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Archive for the tag “vulnerability”

“I need more of God”

ThingsWeSaw

In the church circles I’ve been in I often hear of people wanting, praying for, and singing for more of God. To me, it sounds like God is withholding some of his Spirit and we need to ask for more. But what does the Bible say?

In 2 Peter 1:3 it says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Philippians 1:19 also says, “for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” The word for provision is “epichoregeo.” In his book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner tells this story:

“Thousands of years ago in classical Greece, a huge choral and dramatic company practiced endlessly for a huge, important theatrical performance. After they put in a great amount of time, effort, energy, and practice, it was finally time for the show to go on the road. But there was one major problem — they ran out of money!

These people had given their lives to this production. They had committed all their resources to making sure the performance succeeded. But because they ran out of financing, it meant the show was over — finished! They were washed up before the show ever officially got started. From all appearances, it was the end of the road for them and their dream.

At that exact moment, a wealthy man heard of their crisis, stepped into the middle of their situation, and made a huge financial contribution on behalf of the choir. This contribution “supplied” all they needed to get back in business again! In fact, the gift the man gave was so enormous that it was more than they needed or knew how to spend! This man’s contribution was excessively large, abundant, overflowing, and overwhelming.

This is where we get the word “supply” in Philippians 1:19 that now describes the enormous contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ wants to give to you and me! In light of this, Philippians 1:19 could be taken to mean:

‘I am certain that this situation will ultimately turn around and result in my deliverance. I’m sure of it — first, because you are praying for me; and second, because of the special contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ is donating for my present cause.’ This means when you’ve run out of steam; when you’ve given your best effort and you don’t feel like you have another ounce of energy left to give; when it looks like your resources are drained and you are unable to take one more step unless someone steps in to help you — that is exactly the moment when Jesus Christ becomes your personal Benefactor! Like the wealthy man in the story above, Jesus steps into your life at that moment to donate”

Often when I feel like I don’t have enough of God, I find out I’m not allowing God access to all of me. According to the Bible he’s already given us everything. He’s there to supply and provide. My role, then, is to die to myself – my wants, desires, ambitions, and wishes.

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Stopping to Re-Crew

W198336_10152272374215006_177255559_nhen a train goes across country, every now and then it changes crews. A fresh crew gets on and drives the train another several hundred miles. After 12 hours the crew gets government mandated rest. This way they’re fresh and rested before operating another train.

In a mens’ study our church did one of the questions it asked us to look at pertained to belief. One night the session brought up these: We often know something and then convince ourselves that we believe it. We may know something is true but our belief is what we act – what we live on. Many Christians cover the lies we believe with the knowledge we have acquired in church. With that, they say, it’s not possible to live contrary to what I believe. It is possible to live contrary to what I think I believe.

So my question to me (and you) is this: What do I really believe? About God. About his moral standards. About marriage. About…anything.

After a few weeks of digging deep for my own answers I’ve come to the conclusion. I need to keep digging. It’s time for me to step off the train and get some mandated rest. And get some answers.

I have a few more posts I’ve written that I’ll put up so they’ll publish. Once those are done this blog will be on hiatus for awhile.

Thank you for your understanding.

“God helps those who help themselves.”

This saying is definitely not Biblical in origin. In Isaiah 25:4 the Bible says, “For You [God] have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” When we’re stuck and we can’t do anything for ourselves, God will be there.

Often trying to do things ourselves, out of our own self-sufficiency leads to God not helping us. There’s scripture where God is waiting for us to humble ourselves, throw up our hands, and cry out that we don’t have it under control (Psa. 53:1-3, 119:169; Matthew 14:29-30, James 4:10.)

When we can’t do it anymore. When we’re not able to conquer that habitual sin. When we’re emotionally and physically at the end of our rope – God will be there to help even when we can’t help ourselves.

Truth takeaway: God does help those who cannot help themselves. God desires a humble heart and contrite spirit (Psa. 34:18, 51:17). Sometimes God wants to see this more than us trying to fight our way through life.

Freedom takeaway: I think it’s just freeing to know that God is there for me in my distress, struggles, fatigue, etc.

Are you ready to let go and receive God’s help?

 

ThingsWeSaw

Sexual compabitility. What is it, really? Part 3

In our last 2 posts we read that:

  • In these days, two people can bring a varying amount of sexual experience, knowledge about sex, and exposure to sex into a relationship. The combination of all these is what we’ll call “sexual information.”
  • Vulnerability is extremely important. There will be no spiritual, emotional, or good sexual intimacy without vulnerability.

A couple that has different ideas, experiences, knowledge, desires, and beliefs about anything are not compatible, generally. In a God-centered marriage the idea is to take what incompatibilities there are and make them complement each other. Of course the more compatible a couple is overall the easier and less work it’ll take. What is going to make them compatible is “two becoming one” (Eph. 5:31).

So how do we actually live out all of this, particularly in regards to sex?

While, stereotypically, it’s the husband who is the one who is ready to do whatever/whenever/however with his new bride, that’s not always the case. There are women out there that come into a marriage with a lot more sexual information than their husbands. For the sake of this article I’m going to call the spouse with more sexual information “Mentor” and the one with less sexual information the “Protege.”

It’s the mentor’s responsibility to be as sexually active (frequency and ecstasy) as the protege feels comfortable.  It’s the protege’s responsibility to let the mentor show them how it all should work; being taught to have sex at the mentor’s level. The idea is the more “educated” spouse gently teaches and encourages the spouse with less sexual information. The goal, in time, is the Protege becoming as sexually informed as the Mentor-spouse. Vulnerability, gentleness, selflessness, and transparent communication are key in this.

  • Do a lot of stuff you both like.
  • Try something new the other suggests, in small doses if necessary.
  • Do something you don’t care about but the other person likes. Start doing it every now and then and building up in frequency as you get used to it.

Like exercise, it’s the heavy lifting that causes the biggest muscle growth. Simply put, you’ll grow more by really stretching your limits. “What if I don’t get used to that activity or don’t like it?” Developing compatibility – and marriage in general – is about them, not you. If a sexual act is really a problem, talk about it respectfully and be mindful of their feelings.

One disclaimer: There should be no manipulation, badgering, guilting, or shaming by either the Mentor or Protege. None of those actions speak or show love. Also, neither should ask or expect the other to commit a sinful act (extra participant, illegal act, public display of nudity).

Such compatibility isn’t something you’re going to accomplish in a week. Expect it to take a long time. Maybe even years. What’s more important than sexual quality or quantity is the intimate connection between you two.

Marriage compatibility, overall, should take precedence over sexual compatibility. If you are concerned sexual compatibility is or will be an issue, consider the steps I mentioned to help close the compatibility gap.

Hopefully this series helps shed some light on the lies behind what sexual compatibility is not. Most of all I hope it draws you closer to your spouse in your whole marriage.

What can you do to become more compatible with your spouse? What three things (sex or otherwise) do you despise doing that you know they would love for you to?

Sexual compatibility: What is it? Part 2

On the last post about sexual compatibility I ended with the question, “How do two Christians, with varying degrees of sexual information, approach the differences in their sex life?”

In J.M. Smiths’ Blog (and here), he quotes a friend who wrote about sexual compatibility. [I cannot find the link to Olatunde Howard’s article on his blogsite so I’ll just link to the site]. Mr. Howard suggests the key to sexual intimacy and compatibility is vulnerability. Not a word that most people want to hear, especially with such a sensitive and personal aspect of their being. Here’s what Mr. Howard said about it:
“God created the sexes, and thus created “sexual compatibility.” This is sexual compatibility: ‘Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.'(Gen 2:5). Sexual compatibility is the intimacy of vulnerability, physically, soulically, and spiritually. It means the man and woman are perfectly complimentary…
Not from Mars and Venus…
Not “opposite sexes”…
Not at war, even after the fall of humanity.
They are not each others enemies, not in competition or opposition. They don’t need to ‘perform’ in or out of bed.”

He goes on to say, “Relationships, even the best relationships, will take work. To understand another mind takes effort. Good effort, but effort none the less. The same is true with marital sex. Joining two distinct bodies will take sensitivity, time, and love. Husbands and wives can’t be more compatible than they are, but they can truly and intimately know each other, or not know each other very well at all. We are the images of [God], the One who can’t be known without revelation. Sex in marriage is a revelation. Spouses can’t experience sexual compatibility automatically any more than they can read each others minds. The core issue of sexual compatibility is vulnerability – of being naked and not ashamed.”

“But the truth is this: unlike in the movies, you will have to talk to find out what is sexually pleasing to your spouse.”

I agree with that last line. Not only will you need to find out what is pleasing, but displeasing as well. Also, what do they like more than something else? Is it about physical pleasure with them, or emotional connection? What are the deal breakers – things that will cause hurt feelings if done or not done? What differences do we have?

“So whether we’re dealing with sexual abuse, differences in sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or just plain fear, the key to sexual intimacy and sexual compatibility is vulnerability.

…Which is not something that must be learned by getting naked before marriage. It is learned by transparency and vulnerability both before and after the wedding.

“Being as frank, direct, and graphic as possible with the spouse. This kind of openness encompasses the Biblical idea of the husband “knowing” (Hebrew: yada’) his wife…All of will have some of these issues to lesser or greater extremes”

…Both need to be – actually, they need get – comfortable talking about sex openly. Sex between a married couple is God’s design and a physical symbol of the relationship between the church and Christ. It’s not bad or naughty. If it helps, write fantasies, dreams, and likes in a story format (with only you two as the subjects) then hand them for the other to read so that they get a descriptive mental picture.

“Talking about these things and responding sensitively, based on the vulnerability it takes to speak about these issues, will be the most important thing a couple can do to be sexually compatible. What it boils down to is this: Compatibility, sexually, spiritually, or emotionally, is a fluid and relational experience, not a state that either exists or does not. It is a kind of sensitive yielding, not an innate sexual ability.”

Vulnerability is necessary for real sexual compatibility. No matter how much sexual information someone brings to the relationship. Hopefully we’ve discarded the myth the sexual compatibility is something that does or doesn’t exist and must be “test driven” to be determined.

Next, some practical steps to achieving more compatibility (vulnerability) in the bedroom.

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