Monday, February 15, 2010

For Women's Eyes ONLY!

When I sat down to write, my hubby offered some suggestions to help me overcome my blogger's block.

Unfortunately, I'm guessing none of you wanted to read about the steroid problem in baseball, the Mavericks' weekend trade or the Cowboys' biggest needs in the upcoming draft.

Basically, he was of no help at all.

So, let's talk about lust.

What do you first notice about this woman? Her voluminous hair? Her bright white smile? Her incredible voice? She happens to be one of my favorite singers.

What do you think men's eyes can't help but gravitate to in this picture?

How about the wardrobe malfunction she's about 1/8 inch from experiencing as she gyrates around a stage? And that girl can gyrate.

What about this woman? Admire her incredible balance? Her spiritual gift of being able to stay in those heels despite being greased up from hair to toe? The way she can still manage to look lusty despite having the appearance of a woman who, you know, just enjoys hanging from a steel bar every now and then?

She happens to be a singer and actor. But I'm guessing her theatrical talents aren't what men first notice about her. This is one of the more "acceptable" pictures I could find.

To be fair, there isn't a possible wardrobe malfunction here because I think you have to actually have on a wardrobe to experience one.

There is a part of me that screams, "What are you doing to our men?!!!" And, subsequently, "What are you doing to our women?!!!"

I'm guessing they know.

Thankfully, I don't see many women who dress like this down here in our cozy little suburb. Most of the women I see dress beautifully, but modestly. As so many of my friends are from church and have learned the beauty of modesty, I rarely worry about them being visual stumbling blocks for my husband. And, for that, I am thankful.

But, there is another trap that I believe is just as dangerous to marriages as pictures of oiled up women on the internet.

Emotional attraction.

And that isn't always as obvious as wardrobe malfunctions or greased up, tanned legs that end in spiked heels.

It is most often much sneakier, starting innocently enough.

The door can be opened in the casual decision to grab coffee together. Or chatting privately on Facebook. Or dwelling on things you admire about a man that, darn it, you just wish your husband had. Or enjoying the way your co-worker makes you feel because he's such a great listener when you need to spill your guts. It has a way of making it's way in when you allow someone besides your spouse to be intimate with you emotionally.

For Pete's sake, I've been convicted about whether I've been a stumbling block for just having been "too nice." Or being just a little too witty.

And when all those little things add up to bigger things in our mind or theirs, I just picture God wanting to scream, "What are you doing to these men?!!!" And, "What are you doing to these marriages?!!!"
My dad once told me he never took any of his secretaries out to lunch one on one for meetings or Secretaries' Day.
Maybe some consider that extreme.
But, for my mom, it was a gesture to show he would go to the extreme to remove any potential for straying or even the appearance of straying.
They celebrated their 34th anniversary on Valentine's Day. They have that soulmate love. I suspect even the smallest ways my dad honors her have something to do with that.
Maybe some of us need to go to that extreme rather than chance the other. Because, boy, doesn't it feel good to get a little attention after those three babies you pushed out? Don't you want to know you still have "it" even after you've packed on a little "more to love" since you first got married? Man, doesn't it feel good to know you are desired?! And, once you open those doors, it is harder to back away.
We know that temptation in and of itself is not wrong. We can't help but be tempted. But, if we choose to dwell on that temptation, it leads to lust, which leads to sin, which leads to death (James 1:14-15).
And death ain't no good.
So, how does God say we are to handle emotional attraction?
"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual impurity, lust, and shameful desires." Colossians 3:5

Let's break that down...

1. "Put to death." Don't even leave burning embers. Snuff them out completely. Break off that relationship if it is causing you or him to stumble. You're either going to put these desires to death or bring on some death. And, remember, death ain't no good.

2. "Sinful, earthly things lurking within." We were born with these desires. It's natural to want to be noticed by the opposite sex. To covet what is not ours. But, if something lurks, it isn't out to have a girls' night out and be BFFs with you. It is out to hunt you down. It waits in the secret, dark places for the opportunity to pounce and bring immeasurable harm.

3. "Have nothing to do with..." Well, in other words, have nothing to do with these things. RUN. Flee like your pants are on fire.
I am no marriage counselor, but here are some questions I ask myself when examining whether I am opening the door for emotional attraction...
1. Is what I'm doing (writing, wearing, saying, joking about, etc.) something that could even POSSIBLY cause a man to stumble?
2. What am I watching, reading or listening to that might cause me to be desensitized to the dangers of sexual impurity? Society jokes that it's acceptable to "look, but not touch," but does God say that? Is He that dismissive of the dangers of lust?
3. What relationships do I need to end to "put to death" even the hint of attraction? Am I making my husband or that woman uncomfortable because I am a little too friendly that man? It doesn't matter whether I think he or she is being reasonable. If either is uncomfortable, I'm at fault and dishonoring my marriage or theirs isn't worth it. In Mark, we read, "If your arm or foot causes you to sin, cut it off." And, "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." Yikes. Sounds like a lot less cosmetic surgery is necessary if we just cut off the relationship that could lead to sin. Easy to do? Maybe not. But right to do.
4. Would I want my husband witnessing the way I behave around this person? How do I feel knowing God is witnessing our interaction?
5. I believe God wants what's ultimately best for me. That may mean giving me boundaries. Do I believe being in this relationship is God's best for all involved? If not, what boundaries do I need to put in place to make avoiding emotional attraction a reality? Do I remove him from Facebook? Do I not allow myself to be alone with a man, even over coffee? Do I keep emails with a co-worker business related?
6. What women in my life can I ask to help me stay accountable regarding this issue? If God talks about lust in the Bible, it's because He knows it's a real issue. No, it's not fun to talk about, but there is freedom in telling the truth about our struggles and seeking help. What women will hold my feet to the fire so my entire family will not be burned?
I'm sure someone with much more advanced knowledge about marriage could add onto this. These are just some things that help me when I need some clarity.
Wow, for someone with blogger's block, I sure didn't run out of words! And, yikes, maybe you would've preferred talking about the Mavericks or Cowboys. Or how the Saints totally owned the Colts last weekend. #1 because it would've been a lot less uncomfortable to talk about and #2 because I would've said all I could say in about 22 words or less.
I'd love to hear any thoughts you can share about lust and emotional attraction. In the meantime, I'm going to go see if I can manage heels after I spread some canola oil all over my "more to love" body. That is going to take some talent! And maybe some knee pads and a helmet.
And, boy, nothing says "sexy" like stumbling around in knee pads and a helmet.


  1. Don't have anything to add or share, but a question - if struggling with this, or anything else really, how do you approach a friend to be an accountablity partner without scaring them away? Is asking someone to help with this burdening them?

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    First seek God... He already knows the desires of your heart.. You just can't truly be free of Satan's grip in this area, until you say it out loud to HIM. Then, seek out that godly individual, weather it is your spouse or a godly christian friend that you can trust in confidence, and seek that prayer and accountablity. I don't believe if they are a true friend or older spiritual mentor, that it will be a burden, but a privilege that you have asked them for their help and prayer. Then I would hold the mirror to myself if I were struggling, and say, "Lord, help me to be the woman that you created me to be... both inside and out... and the wife that my spouse deserves. Change my desires to be your desires Lord."
    We all struggle somewhere... and ususally when it is me struggling, if I look closely, it is because I am focused on my needs other than being focused on Christ and who I am in HIM. His princess. Then, when I love myself, it overflows to my spouse and children, and they are able to love me in return. Praying for you..

  3. Dear Anonymous,
    First, let me say, that we ALL struggle with something.. The first person you should go to is God...He already knows you are struggling with something, He just needs to hear it from you when you "let it go". As long as you hang on to it, and try to "FIX" it (as I know many of us women try to do), God can't have the freedom to make something beautiful of our mess, and Satan will have the victory. God already knows our struggles, He just wants us to admit to Him. That is when the real change and healing can occur. Then after you seek out God, then I would find that good Christian friend, or older mentor to speak with. Hopefully they would love you where you are, not judge, and offer listening, accountability, and prayer. I don't think they would feel like it was a burden, but a blessing that you trusted them enough to ask. Another thing that I usually find, is , if I am struggling with an area in my life, where I am not is usually because I have my focus on me, and what I deserve. So I usually have to have "HEART" surgery and ask God to change me first... When that happens, I am able to see myself as He sees me..."HIS PRINCESS", not the way that others may see me or the way Satan wants me to see myself. Then, when I am able to love myself, it overflows to my spouse and children. That usually means they feel more loved and are able to love me. Praying for you..

  4. Sorry... I posted above twice the same thing. It didn't show on my computer, so I re-wrote. Don't know how to delete one. Not very good at this computer thingy. Sorry.

  5. That is a great question and I'm so glad you already got great advice above! Years ago, I remember a friend sharing in our Bible study about how she struggled with having fantasies during her dreams. I remember being so shocked (not judgmental, but surprised) at first because I was amazed she would share with our group to that degree. I soon realized how much courage that took and respected her SO much for it. She wasn't offering that info for shock value, but to make herself transparent and ask for help among a group of women she really trusted. I think we ALL have things we don't want others to know about, but when you find someone safe to talk to, I think you'll also find a world of freedom. Like any struggle, talking and acknowledging you have a struggle is the first step.

    I do think you've probably got pretty good intuition about what friend or friends you can trust with your most intimate thoughts. I would first identify friends who actively seek after God (prayer, Bible study, regular church attendance, etc.) and once that is narrowed down, choose a friend who is really good at keeping secrets. She should be easy to identify - do you ever hear her gossip about people? Judge people? Tell you other people's secrets? I've heard it said that "whomever gossips to you, will gossip of you." So, really be careful to choose a friend who has proven over the years to be someone trustworthy.

    I'd also choose someone local and someone who can meet with you once a week or every other week. To me (my humble opinion), those accountability meetings shouldn't be one giant guilt session. Instead, I think you find productive ways to honestly share your struggles and also build each other up. You can choose a Bible study to walk thru together to give you some guidelines of what to talk about.

    I'm guessing anyone you choose will also have her skeletons in the closet. We ALL do! And, when you open yourself up, you'll be allowing your friend to do the same. You will both find freedom in accountability.

    I do think it's also good to have a mentor, an older woman who can guide you. Again, IMHO, I think accountability is better with people going through a similar life stage as you. The mentor, however, should be a bit older.

    While you may already have an accountability partner in mind, it might be harder to figure out where to get a mentor. I'd start with Lynn Quernemoen at our church and see if she knows of any women she can connect you with.

    I hope that helps. You asked such a great question and I wish we all had accountability partners and mentors! We'd be such better women for it! I pray that if you're seeking guidance, that you'll soon find it. It is such a blessing to have friends that will help you be real.