We’re praying and fasting tomorrow for God to change us and change men to bring about redemptive relationships that lead to oodles of good, God-honoring marriages. And as we pray, here’s a thought: wherever you are in your fasting journey, consider taking the next step. If you haven’t ever fasted, try skipping lunch. If you usually fast lunch, try fasting breakfast, too, and break your fast with dinner. And if you fast breakfast and lunch, you might venture into an all-day fast, from dinner Sunday night until breakfast Tuesday morning.
We’ve been blogging about sexuality the past few weeks, so I wanted to carry on with the topic. In particular, I’ve been thinking about what to do with our sexuality when we’re “not getting it.” Choosing to remain celibate when we are not married really is a form of suffering. Our bodies were intended for sex, probably starting somewhere in the teens, and denying that drive without knowing if we’ll ever get to satisfy it is often frustrating, hard, and downright painful. It takes a lot of faith, and nose-to-the-grindstone obedience. We aren’t promised a life without suffering, and part of the suffering we are called to endure might be abstinence – whether for a season or, for some, a lifetime.
So what can we do in the meantime? Here are some thoughts, not in any particular order of usefulness:
1) Find someone who is hurting more than you are, and do something for them. Caring for others is healing, and can take your mind off your own circumstances. So, make a meal, help with a household chore, run an errand – find a practical way to serve somebody else.
2) Stay away from romantic movies and books for a while. There’s nothing wrong with a chick flick, but if you are struggling, it probably will only fuel your frustration.
3) Sweat it out at the gym. Exercise can be a helpful release of tension, you’ll get in shape, and you’ll get some endorphins, too.
4) Pour your angst and frustration out to God. I have a ritual I call “carpet time” — I close the door, turn off my cell phone, get face-down on a rug, turn on worship music (or stream the prayer room at ihop.org), and cry it out before God, praying until I feel better.
5) Resist the urge to masturbate. Self-centered sex may feel like a release, but it can leave you in bondage, and it’s not a healthy path to walk down.
6) Find ways to remind yourself, and the world, that you are a sexual being. You are a woman, whether or not there is a man around, so dress like one. Wear sexy underwear. Let men open doors for you.
7) Enjoy a good glass of wine and some chocolate with a trusted girlfriend. A fun night out and a new outfit never hurt, either!
Like all suffering, celibacy can work good fruit in our lives if you let it. “And we rejoice also in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3) It can also make us bitter and hard if we let it. God promises help, and hope, in the midst of our suffering, whatever it is. May we all press into him, in faith.