Tag Archives: guilt

The church hates free sex. I want sex. The church and I are enemies.

I am 20 years old. I have never had sex. I have never had a boyfriend. I have never even “touched myself” (sorry for TMI), and I don’t talk about sex, never ever ever. For the last big chunk of my life, I have craved sex. Why, then, am I so strictly chaste? Because that’s what good girls do. And I am a good girl.

My religion taught me from a young age that sex is bad and that I am bad for wanting it. Sex has been one of my most enjoyed thoughts and one of my deepest, tabooed and stigma-rich secrets. Since I was about 12 I have had sexual fantasies weekly if not daily. (I also have other, violent fantasies, probably from repression of these, but that’s another story.)

I do want sex. I do want a boyfriend. I want to be loved. I want my body to matter. Every day that goes by when I am alone puts another nail in the coffin of my desires. If I had not been forced to be religious when I was growing up, I really doubt that I would be like this. My best friend from elementary school got into BDSM. I’ve no doubt I would have been more like that, or at least romantically involved, without church to constantly yell at me and condemn me for having any physical desire for another person.

I can’t even touch people without my inner “good girl” critic yelling at me. My ingrained church rules effectively stunted my sexual development, and I am yet a virgin (their goal fulfilled!), but it’s a success carried out by shaming and guilt. This is partly why I hate myself now. No matter how well I hide it, I have always been attracted to sex (who hasn’t?), making me question myself and the “demons inside me” at every turn when my church leaders said over and over “sex is bad.” Then, if I want sex, I’m bad. I’m female, so it’s not even possible for me to want sex. I should stand up for my brothers in Christ who are taken over by their own desires and protect them from themselves, and that ends my involvement with sex. I am to be a brick wall until I flip a switch on my wedding night.

I can’t believe that the god who designed sex would give me these feelings and not have a safe place for me to vent, feel them, or even talk about them. My church was not a home for me growing up, and has never felt safe for me to express all of me, because of its condemnation of sexual desire, and its refusal to accept that I am both a woman made in the image of God and a body filled at times with lust and sexual desire.

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Why I pray before I eat – gratitude excludes desperation.

Why would I want to provide strength for a tomorrow that I never want to see? I can’t both be grateful for food that will give me strength, and want to die. It is arbitrary / contrived (put on me by an outside force) for me to eat when I’m sad and want to die. If I fast, it will be okay because I’ll either die or find discomfort reason enough to eat (my mind says, “die”, but my body says, “eat, live!”), or God will answer me. I never have to eat if I don’t want to.

At mealtimes, my parents criticized me whenever I didn’t finish all of the food on my plate. If I sat not eating, or with an already empty plate, my father would urge me to eat something until everyone was done. It became a part of being a “good daughter” that from the time I sat down at the dinner table to the time I left, I would eat continuously, and I would finish everything I put on my plate. Over time, I stopped caring whether I felt hungry or full, but judged how much more I should eat by the time left at the table. I took most bites for duty rather than for actual hunger or need. This led to me becoming overweight.

Now,  when I live on my own, eating is routine I hate. I have to eat three meals a day, and feel guilty when I miss a meal, or when I have an extra. Because of my weight, food carries a lot of guilt for me. If I didn’t have an irrational fear of starving that creeps up whenever I actually get hungry and have no easy accessible food, I would probably forget to eat altogether.

It was truly a gift from God when he let me know that, though he is my father, I don’t have to please him by eating. I can fast. I can eat later. I don’t have to finish the food on my plate. I can decide to just not eat. I won’t have to eat in heaven. I don’t have to force-feed myself when I am depressed and want to die. But if I go to my Lord with gratitude for what he has given me, and give him thanks before I lift my fork, he blesses me immediately by turning my heart towards him, and giving me hope for the next day. If I can care to praise him even when I am otherwise miserable, I find the will to look forward to tomorrow, and the meal turns from a curse keeping me in the prison of life into a blessing that moves me forward to my place in His hands tomorrow. This change doesn’t make me stop hating food, but it makes me love my God a whole lot more.

Dear Lord, why are you so cruel? Where is your justice?

I dread punishment. I am convinced that if I hear you ask me to do something, I will be guilted into doing it, despise doing it, and if I mess up, I will face your wrath. I don’t see you as a loving master, but as a cruel one. Why did you keep Moses out of the Promised Land for just hitting a rock??? Why did your blessing for Jacob/Israel come only with permanent damage (dislocating his hip)? Why did you make your Son suffer such terrible agony, the worst torture the Romans had conceived? Why did you let Samuel’s mother (Hannah) give up her long-awaited son when she finally had him? You let Abraham keep Isaac, even after you asked for him to be sacrificed. Why did you make David go through so much struggle when he was young, chased by the king, and then by his own son, Absalom! And his best best friend, Jonathan, died in the battle that made him (David) king. Why? You gave your chosen people 40 years in the desert, wandering, for a week of disobedience? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t sound just. Punish them all??? And your martyrs – why did you let Dietrich Boenhoeffer die? Why have you called so many of your people (who love you, who are loved by You, you say) to death? To suffering and pain? How can you be a good God and yet visit such terrible, extreme wrath on us all, so much on even your friends? Casting Adam and Eve out for one fruit? I guess you demand perfection. Making Jeremiah weep, Elijah grow tired, Hosea marry a prostitute (Gomer), and all that happened to Paul (shipwreck, snakebite, stoned, imprisoned many times). “Gomer didn’t realize how wonderful her life with Hosea was – so she left being a wife and mother to go back to being a harlot.”

I suppose you did love Jesus, so you ought to be furious with anyone not burning with love when they hear what he did, what you gave up, to save us. I don’t understand. Where is the gospel in this? What is the gospel? Love hurts.

And why is there so much pain when I don’t do what you ask?

Unworthy of heaven.

Adam: I am unworthy.

Eve: Of what?

Adam: God’s love. God’s favor. Any reward God has for me. I’ve never done anything right. I’m not good enough to stand righteous before a holy God. I am not good enough to go to heaven.

Eve: Then do you think I’m worthy?

It’s not whether you’re worthy or not, but whether Jesus’ sacrifice for you was sufficient to pay any debts you owe to God. Was his death and rebirth enough to pay for your sins? Yes. God does not reward the righteous, but saves the broken. He says,

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

At some point, humility becomes pride against God’s power to save you. If you agree that God is God, all-powerful, then if he decides to save you, he can and he will. Peter says,

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“All” reaching repentance includes you. If you think anything you have done or left undone can keep you out of heaven, then God desires that you turn from your foolish thoughts or  repent of your pride. If you think your actions can counteract God’s will, that’s foolishness or arrogance, and it’s not true. God can do anything, and he desires for you to choose to go to heaven.

But I’ve done the unforgivable sin! I’ve actually killed/raped/hurt someone! I ignored my father’s last request on his deathbed. I cheated on my boyfriend. I am a nasty, disgusting person. I’ve blasphemed the spirit!

(“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven man, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.” Mark 3:29) What does that even mean?

Or, I’ve rejected God.

“It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” (2 Peter 2:21)

Now, that one’s a problem. Have you accepted God again? If you’re reading this, then you’re clearly still searching. Know that God is still pursuing you. (See: the prodigal son story.) God loves you and wants you close to him. He will give you a second chance. If you ask him for forgiveness, he will forgive you seven times seventy times (Biblical language for as many times as you ask), because he cannot deny himself.

The Bible says that the least in the kingdom of heaven will be greater than John the Baptist, one of God’s prophets. If you have to be that good now, where you are, to get into heaven, then heaven will be empty. Even John the Baptist is not greater than himself. And would God send his prophets to hell? There is no indication of that in the Bible.

To be the least in heaven is better than being the best person on earth, is way way better than being the best person in hell. Can you comprehend?

“Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S.Lewis, Weight of Glory

Don’t be pleased by thinking you’re not worthy of heaven, and leaving it at that. God holds out the promise of heaven to you. If there’s a specific reason that you consider yourself unworthy, then bring your reason before God and seek forgiveness, and try to remove it from your life if it is still there. Repent of the sin, and God will forgive you. Please understand, God offers a spot in heaven to you:

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2) – Jesus

There’s room, you’re invited, and there’s nothing you can do that Jesus cannot overcome if you seek him. I hope to see you there.

Beneath the covers.

Beneath the covers. (as spoken word)
You know that feeling you get
when you’re lying in bed, and remember
there’s something left to do?
Turn off the front lights, lock the door, brush your teeth.
But hey, you say, I’m really tired. it can wait.
And you roll over and try to sleep.
And sometimes the sleep comes easy.
You wake up in the morning and everything’s great.
But other times the nagging thought just won’t go away.
It won’t let you sleep until you take care of it,
until you get out of your warm cozy bed to do this one little thing.
Check the oven. Send an email. Put the milk away.
Then you can fall back into bed and sleep like a baby,
until your alarm goes off always too early tomorrow morning.

This is where I am with God,
lying in bed with a nagging thought.
except no matter how many times I get up,
no matter how many little things I find to do,
the nagging doesn’t go away.
So that now, I’m lying in bed, and I can’t sleep.
But even if I get up, I can’t fix anything.
I lie awake in my warm, cozy bed, all snuggled up in my blankie.
But on top of my patchwork quilt lies a layer of lazy shame.
I can’t relax. My eyes are heavy. I’ve been here forever.
But I can’t do anything. I’ve tried. God knows I’ve tried.
I lay awake, trying to neglect the chores that I know can’t release me, because they never have.
I try to find the solution, to lay down this burden and get me to sleep!
Did I pray enough? Share my faith? Go to church? Read my daily devo? Maybe I was supposed to give up something for Lent, or give a bigger tip to that waitress. Do I have a sin left to confess? A neighbor to love?
But my checklist is complete. My Christian record is spotless, more or less.
And that’s my problem, why I can’t sleep.
It’s based on a lie – it’s as fantastic as the dreams I want to have, as appealing, and as false.
I am not a Christian. But I say I am. And that is why God won’t let me sleep tonight.

No, it’s worse. I desperately want that to be true, because that would release me.
Now the shame comes, because I want my sleep more than my God.
This night I lie awake, it is not good for me.
I am lost in a maze of chores and racing thoughts.
The lazy shame is suffocating.
And I see no way out. When the dawn greets me, I’ll be a hollow shell.
Trapped beneath the covers, and aware of it all.
Plagued by a vague nagging voice
and aware that I’d deny my Lord for a nap.
Can hell be worse than this?

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up.
If all I ever do is hide, yet it‘s still there for them to see, soon any day someone will know and that’ll be the end of me. I’m wicked and I must atone – I have no right to mind. For if I speak, what will they think? They’ll start to hate this mime. Dishonesty is misery, yet lies eat up my time. So blissful peace is solitude, when all I am is mine. My heavy mask is blinding me to what I am and once could be. I once had light but now can’t see ’cause what they want is what I’ll be. When they direct my destiny I can’t say how they’re hurting me, but for the sake of lonely me I won’t evade their company. In secret I’m secure inside where they can never touch my pride. When I escape their toxic eyes the peace will surely be divine. I’ll loose the chains of memory, cast off my guilt, and I’ll be free. My fate is yet a mystery, so don’t give up on me!

If all I ever do is hide
Yet it‘s still there for them to see
Soon, any day someone will know
And that’ll be the end of me.

I’m wicked and I must atone
I have no right to mind
For if I speak, what will they think?
they’ll start to hate this mime

Dishonesty is misery.
yet lies eat up my time.
so blissful peace is solitude
when all I am is mine.

my heavy mask is blinding me
to what I am and once could be
I once had light but now can’t see
’cause what they want is what I’ll be

when they direct my destiny
I can’t say how they’re hurting me
but for the sake of lonely me
I won’t evade their company

In secret I’m secure inside
where they can never touch my pride.
When I avoid their toxic eyes
the peace will surely be divine

I’ll loose the chains of memory.
Cast off my fear and I’ll be free.
My fate is yet a mystery
So don’t give up on me.

Make sense? What my guilt makes me feel like I have to do to hide it just gives it more power and fuel.