At Lipstick and the Word I usually try to provide helpful tips on how to navigate love, life and relationships; however, lately I’ve felt pressed to do a series of transparent blogs about my life.
All the topics and advice on my blog are personally inspired, usually based on something I’ve struggled with, gone through or experienced. Because I never want to paint a picture of self-perfection I’d like to give you some insight on what I struggle with as a Christian woman.
I think sometimes Christians give and receive the false notion that they’re supposed to have a perfect life; that since they’ve accepted Jesus everything is supposed to be alright and all problems are supposed to magically disappear. A lot of Christians are afraid to share their struggles; their innermost issues for fear of judgment, shame or embarrassment. Sadly I’ve seen a lack of support regarding numerous personal issues within the Christian community so a lot of people put on a false façade; acting as if everything is all right when their heart is breaking on the inside. The truth is that everybody struggles with something; some are just more open about it than others. So here are the top five things I’m struggling with this season.
1. Living in the Past
I don’t consider myself a person who lives with regret; I never find myself saying “dang I wish I hadn’t done that”. Even if it turns out I made a stupid decision. I’ve just been like it is what it is, you live and learn (shrugs), including the poor dating choices I’ve made. Yeah they caused me some pain but I consider that a part of the growing process; I learned and moved on; though sometimes I had to learn the same lesson over and over and over again! But lately I’ve noticed at times I find myself replaying the same hurtful experiences over and over again in my head, wishing I had said this or that, explained myself better or had a better comeback…. So I guess you would call that living with regret. So maybe I have a problem with denial too? I don’t know, lol.
All I know is that living in the past keeps me stuck in the past. I can’t move into a brighter tomorrow thinking about the hurts of yesterday. I can’t move into a new relationship still thinking excessively about the old ones. Living in the past is similar to being on a flight that’s flying in a holding pattern, even though you’re physically moving you’re not really going anywhere.
2. Broken Family Relationships
I’m blessed to come from a good, but not perfect family. As I’ve grown older I’ve become aware of some broken relationships in my family; some include me and some have to do with other family members.
I didn’t have the privilege of knowing some of my family members in other states while growing up and I still don’t personally know a lot of them. I also don’t have a very close relationship with my dad who has another family in another state. Growing up that never bothered me but as I became a young woman I began to suffer from “daddy-issues”. Though we have a cordial relationship now it still bothers me that we aren’t close. They say you can’t miss what you never had but I can tell you first hand that’s not true. I think about my dad almost every day and I hope one day we can have a closer relationship.
3. Sexual Temptation
Though I’m not in a romantic relationship now, I still have desires to be intimate. I’m not a virgin, and when I was younger I didn’t see the value in celibacy. It’s frustrating to know what it feels like to be intimate with someone but unable to do so.
Now I see the value of waiting until marriage to have sex, not so that I can, “win” a husband by being a “good girl”, but because I’m attempting to honor God with my body, thoughts and attitude by choosing to have a relationship that’s not based solely on physical attraction. It can be hard to struggle with sexual temptation; trying to do the right thing and think the right thing. Because let’s face it, the mind is the battlefield.
I’ve had my fair share of hurts from people. From broken hearts, to painful disappointments and everything in between. I’ve had some really hurtful things said and done to me in the past. From family members to friends to acquaintances; sometimes it’s really hard to forgive those people!
The phrase “forgive and forget” is a popular one, but I don’t believe the latter part always applies. When it comes to important relationships with family or friends I work to forget, as God does. But in others, such as newly dating relationships, I work towards forgiveness but I don’t forget, primarily because I’m observing to see if a destructive pattern is developing that I need to protect myself from. For example, if a guy I’m dating lies about something that I find out later, I’ll forgive him but my radar is up! I’m actively looking to discern whether he’s displaying a destructive relationship pattern that will just bring harm further on down the line.
But I’ll be the first to admit sometimes I can’t even get past the forgiveness part let alone worry about forgetting. Sometimes I have to forgive several times a day.
5. Letting Go (and letting God)
How exactly do you let go and let God? Do you just pray about it and resolve to never think about it again under any circumstance? Do you train your brain to kick out that specific thought every time it comes up? Do you just pretend your problems don’t exist? I’ve never seen a step-by-step plan on how to do it.
Some things I struggle with letting go of are:
- unanswered prayer
- prayer that was answered in a different way than I thought it should have been
- letting go of my need to be right/obtain justice leaving it all in the hands of God
- submitting to HIS perfect plan and not mine
- letting go of what I think is best for me and accepting Gods version 🙂
So what’s the solution to these issues? I’m an action person. I like to work on solutions, not just talk about problems.
Popular suggestions for people struggling with these types of issues include counseling, bible/scripture study, accountability partners, support groups and prayer. Having tried all those things (which I highly recommend myself) I’m finally coming to the realization that I can’t change myself. I can only partner with God and yield to the work He wants to do in me at the time He wants to do it, not the time I want it done. I have to open up my hand and release everything I’ve been clutching so tightly, allowing Him to hopefully place something better in it.
So for me it’s a daily walk. Something my mom always told me growing up but I’m just now coming to terms with accepting. My cousin always tells me to take life one day at a time. That statement is always slightly frustrating to me because I’m a big picture person, not a step-by-step one. But isn’t that what the Christian faith is all about?
Some days are better than others, and one thing is for certain God is breaking me, which is what true Christian faith is about. We all need a certain amount of brokenness to fully submit. I believe this is a season I’m in not a life time. God is always doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19) so I’m trusting that this too will pass. I pray, talk about it when needed and keep it moving.
I think I will do a part 2 to this blog so stay tuned!