Have you ever been overly concerned about how someone feels? If they are unhappy, you go out of your way to make them happy by overspending on gifts, giving them money or time, you do not have to spare? If they do not respond to you the way you expect do you try to manage their feelings to make yourself feel better? Maybe you put others first – all the time – before taking care of yourself. And in doing so, you believe that your sacrifices are required because you do not want others to be disappointed in you. You may be thinking, “Isn’t that being kind, generous, and loving towards others? Isn’t that what Christians are supposed to do?” Where there is an absence of self-control, self-care, self-respect, and self-love, and our focus is on controlling other’s feelings and responses towards us – this is codependent behavior.
My sister, I want to go deeper with you on this one. Some of you may not be able to relate or consider what I am going to share with you because you have not experienced these personal conflicts. Far too often I have watched young women compromise their self-worth, dignity, and identity to capture the attention of another. In desperation to feel loved, valued, needed, and approved of, they unquestionably bend what they know to be absurd requests because their emotional needs overwhelm their sense of self-respect. They give away the best parts of themselves thinking it will fill the void in their heart.
One of the most damaging ways a woman acts out her need for love is in sexual relationships. You might be involved in sexually-based relationships that seem to cycle in and out of your life like a revolving door, never gaining what you desperately desire, and always feeling used, rejected, and unloved. When a little girl does not receive healthy parental love that confirms her significance and value and builds healthy self-esteem and self-confidence, or has been victimized, this can leave a deep cavern of emotional neediness. As we enter puberty, we transfer those needs to others, accepting any attention as a substitution for the absence of love and acceptance. We learned to give our pearls away by appeasing, rescuing, and reacting to other’s feelings to protect ourselves, and losing touch with our feelings. We begin to compromise our bodies, emotions, morals, and what little self-worth we might have. This pattern continues into adulthood as we give away that which is sacred, pearl by pearl, further compromising ourselves and adopting lengthier mechanisms of control by sacrificing our finances, jobs, friends, family, and even the roof over our head, to hold on to someone. We do not want anyone to know who we are, our true self, because we are convinced that if anyone truly knew us, they would abandon us. Our strand of precious pearls is now heavy knots of shame, regret, and fear we carry. We make people bigger than God.
“Who would hang earrings on a dog’s ear or throw pearls in front of wild pigs? They will only trample them under their feet and then turn around and tear you to pieces!”Matthew 7:6 TPT
Beloved, it is time to shift your attention off people and onto God. What if you trusted God today with everything? I mean – everything? Including your sexuality, the intimate parts of your heart, those secret affections you fear losing. Do not get shy now sister. God created sex. It was his idea. Sex is not evil or bad or wrong or dirty. Sex is a gift from God that he created for marriage. Unfortunately, the world has perverted God’s beautiful gift of sex, using it with impure motives for selfish and evil intentions. Sex has become a commodity, used to gratify self, exercise power, and control, and manipulate others. Because the world’s view is so prevalent, it is difficult to feel good about sex, to remember it is a beautiful gift from God. Even Christians may feel that their sex life in marriage is tainted or impure.
The Bible teaches that God blesses the sexual act, the intimacy it creates, and the children it produces (Genesis 1:28; 2:24, Song of Songs 1:12-16; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Psalm 127:3-5) If there is any doubt in your mind about sex and its goodness, his Word will help you see the truth.
“And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self-life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. 23 Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. 24 And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness. 25 So discard every form of dishonesty and lying so that you will be known as one who always speaks the truth, for we all belong to one another.”Ephesians 4:22-25 TPT
Dear daughter, take the first step to freedom. Through the blood of Jesus, we are purified from anything that contaminates our bodies and our spirits. I want you to imagine yourself standing under the fountain of God’s cleansing waters. What impurities do you want him to cleanse? When we confess our sexual sin, we accept God’s cleansing. What areas would you like to have God purify? It is okay, he loves you and wants you to be set free from the sin that has kept you in bondage, the sins that others have perpetuated on you, and those that you willingly chose. Write your answers out in prayer to your Heavenly Father.
When we confess, we are cleansed. The old ways we used to live do not fit our life anymore. The old clothes do not feel right either. When we confess our sins, we accept what Jesus did on the cross for us and exchange our soiled clothes for immaculate attire. When we look in the mirror, we see a different person, a free woman loved by her Heavenly Father. When we open his Word and read his letters of love to us, we see with new eyes of appreciation, not shame and regret. And the standard that we had for ourselves and our relationships, below our value and worth, has now been raised through Jesus Christ. We want more for ourselves as we begin to walk in our new identity because God has shown us that we are priceless. You are significant.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”James 4:10 NIV