The Lies We Believe


Once upon a time, this was my life… 

Some days are okay, but most are almost unbearable; like today when I am alone, feeling the weight of my decision to move on and the severity of my family’s situation. I feel extremely isolated and some days my heart hurts so badly. I can’t believe this is how my life has turned out. A new start at my age??

The words above were taken from one of my journals during the months following my final separation from my ex-husband. I still had so much to learn about myself, and God had so much more healing for me in the years to come. I’m still in progress.

During those years, I began to recognize the lies that dictated my life. Lies like:

  • I am of no value.
  • I am powerless.
  • I have no voice.
  • I am an object for another’s sexual pleasure.
  • If I love someone, I must allow them to mistreat me.
  • I can’t look at Jesus’ face because I am ashamed.
  • I have to do whatever someone else wants even if I don’t feel safe.
  • My husband is looking elsewhere for sex because I’m not a good enough wife.
  • I am never enough.
  • Everything wrong is my fault, and it’s my responsibility to fix it.
  • If I feel frustrated or cry, I must not be trusting God enough.
  • Performing sexually proves my worth.
  • If I was more (or less) _________, I would be loved.
  • I will feel loved if I have sex.

God says:

  • I am valuable to him.  (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • God gave me a spirit of power. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I have a voice. (Psalm 66:19 & Romans 9:1)
  • No one should use me to satisfy their lust. (I Thessalonians 4:3-8)
  • God is not happy when someone mistreats me. (Zechariah 2:8-9)
  • We can confidently approach Jesus. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • I am only responsible for my own actions. (Romans 14:12)
  • Feelings and crying are part of who we are. Even Jesus cried. (John 11:35)
  • Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. That isn’t only about sex. (Ephesians 5:25-33)
  • Love comes from God, not from sex. (Jeremiah 31:3; I John 4:19)

Perhaps you have believed the same lies, but haven’t realized you’re enslaved to them. For every lie I believed, God offered me the truth, and I began to live again. I believe he wants to do the same for you.

What are lies you’ve believed? What truth have you learned? Have you started over, or would you like to?
 
 

Look Here, But Don’t Look


 As a young girl, my life situation and society around me portrayed women as objects to be used for pleasure.

Men were expected to stare, flirt, touch, fondle, kiss and hopefully take the object of their lust to bed. “Real” women enjoyed being the object of someone else’s desire and would join in eagerly. If they resisted, it wasn’t because they meant no, it was only that they were teasing as part of a game. A man was supposed to pursue and conquer sexually; the woman should melt in his arms. But as soon as she was conquered, she earned the label “slut,” “easy,” or “loose.”

As Christian women, we were responsible for drawing a line, holding men back and making sure that purity reigned; thus relieving men of any respectful responsibility in the relationship. Then, as Christian wives, we’re to submit our bodies wholeheartedly because they no longer belong to us. What a contradiction in emotion and values for a woman, and often a license for selfish, irresponsible men.

As a girl surrounded by these ideas, I grew up looking for the love I craved in all the wrong ways and places.

If a young girl has an absent father, one who spends most of his time at work or play, is emotionally disengaged, or has abandoned the family altogether, she may start flirting or dressing to show off her body in order to secure the attention and affection she misses. Dressing provocatively has become the norm in our society, so often a girl innocently enjoys the attention it brings without understanding the statement she makes.

I noticed an advertisement for an upcoming show in which the woman, who was wearing an extremely low cut blouse asked the man she was talking to why he was looking at her breasts instead of her eyes. Is that a trick question? It presents a contrary and unfair message for both men and women! “Look here, but don’t look!” As women, we must be cautious what we portray to men.

Now, take the same girl who is desperately seeking a father to love and cherish her, and affirm her importance. If she meets someone seeking to use her sexually, she is in trouble without even being aware of it. Patterns can then be set and repeat themselves in each relationship she has.

In my case, unhealthy childhood patterns led to many unhealthy relationships.

Sexual promiscuity became the norm for my life, and I was afraid that if I didn’t go along with whatever was asked or expected of me, I wouldn’t be loved. I often felt sickened by my circumstances and had a deep sense that it wasn’t as it should be, but I didn’t understand the patterns. I didn’t know how to break free. Marriage seemed to be an answer. My dream for love and acceptance could be lived out in a Christian home with a man who promised to be faithful to me until death. Wasn’t that a guarantee?

The Bible says that deep calls to deep (Psalm 42:7); God’s spirit calls to ours. But also, the beliefs and values we’ve adopted over the years that reside deep within our soul or spirit, call to similar patterns in others. My longing for love and attention called out to men looking to fulfill something broken in themselves. Marriage didn’t change the patterns. It created another kind of trap…

Have you felt trapped in behaviors or patterns you didn’t want to be in? Do you think society’s portrayal of sex is helpful, destructive or neutral?