Tag Archives: insecurities

It’s not happening like you said….

6 May

I’m spending some time this morning reflecting on Job.  I often reference the first three chapters of that book when I’m feeling a little “woe is me.”

However, I’ll be real honest… I struggle reading chapters 4-42.  They seem to drag on and on and ON and ON with these ramblings from Job’s friends and from Job, all the while, he’s in miserable pain.

I can’t claim to know anything of Job’s life.  If there is one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that God has never looked down and said “Satan, have you considered my servant Kayla?  There is no one on earth like her; she is blameless and upright, a woman who fears God and shuns evil.”

It’d be awesome if I fit that bill, but I just don’t.

And yet, something is really compelling about the story because since I KNOW that I don’t measure up to Job, I feel even more like the hope for a righteous future with Christ (be it on earth or in heaven) is made clear for all of us.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Because sin entered the world and Satan is able to walk around tempting and devouring people. But that’s not the end of the story.

Last Saturday (1 1/2 weeks ago) I was helping my husband do yard work and I got some bad scrapes and marks looking similar to hives on my arm.  I didn’t think too much of it, because it seemed to have come from these pine needle bushes we were tearing out.

By Tuesday, it was a different story.  It was itchy and in a few more spots.  And, my husband was getting it.  He knew immediately it was poison ivy (sumac or oak… SOMETHING poison!) He’s had it a hundred times, I however, never have before.

By Thursday I had tried every at home remedy.  Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, fels naptha soap.  It wasn’t helping at all.

I turned to facebook and asked my friends for help.  I got a long list of suggestions.  I tried them all, well except for pouring bleach on it, because I didn’t want all the nasty scars (although now I’m going to have them anyway.) In fact, I had two people who swore that Zanfel (an over the counter wash costing $35) was pricey but would clear it up in minutes. MINUTES she promised!!!!

I rushed to the store.  The first application eased the itching slightly for a little while but it came back.  So I tried again.  I tried 5 times and ended up awake in the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday, crying in pain over the sink in the bathroom scrubbing and clawing away at my arms.  I contemplated getting a knife and trying to scape as much of it off as possible.

I was in agony, and I felt like all my friends had somehow let me down.  They didn’t do anything on purpose and I wasn’t really mad at them at all or anything like that… but I felt like they offered all this beautiful relief, and yet… I was left totally empty and in pain.

And there it is.  Job.  The ramblings of his friends desperately trying to “help” him find a reason, a remedy, a resolution to his problem… and they all left him empty.

Saturday morning I went to the walk in clinic and the doctor walked in, looked at my arms for 2 seconds flat and said “Wow, that is worse than I thought it would be.  It’s in your blood stream.  Normally I do a shot or pills, you have to have both!”

I asked the nurse, how long until relief…. she said give it at least 12-24 hours.  Guess what folks, it’s been 70 hours right now after a cortisone shot, 12 steroid pills, 12 Benadryl pills and I’m still miserable.  I might be slightly less willing to use a knife and claw up my arms… but I can’t say I’ve found “relief” yet, that’s for sure.

So let’s get deeper here.  My poison ivy can only be hidden under a long sleeve shirt, however, I can’t truly hide it.  It’s on the outside of my body.

But most poison isn’t so obvious to others.  Some poisons eat away our insides slowly, all the while on the outside – we look fine.

In fact, sometimes, we try to talk about our poison only to hear a long slew of “this is all your need to do” from our friends, family, church members and yet, when we attempt to apply their at home remedies — we feel lied to, let down, and misunderstood.

“They can’t possibly know what is going on with me. There is no way this worked for them.  Sure, her life turned around when she did xyz, but she isn’t married to the same man *I* am married to. If it were only as simple as ‘just stop.'”

Do you feel like there is a secret poison eating away at part of you and no one else really understands, sees, or has dealt with like you are?  Do you feel like everything everyone has ever offered has been nothing more than a false reality? Do you secretly want to take a knife and dig away at the broken, empty, hurting, burning, gnawing, nagging poison in your veins that is causing you so much misery?”

Practical Application:

Poison is intimate.  It knows exactly how to attack and shut down your system.  And it may not attack your system like someone else’s system.

There is only one remedy for poison.  Christ.

I’m not suggesting we never talk about what eats us — it’s good to bring light to poison.  What is exposed loses power just because it’s not in the darkness anymore.  BUT — talking about poison isn’t the cure.

Christ is the only cure.  He knows your body because God the father MADE YOU.  He knit you together in your mother’s womb.  He knows exactly what is going on and has the real golden ticket to sweet relief.

But you have to go to Him.

 

Lonely.

6 Apr

I think there may be no greater danger in life than the place of loneliness.

Whenever Satan can convince us that we’re alone, unseen, unloved, undesired, unknown, unwanted, unproductive – it’s there, in the middle of the loneliness, that his lies sound like truth.

When we’re surrounded by strong Christians, good friends who are holding us accountable and REALLY know us, and a marriage that is flourishing, we’re less likely to fall apart.

That doesn’t mean temptations don’t come, or that we can never stumble.  Of course we can, but we are much less likely to feel defeated when we feel loved.

I believe this is the very reason for the promise “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus’ constant reminder that WE ARE NOT ALONE, even if we are tempted to feel like we are, is meant to be security against Satan’s attacks. He knew that promise mattered.  Which is why He promised it.  Because if we feel alone, we feel defeated… and defeat doesn’t press on toward the prize.  Defeat paralyzes.  It lies to us and cripples us from using God’s power in us to face whatever is coming at us.

This is important, please don’t miss this….EVEN IF there is nothing “significantly pressing” going on like illness or persecution…. loneliness is a threat we cannot take lightly.

I’ve seen people who seemingly had EVERYTHING.  They weren’t facing any major catastrophes in their life at all… and yet, because they were lonely, they completely fell apart.

My friend often says this saying “Once we’re aware of something, we no longer have any excuses against it.”  What she means is, if you “know” you have an addiction to sweets, it’s no longer something you can spend hours justifying or crying over if you’re not going to address it.

I’m very aware of loneliness.

I spent a good three straight years incredibly lonely.  Yes, I had “friends” during that time.  But I was “unknown” at the same time.  My Christian friends didn’t know everything that was going on… like the problems in my marriage.  And my non-Christian friends never filled that void in me for deep fellowship because sin was always so present in their advice and invitations.

Once I realized the loneliness problem – I decided I would never allow myself to be “lonely” again.

I’m aware of the danger.  I’m aware that Jesus makes it very obvious that fellowship is essential to our faith.  It’s why belonging to a local Church is vital, for the body to come together.  It’s why the disciples never ministered alone,  they always had someone with them (unless they were in prison.) And again, it’s why Jesus promised us He’d always be with us.

It’s been a hard year… one I’m willing reluctantly admitting has been constantly tempting to feel lonely.

Understand, loneliness isn’t a temptation because you’re locked in a cellar with no one in sight.

Loneliness is a temptation when something feels like it’s missing.

This year has been A LOT of changes for us.

Since leaving our church home of ten years, two years ago… it’s been incredibly lonely.  Once you’ve had a very active church family, it’s so hard to walk into a building and not know anyone’s name nor does anyone know who you are either.

I miss being known.  I miss being accountable to my church family.  I miss knowing what is going on with the body of believers I worship with – knowing what to pray for them and ask them about the following week.  I miss sharing prayer requests with someone I know is really going to pray, and ask me how my week was when I see them on Sunday.

Today, I looked around me during service and felt so out of place.  It doesn’t feel like home at all.  It feels lonely.

Yes, I know Jesus is all I need.

Yes, my marriage is strong.

Yes, I have friends I can call on.

Yes,  the temptation for loneliness is still heavy and pushing at me to entertain the defeat.

When something feels out of whack, it tests us in every area. Even areas we know we’re strong.

Questions like “Are my friends really my true friends?  Is my husband really able to be my “best friend” when we’re so different? Does my blog ministry even matter, is it effective or reaching anyone? What’s the point of church if we don’t know anyone anyway? What are those people saying about us when we leave?”

I know all the answers to those questions… and there’s nothing really to be tempted over.

Practical Application:

Call out the loneliness.

Once we’re aware what is going on, we can recognize the lies and tempting thoughts so much easier, instead of believing them or wrestling with them for so long.

Write the truth down. Say the truth out loud.  Meditate on the truth. Purposely talk about the truth.

Don’t settle for defeat.

Only heinous people tell lies.

3 Apr

 

For the longest time, I thought I was the worst person in the whole world because I struggled with lying.

Only really terrible people do something so heinous as to make up a lie. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and unforgivable.
“What is WRONG with you that you wouldn’t be honest and you’d hide behind made up stories to fit in, or have something to talk about that anyone would want to listen to. You’re a fake and a total disgust of a human” are just a few of the thoughts that paralyzed me for a long time.

My husband has reassured me over and over again that EVERYONE lies. Yes, some people struggle in a more in-depth way than others if it happens to be an addictive behavior that Satan wraps them up in, but that doesn’t mean others have the authority to put themselves in a position of superiority like they are above such ugliness.

The problem is often that they classify “lying” as a definition that only includes what they “don’t do” and then conveniently exclude the ways that they lie.

There are a number of ways that we are tempted to, and even give into lying, that we rarely talk about in-depth. I’m not going to cover them all. I’m going to tackle three and hopefully I’ll start the ball rolling for you to make your own list.

1.) Lying by omission.

This is simply “not” saying all the details. I’m not describing keeping someone’s secrets, secret. It’s ok not to share everything we know about everyone with everyone. That is being a trusted friend.

Lying by omission is when we’re leaving out information, details, words, ANYTHING about ourselves that is giving someone an impression or story that isn’t entirely accurate. We might feel like we didn’t “say” anything that was a lie or that we can’t be responsible for what other people assume, however, if we are willingly painting a picture by NOT painting it, we’re lying.

Telling our spouse that we went to lunch today with a co-worker, while leaving out that it was a male co-worker, is lying by omission.

2.) Lying by repeating something with a different tone, inflection or attitude.

This happens in marriage A LOT! But that statistic in marriage might be beat out by how often this happens between women who have problems with each other.

The story changes, and the likelihood for hurt feelings and offenses greatly increases when tone of voice is misrepresented.
Picture this:
In a soft, calm voice with a smile Gina says to Penny, “Sally looked so pretty today. I bet she spent a lot of money on that dress. It was really worth it. It worked well for her.”

Penny doesn’t like Gina and always reads offenses into everything she says, so….
With a harsh, sarcastic tone she says to Sally, “Penny said you looked SSSOOO pretty today. I BET she spent A LOT of money on that dress. It was REEEAAAALLY worth it. It worked well for HER.” Flips her hair as if Gina was rudely gossiping about Sally and says “you should have seen her face.”

Sally leaves hurt and confused and now has an offense against Gina.

It’s not uncommon for spouses to say the phrase to each other “I didn’t say it like that.  I didn’t use that tone.  You’re making me sound like such a jerk!”

What if a husband says, “I’d rather you not tell me how to handle this situation. I’m struggling with the best decision and your emotions are so high right now that you’re speaking from a place of hurt.”

And the wife repeats it like this, “I’d rather YOU not tell ME how to handle this situation. (Pounds on chest) I’m struggling with the best decision and YOUR emotions are SO HIGH right now that YOU’RE speaking from a place of hurt.” (As if I’m the problem here and am messing up your life.)

In both of those situations, the words were repeated correctly…. but the heart was misrepresented and that constitutes as lying.

3.) We lie through our actions.

As a believer in Christ, this one really stings because if we have Christ, and we walk in sin…. we’re lying with our bodies.

Am I saying we can’t make mistakes?  Of course not.  We all sin.  And will all sin until we die!

But committing a sin and repenting is not the same as walking in sin continually and habitually.

We can’t claim to have Christ and yet walk a constant contradiction without lying with our bodies.

This happens often with couples who have sex before marriage.  They are telling a lie with their bodies that they are indeed one flesh when they have not truly become one flesh through permanent commitment and marriage.

This also happens when we have a habitual gossip, anger, addiction, porn, lust, pride, selfish, idolatry, money, love, forgiveness, bitterness, mercy problem(s).   We’re claiming to be a child of the living God, but constantly maligning His testimony through us.

We praise our Father, but then curse with our bodies by allowing them to follow the ways of Satan.

 

Sometimes we get so judgmental of other who struggle in ways WE never would, all the while, missing how we maybe aren’t that far from them.

That’s why Jesus likens hate to murder and lust to adultery. We may not be letting others see it on the outside, but in our hearts, we’ve already sinned.

 

Practical Application:

Are you trapped right now by Satan because of something you struggle with that you are believing no one else struggles with or is as horrible as you?

(Comment below or shoot me an email… I’ll help you uncover why that’s a lie too!!!)

Are you judging someone else for being so much worse than you are because you’d never do what they do?

Have you ever told a lie in any of these ways? Does this change how you feel?

 

He looks identical to Christ.

23 Mar

Nineteen months ago, I saw myself in my marriage in a new light.  I saw how I was disrespecting my husband, how I was full of pride, how I had unrealistic expectations, how many idols I was obsessed with serving, how unforgiving and resentful I was, and how much better I thought I was than the man I married… all while thinking I was a better Christian than he was too.

It was humbling.  I shed some tears. I apologized to my husband.  And I spent a good solid month doing nothing but studying my behaviors, and setting up ways to break all these terrible habits.

It’s a life long process, I didn’t conquer anything in a month, I’m still learning and changing every single day.

I thought at that time, I saw my marriage for what it was.

I was wrong.

Thursday night, my husband and I had a long talk about who I once was and what I did in and to our marriage over the course of that first 10 years. We had already done this two years ago so this wasn’t some shocking or earth shaking conversation.

And yet, I broke.

I spent almost all of the next 24 hours sobbing uncontrollably or secretly fighting and wiping tears in front of my kids.  I’ve never cried that much before in one day, ever.

All the sudden, through some deep reflection and conversation, I saw everything differently than I ever really had before.

I was a horrible wife.  HORRIBLE.

I must have hurt my husband in ways he couldn’t even describe if he wanted to try.  I put other things above him, I have lied to him, I have belittled him publicly, I have put expectations on him that no person could live up to, I have reacted in haste and wrath to his mistakes with intensely hurtful remarks and shame, I have dabbled in the game of an emotional affair, I have carried around a list of his wrongs and dwelled on them bitterly, I have had conversations in my mind premeditating how to hurt him when I felt hurt instead of offering mercy and forgiveness….

I was wretched.  To me, completely unforgivable.  I have no idea why he stayed married to me.  I wouldn’t have stayed married to me.

I have never fallen apart like I did on Friday.  While I kept desperately trying to speak truth to myself, and let my husband and my best friend speak truth to me… I could not accept it.

I didn’t want his forgiveness.  I didn’t want his grace or mercy.  I didn’t want his unconditional love.

I wanted him to get mad at me.  I wanted him to yell and cuss and tell me how awful I was and how much I’d hurt him.  I wanted him to treat me how I deserved to be treated.

Every time I presented a reason to him why he should hate me, he offered back a loving gesture… and I got so angry at him.  Angry because I felt like he was being so stupid. I thought, you deserve better you idiot. There is no forgiving what I’ve done!!

Who loves someone like that?  Who forgives someone so completely?  Who looks at someone and says “That’s all in the past.  You’re not that person anymore.  I love you more now than I ever have.  You’re my girl.” after everything I put him through?

I know he’s sinned against me.  He isn’t perfect.  But for the first time, his sins seemed like no big deal.  And my sins seemed catastrophic.

I kept trying to compare our mistakes and his were minor and mine were major. I have always seen this the other way around.  Even after I started to understand unconditional respect and how big my sins were, I didn’t see his sins as minor. I felt like we were more even-keeled.

I know people say, a sin is a sin is a sin.  But I don’t agree with that.

Yes, a sin is a sin in the regard that all sin separates us from God.  But I believe there is a difference between sins and I think Paul makes that point in Scripture too. (For another post if an explanation is needed here.) We can be quickly tempted and make a wrong choice, or we can willfully make premeditated sinful and or even habitual decisions on purpose and I don’t think that’s the same thing either.

While I sat there sobbing to the point I could barely breathe, I kept reflecting on the purpose of marriage.

My husband had never seemed more like Christ, ever.

I represented the church – sinful: proud, lost in idolatry, unforgiving, lustful, bitter and self-pleasing.

And he stood before me as Christ – LOVE: unconditionally holding me in the palm of his hand, merciful, gracious, forgiving every sin fully/completely as far as the east is from the west.

My husband knew I was broken.  Somehow, he knew it was bad.  That I wasn’t how I’d ever been before.

Because Thursday night started this down-ward spiral, he text me during the day to check on me.  I was mad he text me.  I hurt him, why would he want to see if I was OK?

I bounced back and forth between feeling like he was literally Jesus in the flesh… loving me and giving me what I could never afford and ….not wanting to talk to him at all because how dare I cry and be the one hurt when I’m the one who did the hurting?  I was NOT interested in playing the victim or martyr in this situation.  And I knew if I opened my mouth, it would spur that “I’ll make this better for you” instinct that all men have… and I didn’t want better.  I wanted what I deserved.

He walked in the door from work, locked us in our bedroom, turned our wedding song on his phone, and made me dance with him. I didn’t want to at all.  I tried to resist him and beg him to just give me some space for a while.  But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I melted in his arms. I forgot how perfect the words of our wedding song were… especially today more than ever before.

Through gut-wrenching sobs and blurred vision, I expressed what was happening in my heart and mind – and he remained the perfect picture of love and forgiveness.

I wasn’t all better after that 45 minute unraveling in his arms.  But, I was on the road to facing this new reality.  I was either going to end up bitter or better.

I think I needed to be broken in this way.  It changed me.  In a way I’ll never be the same again.  Of course I’ll still sin against my husband – I will never be perfect.  But, it gave me a perspective on marriage I needed to literally feel to fully understand.

My husband decided we were one, and that means, we are one.  When I’m broken, he’s broken.  When I’m sinful, he’s forgiving.  In my weakness, his love in and through me makes me strong again.

He’s going to sin against me.  It probably won’t be too many days from now when it happens. I’ll be different.  I might be hurt.  We might need to talk about it.  But I will never stand myself on a throne again after seeing our marriage and who I was and what I truly had to be forgiven of in the light I saw it on Friday.

Practical Application:

I’d never accuse anyone of being as horrible of a wife as I was…. but have you truly seen your sin, as SIN, and not as justifiable mistakes?

Do you know what it cost to send Jesus to the cross?

Do you  know what your husband has had to forgive you of to love you like Christ loves the church…. even when you don’t deserve it?  Even when you’re rebelling?  Even when you’re selfish? Even when you’re serving idols?  Even when you’ve created an existence of unrealistic expectations? Even when your hormones get to control your mood?  Even when you’ve given your heart to things in priority above him? Maybe even someone else (another man, a friend, the kids?) Even when you’re wagging your finger at him because he doesn’t behave how he’s suppose to in your book?

The cross looks different again to me this Easter.  I see my husband on it.  Laying down his life for mine. Taking on my sin and saying it’s no more.  Telling me I am new.  And I am eternally loved. And it’s too overwhelming for words.

 

 

If only I learned this years ago….

14 Mar

It’s a common phrase isn’t it?  We’ve all said it.  We’ve all heard others say it.  And we’ve all contemplated how our life would be different if we only knew then, what we know now.

This has never been more true for me than in my marriage.

If I only learned years ago, like 12 years ago, that unconditional respect was a command in Scripture and how to speak and act in a way that was obedient to that command…. my marriage would have been SO different the first 10 years.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have felt like I married an un-romantic dud.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have treated my husband like he was my child.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have thought I was just as much the head of this family as he thought he was.

Maybe, I would have submitted with joy to his ideas instead of insisting that I was always right and so much smarter than he was.

Maybe, my husband would have listened to me more if I was more careful with his feelings.

Maybe, my husband would have talked to me more intimately if he felt safe enough to be vulnerable with me.

Maybe, we would have really been “best friends” instead of just trying to say that we were because it sounded right.

Maybe, my husband would have met more of my needs because he would have felt more fulfilled too.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have been tempted to entertain emotional attention from anyone else.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have been so jealous.

Maybe, we would have had lots and lots of hot and passionate sex.

Maybe, we would have learned to enjoy each others hobbies and looked forward to doing things together instead of him appreciating his time away to do his own thing so frequently.

Maybe, we would have served each other selflessly instead of expecting our feelings to trump the others.

Maybe, my husband would have helped me more around the house because he wanted to instead of digging his heals in and ignoring me.

Maybe —- this list could really just go on forever and ever and ever.

This isn’t just the case with my marriage.  I feel this way about a lot of things in my life.  I’d love a time travel machine to do it all over again.

But.

I don’t think entertaining “if I’d only learned this years ago” is where Jesus wants us to camp out with our thoughts.

I certainly won’t take credit for this phrase because I didn’t come up with it… but it’s incredibly true.

Everything we face will either make us BITTER or BETTER.

We can wrestle with the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s in our mind and maybe we don’t feel like at the end of the day we feel “bitter” about it.  We just feel like it would have been such a different life if we’d only known.

Bitter does seem like a strong word when reflecting, however, what if it isn’t as strong as it sounds?  What if, it really does trap us with negative memories when we reflect like that.

Secretly, do we kinda resent some of those situations still? Do we still feel like it was a negative time in our life?

I know that even though I love my husband beyond belief and have totally forgiven him and been forgiven by him for the mistakes we made in the beginning of our marriage— if I sit and really think back on some situations that were really hard in our marriage, I can start to feel hurt again.

There is one memory in particular of a time when I felt devastated.  And this one really bothers me because I didn’t feel like I “deserved” it.

You know what I’m talking about…. there are memories where you can see why he said something mean because you said something mean first.

This wasn’t like that.

In fact, we’ve talked about it numerous times over the years and he has even said the phrase “if that happened today, I would NEVER do it like that again.”

I know he wouldn’t.  And yet, if I dwell on that memory for ANY amount of time, the hurt tries to push back in.

Christianity is all about being intentional.

We don’t “accept Christ” accidentally.  We don’t just miraculously grow closer to Him just by being alive.  We don’t stumble over an open Bible and learn.

And we don’t become BETTER without being intentional either.

What if…. it was a good thing that we didn’t have marriage all figured out before?

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say.  I don’t think we should keep engaged couple uneducated so they can live the wrong way for a long time because that’s better for them.  Of course that is not better at all!!!  We’re crazy if we keep this knowledge to ourselves and do nothing with it to benefit other believers!!!!

But – God wastes ABSOLUTELY nothing when it comes to our lives and experiences.

Walking through failure, especially in marriage, gives us an irreplaceable way to learn patience, forgiveness, mercy, grace and self-control.

Not only does this further our understanding of what Jesus has given us, but it grows our characters in a way to advance the gospel that can be some of the most powerful testimonies ever!

Of course if we never sinned in our marriages, we’d be an awesome example of getting it right and that God’s way is perfect and beautiful.

But getting it wrong gives us the chance to be BETTER and reach couples just like us who also got it wrong and need the truth.

Practical Application:

If only I learned this years ago….. I wouldn’t know forgiveness like I do today.

If only I learned this years ago…. I wouldn’t be able to relate to wives out there who have blown it big time just like me.

If only I learned this years ago…. I wouldn’t be nearly as aware of just what it took for Jesus to take all my sin to the cross.

Of course, getting it right in the first place is best.  But getting it wrong can lead us to a beautiful place of BETTER.

You want me to WHAT?!

1 Mar

I’m going to write a couple posts addressing a few comments to my sex series that came publicly and through private email.

Today’s topic – How do I handle it when he asks me to do something new that I’m not thrilled about?

This question is pretty heavy because there are SO many different scenarios this addresses.  So, please read this knowing that I will not touch on every single issue, but that I’ll do my best to cover the most common ones.  Especially if you’re looking for professional guidance on abuse, porn addiction and physical infidelity, I am not qualified to be the main source of help. (If you’re in this situation, please seek professional support.)

First and foremost, let’s address our responses to new ideas before we even dig into if you really should try them.

I know that for many women, we really struggle with our feelings being our truth.  That is such a dangerous reality and can cause us extreme problems in every area of our lives.  It’s good and right for us to first ask ourselves if we have a habit of doing this.  Ask these questions:

-When I feel something about a specific issue, does it affect how I react in numerous areas of my life? (I’m upset with my husband about “x”, so I’ll stop doing this, this and this for him too.)

-When I feel something, do I trust that feeling and assume I should act immediately on that feeling? (I feel hurt.  I bet my husband doesn’t even care how much that hurt me.  And he’s not even going to apologize for what he did.  He probably even did it on purpose because he cares about himself more than he cares about me.)

-Do I often speak with the words “always & never” when I have a strong feeling about something? (You forgot to call me and let me know you would be late.  You NEVER take my feelings into consideration.  You ALWAYS do what is best for you and don’t care about how it’ll affect me.)

If you’ve struggled with this habit (that most women do) first of all, you’re not alone.  But secondly, it is really good to recognize this and get a handle on this outside of the bedroom so it doesn’t carry over into the bedroom.

Otherwise, when he asks you to try something new — you might “feel” a certain way about it, trust that feeling, and then in turn make wrongful assumptions or conclusions and really hurt your husband.

Whether or not we “like” this truth — the only thing I can find in scripture that is printed clearly for us that is wrong sexually is:

– sex before marriage

– infidelity (sex outside of marriage, or in marriage with the inclusion of more than one man and one woman.)

– lust for anyone other than your spouse

– homosexuality

– bestiality

I don’t see anywhere that says “multiple positions, oral sex, anal sex, conversation (the inclusion of any/all words), or role-playing” is listed as wrong, sinful or unholy.

In fact, scripture tells us that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.

For the couple that includes these things with the permission and enjoyment of both people in the marriage – this is good.

For the couple that includes these things against the will or to the discomfort of one or both people in the marriage – this is not a beneficial addition to the sexual relationship.

However, the important thing to remember is that even if something is really scary for you, or not something you desire, THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOUR HUSBAND IS WRONG FOR WANTING TO TRY.

It is easy for us to think strong things when we feel caught off guard or asked to do something that feels wrong to us.

Maybe these thoughts have crossed your mind or come out of your mouth before:

– I’m not doing that.  I’m not a whore.

– Nasty.  That’s gross.

– What?  Are you gay if you’re that into anal sex?

– What is wrong with you that you’d even consider something like that?

– Are you unhappy with “ME” and what I will do so you’re trying to change me into someone else?

– Where did you even see something like that, are you being unfaithful to me?  That desire can’t possibly come naturally.

– That’s disgusting that you’d even ask me that.

That’s not a holy response, and it’s not OK for us to say these things.  Unless he is OUTRIGHT asking you to sin… we have no permission to shame, belittle, disrespect or condemn him for having a desire and asking us (HIS WIFE) to consider fulfilling it.

(To the men who read my blog- I RARELY address you, because I write primarily as a woman to women, and I take seriously that Scripture says a woman should not teach with authority to a man… in this instance, though, I am going to offer a suggestion that I think you should strongly consider before dismissing.  Our culture is sex crazed, and Satan can convince us to give into every desire we have by making it an idol or give it improper jurisdiction of our hearts.  It’s OK to have ideas for the bedroom and to take them to your wife, but not everything is beneficial sexually for you, your wife, or for you both as a couple.  If you’re really interested in something -like anal sex- do some DEEP research on the matter and discover if it is really safe for both of your health and what you’d need to consider to make it safe or after looking into the possible side effects for many women- if this is something worth even taking to her, what things you could present to her that would help her consider it, and even how to dismiss this craving if it would cause her physical or emotional harm. Just like she has no business shaming you for a desire, you have no business shaming her for her inhibitions to a desire.)

That being said women – we are their wives and it should be a desire of our heart to meet their deepest needs, requests and desires.  Before acting wildly harsh because of emotions, fears or inhibitions — give what he’s saying some thought.

A few good responses are:

– I’m up for giving this a try.  I’m not sure how it will go.  Can we take this slow? If it’s not working out, I’ll let you know so we can do something more comfortable.

– Wow! That sounds sexy.  I’ve never considered anything like that before.  Can I think about it and research it a little before we discuss giving this a try?

– I have a few fears and reservations about that. I’m not ready yet but I promise to pray about this and see if I can overcome my concerns.

– I love you so much and I think it’s awesome that you have that desire, but that position hurts me and I’m unable to do it with joy.  Would you be up for trying something close or brainstorming together for something to replace that desire?

Despite how crazy some of his suggestions might be — it’s really an honor ladies that he desires hot and crazy sex and that he wants YOU to fulfill these exciting longings in him.

Practical Application:

– Spend some time on the first section discovering if your emotions get to control your thoughts and actions.

– Consider your responses, and use gentleness to express what you’re ready or not ready to do.

– Pray about being willing to try some new things.  You never know, it might sound outlandish and freaky at first — but often times, he’s looking for new ways to please you too and it might be something you end up being wild about yourself!

So…you don’t like me.

28 Feb

Are there any people-pleasers in the crowd?

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Is there a difference between being a people pleaser, and feeling emotionally defeated when you’re misunderstood?

I hadn’t given this much thought until the last two days.  Why?

Because guess what — I got a LOT of support for my recent sex series (public comments and private emails and new followers).  However, I got a little backlash, some “unfollows” and my post was added by an awesome supporter to a sex discussion forum and some of the readers there, well, they let everyone else know just how much they disliked the post- and made conclusions about the author (me).

I know there are some blog authors out there who laugh hysterically when people come at them… because believe me — if you blog, you get backlash.  People really like letting you know when they disagree or think you’re stupid.

I am not one of those people.  I really find no pleasure in spending thirty minutes reading through a slew of comments that tear one of my posts apart, make wild accusations about me as a person, or worst of all claim that I do a disservice to Christianity with Scripture interpretation.

I immediately thought, man I’m such a people-pleaser to feel frustrated over these few negative comments.  I could have five hundred positive comments, and the one negative one will make me question over and over how I could have worded something different or explained something better to reach that person too.

I don’t think that is actually people-pleasing.

I actually think people-pleasing is when a person says yes to things they don’t want to do or may actually even disagree with, to gain someone’s approval. They  may agree to serve in the nursery when they really don’t feel called and are in the middle of a rough season at home with their own children.  They might join in the crowd to make fun of someone else, even though they feel immediate guilt.  Or they might go out of their way to make special arrangements in a desperate attempt to be important to someone.

That’s actually not me at all.  While I like to be liked, I can pretty easily say no when I really need to say no.  I don’t join into conversations of activities just because the crowd is doing it.  And I don’t chase down people in an attempt to mean something to them.

However, I really struggle with being disliked when I feel like one of three things is happening.

1.) I’m being misunderstood or misquoted.

2.) I feel like I’m being held to a standard that isn’t attainable for anyone, especially the person who is coming against me.

3.) I’m being wrongly accused of something I would never do.

That’ll keep me up at night.  It’ll make me battle the temptation to shut down my blog, my Facebook page, and hide in a bubble for a few months. It’ll make me shed quite a few tears feeling suffocated by things totally out of my control.

I have no desire to go back and write something that makes the people on that forum “like me”.  I actually don’t feel any sadness over the fact that they don’t.

I am NO STRANGER to not being liked.  Eh, everyone has someone or a group of people who just clash with them.

But not being liked feels a whole lot different from being wrongly accused.

So…. I got to thinking a little further.

Might this be why marriages seemingly flounder, families fall apart, and church’s are full of congregations with known enemies attending?

Are we all largely people-pleasers….. or are there more people out there like me who feel like, “You don’t like me/trust me/get me/serve me/want me/help me/love me because you don’t understand me.”

– You think things about me that aren’t true. And, oh – lets own it – I think things about you that aren’t true.  I’m just making assumptions sometimes.

– When you repeat the words I say, you say them with a tone that I never used.  You misquote me and make me sound like a jerk.

– You don’t listen to what I’m saying, you’re too busy planning what you’re going to say against me from the first phrase I uttered… without listening to my explanation.

– You have these expectations of me that I can’t live up to.

– You’re unwilling to forgive me when I make mistakes.  You hold everything over my head.  I’m not perfect.  That doesn’t mean I’m evil.

– All you can see is everything I do wrong, do you see anything I do right?

Are you in the middle of a relationship where you feel misunderstood?  Misquoted?  Held to a standard you can’t achieve? Accused of doing things you’d never do?

Let’s ask some deeper questions.

Are you in the middle of a relationship where you might be misunderstanding someone?  Have you added a tone they never used? Do you have expectations they can never possibly reach?  (This happens a lot when men expect women to be like them… or women expect men to be JUST like them.) Are you throwing around accusations that you really don’t have the hard facts to prove…. that you gained from some heavy assumptions?

Practical Application:

God’s desire for us is to reach restoration with our brothers and sisters (husbands, wives, parents, in-law, friends, church members) whenever it’s in our power to act. (God calls us to make things right before we even come to the Altar to worship Him.)

The first step to restoration is recognizing and owning your own part in the problem.  More reflection, less blame.

Set a realistic next step.  I’d never tell you restoration happens in all situations after one five-minute conversation.   But good starting points are

*self-reflection, prayer, counseling, communication, confession, apologizing, asking forgiveness and listening in humility.

We won’t always be able to reach reconciliation.  Sometimes the other party isn’t ready.  Sometimes there is no relationship there to restore (like blog commenters you don’t even now their real name.) That’s OK.  The process of uncovering *why* you don’t like someone or are mad at them will bring healing to you, and forgiveness too.  Even if everything is not completely restored.

Chance are — if they are misquoting you, misunderstanding you, or misrepresenting you, it has a lot more to do with them than you.  So dig deeper and tap into mercy.

A good lesson in mercy is learning to empathize with your enemy, instead of trying to find a way to retaliate against them or sulk in your own feelings.  Hurting people, hurt people. Ask yourself, why are they hurting?