperate for anything that resembled love. At the young age of 14, I slept with the first boy who came along and told me he loved me. He broke up with me soon after but raped me repeatedly over the course of the next year. Filled with hurt and shame, I remember thinking, Is this what love looks like? Surely love can’t hurt so bad!
My next relationship quickly turned emotionally and physically abusive. Still I stayed. Because “to the hungry, even what is bitter tastes sweet” (Proverbs 27:7). Although the relationship was bitter and painful, I preferred it to the alternative—being alone.
That relationship led me into a world of selling myself in strip clubs. So desperate to keep my boyfriend from leaving me, I attempted to buy his love with the money I earned while dancing for other men. Once again, my skewed view of love brought me pain. For the next few years, I lay awake at night hoping, praying even, that if I tried hard enough, if I chased him long enough, he would finally love me one day.
couldn’t know what True Love looks like because I had never experienced
it. It wasn’t until I began my relationship with God that I began to
see that it is patient. It is kind. It is not easily angered. True Love
It is no wonder that we crave intimacy so deeply. We were created for relationship. In Genesis, we learn that it was Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit that first brought separation between God and humanity, separation from our perfect intimacy with God. Eve had access to everything she would ever need to fill the longings and desires of her heart, yet she still chose forbidden fruit. How often do we fall to the same temptation and create fracture in our relationship with God? How often do we try to fill legitimate needs in illegitimate ways?
For years, I chased after men, looking for them to fill me. Nowadays, I tend to turn to chocolate. Just last week I was having a frustrating day and the first thing I did was grab a piece of my favorite, dark organic chocolate. The chocolate was delicious, but it did nothing to ease my pain. My prescription was insufficient.
The real trouble comes when our prescriptions become our addictions. It’s when that piece of chocolate leads to binge eating, leads to obesity and compromised health. It’s when social drinking becomes I-just-need-a-glass-of-wine-to-take-the-edge-off, becomes excessive drinking, becomes alcoholism. It’s when a full social calendar becomes a lifestyle so bogged down with running from one appointment to another that we barely have a moment to catch our breath. Our prescriptions for our pain can become our addictions.
Ultimately, it is these insufficient prescriptions and addictions that stand in the way of the one thing that can truly satisfy—an authentic, unhindered relationship with our Creator. I believe that God is calling each of us to surrender the fragmented pieces of ourselves so we can experience true intimacy and love.
God is wooing you and me—hoping that we will give up our other lovers—whether they be man, woman, food, money, sex, busyness, beauty or something else. He knows the hollow end of those affairs. He knows that none of it will fill you like He can. The deepest longings of our hearts can only be truly satisfied by being fully known and fully loved by Him. There is no substitute—there is no filler—there is no other lover worth chasing.
Harmony Dust is the founder and executive director of Treasures, a Los Angeles, CA, based nonprofit organization for women in the sex industry. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from UCLA and has been featured in various publications, including Glamour Magazine. She is a sought after speaker and the author of Scars & Stilettos (published by Monarch Books, distributed in North America by Kregel Publications). Find out more at www.iamatreasure.com.