Let’s Talk About Sex: Part 2

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What is normal? There are so many things that society has deemed as normal that we should not be okay with. Rape and sexual misconduct have become okay. There has been a whole movement of #metoo but there are so many people both men and women who still believe that it is a norm in our society. When this movement began, I spoke to a girlfriend about it and reminded her of the experiences we had in college. We both were raped and experienced unwanted sexual advances almost daily. Her response to me was “oh girl, it happens everywhere, its not a big deal”. I spoke to another girlfriend and she explained to me her story of being violently raped and the school we were at dismissed her claims and even made her feel like it was her fault. Why didn’t she speak up? Were the pressure of society too much? Why didn’t I speak up? Why have we still not spoken of these things freely, free from guilt and shame?

All my life, I was told not to have sex. Then when I started having sex, I explored it in an unhealthy way. Society taught me about sex and what I should consider normal. I thought I was the sexiest girl because I had so many men who “wanted” me. I thought it was cool to have sexual advances towards me. To be touched and groped by men I didn’t know. I thought it was normal to be in the club and a man feel up my thigh. Self- respect and self-worth NEVER came to my mind. I just wanted to be desired. What’s it called? Sex-appeal? Even when I woke up to a man putting me on top of him and not stopping when I clearly said “no”, did my frame of mind of what was acceptable change. It’s not that being promiscuous lead to my rape. Just because you carry yourself in certain manner, doesn’t mean you deserve to be taken advantage of. But this is what our society says to women, you deserved it. It’s your fault. Just like that we let things like being raped go and never address that damage it causes.

What will we teach young women to prevent things like this from happening to them? What conversations are we having to teach the value of a woman? Are we telling our daughters that it is not okay for a man to touch you in a way that makes you uncomfortable or is it not that serious? Are we having honest conversations with each other about our sexual pains?

I want you to know, you are valuable. I want to talk about the things that are just not okay. Thing that we have held in for too long and caused this demonization of sex. The key a healthy relationship with sexuality, is to know that you are worthy enough to do whatever it takes to heal from the things that have hurt you. We can talk about sex in a healthy way. We can educate ourselves. We can have tough conversations.

Please share your thoughts. Let’s start the conversation.

Let’s Talk About Sex

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Someone of us live our entire life not realizing that we have not had a real sexual experience. I mean a pure explosion of ecstasy and release. Orgasm? What is that?
This all stems from sexual blocks. What is our belief about sex? Yes, it’s everywhere and you can see it by just turning on the TV but that doesn’t mean it stimulates you the way that it is intended to. Many of my sexual blocks come from my belief system growing up. Sex was demonize and you had to be married to have sex. Let’s be real, what percentage of the population are virgins before marriage? This was never a realistic conversation between my parent and I growing up. It was just taught, don’t do it unless you are married. Of course, being rebellious, I still had sex. The first time was when I was 17 but I had explored my body since I was 12 and was ashamed of it. SHAME! Oh the scarlet letter I wore. Then, I tried to get married twice, just so I could feel “good” about having sex.
That is where my sexual block comes from– shame and guilt. Who doesn’t like to have sex? And if you don’t, you might need to look into your own blocks.  Even writing about sex, as a christian writer, seems so taboo. Should I be preaching– abstain from your sexual desires? I don’t believe I should. Everything God made is good, He made sex so it is good so should we be wise about it– of course. In my sexual rebellion, I was promiscuous. I indulged in sex as an addict needing to get a fix. I had sex to avoid my problems. I had sex to make me feel better. And all this added to my sexual block of guilt and shame. Two things I still hold on to today. Even when I am with a man that I deeply care about, sex comes with anxiety and feelings of being “bad” because I enjoy sex. Then the problem comes that I never feel a total release because even though physically I have orgasmed, mentally I am still held captive. Let’s not talk about the shame I feel after sex. Your partner not only can make a physical deposit in you, He/She is dumping every soul tie they have into to you. So in my promiscuity, there was so much junk left for me when the other person moved on. Talk about some issues.
RESENTMENT is another source of sexual block. Resentment towards every person I laid with, expecting something to come out of our experience together (because if you have sex, they’re your boyfriend/girlfriend now, right). RESENTMENT towards my parents for not teaching me about sex the way I felt like I needed to. RESENTMENT towards society for placing these unrealistic expectations in my head. Most of all resentment towards myself because I knew better but I didn’t do better. I let rebellion become more important than my healing.
So what do I do to get rid of a sexual block?
  1. Confront my past and the pain that is associated with sex
  2. Respect my body as a temple and my womb as sacred
  3. Let go of SHAME
In confronting my past and the things that have framed my sexual experiences, I learn to let go of shame. Then in respecting my womb, I understand that the act of sex, created by God, is sacred. It is suppose to be an amazing thing. So in respect, I choose a partner who also respects the almost ceremonial tying of souls. Seems really simple right. Not at all. So the first step is taking it easy on myself. Self-compassion defeats shame, always. Self- love helps you understand your worth and that you are special enough to have a sacred space. You are worthy of cherishing your body and treating it as a temple. It’s okay to say I like sex. I really do. Own it! At the same time Honor it. Respect it!

15 Scriptures about What God Says About You

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When you think about how you view yourself, what comes to mind? Here are a few scriptures to remind you what God says about you and maybe even change your thinking. Try saying these affirmations out loud throughout your day.

1.I am Loved- Jeremiah 31:3
the Lord appeared to him[a] from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

2. I am Strong- 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

3. I am Powerful- 1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

4. I am Beautiful- Psalm 139:13-14
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

5. I am Successful- Psalm 46:5
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.

6. I am Fierce- Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

7. I am Bold- Phillipians 1:6
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

8. I am Confident- Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need

9. I am Good- Genesis 1:31
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

10. I am not Alone- Isaiah 41:10
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11. I am Courageous- Joshua 1:9
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

12. I am Wise-Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not onto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”

13. I am Victorious- Jeremiah 20:11
But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble;
they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.

14. I am a Son/Daughter of God- 2 Corinthians 6:18
and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.

15. I am purposed by God- Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Get Your Confidence Back

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I believe in you. I believe that you have the tools to make every sound decision necessary to achieve the goals you have for yourself. I believe you are intelligent and capable. I believe you trust your gut instinct enough to choose the best course for your life.

These are words I have to tell myself to remind me of what a powerful force I am. Despite these words there are still moments where I lack confidence. Some key factors that derail me are: negative outside influences and not trusting God.

People are going to talk. What’s the famous saying, “Haters are going to hate.” No matter what you do in life, there is always someone who thinks they can do it better. Society tries to determine what the path to success is. It is a rigorous course from childhood to adolescent to college to marriage to having kids to retirement. Life simply does not fit into that box. You have to understand and surround yourself with positivity so when life is outside of the box, you can trust that there are people who will remind you of the course you have set and uplift you to the path of success.

Lack of confidence also comes from the never-ending battle between the flesh and the spirit. The God within you directs you but when we start to doubt His power, we become indecisive and question the choices we make. I have had times where God clearly tells me which way to go but then there goes flesh telling me I can do it another way, It would be so amazing if we could listen to our inner self and boldly trust the decisions we make. Boldly meaning despite outside influences and despite our flesh, we confidently know where God is taking us.

So how do we get our confidence back?

Stay Focused

When negativity and the opinion of others comes at you, keep your eyes on the prize. Write yours goals down daily. Remind yourself of what it is you are trying to accomplish. I often tell a close friend or family members my goals so that not only can they hold me accountable but they can also remind me of where my attention should be focused. Remember goals should be attainable and appropriate for what you are trying to accomplish in that space in your life. Goals help you to make decisions faster because if it doesn’t line up with what you have set for yourself then it doesn’t need to happen.

Trust God

You are powerful. Don’t you know that God lives within us and he surrounds us everyday.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Therefore, trust your innermost voice and when you don’t know, ask. I believe there is always a time for reflection and meditation. In this time, think about the decisions you have to make and what goals you would like to achieve. Trust the answers given, even if it is a “no” or “not right now”. Don’t let ego, the most basic self, get in the way of what you know to be true and reasonable.

Be Bold

Know what you know and let nothing or no one stand in your way. Be bold about the choices you have to make. Be fierce about the goals you have to achieve. And if you “fail”,  fail forward confidently knowing that the experience was there to help you learn and grow. Being bold means understanding that there will be negative people and there will be people (or the media) that says you should do it a certain way, but you have to do this for yourself in the way the God intended you to do it.

Remain Patient 

In the times where the answer to your desires is “No” or “Not yet”, be confident in your time of waiting. Timing is everything. You don’t want to grow fruit outside of its season otherwise you will have a not so great outcome. The great thing about season is if you consciously know what season you’re in, you will know when is the time to plant, the time to tend, and the time to harvest. When you have to wait, it’s a time to prepare whether this it through daily meditation, relaxation, cultivation of thoughts and ideas, or just being still. Be confident and know you’re not being “lazy”, it’s just not time yet.

You are a whirlwind, a driving force, an amazingly confident person. I believe in you. I believe the power that is within you. You got this!

5 Tips to Authenticity

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My favorite quote is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

When I first move to management, there was a slew of advice on how I should be and what I should do to please all of my employees. I found myself in a state of having a missing identity. The more I tried to be what they wanted me to be, the more I lost myself in trying to be someone I was not. The more I did this the more everyone else noticed that I was changing and “not acting like myself”. How did everyone else know who I was while I struggled to figure that out? The answer is that I knew who I was the whole time but was clouded by outside influences that tried to change me. At the core of everything is our inner being, the authentic you, and that’s something that should never be forced to change especially out of season. So how do we combat those pressured ideals of how a person SHOULD be?

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Photo credit: Zeke Zhan (Flickr)

Write it down.

Make a list of the things about yourself that stand out the most. What makes you who you are?

“And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” Habakkuk 2:2.

Say affirmations.

Stop for a moment each day and say who you are. “I am strong!” “I am fierce!” “I am powerful!” It’s not egotistical or narcissistic to speak highly of yourself in this way so don’t let that stop you from daily affirmations.

Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits”. 

Stand your ground.

Whenever someone tries to change you, stand up for yourself. There is constructive criticism and advice but you must use discernment to know who is helping you to achieve the best, most authentic you. I am not saying to start a fight but just don’t be shaken. Be a deeply rooted tree knowing what you know to be true.

Always have time for reflection.

Whether that is through prayer, meditation, quiet time , whatever you call it. This allows you to dig deep into who God made you to be. And if you are unsure of who that person is, ask and seek the answer. When someone brings up something you should change, reflect on it. Will you agree with what they are suggesting? Not all the time. If it compromises your beliefs, it more than likely is not for you to change.

Love yourself. Embrace who you are.

Yes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Flaws are like beauty marks. They make us unique and identify us as an individual. Embrace every aspect of yourself. Every experience. Every milestone. Every age. Every unique trait. Stop singling out moments in your life that you wish you could change or glorify your “wonder years”. Life is fluid. Life is a moving stream that is made up of every bend and every rapid.

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Needless to say, I took the advice given to me with a grain of salt. I understood the advice that was water to the soil and the advice that was more of an opinion not based in facts. Understanding the innermost spirit of myself, helped me determine what tweaks needed to be made. I have learned to respect that some things will come with time and age and a willingness to step into the next season of my life. I don’t it all figured out and like a new friend, I am learning things about myself each day.

If no one has told you today, let me be the first to say, You are absolutely amazing just the way you are in this very moment. 

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you. What are your strategies to be authentic?

 

Forgiveness 💫

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LoveYOUself💘🌺

💫 Forgiveness is something that we all know we need In order to grow but we still act like it’s not essential for personal growth. No matter how big or small a situation is, we all find it hard to forgive.

💫 You’re probably thinking “I have forgiven that person”, but do you find yourself angry at that person a lot for no reason, do you always connect that one heartbreaking situation to them still? Are you still looking at the negative instead of the postive? Now you’re most likely thinking “Well how can I forgive someone that broke my heart so bad, that embarrassed me, that ruined my reputation. The situation is too big, they did too much!”

💫 The best example I can give you that shows that you can forgive someone no matter how big the situation is, is when Jesus was nailed, hands and feet, to…

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Awe and Wonder

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The sun is rising

Clouds form in mysterious ways

The canvas is painted

How amazing it is that God granted us feet to stand in awe and wonder of his marvelous works.

There’s a scent to every season

A taste to every memory

A sound to each moment

Being ever present in the glory of all that is around me

The past is gone, today is here

The world is vast, bigger than me

The future is a guiding star to my destiny

Look up, taste and see the endless sky full of mysteries the mind cannot even comprehend

I stop and wait

Shooting stars across the sky

Cool breeze on my face

Pausing in the midst of the chaos to appreciate what is taken granted

Oh God I am in awe and wonder

Let me not forget to enjoy your presence

Every chance I get

In the coolness of the morning, the stillness of the day, and quietness of the night

Oh Fear! You are not welcome here.

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I am afraid!

Yes, yes. God has not given us a spirit of fear etc, etc. Despite that ever present reminder, fear still walks right through the door and sits on my heart.

What am I afraid of? I think the fear of inadequacy covers it all.

This week was a bit of a tough week. I get a call from my boss telling me that there were two complaints about me. The complaints were not about my job performance rather things that people overheard and thought were inappropriate. I got a quick slap on the wrist and a reminder that as a person in my position, I have no friends and I have to present myself in a certain way.

Although there is some truth in this statement, why did this criticism hit my soul and bring up all the anxieties and fears I have that cause me to be insecure.

Fear that I can’t trust others and that no one believes in me or my abilities to perform. Fear that everyone is judging me and talking about me. Fear about the type of world we live in where people want to see you fail. Fear that as a woman, I am looked at differently.

Fear turns into anger and resentment. I honestly did not want to come back to work today. Let’s be honest we all have been there.

Call it dramatic, but for a quick second I thought about quitting my job or taking a demotion because it was just too hard. I didn’t want to be polished or groomed. I just wanted to be me. Yes, a little immature thinking but that’s where fear drove me and that’s exactly where the devil wanted me to be.

As I sat and thought about what set me running for the hills, I remember, fear only exists if you allow it to. There is no fear if you do not believe there is anything to be afraid of. I literally had to sit down and say “Fear, you are not welcome here!” “Anger, you are not welcome here” “Resentment, get out!”.

When something happens throughout your day that causes you to take a journey down a backwards road, just remember you are in control of your reaction to whatever it is that is trying to hinder you. Fear will keep you from fulfilling your destiny. It will keep  you in a box and you will never venture out to see what God has for you.

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I want you hear from you all. Please share your experiences.

Put the Fire Out

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Amazing blog. Awesome read.

BeautyBeyondBones

I have a confession: one that I’m really not proud of.

But tonight at church, and really for the last couple weeks, I honestly have just felt…nothing.

It’s like I’ve been spiritually numb.

But tonight was different. I was actually getting angry.

I was sitting in the pew, and just inexplicably fuming, being critical of every little thing: the priest seemed arrogant. The pace was too slow. I was literally shooting daggers with my eyes at the elderly woman leading the songs. (A capella, I might add.) Who is this monster I’ve allowed in my thoughts and heart?!

But I was just checked out. And the more I thought about it, the worse it got.

I’m going to be honest: growing up, I had a few episodes of… the silent treatment.

I’m not proud to admit that passive aggressive low blow, but I have been known to give my…

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How Lord?

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How Lord? –By faith

That’s the answer to a constant question on my mind. God has a calling for each one of us but I know for me, I tend to question how? This leaves so much room for doubt and disbelief. “God there’s no way I will write a book” “there’s no way I can speak to nations” “I just don’t see how I will be a big or important as you see me to be”.

Isn’t it wonderful that the intricate details of our lives is left up to our Father, all we need is a little faith. We all know the scripture, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1 KJV. I cannot see the road to my destiny, but I can believe that God does not lie and whatever He has motivated me to be will come to past. I may not have the resources at this moment, but I know that God is faithful to provide me everything I need to do what He has designed me to do.

Doubt is natural. It is what we do as human beings. Faith is work. Faith takes waking up every morning and fighting off the “haters” including myself. It’s so funny that everyone around you can believe in you, the preacher can come up to you and give you a direct message from the Lord, but our lack of confidence kills the dream. Our worry stifles hope. Everyone wants to talk about the nay-sayers and how some people say “you’ll never amount to anything.” Let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum where we are surrounded by encouragers but are defeated by self- doubt. God- forbid that we become our own stumbling block and delay our own purpose.

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Cor 12:9-10 NASB.

This is the scripture that comes to mind when I think about doubt. God also talks about mustard seed faith (Matthew 17:20). Because of grace, God makes up the areas I lack and where my faith is little, He makes it big. I can say to the mountain, be removed even with small faith because God grows my faith in my weakness. Little by little, He shows up things and our purpose begins to manifest. We believe a little more, and more. I would LOVE to be at a place in my life where I have BIG, unshakable faith all the time, but I am not. Is God less pleased with me because of this? Of course not. Psalm 46:1 says HE is an ever present help specifically verse 1 but the who chapter is powerful.

God is my cheerleader, my coach, and my teammate all at the same time. When I’m in the game and I get tired, he motivates me. When the other team surrounds me, I can pass him the ball. When I’m unsure of my next move, he shows me the play. I can win the game with the Lord on my side. It’s not always easy. You’re not always going to be gung-ho or happy go lucky. The crowd isn’t always going to call your name “RUDY, RUDY, RUDY!” but by faith, God will establish you. You will walk into your destiny, if you just believe. Fight the good fight and see where God will take you.