Tag Archives: tired

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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Thank you for letting me go, Lord

Thank you, Jesus, for letting go of my hand. I know I still have a very very long and very painful walk ahead of me, through desert and thorns, but thank you for doing what my parents never could – letting me go and letting me fall. I know that you are always there beside me: watching, encouraging, hoping for me, cheering me on, and loving me even when I forget you and when I despise your creation of me. You will never abandon nor forsake me.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Thank you for letting me stumble. I am hurt pretty bad now and I haven’t been getting up very eagerly (or at all) when I fall. Thank you for your patience when I am bitter. Thank you for your love when mine runs cold. I’m sorry.

As I take a step away from you to see if my parents’ faith is for me, please do not abandon me to myself.

Amen.

Maud Muller, by John Greenleaf Whittier

God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

MAUD MULLER, on a summer’s day,
Raked the meadow sweet with hay.

Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
Of simple beauty and rustic health.

Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

But when she glanced to the far-off town,
White from its hill-slope looking down,

The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
And a nameless longing filled her breast,

A wish, that she hardly dared to own,
For something better than she had known.

The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
Smoothing his horse’s chestnut mane.

He drew his bridle in the shade
Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
Through the meadow across the road.

She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And filled for him her small tin cup,

And blushed as she gave it, looking down
On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

“Thanks!” said the Judge; “a sweeter draught
From a fairer hand was never quaffed.”

He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

And Maud forgot her brier-torn gown,
And her graceful ankles bare and brown;

And listened, while a pleased surprise
Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.

At last, like one who for delay
Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away.

Maud Muller looked and sighed: “Ah me!
That I the Judge’s bride might be!

“He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.

“My father should wear a broadcloth coat;
My brother should sail a painted boat.

“I’d dress my mother so grand and gay,
And the baby should have a new toy each day.

“And I’d feed the hungry and clothe the poor
And all should bless me who left our door.”

The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
And saw Maud Muller standing still.

“A form more fair, a face more sweet
Ne’er hath it been my lot to meet.

“And her modest answer and graceful air
Show her wise and good as she is fair.

“Would she were mine, and I to-day,
Like her, a harvester of hay

“No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,

“But low of cattle and song of birds,
And health and quiet and loving words.”

But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold,
And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
And Maud was left in the field alone.

But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
When he hummed in court an old love-tune;

And the young girl mused beside the well,
Till the rain on the unraked clover,

He wedded a wife of richest dower,
Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

Yet oft, in his marble hearth’s bright glow,
He watched a picture come and go;

And sweet Maud Muller’s hazel eyes
Looked out in their innocent surprise.

Oft, when the wine in his glass was red,
He longed for the wayside well instead;

And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms
To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain,
“Ah, that I were free again!

“Free as when I rode that day,
Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay.”

She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
And many children played round her door.

But care and sorrow, and childbirth pain,
Left their traces on heart and brain.

And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

And she heard the little spring brook fall
Over the roadside, through the wall;

In the shade of the apple-tree again
She saw a rider draw his rein.

And gazing down with timid grace
She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
Stretched away into stately halls;

The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,
The tallow candle an astral burned,

And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
Dozing and grumbling o’er pipe and mug,

A manly form at her side she saw,
And joy was duty and love was law.

Then she took up her burden of life again,
Saying only, “it might have been.”

Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
For rich repiner and household drudge!

God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes;

And, in the hereafter, angels may
Roll the stone from its grave away!

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?

Suicide: and would you give up your birthright for this?

We laugh at Esau the fool who gave up his birthright, the inheritance from his father and the God-given blessing through his father to bless is family, for a bowl of soup when he was hungry.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a]) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:29-34)

He is a fool! He gave up something great and valuable, even his place in the history of God’s people, for momentary comfort. He was hungry again the next day, but disinherited for the rest of his life, with impact on all of his descendants.

What can we learn from his story?

Esau asked for food, and Jacob took advantage of the situation. But Esau was desperate. In our lives, the devil is looking for a way in. He knows when we are desperate and weak. His goal is to make us give up what we rightly deserve. He cannot take it if we don’t let him, so he must trick us to “despise” it.

When we are in desperate situations, might we sometimes act foolishly? I know I do. They say you should never shop on an empty stomach, because you will want to buy everything that’s bad for you.

Those who commit suicide make the same error as Esau. (I am not trying to belittle the depths of depression and the reality of the pain that comes with it, but to illuminate the reality with God’s word.) As meager as it sounds to someone experiencing the kind of pain and lostness that leads to suicide, God has promised that there is no temptation too strong for you when you rely on him.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Those who commit suicide are so desperate to escape pain and discomfort that they give up their God-given birthright to life. It’s like cutting off a finger to get rid of a splinter. It’s not that the splinter isn’t incredibly painful and annoying, but that the finger is so great and useful that it’s worth having even though it brings the splinter with it. And how many splinters and hangnails and ingrown fingernails would you need before you cut off your finger? It is only because of a false perception of the value of life that someone will say it is not worth living.

When they die on their own schedule, they give up their God-given birthright to life and they write themselves out of history. They lose the part of our salvation from God that takes place as we live and grow in relationship with him and become our truer selves. For what do we give up our birthright? For what do we give up our lives?

When I considered suicide, I felt it would be justified if I died as a hero, for some cause. Like when a man jumps onto the train tracks to push someone else away from the train, when a boyfriend shields his girlfriend from the bullets of the murderer, when the monk gives his life in self-immolation or hunger to make his cause known, when Batman dies to save Gotham. Those are good deaths, in my eyes. If in some way my death could be the death of a hero, my inclination to die and find rest would be forgiven or recast as a heroic “sacrificial” bent. Even Jesus gave up his life (to take it up again). But his action fulfilled the purpose of his life, and so his death was his highest and holiest calling. God has not called me to die (though I’ve asked), so the best possible death I could die, in his plan, is worse than the occasionally miserable life I have now. Is your calling to death?

Peter was given this call.

(Jesus to Peter) 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:17-19)

Many of Jesus’ disciples are called to die – but never at their own hands: as martyrs. To follow Christ is to become a source that accepts the hatred of the world, absorbing it instead of running away or fighting back, in order to remove it from the world. In death you give up your power to heal the world as Jesus did, and lose your right as a child of God, beloved of God, to act in God’s plan for the salvation of the world and of yourself.

For what would you give up your life?

To protect the flock

Jesus is my inspiration. He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:37). I love that picture of safe comfort under the Lord’s wings. I could not deny that to anyone. Have you ever noticed that the English language uses the same word for a group of birds as for sheep: a flock. Let the flock that he shepherds also be the flock under his wings. Come to Jesus, and Jesus, come!

I have just been surfing blogs and there are so many stories out there. There are so many people who are working, who are suffering, trying to live, to follow God. When I think “How would I like to be treated if I were in their shoes? How can I love this person today with what I have?” I am overwhelmed! I want to get to know everyone. I want to spend time with them, teach them, learn from them, live life with them. I want to jump in front of them on their way through life and stop our messy world from hurting them ever again. And I get tired just thinking about it, even before I do anything, and I so often give up. What impact can a drop of water make in the bone-dry desert? Yet, It’s frustrating I just don’t have time to care for everybody, though I so badly want to make everybody smile. In this, I have to give up my will to God, and trust that He will do as He has promised, and love everybody. His hands can reach further than mine and pull up the broken, embrace the hurt, tidy up someone who’s stumbled, and give direction to someone who’s confused about the next stage of their life. He can do all things. And I trust that he will direct me to where my love will work with his plan.

As silly as it is, I know a lot about grammar. So when reading blogs one of my usual thoughts is, “if only you let me edit that before you published it. I could have fixed it and it would be better, more perfect.” And then I see that I want to fix people. I want to make them perfect. Do I then love them? As much as I can, a flawed love when it’s not in God’s hands.

Lord, I thank you for the internet. Tonight I pray that you would alleviate my discomfort at being powerless to help. I ask that you would reveal to me your hand in the lives of people around me, and give me rest from my worry for them. Help me let go of my need to “fix” them and any pride I feed with that feeling, but let me love them with the love of your perfect son. In His name I pray, Amen.

And when I can, I try to find inspiration from this little boy.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

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?