I crawled into my bed and turned on the lamp. It was late. I was tired. But that didn’t keep me from reading my favorite genre of books, Christian Romance Novels. I justified my actions and convinced myself that these were innocent and clean.
What harm could they do?
One by one, I devoured these books. Rereading the extra “spicy” scenes over and over again. I put myself in the characters shoes and imagined the story was my own. As single, high school-aged girl, I imagined that I was the one being wooed and pursued and swept off of my feet.
When the story finished, I would lay in bed and create my own story. The fantasies continued in my mind and I indulged in my thoughts. I allowed my mind to linger in places that I knew were anything but pure and holy.
My heart was filled with lust.
The romance novel season of my life started around the ninth grade. It lasted for a few years. I kept convincing myself that it wasn’t a big deal. I wanted to believe that the words “Christian Romance Novel” on the back of the book made these books okay. Good. Pure. Holy.
They weren’t. And I knew it.
I knew I was using these books to “awaken love” in my heart and I was choosing to lust after stories that weren’t my own. I was using these books to satisfy the longings for sexual intimacy that I desired.
Don't believe the lie that lust is a "guy-only" problem.
I think that we, as Christian women, know that lust is our problem. We know our hearts. We see what’s inside. We see the places our thoughts go to at night. We see the books we read. The websites we visit. The pictures we send. The guys we chat with. We know we have heart issues.
Guys aren’t the only ones struggling, we are too.
In our brand new book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl's Heart, we surveyed over 450 of you and asked you in-depth questions about sex, purity, lust and so much more.
Here's what a few Christian women had to say about lust:
"Lust is something I struggle with on a daily basis."
"Lust has been a struggle in both my singleness and my dating relationship."
"Lust is a problem that almost all girls struggle with, but is so infrequently talked about in the church."
"Lust is not spoken about, addressed, or taught. Us girls are confused and frustrated. We need someone to talk frankly and help us understand what the Bible says about this issue and how we can live pure lives before the Lord, physically as well as mentally and emotionally."
We know that the struggle is real!
It’s not a matter of knowing, it’s a matter of dealing with it. It’s a matter of changing the tone of the conversation, raising our hands, and saying, “We need help too! Lust is a girl problem too!”
I know that the church has not done a great job of helping women in this area. The silence around the topic of “women struggling with lust” has been awfully quiet. Instead of allowing the silence to keep us in bondage to our sin, we need to acknowledge our struggles and begin seeking out help.
Don’t allow the silence to convince you that you’re the only woman struggling.
You are not. I’m not. That’s because back in the very beginning of Genesis, God created both Adam and Eve as sexual beings. Fast forward to today and we are sexual beings as well. Yes, men and women have differences, but both genders are fully sexual. That means that both men and women experience sexual desire. Both genders will face their own temptations toward lust.
But, what exactly is lust? Let's define it really quick.
In our book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, we use a quote from Pastor John Piper to unpack this word. He describes the issue of lust this way,
“Sexual desire in itself is good. God made it in the beginning. It has its proper place. But it was made to be governed or regulated or guided by two concerns: honor toward the other person and holiness toward God. Lust is what that sexual desire becomes when that honor and that holiness are missing from it.”
I love how simply he breaks this word down. He says that lust is the absence of honor and holiness. It’s doing something in your mind towards another person that does not honor them. It’s allowing your heart to enter into places that are lacking in holiness toward God.
With that simple definition in mind, have you ever lusted? Have you ever treated someone with that lack of honor? Have you ever dwelt on things that lacked holiness toward God? That’s exactly what happened to me during that romance novel season.
I was lacking honor. I was lacking holiness. I was lusting.
I want to encourage you to be honest about your own struggles with lust. I don’t care if they seem really small or really big. Get serious about killing the lust in your heart.
Here are two simple steps you can take to begin the process:
1. Confess your sins to God. Start first and foremost by bringing this sin before God and asking Him for His forgiveness. He promises that if we ask, He will forgive.
2. Bring your lust into the light. Don’t keep this a secret. Don’t fight the battle on your own. Find a godly older woman and tell her what’s going on. Bring this into the light and ask her to help you find true freedom.
This blog only scratches the surface on this topic. That’s why Kristen and I co-authored Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl's Heart. We devoted an entire chapter to the topic of lust.
I would love to hear your take.
What are your thoughts on lust? Has this been (or is this) a struggle in your own life?