Every Monday I like to post a Reader Question and take a stab at answering it. This week’s question is all about the past: It haunts many of us. What seems like willful fun at the time ends up causing great distress, shame and worry down the road. I’ve asked Danielle Tate, author of Restoring the Lost Petal, to answer this one since I’m traveling to Colorado right now to record the Focus on the Family Radio program this week. Here’s our question:
I was promiscuous as a teen for a few years. Sometimes it haunts me more than others. I also think I have a sexual problem that makes me overly attracted to men too quickly. I fear that I’m wasting my life being absorbed in thinking about sex and men vs. really becoming someone I want to be…I also fear I won’t meet someone one day who can both look past my mistakes, and who I can feel like I love completely in a way that is fully satisfying for both of us. I am afraid my past sexual experiences will overshadow the one I have in marriage, if I ever get married.
Like you, I did not wait until I was married to have sex. My first boyfriend came at age 16 and within a few months we had sex. We were both virgins so we justified that it was okay. As in most cases, we didn’t make it much past graduation and then a short string of guys crossed my path and with each one I gave a piece of myself away. Deep down I wanted a life partner but all I was getting was life-long heartache. Those pieces I gave turned into long tethers that held me to each guy even after I was married. You can read more about my story here.
As I read your question I asked the Lord to highlight what He wanted me to address. Three things stuck out to me.
- The root of over attraction
- Overcoming your past
Let’s look at these more closely.
Over-Attraction to Men
You mention being overly attracted to men and possibly falling for them too quickly. You are not alone. Many women seek comfort in men as a way to compensate for an underlying, deeper issue. It could be from a bad relationship with your father, no father figure, childhood abuse, molestation or assault. I don’t’ know your particular reason but I suspect there is an underlying cause to your over attraction to men and sex.
These seed issues that are planted in us as children grow into feelings of worthlessness, self-hate and more. Then, as we grow, our outlet becomes running to the first guy who will give us attention, even if it means we must have sexual contact with them in order to get it. For a few brief moments our pain subsides. The problem is, the pain doesn’t really subside, it only grows with each new partner we have.
Overcoming your over attraction to men comes when you realize your own self-worth, no matter your past. Grab hold of the truth that, if you are saved, you are a daughter of the King! Your Heavenly Father finds value in you.
I encourage you to spend time committed to realizing your value in Christ. Take some time away from men and see the Man who died for you. I highly recommend the Bible study, Falling in Love with Jesus by Kathy Troccoli.
Fear of the Future
Fear feels like a noble thing sometimes. I used to live in a world where, if I wasn’t fearful and worrying, then I wasn’t a responsible adult. I had to fear things, I had to worry about the unknown. I can tell you, fear does nothing to facilitate healing. Nonproductive thoughts serve no purpose and only breed more crippling fear. The Bible tells us to take very thought captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5. You see, God has given us the ability to capture our thoughts and think about our thinking.
The thoughts we have do not need to linger in our minds causing fear, doubt, worry, shame and more. When fearful thoughts come to you about your past, your present or your future you can stop them. I sometimes say out loud, “No, I will not think this way! God says…..” and then replace the negative with something positive from God’s Word. I encourage you to find some scriptures to hang on to and memorize. You don’t have to know them perfectly with chapter and verse, but speaking them out loud is a powerful weapon to stop fear and turn your thinking around.
Once you’re not living in the fear you can clearly see to address other issue, overcoming your past.
Overcoming Your Sexual Past
Saving sexual contact for marriage isn’t just a rule God created to watch us suffer and squirm. The Sovereign Lord knows what He’s doing. And, while we have free will to do as we please, following His plans and His guidance will keep us at the highest level of peace and the lowest levels of shame, guilt and condemnation.
But just because that’s His plan doesn’t mean you cannot overcome your past. Overcoming our past means forgiving times three:
- Forgiving your lovers/abusers/perpetrators
- Forgiving yourself
- Accepting God’s forgiveness
The road to healing is paved by forgiveness, guided by God and lighted by Truth. Your past will never go away–it is part of your history. However, your past is not the compass that guides your future.
As you forgive and accept forgiveness you must also address the soul ties that have been created between you and your sexual partners. These are the tethers that held me down to my past and they are doing the same to you. You cannot see clearly because you are still seeing through the lens that has you tied to your past.
I can’t give you a time-frame on your healing journey. The Healer works in His time, not ours. Sometimes healing comes like a rushing wind, sudden and quick removing our stains almost instantly. Other times healing’s path is like a winding dirt road, the travel is slow, sometimes bumpy but at the end is a beautiful place of restoration and refreshment.
Thanks so much, Danielle! I love Danielle’s heart for getting to the root of the issue in this reader’s overattraction and in her fear. Telling yourself the truth is so important!
But I think that last point is so crucial, too, and I need to reiterate what Danielle said. Certainly God’s plan is for us to wait until marriage, but just because you didn’t wait doesn’t mean you’re doomed at all! In the research I did for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I did find that those women who were virgins on their wedding night had the best sex. But it wasn’t like they rated their sex life a 10 and everyone else rated it a 1. The difference was real, but it wasn’t dramatic, because what mattered more was not where you came from but where you are today. When couples felt a great deal of spiritual connection with each other, regardless of their sexual pasts, they tended to rate their sex life really high.
Do you get that? What matters is not what you’ve done with your body in the past but what you do with your heart now.
Check out the book here.