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Do You Struggle with Vanity? Take the Quiz!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Vanity is an issue we all must address as followers of Christ, especially in our culture today. But before we can really assess properly whether we have an issue with vanity, we need to have a good definition of what vanity is. Here is the biblical definition according to www.biblestudytools.com:

Vanity is defined as excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. The biblical usage describes vanity as having no ultimate meaning… Vanity is recognizing only the accomplishments or appearance of oneself without the humility to appreciate the merit of others, including God. If faith is allowed to focus on God, rather, true meaning and joy are to be found. Learn more from our list of Bible verses about vanity!

The world constantly bombards us, as women, with messages about our external appearance being of greatest importance – so that is going to be my primary focus in this post. We see commercials for cosmetics, hair dye, clothing, jewelry, toiletries, surgical procedures, gym memberships, exercise equipment, shape wear, and lingerie that all communicate the message that our physical attractiveness is a measure of our worth as women.

It can get a bit confusing, because we obviously do have to wear clothes, fix our hair, and try to look like respectable members of society. We don’t want to be sloppy, or careless with our appearance for work. We want to look lovely for our husbands. We want to be clean, well-groomed, and properly dressed. We need to take good care of our bodies and our health. But the problem is that we can take things too far – to the point that we are actually sinning and may not even realize it.

Clothes, makeup, jewelry, and hairstyles aren’t the real issue. The issue God is most concerned with is our hearts and our attitudes. He wants to help us examine our priorities and set us free from any toxic thinking that would be harmful to us.

How can we tell if we struggle with vanity?

VANITY QUIZ:

  1. Do I feel I must wear the most fashionable clothing or I am somehow “less than”?
  2. Do I feel ashamed, afraid, “naked,” or insecure to leave the house without makeup/nails done?
  3. Do I hate myself if I am not a specific dress size?
  4. Do I depend on people’s compliments and approval of my looks for a sense of wellbeing?
  5. Do I tend to spend inordinate amounts of time on grooming and getting ready in the morning?
  6. Do I choose clothing that will cause people (other than my husband) to pay attention to my figure and to notice my curves and beauty?
  7. Am I willing to sacrifice significant amounts of time/money/energy to have a specific figure, face, hair, or beauty – even if my husband thinks it is unnecessary?
  8. Do I feel pressured by my husband to look a certain way and do I fear that if I am not beautiful enough, he might leave?
  9. Do I compare myself a lot to how other women look and rate myself and them against some subconscious “perfect worldly standard”?
  10. Do I feel better about myself if I think I am the most beautiful woman at a gathering?
  11. Do I feel jealous and resentful if I think another woman in the room is more beautiful than I am?
  12. Do I try to get the attention of men by my appearance, my figure, or flirting, in order to be sure “I still have ”it'”?
  13. Am I willing to do anything to try to keep my husband’s attention and attraction? Even if it involves a lot of money, dishonesty, addictions, or sin?
  14. Do I have a food/exercise addiction (or anorexia/bulimia)?
  15. Is it impossible for me to feel confident in myself, my identity, and my femininity if I don’t look a certain way?
  16. Do I think I am unloveable or worthless if I don’t meet some specific measure of physical beauty?
  17. Do I overspend and break our family’s budget in order to look as good as possible, even if it means the family suffers or my husband is disappointed in our financial situation?
  18. Do I become irrationally jealous if I think my husband notices that there are women in the world who could be more beautiful than I am?

If we can answer yes to any of these questions above, we probably have an issue with vanity.  Vanity or beauty can become our idols. This means that we try to find our worth, value, content, identity, purpose, and security in our looks, our appearance, and in externals rather than in Jesus. The problem is, these things are empty and fleeting. They are not eternal sources of worth. They are deceptive.

What is the difference between vanity and simply being a good steward of our bodies?

It’s not a sin to doll ourselves up for our husbands sometimes. It’s not wrong to dress nicely, although Scripture encourages us not to dress too extravagantly. It’s not wrong to brush our hair and make it look pretty. The real question is our motive. What is on the throne of our hearts? Is it Jesus alone, or is some other desire competing with being the most important thing to us?

Is my greatest goal to bring glory to myself or glory to the Lord?

What is the opposite of vanity?

The opposite of vanity is modesty. My favorite definition of modesty is:

Modesty is humility in clothing.

What does the Bible say about modesty?

  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Pet. 3:3-4
  • For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

The goal of modesty is to exalt the Lord in every area of my life.

If I choose to live modestly:

  1. I choose to take the spotlight off of myself – my face, my hair, my body, my clothes, and my jewelry.
  2. I no longer depend on expensive, extravagant attempts at outward beauty to feel like a beautiful woman. I don’t want anything to distract people from Christ.
  3. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to my brothers in Christ – or to my sisters – by the way I dress and present myself.
  4. I seek to look respectable and feminine in a way that causes people to focus on the Spirit of God radiating from my life.
  5. I don’t seek to be the most beautiful woman in the room or on the planet.
  6. I treat my body with respect and honor because I reverence my Lord, Jesus Christ and I want to honor and glorify Him more than anything.
  7. My goal is to be a godly steward of my body rather than flaunting my body or finding security in my looks.
  8. I want to point the attention toward Him and away from me.
  9. I find my worth, identity, purpose, value, and security in His love for me and what He did for me on the cross.
  10. I can be secure in my identity and value as a woman even if I don’t have on makeup, I am not in fancy clothes, and even if my hair is not fixed in a glamorous way.
  11. I am free from the snare of people pleasing.
  12. I don’t try to grab everyone’s attention for myself.
  13. I focus on Jesus and on sharing His love and truth with others and I want to see others find the abundant life of Christ.
  14. I don’t compare myself to other women.
  15. I seek to be beautiful in God’s eyes in my inner self more than seeking outer beauty.
  16. I seek to honor my husband if there are certain things he appreciates me doing – like having a certain hair length (if possible), or dressing up sometimes, or taking good care of my body with healthy diet/exercise. But this is simply just to be a blessing to him, it is not because I look to his approval for my worth and identity.
  17. I know who I am in Christ and I cling to what He says about me.
  18. My eyes are fixed on the eternal rather than the temporary.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov. 31:30

As I live in modesty and yield my heart completely to the Lordship of Christ, I find my security, identity, purpose, and lovability in Jesus alone.

NOTE – Exactly how we choose to dress, how we do our hair, and whether we decide to wear makeup or not are issues that I believe fall under “personal convictions.” Those things are personal between each believer and the Lord. Romans 14 admonishes believers to keep matters of personal conviction private so that we do not create stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters. My concern is our hearts and that we would seek to honor the Lord above all else just because we love Him and want to please Him more than anything.

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Has God given you a breakthrough in this area concerning motives that you would like to share? Or are you struggling and need more resources or prayer support? Please leave us a comment. <3

 

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How Do I Dress Modestly?

Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash

My sweet sisters, I’m so glad you are here with me today! Have I told you lately how precious each of you are to me and what a joy it is for me to get to share this time and fellowship together? I’m so thankful for you! You are in my prayers every day.

My goal with this post is to discuss biblical principles. It is really easy to veer into personal convictions. I want to avoid that out of reverence for God’s instructions to us to keep our personal convictions private – in order that we may not create division and contention in the body. I want to honor the Word of God and not add man-made rules for anyone to follow. So I am not going to dictate specific rules to other women:

  • You have to only wear skirts/dresses.
  • Your hemline has to be a specific number of inches.
  • Your collar line has to be so many inches away from your collar bone.
  • etc…

But what we can share together are things like:

  • Biblical principles for modesty.
  • Practical guidelines about choosing modest clothing.
  • Resources and tips to find modest, affordable clothing.

The goal for us as believing women has to be real heart change. Once we understand God’s heart for us and for the body of Christ, we will want to dress in modest ways to please the Lord so that we show proper respect for:

  • God
  • our brothers and sisters in Christ
  • the world
  • our sexuality
  • our marriage
  • our husband
  • the Word

What Does the Bible Say about Modesty and How We Are to Dress?

Pure Heart Motives:

  • Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Prov. 31:30
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Rom. 12:1
  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 1 Thess. 4:3-4

How to Dress, and What to Avoid:

  • Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Pet. 3:3-4

Avoiding Being a Snare and Temptress:

  • “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” Matt. 18:7
  • Decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Rom. 14:13

Now that we see God’s principles for us as women, that we are to dress in modest, respectable ways, that we are to avoid being extravagant, flashy, and pretentious, that we are not to draw attention to our bodies but rather to Jesus, that our beauty is to come from our spiritual character and inner selves and the things we do, let’s prayerfully consider our closets. <3

Defining Immodesty and Modesty:

Immodesty is about drawing the eye of unavailable men (and maybe even women) to my body, my sexuality, and to thinking about lusting after me. It is about how beautiful I am, how desirable I am, and about making my body look inviting and welcoming to other men in a sexual way. It is about advertising my “wares” so that other men don’t have to guess very much about the shape of my body. It is about attracting attention to my particular form and curves.

My favorite definition of modesty is,

“Modesty is humility in clothing.”

Modesty is all about exalting God, not exalting self. It is all about bringing glory and attention to the Lord not to my appearance. It is about making Jesus, the gospel, holiness, chastity and purity the focus. It is about covering my body in a way that draws the eye to Christ. It is about avoiding expensive hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing that would draw a lot of attention away from Christ. It is about being beautiful in a spiritual way rather than a worldly way. Modesty is about looking feminine in ways that are wholesome and appropriate in public. It is about advertising my faith in Christ rather than my skin or my curves. It is about showing my reverence for God, the gospel, others, and myself. It is about being content not being the most beautiful, attractive girl in the room.

Modesty is also an attitude that avoids acting in flirtatious, inappropriate, or vulgar ways. It is about conducting myself with integrity, purity, and sound speech. It is about guarding my heart and my marriage. It is about avoiding the appearance of evil and seeking to treat my brothers (and sisters) in Christ with honor, respect, dignity, and holiness.

Principles of Modesty:

In order to assess whether a particular outfit is modest, here are some questions I may want to prayerfully ask myself:

  • What are my motives when I wear this outfit?
  • Will this outfit draw the eye of my brothers in Christ to my body or to the Lord?
  • Does this clothing cover all of the important areas well?
    • Even if I bend over, lean down, or reach up?
    • If I have to sit in a chair, will someone be able to see up my skirt/shorts?
    • Will I be doing activities that will cause private areas to be visible in this outfit?
    • If there are buttons, does the material gape between the buttons?
    • Am I likely to have a wardrobe malfunction in this clothing?
  • Am I purposely or inadvertently encouraging men to focus on my body or on lusting after me because this outfit reveals too much skin or exposes the exact shape of my body?
    • Is the neckline too low?
    • Is my midriff exposed?
    • Is the clothing too tight?
    • Does this outfit draw the eye to my breasts, hips, or crotch?
    • Is this clothing see-through in the right light?
    • Are my undergarments showing?
    • Is the hemline too short?
  • What would my husband or dad (or another godly man I greatly respect) think about this outfit?

PEACEFUL WIFE VIDEOS

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What are some of your favorite ways to dress modestly?

Where are some affordable sources of modest clothing you have discovered?

What are some of your favorite stores and websites for modest clothing?

 

 

Do I Love the Things of This World Too Much?

Our Western culture is inundated with materialism. Every ad beckons us with promises that if only we bought that product, had enough stuff, and enough money, we would be beautiful, happy, and fulfilled in this life.

 

How Can I Tell if I Am Struggling with Materialism?

Here are a few questions I might ask myself to do a heart check:

  • Do I base my value on my possessions?
  • If I suddenly lost everything I owned in a fire and had to live in a small apartment with sparse and inexpensive furnishings for a while, would my security be gone?
  • Do I base other people’s value on their possessions?
  • Do I believe that people who don’t have certain things aren’t “good enough” to be my friends?
  • Would I be extremely embarrassed, maybe even devastated, if I could only buy my clothes from Wal-Mart, the flea market, or from thrift shops?
  • If my husband wanted to downsize our lifestyle and sell our home so we could buy a smaller, much less expensive home and change our lifestyle so that we wouldn’t have any mortgage debt, what would my thoughts be?
  • Could I be just as content to eat a thrifty meal at home or at a picnic in a local park with my husband for a “date night” as I would be to spend $100 on a night on the town?
  • Could I be confident in myself as a woman of Christ if I had to face the world without makeup and without going to a salon for a year?
  • If our budget was really tight because of a job loss or a major economic downturn, how would I react? Can I think of things I could give up and ways I could still be content in such a situation?
  • Do I feel I have to have a certain level of luxury and convenience? If so, why?
  • Would I be able to be content without jewelry except for a plain wedding band if necessary?
  • Am I willing to stick to a realistic budget and not spend more than we earn? Does that thought give me anxiety?
  • Can I imagine losing, giving away, or selling all of my possessions and being able to be content without them? What would be the hardest things for me to give up?
  • Could I be just as content driving an old reliable car with no car payments as I could be driving a new car?
  • Do I believe my money belongs the Lord or to myself?
  • Is there anything in my possessions or money that I want to hold back from God?
  • Do I find my security in things and feel anxious or afraid if I had to give up or lose certain things?
  • What are my beliefs about debt? How much debt do I have and why?
  • Do I seek God’s will and His glory in how I spend money?

God’s concept of finances and everything we have in our lives is about stewardship. He ultimately owns everything and I am simply a steward, or manager, of what He owns. He is to be LORD of every area of my life. I am to use what He gives me for His purposes, His kingdom, and His glory.

His ways lead to such freedom, peace, and joy!

What Does the Bible Say about Debt?

  • The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives… Ps. 37:21
  • The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Prov. 22:7
  • Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Rom. 13:7-8

What Does the Bible Say about Greed?

  • A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. Prov. 28:25
  • You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3
  • For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous/greedy (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Eph. 5:5

What Does the Bible Say about Materialism?

  • He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. Eccl. 5:10
  • “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21
  • “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matt. 6:24
  • And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
  • Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:33-34
  • But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Tim. 6:9-10
  • As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Tim. 6:17-19
  • Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb. 13:5
  • Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

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Is there anything that really hits you today that the Lord may be speaking to you? You are welcome to share in the comments. How has God empowered you to have victory over materialism and our debt-driven culture? If you have godly wisdom to share, we’d also love to hear that.

Much love!

RELATED:

What Does the Bible Say about Debt? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about materialism? by www.gotquestions.org

 

One of Your Most Powerful Gifts As a Woman

 

A smile costs you nothing, but it is such an incredible blessing to those around you. You may not see your own facial expressions, so it is easy not to think about them much, but those around you definitely notice them.

This week, I’d love to challenge and encourage you to:

  1. Seek to give your brightest, most glorious smile to your husband and children when you first see them.
  2. Every time you walk in the room and one of your family members are there, smile at them.
  3. When your husband or children are talking with you (and it is not something sad or really serious), smile a genuinely friendly smile at them. 

You don’t have to have lipstick or makeup on. You don’t have to have perfectly white or straight teeth to do this. You don’t have to have any special talent and it doesn’t take much time at all.

All you have to do is just share that glorious smile of yours with your family.

As believers in Christ, we have more about which to smile than anyone on the planet. So we don’t have to fake a smile, thankfully. If you aren’t feeling up to smiling much, spend some time singing praises at the top of your voice to the Lord when you are by yourself in the car or at home doing chores. As you focus on God’s character and all of the countless blessings He has given to you, you may realize you have a lot to be thankful for.

Receive God’s radiant smile and love for you. Do you realize that He rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17)? How beautiful and precious is that!?

If you are feeling overwhelmed on this journey, take a break. Rest in God’s love for you. Receive His goodness, His truth, and His healing for your soul. Focus only on thanksgiving and praise for awhile. Find your joy in Christ Jesus. Think about Philippians 4:8 kinds of things, which is God’s will for all of us as believers:

  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8

That is the most powerful thing you can do. As you draw near to Him, Your heart and soul will heal and shine. After He has filled up you to overflowing…

Radiate that glorious smile of yours to everyone in your family!

You are the “heart” of the home. You get to have a huge impact on the emotional and spiritual temperature in your family. I want to see you set the atmosphere to warm, safe, welcoming, and loving. Yes… your smile has that much power! And even if there is a lot of tension in your marriage and your husband can’t hear words from you right now, as you smile at him – you are showing him you are a safe place, that you have the joy of Christ in your heart, and that you have good things to give to him when he is ready to receive them.

What a priceless gift this will be to those you love. You may be shocked at what happens as you simply share this beautiful asset of yours with those you love.

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Smile at your family without any expectations of anyone doing anything for you in return. Then let me know what happens as you focus on blessing your husband and children with your beautiful smile this week, my precious sisters. As you think about good things, and as you focus on smiling – does anything change in your walk with Christ, your own feelings, or your relationships?

  • A joyful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22
  • Those who look to him are radiant. Psalm 34:5
  • Rejoice in the Lord always. Philippians 4:4

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FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I came from a background of focusing on what my husband should change for me. So it can be helpful for me to focus on what I can change to bless my husband in a healthy way – not an obsessed or idolatrous way. For instance, I learned that it’s great to seek to dress nicely and take good care of myself to show respect for myself and to bless my husband. But not all women are from the same background. Some wives have spent their whole marriage trying to change themselves for their husband – to an unhealthy degree. That is a problem, too!

We can seek to bless our husbands, but we are not responsible FOR them or their sin. I hope that makes sense! Ultimately this is all about us seeking to please God alone.

Here is what a dear sister in Christ shared – and has given me permission to share. She used to believe she had to be a “trophy wife” and when she approached some Christian books, she thought she was hearing that message reinforced. But we are not trophies! We are not to be idols or objects to our husbands. We are human beings with innate worth in Christ! Sometimes, certain women are very sensitive to triggers about a wife having to perform to be accepted. I think this wife’s approach may be a great blessing to many who struggle with balancing messages in the area of dealing with husbands being visual and having temptations, etc…

FROM A SISTER IN CHRIST:

Some Christian studies on marriage can tempt us to feel responsible for our husbands sin, our marriage, to stay together, and a whole lot of performance on our part to make sure he is never tempted and we are always enough for him. The problem is we are never pretty enough, exciting enough or wonderful enough to hold our marriages together. Our husbands could still sin even if we were.

So we need the truth – We are not going to be enough to keep our husbands faithful or keep them from sin. We are not their Savior. Their sin issues were there before we were in their lives.

  • Only God can set them free from lust or anything else.
  • Only God can set us free from fear, worry, and “performancing.”

I am already beautiful in Christ and I need to be filled up with His love and truth about me. Only Christ is enough for my husband. If he is focused on Christ, Jesus is enough for him. So the answer for my husband to be free – is Christ. I can pray for him. And the answer for me to be free – is Christ.

I don’t have to be a victim – worried about my husband’s sin or potential to sin.

I can grow with Christ in any circumstance including one where my husband is sinning. My hope, joy, and identity is in Christ, not my husband or myself being perfect. I don’t have to pressure myself and feel constant guilt and fear to perform or he will leave me. I can rest in Christ’s love and grace for me and for my marriage and husband. I don’t have to worry about the future and what-ifs. I can enjoy my husband and think of intimacy and beauty as a good gift from God rather than a heavy, impossible duty I will never be good enough at (a lie from Satan).

Rather than be fearful and jealous, (Beth Moore said jealousy and fear has never won back a wandering husband) and looking at my lack, I can look at all the good already in my husband, all the love and blessings Christ has already given me, and the hope that God is fighting for me and my marriage. I am not the Holy Spirit and I can quit trying to police my husband and be free to give him respect and to pray for him. I can listen to God and stay out of His way if my husband does need convicting.

Sometimes my husband isn’t even struggling and it is just me being paranoid that is the problem! I need to ask for God’s wisdom, and not try to figure out what is right in my own eyes.

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"Unlock Your Libido" Book Review

Small-Unlock-Libido-300pix

(TRIGGER ALERT – If you are a higher drive wife with a husband with lower libido, please don’t read this review if you know that reading about something like this might be upsetting to you.)

I have never done a book review on such a topic but I have seen how much pain there is in so many marriages where a wife has a lack of desire for physical intimacy. (Of course, there is much pain when a husband has a lack of desire, as well. But that is a different post!) Lack of sexual intimacy in marriage leads to deeply hurting spouses and increased tension, stress, and strife in marriage. Our enemy loves to promote anything that will create tension and division. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy in our marriages and families. But God wants to strengthen our marriages and to empower us to become the godly women He calls us to be for His glory.

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Bonny Logsdon Burns

I had the privilege of “meeting” Bonny Logsdon Burns through the Christian Marriage Bloggers’ Association. There are lots of amazing Christian marriage blogs to be discovered there! (Note – please always compare what any writer says against the Bible – including my own writing, please!)

What I like about “Unlock Your Libido” is the way Bonny points women to finding fulfillment in Christ first and how she directs women to Scripture to deal with the spiritual and emotional issues that may be impacting a woman’s desire for her husband physically. She also talks about neuroscience, biology, neurochemistry, and practical suggestions that surround many of the issues of low libido wives.  That is an approach I can get exited about! Give ALL the resources possible – but focus especially on Christ and the truth of His Word and the power of God’s Spirit.

Bonny shares her story on her blog www.oysterbed7.com where her entire ministry is devoted to “low libido wives.” I’m glad that I can share this resource for those who may need it. I realize not everyone will be in this boat. But I believe that any wife who is in need of spiritual and sexual healing may find a good place to start in Bonny’s book, “Unlock Your Libido.”  I also think that wives with “normal libido” who have a higher drive husband may also benefit. For a wife whose husband is lower drive, she may not want to purposely try to increase her libido – that may just be frustrating. (I have tips for wives to focus on lowering their drive here for these situations.) It is possible that husbands might be able to read this book to “reverse engineer” some beneficial approaches if their wives are struggling with low libido.

THE BOOK

Bonny’s book is a 52 week course. Each week has a devotional section where Bonny discusses a particular topic. Themes vary from Bible passages, to addressing sin, to scientific studies, and topics related to the issue of low libido.  There is then a Scripture passage to focus on for then next week. And then a “positive thought” to help wives practice thinking positive, Philippians 4:8 kinds of things:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

She gives wives space to write down their thoughts each day of the week about the issue that was discussed and the positive thought and Scripture for that week which I believe is a powerful way to reinforce new thinking and to change our inner dialogue. I want to share some of the topics to give you a tantalizing taste of what you are in for with this ebook:

  • Renewal
  • God is Not Anti-Beauty
  • Sexpectations
  • Benefits of Sexual Intimacy
  • Spiritual Libido
  • Adversity
  • Redefining Sexy
  • You Are Sexually Adequate!
  • The Hero in Your Husband
  • Idol-Free
  • Why Satan Targets Marriage
  • God’s Purpose for Your Low Libido
  • When the Headaches Strike

The book does not address any of the mechanics or details of sex. It is really mostly about how wives struggle and overcome their struggles with low desire.

The devotional is easy to read and usually about a page. Just once a week. Bonny’s writing style is friendly, personal, gentle, engaging, humorous, encouraging, and truthful. She addresses the hard topics with compassion, grace, understanding, and plenty of suggestions to help in various situations. I think wives will get the most out of this book if they stick to reading one devotional each week and then memorize the Scripture passage for each week and write down a brief positive thought each day about that week’s topic. Bonny is careful to address women in their entirety – body, soul, and mind. Love that!

Bonny helps women examine their walk with Christ, their motives, and search for any sin that may be blocking God’s Spirit’s power in their lives. She teaches wives step by step to transform their thinking from negative, self-sabotaging thinking to positive, empowered, Bible-centered thinking. Our thoughts are SO important! And our thoughts and emotions as women are extremely tied into our ability to have a healthy libido and desire for our husband. She encourages wives to view themselves as teammates with their husbands. I also appreciate how she encourages wives to become godly wives and to respect and honor their husbands.

The only thing I was not super excited about – was chapter 51 on “Centering Prayer.” I have some concerns that it could be a bit too closely linked to Eastern meditation practices. That would be something each wife could prayerfully consider for herself or discuss with her husband and research on her own. If you are interested in learning to pray more powerfully, I would recommend Kay Author’s study, “Lord, Teach Me to Pray,” or E. M. Bounds book, “The Necessity of Prayer.”

CONCLUSION

I am so thankful for Bonny’s openness and transparency and for her willingness to share so many pearls of wisdom God has given to her on her own journey. I was going to try to pick one or two chapters that were my favorites, but there were so many that were a blessing – I decided it was impossible to narrow it down. What  a blessing to so many sisters in Christ and to many marriages that God is using her to share this important message of hope with wives in the Body of Christ!

Please join me in praying for Bonny’s ministry and her marriage  – that God might protect her and her husband from temptation and from harm, that He might continue to empower them and use them for His glory, and that His Spirit and truth might flow through Bonny to build up the Body of Christ for the glory of God and of the Gospel.

Strong, godly marriages lead to strong families, strong churches, strong communities, and a healthy, holy new generation to come. Sexual intimacy is a critical part of marriage that the enemy wants to destroy. He knows if he can destroy intimacy in marriage, the marriage may fall apart. I don’t want that to happen to any of us! May God richly bless the intimacy in each of our marriages on every level and may His Spirit shine brightly in and through us to reach this world for Christ!

RELATED:

www.forgivenwife.com  – A “sister blog” to Bonny’s that is a ministry especially for those wives who realize they have been withholding themselves from their husbands and being “sexual gatekeepers” and who want to change to become the wives God desires them to be and to bless their husbands with sexual intimacy.

I Feel Like I’m Just a Piece of Meat to My Husband Sometimes – I answer a wife’s question in this post. Be sure not to miss her response later in the comments about how much God healed her later!

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage  – for wives whose husbands tend to reject them sexually

Taking Initiative Sexually in Marriage – for wives who have been hesitant to do so, but whose husbands would really appreciate if they would initiate more

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage – for wives who are higher drive than their husbands

Submitting Sexual Desire to the Lord

Peacefulwife Posts about Going Deeper in Prayer

How to Tell If a Sexual Activity Is Wrong in Marriage

Praise God for Your Body!

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Part 2 of the assignment about body image we started the other day:

Now, my dear sisters – once you have written a letter to a young girl about what you would want her to know about how she thinks about her body, her appearance, and lovability – take that same letter and change the name to your name. Read the letter you wrote to a young girl and imagine that the you now is reading it to yourself when you were 8-12 years old or so and absorb the message of love, acceptance, strength, and gratitude that you would share with another young girl for yourself. Maybe your mom, siblings, or schoolmates said terribly toxic things to you. Let’s go back in time in our minds and hearts and allow the 2015 you to share truth with yourself as a young girl.

How would that change the way you think today?

———-

Self-loathing and self-hatred toward our bodies seems to be epidemic among women today. This breaks my heart! We have believed so many lies that the enemy has fed us through family members, peers, and the media. This has to stop, my dear sisters! Are we listening to the enemy or are we listening to our Good Shepherd?

  • God made our bodies. Our bodies are good. They are precious gifts for which we are to be thankful and we are to be good stewards.

The second greatest commandment is that we are to “love others as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-40) Jesus assumes that we love ourselves. But today, so many women do not love themselves. This is NOT God’s will for us at all!

How can we give away what we don’t have?

The things some of us say to ourselves are AWFUL! Dreadful! We are feeding our minds with toxic poison and it affects our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with other people, including our men.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  (Prov. 23:7)

If we treat ourselves with contempt, disrespect, a critical spirit, condemnation, and hatred – how will we treat other people? How can we love others and give away something we have not embraced for ourselves? We must be able to fully love and respect ourselves before we can properly love and respect others. This is a given in the Christian life.

God requires us, as His daughters, to have thankful hearts, to think about things that are good, lovely, praiseworthy, and honorable (1 Thes. 5:18, Phil. 4:8). These commandments surely include what we think about ourselves. Why do we think that it is okay for us to hate the bodies God gave us, to complain about them, to envy others’ bodies, and to be discontent? Scripture also commands us as believers not to complain or grumble about anything (Phil. 2:14-16).

We CAN learn to be thankful for our bodies and to take good care of ourselves in a healthy way. No, we don’t want to worship our bodies or be prideful. But the opposite extreme – hating our bodies – is also terribly destructive. God’s ways are always about balance and not going to one sinful extreme or the other.

WRITE IT DOWN IN YOUR JOURNAL: Let’s choose to tear out the lies by writing down all of the negative things we say to ourselves about our bodies and how people view us – and then let’s purposely reject the negative, toxic statements and replace them with the truth of Scripture. Give yourself time to really carefully search your mind and heart for every negative statement you tell yourself. This part will be really painful! Have some tissues with you. Then use some of the verses in the links below to replace the negative thoughts and lies with God’s truth.

Verses about self-hatred

Verses about gratitude

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

You have a responsibility not to follow the enemy’s voice – and he is speaking through her sometimes, so be very careful! You belong to Christ. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him alone.

the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. John 10:3-5

Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. For many of you, he has stolen your joy. He has stolen your thanksgiving to God. He has stolen your ability to give and receive love. He has stolen your intimacy with God. He has stolen so much from you about how you think about yourself and your worth. No more, my friend!

You don’t have to allow Him to steal the good gifts God has given to you one more day!

In Christ, the truth will set you free!

  • You can walk past a mirror and think, “Thank You, God, for my body!”
  • You can put on a beautiful outfit and think, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”
  • You can walk across a room with confidence in who you are in Christ and confidence in your skin – seeking to be a blessing to those who are there, rather than being paralyzed with fear about what they are thinking about your body. Their opinions don’t really matter. You are just seeking to please God. And your goal is to love and bless them. You know that God has made you and that He has loved you with an unfailing love. You know who you are in Christ and you can have all of the confidence of heaven radiating from your face and heart.
  • You can take good care of your body and treat it well, being a good and faithful steward of this priceless gift. You can choose to feed it nourishing, healthy food rather than eating junk food to find comfort. You can find your comfort in Christ. Food can’t comfort us or bring contentment and joy! Jesus does that. When you choose what to eat – choose what is healthy and best for your body as fuel rather than seeking to find emotional comfort or fulfillment through food.
  • You can be whole on your own in Christ. And then you can receive the love and attention of a godly man graciously, with joy, without fear, and without doubt about his motives and intentions.
  • You can practice thanking God for every part of your body, for your health, for the miracle that you are.
  • You can rejoice in this body God has given to you.
  • You can be thankful that you have your body as a tool to empower you to do God’s will and to serve Christ in His kingdom and to bless and love people.
    If you need help breaking a food addiction or looking to food for comfort, please let me know. I will be glad to share some spiritually and physically healthy strategies with you.

Much love to each of you!

MORE INFO?

If you are interested in learning about breaking sugar cravings and changing to a healthy diet, we can talk about that in the comments. Just let me know!

RELATED:

Are You Addicted to Food?

Why Satan Rejoices When You Hate Your Body

A Wife Finds Healing Healing for Insecurities about Body Image

A Husband’s Pain – His Wife’s Body Image Issues

When Your Husband Is Not Physically Attracted to You

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

IN CASE ANYONE NEEDS THIS – SOME SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

An Assignment for Those Who Struggle with Body Image Issues

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Our daughter when she was 3 years old

Ladies,

If you tend to tell yourself negative things about your body and your appearance – I would love for you to do something with me:

Please write a letter to your daughter, your niece, my daughter – or any young girl that is precious to you – about what you would want her to know about her worth, how to love her body, what she should tell herself about her body, and how to be confident in her skin as she becomes a young woman.

You are most welcome to share your letter in the comments if you would like to. You may decide to give your letter to a young girl to encourage and bless her.

Stay tuned – because there will be a part 2 to this assignment next week. 🙂

 

Much love!

 

April

When Your Husband Is Not Physically Attracted to You

 

WARNING, LADIES: This post is a big-time trigger alert for some of you. If the thought of issue causes too much distress, and you are not emotionally/spiritually ready to read about it – please, please just skip it for now and focus on your identity in Christ and spiritual healing for yourself. 

I am going to share one wife’s story and how she believes God has led her to handle this painful issue. This may be a blessing to you if you are in a similar situation AND if you are emotionally and spiritually strong enough in Christ to face this thing head on. God may show you a different way to approach this issue and that is totally fine. 🙂 My prayer is that each wife will be sensitive to how God may desire her to handle her own marriage issues for His glory by His Spirit’s power. But the main point is that there is hope in Christ and that He can give us the power to face the fiery trials in our lives.

Sometimes women just have a lot of insecurities about themselves, their body image, and their husbands – and can’t receive the truth that their husbands truly ARE attracted to them. That is a difficult, painful, and frustrating situation for husbands and wives in that situation that is addressed in more detail by a husband here.

Other times husbands just feel so disrespected and controlled, that they lose their attraction to their wives because of this. This happens quite often, from what I can tell. Eventually, when a wife begins to learn to respect and honor her husband, the attraction often comes back in time.

Sometimes husbands face their own issues of medical problems with impotence, side effects from medications, stress, depression, shame (for some things that may be sinful and some that may not be sinful), porn addiction, or  other things that impact their libido that don’t have much to do with their wives. Or maybe they just have a naturally low libido. There are men who only desire sex once a week or even every 2 weeks or so – and it isn’t because they don’t desire their wives, they just have a low appetite.

But some husbands truly are no longer attracted to their wives physically and there aren’t any other issues going on. What an incredibly painful situation that is for both husband and wife. No wife ever wants to feel that her husband has no desire for her body. I am sure that most husbands feel awful about this, as well – and, if they are remotely good-willed, which many husbands are.

  • I think this may be one of the top fears many wives have in marriage. What can we do if we find ourselves in this situation? What would please God? What would bless our marriages? How do we maintain our own spiritual strength?

I’m thankful that a friend of mine is willing to share the wisdom God has given to her as she has had to navigate this issue in recent years in her own marriage. Perhaps it may provide some encouragement for other wives, as well.

FROM A DEAR 50-SOMETHING SISTER IN CHRIST

There is nothing like knowing that your husband is not physically attracted to you.

Maybe it’s because you don’t fit into the “dream girl” vision he has in his mind or maybe it’s because you have let yourself go. In other words, there are some things that are in your control and others that are not. Right or wrong, this is where he is at and if you want to be a blessing to him, there are things you can do to help the situation.

I felt like I had failed my husband as a wife because I was not able to provide the “eye candy” so many men crave.

I spent some time mourning when I realized I would never receive that look from him that says, “you’re beautiful.” I also experienced feelings of defeat when I realized I cannot compare with pretty women he encounters personally on a daily basis and via the media. Included with that was an apprehension to “woo” him, as I didn’t feel I had the ability to do so successfully.

My natural inclination is to want to withdraw from my husband because it seemingly appears to be a safe way to handle the issue. I constantly strive to fight against this attitude because it is not in the best interest of our relationship and would only serve to doom the marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:5 says I am not to deprive myself from my husband so I choose to focus on being open to providing opportunities to be with him as often as the need arises.

The Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

  • What you can control – weight, clothing, hygiene, your attitude, your spiritual growth, your obedience to God
  • What you cannot control – certain physical features, his perception, his sin, his obedience to God

Regarding the things you can control:

  • Are you overweight? Create new eating habits. Work out.
  • Do you tend to lounge around the house in your pajamas with unbrushed hair and teeth, no deodorant and unshaved legs? Get dressed every day. Use general hygiene. Shave those legs.
  • Hey, even consider putting on a little makeup to accentuate your features.

For those things you cannot control:

  •  You need to accept that and not own his attitude. This is between him and the Lord and is no reflection on you as a person.
  • A bad attitude toward him will only increase the distance that is already there.
  • This doesn’t give you license to pull away from him.

It is natural to feel ill will toward him and to withdraw from him. I know you feel hurt, but you need to fight any urges to build animosity with him or to pull away from him. You need to continue to pursue a close relationship with him. This is what you are called to do as a wife. It is part of being his “helpmeet”.

It is important for you to continue to engage with him.

  • Flirt (if he is receptive)
  •  Smile
  •  Offer kisses
  •  Seek to be around him
  • Respect the good in him and the fact that he is your husband
  • Honor him

Keep in mind that all this has to occur without any level of expectation, though, on your part. The goal is to bless him, not coerce him into acting lovingly towards you.

I suppose I am in a healthy spot, spiritually, so dealing with this hasn’t been as hard as it may be if I wasn’t in a good place spiritually – probably because I do find my security, acceptance, and fulfillment in Christ. We all have things we deal with in life and this is where I’m at. But the main point is that I have been able to look at things through the eyes of Christ – which has given me the wisdom and power I need to attempt to handle my husband’s current feelings with grace.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think it can be a good thing to try to look attractive for your husband – within reason, of course. The best reason for us to seek to be healthy and to take good care of our bodies, in my view, is so that we are being good stewards of the bodies God has given to us. (It is possible to make our appearance, being thin, beauty, etc… into idols – so we do have to be careful not to make external beauty the most important thing.)

We can cut out sugar, junk food, fried things, and unhealthy foods – exchanging those things for water, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean meats so that we are taking the best care of our bodies. We can focus on exercising 30 minutes/day or so. If you don’t have time to exercise – your husband may be willing for you to cut back your work hours or he may be willing to watch the children so that you can have some time to do this. He may even enjoy working out with you. Might be fun! If you have medical issues that are impacting your weight or your ability to lose weight, please speak to your doctor.

If food is an idol for you, and you turn to it for comfort – that is something to deal with before God. Christ is our greatest source of comfort, fulfillment, purpose, and identity – not food, not marriage, our husband, or anything or anyone else.

Something I did was grow my hair back out because Greg loves it long. I had cut it so short earlier in our marriage in total disregard for his preferences. But as I began to walk this road to become a godly wife, I realized that I needed to be be willing to consider my husband’s feelings, too, about how he liked my hair, how I dressed, etc… and not just my own preferences.

We can own our own attitude and be open, safe, calm, peaceful, respectful, warm, and even fun. 🙂 We can  get rid of any sin in our own lives and develop that feminine beauty that God cherishes so much – that gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear. We can study godly femininity and seek to become the women God calls us to be.

 

BEAUTIFUL FOR ME:

RELATED:

For wives in very difficult, painful marriages, checkout Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”

She Has the Stronger Sex Drive – Shaunti Feldman’s site, a 3 part series

When You Are Feeling Deprived in Your Marriage

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

I May Never Have Worldly Beauty

Roots of Insecurity, Sinful Jealousy, a Desire to Control, and Low Self-Esteem

Our Security Is in Christ Alone!

Finding Victory Over Feelings of Insecurity

My Identity in Christ

Godly Femininity

The story of Leah in the Old Testament – Jacob was not attracted to her, and yet, God noticed her situation and richly blessed her.

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