My Greatest Mistake Wasn’t The Lying, The Cheating, or The Sex
Editor’s Note: We are getting ready to wrap up this month’s topic of dating and introduce November’s topic of pornography. If you are willing to help us begin the woman’s conversation of struggling with pornography, please send in your coveted words. Thousands of girls and women are fighting a solo battle against the lure of pornography and have no one to turn to, and believe they are completely alone. Today’s post is anonymous, but if you would like to get in contact with the author, please send me an email! – Lauren
Tell me, how do you get from a confident, Jesus-loving sixteen-year-old who is madly in love with her Pastor’s-son boyfriend – proud of her virginity, never tasted alcohol in her life, blonde hair down to her waist – to a depressed, angry eighteen-year-old who constantly cheats on her boyfriend, drinks, parties, short black hair and uses her body as a way to control men?
It started with small compromises and my desperation to break away from my large, conservative, Christian family and small town. Despite growing up in a Christian family, attending church and youth group, going to a Christian school, being a leader in my youth group and surrounding myself with solid friends, it only took three days from when I moved away for university before I showed up on the party scene. Here I was, this confident girl who had never before cared what the world thought of her, desperate to prove myself as fun and worthy.
This desperation led me down a dangerous path. I started drinking, staying out all night, and one night after a huge fight with my boyfriend, I cheated on him. A few days later I came clean and promised him that it was only one night and would never happen again. We had been together for two years by this point and I was desperate to keep this guy who treated me like gold. He loved me unconditionally, saw me for the woman God had created me to be, constantly encouraged and challenged me, and made me want to be the best possible version of myself. I’ll never forget the tears in his eyes as he told me that I wasn’t the girl he fell in love with and he saw so much more in me. Even though he spoke truth into my life and attempted to call me back to God’s heart for me, I retaliated in anger and pain over his perceived “rejection”.
On the surface, I kept trying to “fix” things with Jeff. But I would kiss him goodnight and go straight to another guy’s bed, trying to replace the intimacy that I had lost, with men who only wanted to use and abuse me. Jeff and I were severely broken and although we tried hard to deny it, we both knew that we were going down fast.
Having become something that I no longer recognized (and hating myself for it), I was grasping for something, anything that would keep Jeff’s attention. I was so desperate to get things back to the way they were before.
I began to use my newfound sexuality as a weapon of control. If he didn’t love my heart anymore, then fine, at least I knew he still thought I was hot. Let me warn you, ladies, no matter how steadfast and strong and Godly your boyfriend may be, don’t think that nothing is going to happen when he finds you taking your clothes off in his bed. Our formerly PG-rated relationship was quickly rolling downhill. I did my level best to break his resolve and threw every power of seduction that I had at him day after day. I hated myself, I hated him for giving in to me, just as I also hated him when he denied me.
At the same time, I continued to cheat, and to lie about the cheating. I found myself in a dark hole of depression. I cut off twenty-two inches of my golden blonde hair and dyed it dark, just because I knew that Jeff loved it long and blonde. I was self-sabotaging my relationship. I was lost and I was quickly losing everything – the guy who would have laid down his life for me, the new college friends that I thought cared about me, my reputation, but mostly, my faith.
If you thought that my greatest mistake was the lying or the cheating or the sex, it wasn’t. It was losing sight of God.
Without knowing Him, I didn’t know who I was or what I was about. I believed the lie that my body was the only thing that I had left to offer. In cheapening myself and using my sexuality to control, I was trading my body for sweet little lies that I was worth something. I refused to go to church or to pray or to journal, because I couldn’t handle the conviction and I didn’t think I deserved to talk to God anyway.
So now tell me, how do you get from rock-bottom at eighteen to loving life and alive in Christ at twenty-three?
After that first year of university, I knew that something had to change. I said goodbye to Jeff and decided to come home. It was there that God recaptured my heart. He began to pour truth into me about who He is and who I am. He lifted the shame and guilt off of me and gave me a peace and joy that I had never known before. He began to heal me, slowly and carefully. He showed me that no man can validate my worth; that is His job and His job alone. I learned that intimacy with Jesus is hard work and that there was nothing I wanted more than to fight for His heart and to be delighted in by Him.
Today, I am twenty-three, I have a degree, I have a great job and I serve in youth ministry. I have amazing friends, and have lived, studied, traveled and served in missions all over the world. Jeff also has a degree, also travels around the world serving in missions, has worked in government, and is about to start his masters degree. Most importantly, although we’re not together and never will be, God has healed our friendship and our hearts. We are both single and being used by God in ways that would have been impossible had we been together.
I give you this picture of now, because I think it’s the most important part. It is the picture of God’s great redemptive and restorative power to transform our lives. It is only by Him and through Him that we find ourselves healed and whole and equipped to serve Him.
Some days I wake up feeling like it’s all a story that happened to someone else.
Because that’s not me any longer. And it never will be again.
I am loved and cherished and worth so much more than one night or a cheap thrill. I understand now that my body cannot be used as currency for love. It is impossible. We are simply not created that way. I am the Bride of Christ.
I will one day be another man’s wife and I choose only to date men that treat me as such.
But above all else, I keep my eyes fixed on Christ. I’ve made many mistakes in dating since that time, but losing sight of Christ is not one I can afford to make again..
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