Sunday, December 11, 2005

Overcoming Temptation

What would you do if an old boyfriend called you? (Or, in the case of our guy readers, an old girlfriend?)

Two weeks ago, I would have thought I'd be slightly shaken, but I'd be able to say, "Sorry, I'm married. I love my God. I love my husband. I love my work as a Christian writer, and I'm not interested. Please don't contact me again."

Until he emailed.

Out of the blue, someone I hadn't talked to in sixteen years, and I hadn't dated in 20 sent me a note via email. At first I tried to tell myself we were just catching up, there was no harm in it. But after a few emails led to a phone conversation, and he confessed he'd been thinking about me all these years, that he felt we were soul mates . . . Well, then I knew I was in trouble.

You see, this was the first person I was intimate with. We were only teenagers, and in my eyes he was "the perfect guy." He moved away, and we'd gone our separate ways, but obviously I had carried something for this guy all these years.

How did I know I was in trouble, especially with my thoughts and emotions? The pounding of my heart clued me in . . . and the longing to have him continue to say all those sweet things to me through email and over the phone.

Yet, even in temptation, I knew where to turn. After the second day of contact, I brought my friends and husband on board. I told them what was happening. I explained my crazy emotions. And I asked them to pray and encourage me. I also broke off communication with the old boyfriend.

Are "older" Christian women (I'm 34) who love Jesus, love their husbands, and love serving God with their lives tempted? Yes. And this temptation also opened my eyes to a few things.

1) While the world tries to tell us sex is no big deal, everyone is doing it . . . there is no denying that hearts and souls are knitted together during this act. And the painful truth is that sometimes this binding still keeps us bound, no matter how many years pass.

2) God's way of escape works. Praying, diving into God's word, turning to sisters in Christ, asking for prayer and support, confessing to my husband, asking my husband to pray with me . . . these are all hard things. It's much easier to keep things a secret. Not to tell. Not to show vulnerability. Yet, if we remain in the dark with our actions, we cannot expect to find light for our souls.

3) God can bring good out of hard stuff. The result of this temptation is that my husband and I have been more open with our struggles and temptations. We've started praying together more often . . . and concerning more issues. I've also built a new level of trust with my Christian friends who love me, despite my hang ups.

Did the enemy of my soul find something to shake me up? Yes.

Yet, God proved that no matter what temptations I face, He is at my side every step of the way to overcome them . . . as long as I turn to Him and depend on Him. Through the sacrifice of Christ, chains of the past can be removed for good--even chains I didn't realize existed, twenty years after the fact.

God is faithful!


Mitali Perkins said...

Thank you for your honesty. I know God will encourage many of us through this post. It's so hard for us girls to give up those cravings to be desired. How good to know that Jesus tells us how lovely and desirable we are all the time to Him.

Camy Tang said...

Wow, Tricia, I appreciate your honesty in this post. What a great example and encouragement.