We All Need Touch

About 15 years ago my brother and I went to a Rick Springfield concert.  I can’t believe I just typed that.  You have to understand that I was a child of the 80’s and Rick, was well, sort of awesome.  He had 17 top 20 hits.  He was smooth with the lines and the ladies.  So anyway in 2000 or so, long after he was cool, he was in concert to promote a new album that of course no one actually bought.

At any rate there we were at Station Casino and it’s packed (meaning there were like a thousand people there. . . maybe).  Rick steps up on stage, and forgets the words to his opening song.  Haha. Then he says, “I sort of forgot the words there, but it’s ok.  I feel I’m among friends tonight.”  The “crowd” roared.  From then he was on fire.  Flawless as he belted out the tunes as we sang along.

At one point, he starts to sing one of those top 20 hits called The Human Touch.  “We all need the human touch.  We all need it. . . I need it too”.  Then he went out into the crowd and began hugging people and giving high fives.  My brother and I died laughing as we watched a 40 year old woman run screaming to a friend, “He touched me! He touched me!.”

I know at this point you are wondering why I’m sharing this story, but I share it because I think we actually do need human touch and as a single person it can be hard to come by.

Touch is a powerful thing.  It starts when we are young.  As infants we need to be held, rocked, and physically moved.  If we don’t get those things our development goes bad in a hurry.

Growing up we test out our strength against our parents, siblings and eventually our friends.  Did you know that your family is supposed to be the safe place to test all of that? The family is where you first learn about being touched and touching, what is ok and what isn’t, and about the warmth of embrace that makes you feel safe.

And that is just the first place.  We next take it to our peers be it at school or in the athletic contest.  We test our strength and begin to find out what our bodies can do.  This is all before (or hopefully before) we even get to any sort of “romantic” touch.

It’s of course a whole new ball game when it comes to the opposite sex and our first touch experiences with them.  The first embrace, the first kiss, the first. . .

You can see how many ways this can, and often does, get messed up along the way. There are all sorts of good touch and all sorts of bad touch.

As a single person, the older you get, the less places there are for the right kind of touch.

We live in a culture that is more and more individualized and isolated.  50% of America is unmarried.  50% of those people live alone.  That’s not a recipe for good touch.

But it gets even tricker as a follower of Jesus because you are of course trying to avoid sexual immorality.  So we are told don’t look, and of course don’t touch.  In truth, there are a lot of people living in so much fear of bad touch that they don’t have good touch.

But we need it.  There’s a new study out for example that says people that sleep in a bed with someone else sleep better and actually live longer.  Touch has all sorts of therapeutic benefits, not to mention that it’s one of the five love languages.

Somehow we need to fight for this in the church.  Jesus is constantly touching people. Almost always when he heals someone he touches them.  How do we do this right?

For starters we need to own it.  We need to re-establish good, kingdom touch.  We can’t live in fear of bad touch to the point of not offering this kingdom touch.  What does it look like?  Should we run around touching people?  Should we hug every stranger?  Should we drop all of our boundaries when dating someone?  Should we cuddle with random people? Um, no.

Here are a few thoughts on what we should do (I’m talking here non-romantically – I’ll come back to romantic touch in a different post).

We need to recognize our touch history.  Where there has been bad touch in our lives we need to recognize it and seek healing.  Where we have been the one initiate wrong touch we need to repent.

We also need to think about our present touch situation. What physical touch is in my life? How do I react to touch?  Why?

Finally, we need to learn to both receive and initiate the right touch.  I’m talking about the quick hand on the shoulder of the friend you know is hurting. It might be the arm around the crying friend. It’s the hug of a good buddy.  The high five with the opposite sex friend. Heck even the fist bump would be a step for some of us.

Our culture offers a lot of the two extremes – inappropriate touch and isolation.  Neither of those represent the Kingdom.  But we have the chance with how we handle touch to be different, to stand out, to offer the ministry of the right kind of touch.

So, what do you do with the lack of touch?  When is a time when the right kind of touch has ministered to you?

 

When “Staying You” Is A Bad Idea

When I was about 27 or so I had been dating a woman for a several months when she decided that I wasn’t for her and that someone else was.  It was a hard thing for me to take for a couple of reasons.  I had waited what felt like a long time already to get married and I really, really thought she could be “the one“.

As I was processing through the “breakup” I was fortunate to have some good friends and mentors who really came along side me.  But one of the weirdest conversations I had was with a woman maybe 20 years older than me said something like, “Wow it’s hard.  All these years you’ve been single.  How do you keep from blaming yourself?  How do you keep from thinking you’re the problem?”

I gave some sort of answer to that.  I don’t really remember what, but I’m sure it was good. But here’s what is interesting.  In many ways I’d like to have that conversation back.

While I think that this woman was honestly just trying to be encouraging and telling me that, “Hey, don’t worry – it’s not you” maybe what I needed to hear was, “So what part of this is you?”

The reality was in that particular case, it really wasn’t me.  But the fact that I made it to 41 and single – a lot of that was indeed me.

Do you remember when you were in school and you would get the school yearbook? There’d be a few pages or an insert or some other place where you would get notes from classmates. Have you ever read back over those?  It’s mostly generic stuff like, “Hey bro – great time rockin’ with you in English this year,” or “J Man – thanks for keeping me sane in Chemistry.”  But often we gave each other the worst advice of all – “Stay you.”  “Don’t ever change.”  Umm yeah – don’t grow or develop – good idea.

If I look back on mine, I could sum up the what every girl I was attracted to wrote – “J – you’re such a good friend.  Couldn’t have made it without you.  Don’t ever change.”  I’ll come back to this in a post soon – but that right there sums up far more guys’ lives than would want to admit it.

But for today, what I want to focus on is this idea that we don’t need to change who we are, what we do, how we act, think, or live.  I’m not saying people who espouse it don’t mean well, they typically do.  But when it comes to most things in life, and for sure dating and marriage – it’s just simply terrible advice.

In Christianese terms it usually means that God “has someone else for you” or if you stay true to yourself, then for sure God will bring someone at the right time. It could also be that every person you’ve ever been interested in had it wrong.  But the bottom line is, there is someone out there for you.  And you need to just stay strong and be “who you are” and then the “right person” will love you for “who you are”.

It all sounds nice, but I’m not sure how helpful it really is.

Without even getting into the dating/single/marriage stuff, we are not called to be who we are currently.  One could make a case that we are called to become who we are created to be.  But that is different.  Who I am right now is a flawed, broken by sin (my own and others’) individual.  I’m in Jesus and He is changing me over time to become who He meant for me to be.  But until I’m there – I should be changing, aka growing.

We all have stuff that we need to grow in and change.  Now to be clear, I’m not saying that you have to first get all your stuff together before you get married.  That’s part of the reason we have the problems we do, this false idea that i have to be “ready” to get married.

When it comes to dating, if the same stuff keeps happening over and over again, we need to look inward and ask what part of that is us.  What can we do different?  I think when it comes to dating, especially as a Christian guy, this seems to get skipped over.

Stuck in the friend zone over and over again?  That could be you.  In a new relationship every six months?  Maybe you.  Can’t seem to ever talk to or approach someone you are really attracted to?  Might be worth thinking about.

Look at this way.  In other practical areas of your life you grow.  When you were a kid, you got better at sports or math, or a band instrument.  You didn’t stay the same.  When you get a job – hopefully over time you get better at it.  Are your current friendships the same type as you had in high school? (If so, that might be a problem as well).

Relating to the opposite sex is no different.  If you’re stuck, maybe it’s time to change.  Maybe that means getting help -be it friends, counseling, books – you name it.

Most of the time in life, we know when change is necessary. We just don’t like it.  It’s easier to say, “it’s not me” than to say, “Maybe it is me”.

Final thought and clarification.  Am I saying be fake?  No.  Am I saying go out and misrepresent yourself? No – that’s called lying.  What I’m saying is it’s ok to grow in how you relate to the opposite sex.  In fact, I would suggest that if you are over 26 and single, it might be necessary.  It was for me.

 

Maybe The Church Should Man Up

My favorite TV show ever is Friday Night Lights.  Basically everything about it is good. Seriously.  I love the main character, Coach Taylor.

Taylor is the classic high school coach who wants to win and shape young men along the way.  What I love about it is that while he does give some nice pre-game speeches, he also personally invests into their lives.  Nowhere is this more true than in his relationship with a forced into action backup QB Matt Saracen.

Saracen’s father is mostly absent.  He is insecure.  He loves art more than football.  But Taylor is convinced that he can be QB1.  Taylor knows that isn’t going to “just happen” and so he invests in this kid.  Over the course of three seasons, Saracen grows into a grown up man.  He becomes a leader.  He doesn’t become a different guy, so much as he becomes the guy that he was meant to be.

What Taylor doesn’t do is say “man up” and then hope for the best.  He invests.  He takes Saracen to the field at night and works with him.  He has him over for dinner.  He goes to his house.  He speaks into his life in critical moments.  He fights with him and for him.  He shares his life not just his words.

As I mentioned last week one of the latest mantra’s being thrown at Christian guys is the idea that what we need to do is man up.  Now, full disclosure here, I’ve told people that they needed to man up.  I’ve said from up front that, “sometimes” you just need to man up. I’ve told people certain people that I’m invested in that it’s time for them to grow up.  What I’m saying here is that there are times where this is pretty good advice.  But what it isn’t is a good blanket answer for what is wrong in the world of marriage, dating/courting, and singleness.

When it starts getting put out as a generic answer it leads to all sorts of problems.  Here are a few, in no particular order.

1. We are terrible at linking it to singleness.  Do you have to get married to man up?  What if you’re called to celibacy?  Should you man up and be celibate?  Did Paul not man up? What does man up mean for my sexual desires?

2. When it comes to dating we are completely confusing to men.  Does man up mean ask everyone out?  Or do I man up and “wait for God” to bring me “the one“?  Do I man up and pursue the girl that said no or do I man up and walk away?  Do I man up and marry someone I don’t want to?

3. The man up people almost always assume its the guy that is the problem.  Women in the Church aren’t typically told to woman up so to speak.  What if the guy is doing everything right – or at least really trying to?  This is huge for both singles and marrieds.

4. Man up is kind of a charge into battle type of saying.  That can be good. But what if you are really broken?  Do you need to just man up?  Can you “heal up“?  Am I supposed to just try harder to get healing from my wounds caused by my sin and the sin of others?

5. It seems to me that if you’re not careful you could man up without actually walking with Jesus.  Just make it happen. Do, do, do.  What about grace?  Here’s the best part, most of the people using this line tell us all the time how sinful and bad we are and we can’t do anything good without Jesus.  Hmmm.  So I’m bad, can’t do anything good, but I should man up.  Gotcha.

Now hear me clearly.  I’m all for challenging guys to grow.  I’m all for having hard conversations.  I’m not saying we don’t have guys that need to basically man up.  But what I am saying is that as a talking point or slogan, without relationship, it gets into platitude territory in a hurry.  Or at the least, ineffective territory.

And this is the ironic part.  You know who needs to man up?  All the men who should be helping the guys in trouble by investing in their lives.  All the men who sit in the pews and applaud because they know that young single guy or the guy who is struggling in their marriage and think, “I sure hope that guy is hearing this – hope he mans up”.  All the seminarians and hipster Jesus dudes who sit around sipping premium brews of coffee or beer while sharing about how most men need to man up – and then not actually investing in any of those men.  How’s that for some tough man up talk?

When it comes to the single guys between the ages of 22-29 (soon to be 30 . . 31. . .) the main group that needs to man up is the Church.  You know why? Because those guys aren’t there to hear the speech.  And if they do come and hear it, and we don’t invest in them (read pour out our lives, spend time getting to know them) then they won’t keep coming.

If man up isn’t followed by, “and here’s how we want to help you do it” then we’ve failed. In other words, don’t tell someone to man up, unless you are willing to man up for them.

Christian Sexual Prowess

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that every guy asks the question am I good in bed?  How we answer that question is critical to our core confidence as a man.  We can wish it wasn’t that way.  We can try to over spiritualize it.  We can blow it off with joking and hiding.  But it’s still going to be there.  We question our sexual prowess as a man and we in the Christian community MUST have an answer.

At first glance it seems that as a “Christian” that there is no way that I could answer that until I’m married because I’m not supposed to have sex.  Often because we are so worried about sex outside of marriage and the costs that come with it, we end up telling men that they should just table the question and then “presto” answer it on their wedding night.  But in my opinion that is not good enough.  That might have worked a couple of generations ago when people got married by 25 but it won’t work now.

It’s a good thing to direct people to wait until marriage to have sex but it is not ok to wait until then to help them answer their question about sexual prowess.  They are going to answer it somehow.

We need to stop answering the sexual prowess question with a sexual ethics answer.  We need a different conversation.  Sexual prowess and sexual experience are not the same thing.  Thinking they are the same leads to men that are either having sex to answer the question or men that are living with lack of intimacy, touch and confidence in their ability to deliver.  Neither of those are acceptable.  The ironic thing is that our Christian theology actually does answer the sexual prowess question.

The first thing we have to do is realize that God has ultimately created us as sexual beings. It only takes one chapter in the bible for God to bring up sex.  We all have the tools, and I don’t just mean that we have the right “equipment”.

If we believe in a God that created us good, then we must start with the premise that God’s answer to do I have what it takes sexually is yes.  Let that sink in for a minute.  God says, “I have given you what you need here.  You can do this.  You have what it takes because I gave it to you.”

This is core.  Yes we are messed up because of sin. Yes we may have been wounded in this area in even horrible ways.  But at the core of who we are as a man, at the very center of it, we are created with sexual prowess.  It’s there, somewhere, no matter what our experience tells us.

The problem is we take sex out of context and turn it into it’s own question.  It becomes about performance which just kills us as men.  We fear failure.  We fear that we won’t be able to come through and when we make the act of sex the scorecard we are in trouble – even if we are “good” at it.

The act of sex was never intended to be that.  God did not create sex in it’s own context.  Sex is a part of a larger question.

Sex is not intended to be about performance.  It’s about loving another person.  It’s about trust, strength, intimacy and passion. It’s about giving and receiving. It’s about being a good lover, not about being a good performer.  This is why married sex (even in secular research) is described as the best sex.

If I try to answer the sexual prowess question without answering the intimacy question then I’m in trouble – even if I’m married.  Sex is not the goal.  In a sense it’s one of the means to the goal within the context of marriage.  As a stand alone thing, sex will not satisfy.  It will never answer the question.

If you are a good lover, you will be “good in bed”, or at least you’ll figure out how to be.  If you love well, the sex part will be there because there will be the context of trust, intimacy and passion to work on it.

The question we need to be asking is, “am I a good lover?”  It’s actually a lot harder question. If we need the woman’s approval we can’t be a good lover.  If we can’t be strong enough to be vulnerable, then we can’t be a good lover.  This is why women at their core are attracted to strength.

It’s a huge issue for us as men.  Becoming a lover is actually a stage of development just like learning to be a warrior.  Hence the wise saying, “Never give a man a sword who can’t dance.”

The good news is that we can work on all of this without having sex.  We can become lovers.  We can work on how to have intimacy and good physical touch (I’ll say more about how to do this soon).

Here’s the bottom line.  As a man growing in Christ, my sexual prowess should be growing because my identity and confidence in Him grows along with my capacity to give and receive love.   If I’m truly confident in Christ then I’ll have the freedom and strength to be a good lover – and as a part of that to be “good in bed.”

The Single Christian’s Anguish

This last weekend I borrowed a buddies truck and went down to my parent’s town to pick up some various items from my Grandmothers house that had just sold.  Things like a bookshelf, patio furniture and oddly enough Christmas dishes (some things really do change when you get married – Christmas dishes?).

At any rate, it’s about a 3 hour drive and since I didn’t have my ipod, I grabbed a few random old cds.  As I slid one of them in and the music came on, I just smiled.  It was a cd that a friend and I had made in a studio just over 10 years ago.

Now I wrote all kinds of songs but most fell into one of two categories.  The first was worship type songs – I mean I’m a Christian right?  But the second, was songs about the hurt I had in the dating world.

This cd was no different.  But it was the third song that made me famous among my friends.  It’s a great song.  It really is. It’s so full of emotion.  I wrote it in my basement at age 23, literally in under 10 minutes.  I had just been told by another female that she just saw me as a friend.  To be honest it wasn’t really about her, it was about the whole damn thing.

The last lines go like this:

Outside, looking in/ You’re using that excuse that you’ve used again and again and again/ It may be your loss, but it sure as hell ain’t my win/ It seems I’ve been caught, following my heart once again.

As I listened I had a range of emotions.  In a way it is so long ago.  That song is almost 20 years old.  And yet there is so much of my story there.  When it came to dating and marriage, I really was outside looking in.

There is anger in the song but anger it too simple a word to describe what I felt for really 15 years of my life.  A better word is anguish.

Here’s your google definition – Anguish – Severe mental or physical pain or suffering.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Now there were all sorts of parts to my story and why I felt that.  I was not good with the ladies and I knew it.  I also had come to know Jesus at the end of high school, so now I needed to date not only someone where there was attraction, but also who knew Jesus. So as I left college, I was now looking for the one.

To be honest, as I got older, the anguish got worse, not better.  As I hit my late 20’s doing ministry in a college town, I was surrounded by great women who liked Jesus -none of whom I could date (or at least that is what I thought then).  Toss in some religion and self righteousness and I was in trouble.  To be honest, I just shut it down.

Then I moved to St. Louis and all of a sudden, there were options.  But the problem was, now I was screwed up.  I was a complete mess in this area of my life.  It was like somehow my awkwardness had grown.  All of this was exasperated by religious platitudes about how God just hadn’t sent me the person yet.

I share this because the anguish of many singles (especially in the Church) is completely underestimated and un-dealt with.  There are a lot of really hurting people.

Not everyone who is single wants to or should be married.  Some are called to celibacy for the kingdom.  But most are not and frankly it hurts.  And as you get older it raises a lot of questions.

The Church needs to deal with this by loving these people well.  We need people who step into our lives for real, not just with passing judgement and advice.  If we are going to face our anguish and get free of it that probably won’t happen alone.

But we as single people must actually face it.  We have to because if we don’t it will grow.  Anguish doesn’t get smaller.  You can disguise it, funnel it into work/ministry as I mostly did, or even just try to kill it.  But if we don’t deal with it and the wounds that both caused it, and come from it, we are screwed.

For me it came crashing down as I began to see that I was broken.  A woman I had pursued told me that she wanted to like me but didn’t.

I knew stuff was off.  All the things that I thought were holding me back, actually weren’t.  I had completely lost my way in this area of my life.  I remember thinking over and over again, “No!, No, No, No.  This isn’t right.”

All of it kind of came to a head and instead of going home, I sat in my office all night.  I literally sat on the floor and cried.  The anguish was real.  I told God, “just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.”

I was 35 and I was lost in this one.  I sought counsel and God provided.  People stepped up, mentors fought for me and frankly I had to do some hard work.  It was humbling.  It was awesome.  God changed me.

As I listened to “Outside Looking In” I smiled.  It’s a great song!  But I’m glad I’m not there now.

If you are in anguish may God step into your hurt.  May you one day be free from it.

Here’s the song Outside Looking In

Would Jesus Snuggle?

The other day one of my friends posted a link on facebook that just stopped me.  I wasn’t even sure exactly what to do with it – it’s just dumbfounding.  And yet . . . it’s not.  Which is why she posted it.

There is a new place called The Snuggery.  Basically the idea is that we all need physical touch and intimacy.  It brings healing and comfort.  But sense most people don’t have it, this lady has started a business.  I’m not making this up.  For $50 you can have a 45 minute snuggling session.  There are two professional snugglers.  You can snuggle with both for $100.  Again, I’m not kidding.

It’s not to be sexual and it must be fully clothed (pajamas are ok though).  Just wear what you are comfortable in.  You can talk or not talk.  Whatever you want.  You just snuggle. You get to be touched.

I’m literally not sure whether to laugh or cry.  Seriously.  In a way it breaks my heart.  This is where we are at as a society.  We are this alone.

Now I guarantee there are some married people who haven’t snuggled at home in a while, which is tragic.  But as a single person this is a huge issue.

I mentioned this in one of my first blogs.  One of the absolutely hardest things as a single is the lack of touch.  And the older you get, the more this is true. What these ladies have right is that touch matters.  Under the heading of WHY SNUGGLE they list out the benefits of intimate, nonsexual touch.  They aren’t wrong about any of it.  And as their lead sentence says, “Why Snuggle? Quite simply because it makes us feel good.”

But if you are single what do you do with this?  If it is true that we need touch, what do we do?

The problem is exasperated by several things.  First off we have had a lot of bad physical touch in our culture.  Over the course of their lifetime 28% of kids age 14-17 have been sexually violated in some way.  This doesn’t even begin to include physical abuse or physical neglect.  That is the world we are growing up in.

Secondly, we have a much more isolated world.  We are way more likely to work alone, and 28% of us live alone. (Now if half of us are married that means that 50% of single people live by themselves.)  That does not lead to good touch.  It leads to isolation.

Finally, partly in response to all of the above and the sexually immoral culture that we live in, the Church has told us not to touch anyone.  Kiss dating goodbye.  Don’t touch or it could lead to sex.  I get it, I really do, but man, if we don’t touch at all, that can’t be good.  We can’t live in fear and call it religion.

I can speak from personal experience here.  I went 10 years without kissing anyone (age 25-35).  Most of that was spent with very little touch.  There were lots of reasons.  But to be honest as I turned the corner of 30 I was messed up, and I’d say lack of touch contributed to that.  I remember feeling awkward even hugging sometimes.

I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure how to fix all this.  I’m not suggesting the Church start establishing Christian Snuggeries.  But I know that we need an answer.  We need something different than “don’t have sex” and “don’t go to far”.  Why should two women be addressing this while we stand on the sidelines?

Appropriate touch is vital.  I can’t remember where I saw it but there is a video of nuns in a poor country taking in dying children.  You know the first thing they did?  They hugged them and held them for extended periods.

In Mark 2 a leper approaches Jesus.  Back then, lepers were separated out and seen as unclean.  They were to avoid contact with the “clean” people at all costs.  In fact there was a six foot rule that said no one was supposed to be within six feet of them.

But as this guy approaches Jesus, he doesn’t move out of the way.  Now Jesus could have said the word and this man would have been healed of leprosy.  But he still would have been untouched, and maybe people would have wondered, “is he really well?”

In one of the most simple, powerful moments in Jesus’ ministry, he reached out and touched the man.  He knew he needed more than a physical healing – he needed to know he was touchable.

Somehow we have to rescue this.  We have to know that not only are we “Christian” or “Saved” but that we are touchable.  Whatever message we send the single person, that has to be part of it.

Have you ever suffered from lack of touch? Where do you go for appropriate touch?

Quit Beating Yourself Up

I don’t get mad super easily.  It’s a gift from my family, as my parents are the same way.  I can get pretty fired up and intense (those who know me are laughing) but in my heart it takes a lot to make me actually mad at another person – with the exception of the guy who cut me off in traffic, but that’s a whole other problem – Ha.

But when it comes to myself, it takes very, very little for me to get mad.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the fact that we are mad at God.  This is true for basically everyone but as singles it is very easy for us to become bitter towards God because He hasn’t “delivered” a spouse.  But the second person who I’m most mad at, if I’m honest, is me.

Now I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog challenging us to look at our crap and deal with our sin.  I’ve said we spend too much time over spiritualizing singleness, marriage and dating and it keeps us from dealing with reality and our shortcomings.  I’ve said a lot of the reason that we are single is us.  I absolutely, 100% stand by all of that.  But today I want to flip the script a little.

There’s so many directions I could take this but let’s start with a couple of key points.  First off it’s important to realize that we are not the only actor on the stage.  In our current Christian Culture we often act like the whole thing is about us and God and that only the two of us are in the story.  This is so bad on so many levels theologically, philosophically, and practically.  But it is also bad in our context of singleness.  It assumes that either I or God is to blame for everything that goes into me being single.

This can lead to a inaccurate view of the truth.  There are other players in the game.  For example, when you ask someone out, you have no idea what is going on in her world. Maybe her saying no has nothing to do with you.  The other person is on the stage.  I mean there’s been times when I think I’ve missed on someone I should have pursued – someone could make a mistake with you.

Even when it comes to dealing with our own brokenness we need to be careful.  Let’s say I struggle with passivity towards women.  Well being mad at myself for being passive isn’t going to help.  I need to dive into where that comes and while that will include my own sin, most of the time it will also include healing from wounds inflicted by . . . you guessed it. . . other people.

All of this doesn’t even take into account the fact that we have an enemy.

Usually what I do is first I get mad at God, then realize how stupid that kind of is, and start being mad at myself.  It’s very easy to just start pummeling myself – usually pouring salt into the wounds I’ve faced.  “I’m just not good enough” “Why did I say that to her – I’m so stupid.” “If I had my stuff more together” “I’m pathetic (worthless, ugly, a screwup, etc.)”. By the way this all get’s turned up a notch if I think there is only THE ONE and I’m scared of blowing it.

Making matters worse is that often the Church accidentally pours it on.  In attempt to remind us that we don’t earn salvation we often seem to define ourselves as just sinners.  I get the point but man we have to be careful.  All bad stuff comes from sin, but not everything that happens comes from my sin.  It’s not all my fault but I’m a part of the problem.

Worst of all what we usually do is get it backwards.  We view how we got wounded as somehow our fault and then we excuse our sinful reactions to it.  Holy smokes that’s bad.  We HAVE to reverse that.

Dealing with our sin, wounds, and shortcomings is critical.  But beating the crap out of ourselves adds to that.  That is not from God.  It is not humility.  In addition when it comes to dating it will never, never be attractive.  Never, not even a little.

When I’m mad at myself, I need to stop and ask what is going on underneath.  (For me personally it’s a huge check engine light – time to get under the hood).  I need to stop and get an accurate view of what is going on (community is key here), and then if it is something that has to do with me, I need to take that to Jesus and go about figuring out how to change it.

Where in the context of Singleness do you beat yourself up?  Do you only see you and God on the stage?