Isolation & Connection

I’ve been in an intense struggle of choosing relationship over isolation, battling loneliness and desperately wanting connection, but feeling frustrated when I can’t connect and thus wanting to shut down and isolate more. Possibly being overly introspective in an inaccurate sort of way which has led me to be exceptionally selfish lately. I’m so focused on wanting to fill my need to connect that I’ve stopped actually caring about the people in my life. It sounds backwards, but it’s true.

One of my closest friends called me out on this last night. I zone out on him way too often. Like…if I don’t deem it “actual connecting” or if it’s something frivolous in my estimation I just stop listening. I don’t mean to…but it’s been happening more and more. So I’m also feeling like an asshole right about now. I used to pride myself on being a good listener. Now I’m having to convince myself I still actually love the people in my life. I’m also struggling to believe that making new friends is even worth it.

Some of this comes from some difficult changes that have happened with Bushbaby over the past year. She’s very different now and our friendship is too. Overall it’s not a bad thing and we are still friends and still love each other, but the process has caused a lot of pain and I think I have trust issues that I never had before. I don’t like being someone who has trust issues.

In May I had a few weeks where I was really struggling with the specific residual wounds of that situation. On top of that I was struggling with feeling isolated whenever I was with my family simply because I’m single and relating to people who all got married and had families young is difficult.

I realized that the isolation you feel because you are the only single person in the group is worse than the fact that you are still single. You can’t contribute to the conversation about child labor or the various joys of childrearing or sex, and those people don’t know what to ask you so they just don’t. That isolation is far worse than the fact that you don’t have a husband yet even though you want one.

And then you ask yourself,”Do I want one? Or do I actually want to go be a hermit in the mountains with a few sheep and my cat?” Because hermithood would be easier than wanting and trying and failing to connect and then you wouldn’t hurt anyone when the process morphs you into a selfish asshole and no one could reject or misunderstand you ever ever again. Just you and Jesus, some sheep and a cat.

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But it would be a waste. And I believe that none of this season, this pain, is a waste. It’s life.

As tempting as it is, hermithood is not true living.

Other contributions of this season:

Falk (while still a fantastic human) is not right for me and I’m longer interested the way I was. The more I spent time with him the more I realized we wouldn’t have the right kind of connection that makes you want to talk and talk forever.

Ironically, the Lord forced me to hang out with Shanks for a few hours so that I’d have to see him as human and stop flat-out disliking him. I had to face why he made me so insecure and got under my skin so damn easily.

First, it’s easier to paint someone as an all around unfeeling, inconsiderate jerk than to be ignored and rejected by a good man.

I also realized that he reminds me of some guys I went to college with who were very cerebral and only cared about people who impressed them with their intellect and wit. Anyone else was rarely acknowledged and definitely not valued. I spent about two semesters in this friend-group and then realized I always felt horrible about myself afterward so I stopped hanging around those people. I attributed the same snobby callousness to Shanks because his treatment of me felt very much the same and I saw his intellectual side come out more than any warmth. As I have said in previous posts, I value warmth and compassion, so when I felt the opposite I immediately assumed he was just like them: snobby, arrogant, and exclusive. I also realized that I’m snobby toward people I view as snobby. Then I realized that just because his intellectual side might show more dominantly, that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love people.

At this point I still don’t know much about whether he’s a jerk or a prince charming or what. He could be a nice person and he could be a total snob. But I’ve at least been stripped of my preconceived notions enough that I don’t seethe when I see him, because 90% of my feelings about him were derived from my own issues and only about 10% of it was actually his doing. Who he actually is remains to be seen and I’ve cleaned all my scribbles off his slate at least.

He still intimidates me. I also realized that part of my whole “my man has to love people and see people and be warm” thing might be because I don’t think a guy who was particular would ever give me a chance. Maybe it’s this subconscious belief that it would take a guy who really loves people to notice and have enough grace to pursue me.

Yikes, that is a vulnerable confession. I hate that that level of insecurity is in there.

I was also sick for a few weeks (which was not fun) and my roommates have been busy with trips so I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I’ve watched a lot of TV which hasn’t helped because you are watching shows about connection and seeing characters connect or suffer being disconnected and you long and then relate and then feel like you have no life and you want something to happen because nothing ever happens and somehow you are the hermit already except you are still having to interact with people and still having to try. None of the perks of being a hermit. Only the disadvantages of feeling alone.

Ay-yay-yay what a mess.

I’m a mess.

 

A Confession of a Bad Excuse

I was texting a friend tonight who also struggles with masturbation. He was telling me about this video game he was playing that he’s been grossly invested in in the past couple weeks.

His character fell in love with another character and he said he was surprised when a seemingly innocent conversation option led to a graphic sex scene. He said it was really awkward and “bad bad bad.” To which, knowing the struggle, I gathered that it was fuel for his fantasies.

I tried to call him a while later about something else and he sent me to voicemail. Sadly, my thought was, “He’s either in the middle of playing that game, he’s asleep, or he’s masturbating.” Because, after him telling me about the sex in the game, I assumed about him what would very likely happen if it were me.

Often, when I consume the sex thrown at me in entertainment and advertising, I give myself the excuse to masturbate. “Well, I didn’t see that coming so now that it’s in my brain I’m going to have to get it out.” And of course in order to “get it out” I rationalize that the only way to truly do that is by getting off. Getting it out of my system. Like it’s some sort of food I’ve digested and the only way to pass it is by having an orgasm.

And in some ways this becomes a truth, even though it’s twisted. It is possible to consume sexual material and develop a hunger for it…a need for it. Ask anyone with a porn-addiction and they will tell you the same. But food’s main purpose is to nourish, and sexual material does nothing of the sort. It leaves you wanting, longing, itching for relief from the loneliness and the lack in the places you wish were being filled. It’s more like a drug.

But when it comes down to it, when you shine the light on it, it’s not that either because it’s not an actual substance. It’s a thought. An image. It doesn’t actually have tangible physical properties. Which means you don’t have to physically expel the material! It doesn’t require digestion like food. It doesn’t have to run through your veins like a drug. It absolutely can pass into your mind and back out with only a mental response instead of a physical one.

So basically my excuse to masturbate when I’ve viewed something that got me going is not really an excuse because I can change the channel, I can think of something else, or even rebuke the thought in Jesus’ name when it comes back later. And I don’t mean being aroused because that can happen really fast and is usually a natural response to viewing sexual material. But just because we were aroused doesn’t mean the material has to stay in our heads until we can satisfy that arousal. Because, again, it’s a thought. It has no physical substance and therefore needs no physical processing, only mental.

On the flip-side, when you look at a sexual relationship the way God designed it there is no lack. There is an actual physical person requiring an actual physical response. You physically consume one another while mentally processing real experiences instead of mere ideas. Seems a whole lot more satisfying and…well…natural, I guess.

I know that porn has always been around, but I try to imagine what it would be like to live back before TV and internet and billboards infiltrated every facet of our lives. Back when sexual material was something you had to go specific places to seek out instead of something you had to go to specific places to retreat from. I probably would still have masturbated. As I’ve mentioned before, my imagination is fantastic. But perhaps I’d have one less excuse.

(P.S. For my more literal readers…by “the places you wish were being filled” I mean need for relationship and also the vagina. In case that was too metaphorical for you I thought I’d spell it out. Again, Relationship and the Vagina. You’re welcome.)

“Why are they still single? What’s wrong with them?”

Even I am guilty of saying this.

Let’s be honest, the assumption that there is an undesirable reason someone is still single is an easy assumption to make.

Because we’ve all known those perpetually strange folks who are socially awkward. Or those guys who never want to grow up and act like teenagers into their thirties. Or those girls who are super insecure and will date anyone and end up just being used. Or that guy who is stalkery toward women and creeps them out. Or that girl who is painfully shy and can’t even have a conversation with the opposite sex.

It’s hard not to judge someone when they are nearing middle-age and still single. You naturally just wonder what’s wrong with them. I get it. I do it. And then sometimes I wonder the same thing about myself.

What’s wrong with me? Am I unattractive? Am I awkward? Do I have a glaring flaw that I’m blind to?

But then I think of Reader and how she was socially awkward and not exactly the most attractive girl and yet she married WAY before I did. I think of other people who have numerous or significant flaws who have found love, people that you can’t help but raise your eyebrows when you hear they are getting married. I know this makes me sound pretty terrible but you know. YOU KNOW and don’t act like you don’t.

Your mom: Did you hear that So’n’So is getting married?

You:

And just when you are about to process that So’n’So…SO’N’SO of all people!!!…has found someone who is willing to not only put up with but also tap that…THEN the thought hits you–

If SO’N’SO can find someone then what the hell is wrong with ME!!!!!!?

And then your thoughts and self esteem kind of do this:

Your mom is the bird but she doesn’t know it.

But then logic and reason eventually return and let you realize that So’n’So is marrying someone equally strange and it’s nice that most of the time there’s someone for everyone…even the quirky ones, and so there HAS to be someone for you (as if you aren’t quirky at all, right?). And also that you literally do not KNOW anybody and don’t get out of your bubble very much and also you have high standards and you are unique and so it’s going to take someone awesome and unique in a way that compliments you and it’s all going to be okay. You are happy being single. You won’t settle for less than God’s best. You are open and optimistic but also patient and enjoying the time you’ve been given with your friends and the people He’s placed in your life to minister to.

Shut up, Satan! There’s nothing horribly wrong with me. I’m just waiting on God’s timing!

And then you hear that people have been asking if you and your roommate are lesbians.

And then you do a little this:

And then feel John Watson’s pain and inform the messenger:

Because someone is single does not mean they are gay. Because they spend time with their best friend a lot doesn’t mean they are gay. It means they are single and they have a best friend. No one would think a thing about it if I was younger, but because I’m single and nearing thirty…oh I must be gay. Nope. Sorry. I’m interested in men. Women don’t do it for me. Thanks for assuming that about me.

Also, thank you woman who watched me grow up, for not trusting me to drive a van full of students because “Are you old enough to drive a rented van?” “Um, yes. I’m 28 years old and I’ve driven it before, and I’ve never been in a wreck and have been a responsible driver in the 12+ years I’ve been driving.” I bet you anything that if I were married this wouldn’t be in question (I understand I look younger than I am and that that is a good thing, but being treated like I’m irresponsible is really frustrating when 20-year-old married people get more credit than I do).

Married friends, thank you so much for assuming that I’m miserable and worthy of your pity because you are one of the blessed married people while I’m a poor lonely spinster. Thanks for the frequent consolation that he’s out there or that “we’ll find you a guy” when you actually have never set me up with anyone. But, you know, you seem to feel worse about my singleness than I do, so when it comes to your pity, thanks but no thanks.

People assume you are too picky, or you need to get out more. People assume all kinds of things and it’s hard enough sometimes when you are having to fight the lie that there’s something wrong with you that makes you unworthy of love without others speculating and accusing you, too.

That’s not to say that you “Shake It Off” as TSwift would say, because in reality it’s just not that easy. In reality it isn’t bad to question and examine yourself to see where you need to change, where you need to become the person that the person you’re looking for is looking for. But in the end what matters is what God knows about you and what you know about you. You persevere though it feels unjust, trusting that God sees you and truly does have a purpose for the delay. Trusting that you’re life is on the course He set and that is the course that will bring Him the most glory and in the end, you the most joy.

In the end I think “What’s wrong with that person? Why are they still single?” is a harmful way of thinking. Singleness is not actually tied to performance or favor or worthiness. It’s not something that needs fixing. Some single people are walking the path God has laid out for them. Some people are still single because they are doing it absolutely right.

Still here! Still Single, Still Horny, Still…Well, You Know The Rest!

I’ve been asked if I’m abandoning this blog and the answer is a solid no. I realize it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted and I’ve had some reasons for that. Mostly because this has been one of the most chaotic winters/springs I’ve ever had. Usually I get a little reprieve in January/February but this year I hit the ground running with hardly time to catch my breath. I can’t believe it’s already May! Since my last post I’ve been in weddings, gone on mission trips, switched out a roommate with another, moved houses (the most recent development), and dated and stopped dating a guy I met online (I know, I know!). And that’s just my personal life! Work has been busier than ever, too, and so I’ve hardly had time to write anything!

But enough about all that. I’m here to write about singleness, horniness, and walking with the Lord through those things.

So, first things first (drumroll please….)……..Online dating.

Not long after my last post I realized I was over my qualms about online dating and sure why not I’ll give it a shot.

BLECH.

Now, I’m not saying everything has been bad about it but the “BLECH” comes from the experience as a whole. Online dating is work. And it’s the kind of work that makes you feel shallow and discouraged. It’s a LOT of work with what seems like not much payoff.

What I mean is this:

I’m an introvert. When I get to know someone it is a drain on my energy. Who I invest my time in is an important choice. It is truly and INVESTMENT because it takes something out of me and therefore it needs to be worth it. I’m not talking about generally being kind and caring about others. I mean really getting to know someone from scratch to see if I want them in my inner circle. Well, in normal face-to-face life the majority of the time I can tell when I meet someone if I would want to spend more time with them or not. If I am remotely attracted to them or if I can at least have a decent flow of conversation. Online I have to get to know them enough to at least know that they are not serial killers and that they have a genuine relationship with Christ. This is frustrating and draining to me. I feel like I am investing a lot of precious energy and attention on something that, as soon as I meet them, will most likely be an easy “no.” And even saying this makes me feel bad but it’s the truth. I confess it.

Not only the feeling of it being hard work instead of something enjoyable, but also the sheer number of men I pass over makes me feel bad and discouraged. Let’s be honest. So many of them just need some help with how they present themselves.

Here is some advice for men who are online from a Horny Christian Single Girl.

Don’t put up photos of you and a bunch of women. Why do so many men do this? That doesn’t impress me. That makes me think you are a womanizer. If you HAVE to put one then make sure it’s you and your sister and make sure you put a caption letting me know that it is. If it’s a photo of you and an ex (even if you cut her out) just don’t use it. Ask a friend to take some new photos. I’m here to see you. Not you and the competition.

Stop posting pictures of you looking miserable. For the love, smile. No one wants to be with someone who looks angry/depressed/pitiful. A good smolder is fine but also let me know you can enjoy life too. Let’s see that smile!

Have photos without sunglasses. Has anyone ever told you you have nice eyes? Seeing someone’s eyes in a picture is very important, maybe more for women than men. They are the window to the soul and help me know you seem kind and trustworthy. Hiding the eyes makes me assume you are hiding something dark within. Please post pictures without sunglasses.

Don’t crop the top of your head out of a photo. Just own the hair loss. Be confident. A woman worth her salt is not going to pass you up for that reason alone. Also, just a hint …bald is beautiful. If it’s mostly gone then just own it and shave or buzz it. I believe in you. You can rock it. You is smart. You is kind. You is a sexy dang bald man.

Be specific about what you are looking for. If you are a Christian and want to marry a Christian woman than pay attention to your preferences. Those of us who put our relationship with God first check to see if you do too. If you are ok marrying a hindu, spiritual but not religious, muslim, christian then you aren’t the guy for me. That’s a deal-breaker. Also, be specific about what “Christian” you are. Protestant is very different from LDS. Know what you believe and pursue someone on the same page. That’s all I’m asking.

Write positively. Do you realize that bitterness and negativity comes across in what you write on your profile? One guy wrote something like, “I’m fed up with fake women and finally gave in to online dating to see if any of you genuine, God-loving women are actually out there.” Well, I can understand that sentiment but the way you came across was very angry and bitter and yikes I don’t want to go near that attitude. Instead answer the question What do you have to offer? Present yourself in a positive light, blog about your frustrations 😉

And finally,

Why are you here if you are not actually single!? If you are separated and in the middle of a rough divorce, please don’t date. Just don’t. You are only hurting yourself and others by dragging them in. Take time. Heal. Be single for a while.

Now, I realize that all of these things can be applied to women as well but, as a woman looking for a man I haven’t had to deal with the women of the big wide world of online dating. Only myself.

I’ve actually met 4 guys from online dating. Three of them were “no’s” after one date and the fourth…well, the fourth was actually a really nice guy.

We emailed back and forth for a while and he was the same personality type as me (INFP) and so we wrote eerily similar. He told me his dream job would be designing board and card games. I told him about writing and being stuck where I’m at in my novel and jokingly said he should design me a puzzle of a plot diagram and I’d put it together and be inspired to keep writing. The next email he sent me a link to a jigsaw website where he’d made me a puzzle of a plot diagram. It was really cute. And therefore I shall call him Puzzles.

Puzzles and I had a lot in common. We liked to do the same things, read the same things, etc. He was also passionate about God and had this confident way about him as far as knowing who he was. I enjoyed my time with him. He was a gentleman. But it was never any more than that. He was more a quiet type (which honestly I’ve always had a hard time with and never been much drawn to) and conversation didn’t flow naturally. It was like I had to do all the work. Not to the point where it was necessarily awkward because I wouldn’t have gone out with him more if that was the case, but just enough to make the time just okay instead of I-Can’t-Wait-To-See-Him-Again-I-Don’t-Want-This-Date-To-End sort of a thing. I liked him but I didn’t LIKE him. And he was starting to LIKE me and that didn’t feel right. After five very long dates I thought I should have more than just a cool fondness for him. So I called him and told him and he was very nice and we ended things well. After every date Bushbaby and Mom would ask me, “Well?” and after every date my answer was, “I don’t know. Maybe it could happen with time? Maybe because we are both INFP’s it will take longer because our personality types are slow to let people in at first because we feel so deeply about ‘our people.’ Maybe once we get more comfortable with each other.” And I never did.

Maybe things could have been different if he’d won me. There were some factors that might have helped if he’d done differently (one was that he was 15 minutes late to every date, one was that he dressed like a slob on our dates even though it turned out he had nice clothes that he chose not to wear, and one was that at the end of the fourth date he said we should talk about us and how we are feeling more to which I agreed but then he made no effort to initiate that.) but even if those things had been different I still think we didn’t have interpersonal chemistry (good conversation flow and the ability to have fun just being together).

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too picky. I mean…if he and I had been in an arranged marriage I think we could have made it work. But I’m happy being single and I want someone to add to my life the way I want to add to theirs. That’s different than having the ability to make something work. And I honestly have WAY more fun and meaningful conversations with my friends than I did with him and isn’t that wrong? And it’s not fair to him when he deserves someone who’s crazy about him.

There’s another guy, the one that I mentioned a long while back of almost having a thing with that didn’t happen. I’ll call him Dimples. Dimples and I have great interpersonal chemistry and physical chemistry. But, unlike Puzzles, he’s not in a financial or responsible place to date anyone and he’s very much a feeler to the point that I don’t know if I could handle that. He depends on others in a way he should have grown out of by now. I think I might end up being his mom and nope nope nopety nope to that!

Future Hubby, be he in existence according to the will of God, will hopefully be someone I can respect and have things in common with (like Puzzles) but also be someone I have fun just being around and can talk to and flirt with with ease (like Dimples).

I still have one online account that I check from time to time but I’m not actively searching like I was. The experience was bringing me down and it just wasn’t me.

One last thought on the subject that I realized is that to me affection is very precious and something I don’t give freely or lightly. It’s a message. It says, “I love you and want you and care about you.” On our last date Puzzles put his arm around me and I let him but even that small thing didn’t sit well with me because I felt like I was lying to him. I was still trying to figure out if I felt anything more than neutral toward him and until I knew that I really did have romantic feelings for him I didn’t want to send him that message. A casual hug hello or goodbye is for friends. That is fine, but more than that is too much for me unless I know that I like the guy. I don’t ever want to use anyone or lead them on just because it’s nice to be held. I want to be held when I know that it’s because I want HIM to hold me.

I’ve also been challenged to constantly question my motives about everything because I don’t want to act out of fear. When I got my cat I had some panicky issues about commitment. Will I regret getting a cat? What if he’s badly behaved? What if I can’t have as much of a life because I’m tied down to taking care of this creature? Etc. I got over all that anxiety after a week of having him because I fell in love with that fuzzy bundle of awesome and have never regretted getting him.

I’ve been single so long I had to question if I was keeping myself from falling for Puzzles because I was afraid of commitment. For someone who had longed to fall in love and be married as long as I have it sounds wack. But maybe that’s why. Go watch Tangled and listen closely to what Rapunzel says when she’s about to see the lights. (Yes, I did just make a Disney reference). I need to be careful not to act out of that same kind of fear. I prayed about this specifically before I ended things, and I do feel a peace that I did the right thing. But it is something to be aware of.

Thanks for reading and I always appreciate your comments!
Next post’s topic:

– The challenge of assumptions about you because you are a single virgin who rarely dates.

Lust and Masturbation: The Struggle

First, I want to thank you all who have commented. You continue to encourage and challenge me, making me want to continue to write, confess, and seek God’s truth on these issues. Thank you.

Someone recently asked if I was actually struggling with masturbation, actually resisting, or if I’ve just accepted it. Here’s my answer:

First, I will say that I’ve definitely struggled with the mental/moral debate of whether it is sinful or not. I’d say that a great number of those who’ve found my blog have done so seeking the answer to the same question. As I read my past posts I can see the evidence of my struggle with this. More and more I am coming to understand that masturbation is something I should struggle against. The journey behind this belief has been a long one. To be honest I’ve waffled for years due to not wanting to really know how God truly sees this. Not wanting to really know that crucifying these specific desires of my flesh is actually what is best for me and most glorifying to Him. At times I’ve declared that I believe that, but when it’s really difficult, all the same questions/excuses resurface. But God has indeed used this blog, this space that was created for me to wrestle and seek the truth, to better understand the why behind the belief that I shouldn’t masturbate. And for that I am thankful, even though it strips me of my excuses.

At this point I absolutely must acknowledge Torik89 and her blog “Women Masturbate.” She has delved into the why and has done so without judgement, simply sharing her story and what God and experience have taught her. As I’ve tried to navigate through the thick forest of this topic, her words have at times been a machete to clear away the brambles, and at times been a gentle sunbeam to guide me through the trees. Thank you, my friend and sister-in-Christ, for your amazing heart and wisdom for leading me and others toward the light.

Second, the battle against my actual fleshly urges…oh man. Where to start?

The Mental/Spiritual: I’ve read that the mind is the most powerful sexual organ. This is true. There’s the whole debate about being able to masturbate without lusting (which of course brings up the whole “what constitutes lusting” debate, which I won’t go into now). Let me put it this way. I’ve tried to masturbate without thinking any sexual thoughts. It didn’t really get me anywhere. Because my mind is my primary sex organ. Which means that most of the time my mental state is what determines my masturbatory habits. If I’ve given my mind sexual material to recall, whether by viewing, reading, or imagining it, most likely I’ll find myself indulging the habit instead of fighting it. And if I’m not filling my mind with eternal, Philippians 4:8-type things, then my mind’s habit is to seek the sexual. My spiritual walk with God is crucial to being in the right frame of mind to repel sexual thoughts, and therefore resist masturbating.

The Physical: It is rare that I’m ever not in the mood for sex. So, you can imagine that I, being a woman with a cycle of hormones, go through regular bouts of EXTREME horniness during that time that I’m supposed to be making babies. So, sometimes the actual physical need is super strong even when my mind is in a good place.

So basically – If I’m not spending time with God/walking in the Spirit then my mind will go to sexual thoughts, and then my body will respond and most likely I’ll give in to masturbating. This is most of the time. Sometimes it’s the opposite. My body will crave sex so strongly that my mind will go to sexual thoughts and I’ll masturbate, even if I have been spending time with God, and then I’ll often distance myself from God because of that.

Everything is connected.

So the simple answer to the question “Do I actually struggle?” is yes but sometimes no. Sometimes I’ve fought to the extent of getting out of bed, even though I was really sleepy, and making myself do something. Other times I’ve gone weeks just giving in. Currently, I read this blog every night because it helps me remember to resist. Another problem is that my mind and body go there when I’m sleepy. I’m sure some of you know what I mean by this. It’s hard to fight when you’re half-asleep.

I’m praying about talking to someone I know personally about this. I have told people in the past but it’s been a while since I’ve done so. I know that it needs to be the right person, and I’m not sure who that is.

All-in-all, I’m trying to remember that the main why is not for me to be a better person, but to glorify God. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and my life has been given to Christ. I owe Him all of me, and I want to be obedient to Him, and I want to love Him above all.

Jealous Rage Monster

I’m not a jealous person. 

At least, that’s what I thought until a few weeks ago.

Before then, I can remember only one time I was unreservedly jealous. I was nine years old learning a ribbon dance with my dance team. One baton had blue and yellow ribbons and another had purple and teal.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced being a nine-year-old girl in 1996, but if you didn’t, then let me just tell you. Blue and yellow? Um, no. 

To my extreme disappointment I ended up with the blue and yellow.

“I’m jealous,” I told my best friend, Reader, in my brattiest whine, “I wanted the purple and green one!”

To which Reader, a very pious and biblically knowledgeable nine-year-old, replied, “The Bible says that jealousy rots your bones.”

That shut me up.

My high school friends were my people. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for those girls. We remained close until college and some of them through college.

We, of course, had our predictions of who would be married first.

Charmer, then Me, Dreamer or The Wit (It was a toss-up between these two as to who was next), and last either Hippie or Reader. 

So, you can imagine how strange it was when Reader became the first of us to find and marry her hubby.

She and I had been friends since we were 3, and we always had this kind of competitive thing between us, but despite all that I was able to cope fairly well with the fact that she’d fallen in love before me. It wasn’t the easiest thing, but I didn’t let jealousy have much sway.

I knew the truth. My man was out there somewhere and until he came along I was going to pursue God and become the woman He wanted me to be. Besides, I wanted my relationship to be God-written and God-Centered. Reader’s relationship wasn’t God-centered, and she wanted to write her own life. 

I had always struggled with wanting to be more like Charmer. She just had that elusive “thing” about her that drew guys to her like a magnet. She was warm and inviting and everybody liked her, and I often came across cold to new people though I didn’t mean to.

And yet, though she had multiple exciting relationships all through high school and college while my life droned on much the same as always, I was okay when she married.

Sure I felt sorry for myself a few times but I didn’t let it stick around. I knew the truth.

My man would love me for being me and he’d be perfect for me and I for him. I didn’t need to be like Charmer. I just needed to keep waiting and seeking God. God was preparing him and me for each other. Wherever he was.

Fast forward a couple of years to today. I’m living with my two single roommates, Bushbaby and Logicat. Logicat and I are the same age. Logicat is one of the thinkiest people I’ve ever met (note the moniker I’ve given her), though she’s a great big softy on the inside. Bushbaby is a feeler all the way. She’s five years younger than us. I’m in the middle, but more on the thinker-side. I am drawn to emotive things and am a creative, imaginative type, but usually my actions are based on logic instead of how I feel.

Logicat and I both grew up in Christian homes and began a relationship with Christ at an early age. Bushbaby did not. She’s one of those Christians that had a rough life and now has a crazy testimony of what God has done in her life. She’s super passionate about Jesus and loves other people in a way that inspires me. Bushbaby is my closest friend at this point in my life.

During the summer of 2011, God asked Bushbaby to take a year off of dating. It was a really good thing because she’d always dated and had never been single as a Christian. (Side note: in my opinion it is a good idea for every non-married Christian to be single for a while in order to learn who they are in Christ apart from someone else.)

So she did. From last summer to this summer she stayed away from guys. Then summer 2012 rolled around and suddenly she was free to receive attention from any beaux that might come calling.

Ok, let me just explain something. As I’ve said before I’m a worship pastor. Our church is fairly small. Logicat and I are the only people in our walk of life. Everyone else is younger college or married/in a serious relationship. We mostly hang out with younger people. My part-time job is at Logicat’s full-time job where the vast majority of coworkers are women. There is one guy close to our age, and though he is pretty attractive he does not love Jesus and he also has a girlfriend. No bueno.

Basically my life is a barren wasteland when it comes to eligible bachelors. I live in a social bubble (and by bubble I mean impregnable force field of perpetual singleness).

So, what do you know, as soon as Bushbaby is free to let her huge eyes scope out the possibilities—BOOM! This really cute guy visits our church and makes a point to talk to her. Summer draws to a close. He’s intentional. He’s respectful and mature about pursuing her. The leaves begin to change. He contacts her. He takes opportunities to hang out with her and her friends. He’s strait forward. He get’s to know her. A couple more weeks pass. He asks her to dinner. He sweeps her off her feet. 

Now we are back to the beginning of this post. A few weeks ago Bushbaby went on her first date with Captain Adorable. I was so excited for her! I helped her get ready and stayed up late to hear how it went. It couldn’t have been better. He seemed perfect for her and I was impressed with his character. I went to bed happy that my dearest friend had, for the first time, experienced what it should be like instead of the crap she’d known before.

The next day I awoke. I didn’t know that something accompanied me in my waking. In came Bushbaby, all smiles and glowing from her magical evening of heart to heart conversation where souls were bared and poetry was written in the starry sky above them as fairies serenaded them and unicorns frolicked nearby. I don’t even know what she said to me. Probably something mundane like “Hi” but with that smile and that glow. Suddenly the monster inside me roared to life. RRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

As I said before, I’m a logical person. I’m not super in touch with my emotions. I kind of bottle things up without realizing that I’m doing it and then it all comes out in one of my biannual cry sessions. I can count the number of times I’ve been so angry I couldn’t control it on one hand.

So when I found myself wanting suddenly to rip Bushbaby’s head off for being so happy I was a little taken aback. What the heck was wrong with me? Why was I so angry?

“Calm down,” I told myself, “Get a grip, Ace.”

***tries to slow breathing***rage continues to boil blood**

“Oh my gosh. I’m jealous! I’m freaking jealous!”

Even worse than the extreme repulsion I felt toward my roommate/bestie was the realization that I was ragingly jealous and couldn’t get it under control. I mean…wasn’t I way too mature to succumb to such a pathetic weakness as jealousy?

Bushbaby is an affectionate person. I am sometimes. Sometimes. She is ALL THE TIME. So she of course she tried to hug me and sit close to me and all I wanted to do was beat the teeth out of her head.

I don’t know if she realized that anything was wrong. She’s very intuitive so she probably thought something was off. It was all I could do to act like I was simply in a non-sociable mood. Hopefully she didn’t realize how much a HATED her in that moment. I mean, it wasn’t her fault that her joy had unleashed the freaking Hulk. I couldn’t blame her for being happy!

I managed through the day and finally the rage died a little. It was replaced with a self destructive behavior that I’ve never experienced before. I purposely got too little sleep, ate horribly, and made myself late for work. All the while I kept asking, “What the heck is wrong with me!?”

I just wanted to talk to someone. I am a verbal processor. Rage Monster surfaced Saturday and I couldn’t meet with my mentor until Wednesday. For someone who is normally stable and naturally seeks peace, five days is a LONG time to be in emotional turmoil.

So after talking to my mentor, here’s what I realized:

–       I’d never felt jealous to that extent before because I’d never had reason to. Reader was married, but she didn’t have the kind of relationship I wanted. Same with Charmer. She’d married a guy nothing like the kind of man I want. But Bushbaby…she was experiencing EXACTLY what I want for myself. 

Captain Adorable walked into our church, saw her, and decided to pursue her like a man. He is godly and has upstanding character. He’s thoughtful and really good at taking care of her. It’s not that I want him, but in all the little ways that he’s perfect for her I want a good man of character who is perfect for me

How often have I thought of that exact scenario for myself? And then it happens, but not for me. For her after she’s waited a year. I’ve waited for 25.

–       My pride was damaged because I thought I was above jealousy. I needed to get over myself. My flesh is still susceptible to every form of sin. Also, for the past couple of years I’ve been more content in my singleness than ever before. Really and truly happy where I am. Then suddenly she gets a guy and all that is out the window? I was pissed that jealousy had ruined my content-with-my-gift-of-singleness streak. I also needed to get over myself about that.

–       If something was going to change, I wanted it to change for all three of us at once. It made me realize that whoever starts seeing someone next, either me or Logicat, it’s going to really suck for the other. 

–       I didn’t want things to change, period. I couldn’t tell Bushbaby how I was feeling because she’d feel bad and I didn’t want to burst her bubble! It was the first time I couldn’t talk to her about something and that might have been the most upsetting part of it all.

Once I sorted all this out I felt much better though I swear I gained ten pounds during those five days. 

I hate feeling like that…Like I don’t have control of myself. It makes me have more compassion on people who are emotional all the time. But, the upside for them is that they feel joy and excitement more than I do. I’m jealous of them for that.

Maybe not Jealous Rage Monster jealous, but I guess I can be a jealous person after all.

Hello world!

It’s time to come clean.

I am a 25 year old woman. I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

And I want sex. Most of the time.

I’ve never had sex and I don’t plan on doing it until I’m married. But I want it. BAD.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The carnal desire burning in my loins is not all that drives my longing for a man. I am quite the romantic and cannot wait to fall in love. I get lonely and I daydream about being pursued. I think about having a family and growing old with someone. I think about being able to hug him whenever I want because he’s mine. I think of true intimacy and two becoming one in the beautiful way God created.

But sometimes I just want sex. I just want some relief from this body that insists it’s supposed to be making babies right now.

Me: Doot de do. I’m minding my own business right now.

My body: SEEEEEXXXXXXXXX!!!!! NOOOOOWWWW!!!

Me: What the heck? I was just reading my book!

My body: EXCUSE ME! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? YOU’RE 25 AND SHOULD BE WORKING ON GROWING YOUR 16th KID BY NOW! I’VE BEEN REARIN TO GO SINCE YOU WERE 12!

Me: Well, calm down! You know you belong to my future hubby.

My body: FUTURE HUBBY! EVEN THE THOUGHT OF HIM GET’S ME GOIN!

And if the battle with my physical hormonal body is bad enough, the battle with my mind is awful. Don’t lie. If you live in the United States you know what I’m talking about to some extent.

See, here’s the thing:

The only way to shield your mind from the sex-worshipping society we live in would be to move to an Amish or Mennonite community, or possibly a mountainous cave in Appalachia or the Rockies. Maybe the desert. That might work, too. But I don’t think Jesus called us to remove ourselves from the world. Instead He told us to bring His kingdom to the world.

I don’t think we’re supposed to repress our sexuality, but instead learn how to deal with it with God. It is a good thing that I have these desires.

I keep telling myself that but I’ve honestly yelled at God before because I’d rather not have the desires at all than to burn with passion that cannot be fulfilled.

And every day that I get on the internet, turn on the TV, drive down the road, pass a magazine rack, or function in this society I am reminded of what my body already wants to be doing!

Not only that, but I have a very active imagination. Even without seeing the things I’ve seen or reading the things I’ve read I could probably imagine something sensual enough to get me hot. And my mind likes to get me hot, apparently.

I’m going to tell you my struggles.

Why, you ask? Well, because for a long time in my life I thought I was weird. The only girl who dealt with lust. I thought I had too much testosterone or something because only people with penises were supposed to want sex that much.

LIES!! So many women struggle with this and I want to break the habit we have of trying to look NICE. We’re human. I think I’ve cheapened my redemption in Christ by not being real. By caring what people think of me when really all they need to see is that Jesus has forgiven and He came to set us free.

Also, I hope that by writing about this I can fight for holiness in this area of my life.

So. Confession time.

– I was the little kid that humped things. I was sexually active before I knew what it was. My poor mom was constantly getting onto me about it. So I tried better to hide it. Around the age of ten I stopped because I decided to. After learning more in depth what sex was I started masturbating again when I was 11 or 12.

I haven’t stopped.

– It is not a constant thing, though at times it has been routine. In college I finally confessed my struggle to some of my friends and tried to swear off ever doing it again.

This, I found did not work and I was more shamed and frustrated with myself than ever and I let that get between me and God. God helped me realize that even in the midst of my failure He was right there and I was already forgiven. I didn’t have to work my way back into His good graces. He was right there waiting to love me the whole time.

He did show me that this was not a cold-turkey quits battle. It was a day by day, moment by moment walk. I have found in the past few years that in times when I am walking close with God I find the strength to resist temptation and take thoughts captive (most of the time), but when I’m not pressing into Him I have no self-control and I don’t say no. It becomes all yes-and-give-me-more. Even when I’ve felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit telling me not to go down that mental road, I’ve blatantly done it anyway.

– For a very long time my imagination was enough to fuel my habit. In college I began seeking out sex scenes in movies and erotic images. Yes. Women do struggle with porn! I still struggle with this.

– I feel no guilt. A friend told me that before she was married she’d masturbated but she stopped because she felt really guilty about it. I was so jealous of her when she said that! If only I would be wracked with a terrible guilt when I treat the Holy Spirit’s temple like it exists for my own pleasure then maybe I could stop! But no such luck. I’m really good at coming up with excuses:

Maybe I’m supposed to masturbate.The Bible doesn’t say specifically that it’s wrong. I don’t have to lust after an actual person to do it. Maybe it’s healthier. I’ll be more comfortable with having sex if I know what I like, etc.

But then I think, “If it isn’t wrong then why am I so hesitant to ask God if it is? If it isn’t wrong then why does it happen when I’m not close to God? Why do I feel farther away from Him when I’m doing it?”

– My last confession, the one I don’t want to face. I am the worship pastor at my church. I have done my very best to save myself for my husband. Because of my high sex drive and lack of self control I made a promise to God that I would save my first kiss for my husband. I won’t kiss him until I know I’m going to marry him. I dated this guy in college and I wouldn’t let him hold my hand because God told me to set this boundary for myself:

I am to always ask, “Would this be better if we waited?” Anticipation will grow. Our relationship will earn intimacy with commitment.

I didn’t want the first guy I held hands with be some guy I was trying to figure out if I liked. I wanted it to be MY guy, after I knew I was mad about him.

(For the record, I know that my boundaries with men are really high and I don’t hold other people to them or look down on anyone for not having the same. They are just what God has required of me.)

SO, the result is that on the outside I’m this freaking unicorn of purity. The chaste maiden dressed in white with a halo shining behind her, while behind closed doors I do shameful things and in my head I’m a whore.

The word that kills me is integrity.

I try not to be a hypocrite. I don’t act like I’m better than anyone and I don’t pretend to be perfect. I tell people I have struggles and on Sundays after I’ve had a bad week I get in front of people and preach the gospel to myself and them. Because really, whether this was my struggle or not, my very best is like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness. I know that I have no worth but in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the new life that He’s given me.

I just wish that I was better at choosing Him.

Or that there was an off switch to the desires of the flesh. I mean, really. Why couldn’t God have made periods and sexual desire happen once you were married!?

I suppose it’s yet another way for me to learn to depend on Him.

For those of you out there who struggle with lust, masturbation, porn, and any other sexual sin, you are not alone. God loves you and is right there, right now waiting with open arms. He’s not waiting to give you a lecture or a disappointed look. Just forgiveness and grace.

Jesus, help us, your daughters want you above all else. Help us in this enormous fight for Holiness. It is not an easy battle.

For that girl who is plagued with shame and guilt because of sexual sin, show her how to rest in Your grace and love. Show her how much you value her.

For those of us who feel numb, thaw our hearts that have been calloused by lies and excuses. Awaken in us a passion and desire for what is right.

And for the one who has given up bring hope and courage. You came to redeem us out of slavery to sin, Jesus, so please help us live in freedom!