I was 17 years old when a guy asked me, “What are you doing when you’re 18?” My heart immediately began beating faster. Knowing where he was headed, I said, “Oh, you know, probably to college in another country” He obviously didn’t like this answer because he had a plan he was construing in his mind. I was being coy because I wanted him to say the words, not just hint around the topic. I wanted him to say, “Well, if you hang around, I’d like to marry you” In my mind, this was perfect. I was 17 and to be honest I didn’t really care about college. I wanted to get married and have a family. So married at 18 sounded like music to my ears.
Fast forward 10 years. Yes, it has been 10 years and there has hardly been a blip on the radar in the guy department. But I would not trade 10 years of singleness for 10 years of marriage to the wrong person. I want to be very transparent and honest with you because, quite frankly, I feel like healing comes by being broken. Healing comes by being vulnerable before God and vulnerable before each other. I feel the need to share two of the struggles I have come to know as a single woman. Life is messy and we are messy beings, but if I can’t be vulnerable about my struggles what’s the point of the struggle. Our struggle and how we handle it may give the person behind us hope that if we made it, they can make it to. So here is another good, bad and ugly blog!
It was several years ago when I had a conversation with a guy who told me I was his soul mate and that we were made for each other. When I first met this guy, I could hardly stand to be in the same room as him and now I was his soul mate? I believe he saw me as a challenge. I also believe he saw me as his life line. He felt he could do whatever he wanted now, but, “When I’m ready to settle down- I’ll marry Christi”. When things were going wrong in his life, no matter what time it was, he would text me. I cared for this guy. I cared about his salvation. I invited him to church but he would never go. We talked about heaven, hell, Jesus, our patterns, our survival mechanisms, you name it. Then at the close of almost every conversation, he’d make some comment about us being together. At first, I would get irritated, then I’d blow it off, then I began to expect it, and then I realized I had begun to believe it. By God’s grace, nothing ever happened except that emotionally I had become attached (unbeknownst to him). I got to the point where I believed there was a chance. Although I always told him to bug off, his words began to sink into my heart and I found myself dreaming about a life together. Thankfully, God would always remind me that this was not the way I was supposed to go and that I needed to keep my guard up. I eventually moved on from the place I used to see him. However, I struggled for a while thinking God was not good because he did not save him so that we could be together. Selfish, I realize now. It would have been a complete nightmare. God moved me for my own protection and I’m so grateful He did.
Struggle # 2: The Married Guy
Yes, I said it: the married guy. When a married man tells you that he had a dream about you, it is normally a red flag. When they start noticing you like they should be noticing their wife- there is a problem. When they start complimenting you on almost everything you and say things that should not be said it makes you feel so dirty. One night a married guy made a comment and things started to become clear in my head what he was attempting to do. I showed up at a rehearsal in a complete daze. I could hardly speak. Someone eventually pulled me aside and asked what was going on. I told them, we prayed and the man never tried or said anything else to me. In both cases, I knew their wives. But not always have I been on that side. I have had thoughts about married guys before as well. Yes, I have and I have felt so awful about it. I beat myself up so much and have been beat up by others. However, I am writing this because I want to share something I learned today from a very wise woman. She said, “YOU cannot control the thoughts that pop into your head, BUT you can control which thoughts stay” If you didn’t have temptation you would not be human. You CANNOT control who you fall for, but you CAN control who you pursue.
My friends, I am only human! You are only human! We have natural desires. It is a natural desire to get married and to have someone to go through life with, but Satan likes to twist our desires into something evil. Then, he tries to get us to contemplate that evil desire. Then, he wants us to act on this desire and if we do that will lead to death. It may not be a physical death, but maybe it is the death of another person’s marriage.
I write this because I have faced temptation and when I spoke about it to a select few, I realized that they too have had thoughts that have come into their heads as well. I want to share that just because you are tempted this does not mean you are an adulterer, a home-wrecker or a seducer. But have I struggled and been tempted? Yes. BUT take a huge sigh of relief because temptation IS NOT a sin!
I began pouring out my heart to a respected person of authority, I was told, “Christi, even Jesus was tempted. Being tempted is not the sin, it is what you do with the temptation that matters”
I share this journey with you NOT because I necessarily want to, but because I felt the need to. I have faced scolding for being tempted. I kept this to myself until I was asked an honest question and I gave an honest answer and instead of grace and support, I received condemnation.
If we can’t be vulnerable with God and each other- what is the point?
If Alcoholic find support for their struggle, why can’t we as Christians? We are all screwed up. We don’t have it all together. We all need a Savior and until we meet Him face to face we can count on struggles and have temptation. We need each other to get through. We don’t need condemnation. We don’t need to have our fave rubbed in the dirt to feel the consequence of a temptation. No, we need a gracious and loving Savior who even when we are tempted reminds us of what is best, and to leave it at the cross and even if we have acted on a temptation, it says that a righteous man falls seven times and gets back up.
So if you are struggling, I want to let you know I am praying for you and so is God our Father! I want to remind you that God is FOR YOU! He is NOT against you. He knows our struggles even before we say a word and He can handle our brutal honesty! He can handle our mess because He died for our mess.
Jesus sacrificed His dignity for us. He became vulnerable and exposed Himself for us. He died in front of thousands of people naked and alone. He allowed us to see His vulnerability so that we could know how to be vulnerable in front of Him and then to others. He hung on the cross for our shortcomings. He died a gruesome death so that we could hand over our sins and our struggles and allow Him to pin it on the cross.
My friends, whatever you may be struggling with or whatever sin you may have fallen into God is there for you. And if you’re being tempted know that it happens to each and every one of us.
God is the God who who reaches into the pit. He draws us out of deep waters and He sets us on the Rock!
When we are open, honest and vulnerable we find freedom.
Remember temptation is not a sin, but it is when it is acted upon, so if Satan or others are throwing this in your face, you are not what you’re being called. God is quick to help his children. He holds us and keeps us close because He loves us more than we could ever imagine!
Thank you for taking the time to spend with me!