When You’re “Just Friends”… But You’re Not

I remember sitting under a starry night sky, surrounded by beautiful trees when a handsome friend of mine started asking me questions about my life. It was charmingly romantic, except it wasn’t because he had a girlfriend. I knew this about him, but I didn’t think there was any harm in just talking to him. As he continued to ask me thoughtful questions, I started to share things about my story that I didn’t easily share with people. I thought this was okay until I woke up the next morning feeling super connected to him and realizing he still had a girlfriend. I was so confused about why I felt so awful when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I hadn’t kissed him. I hadn’t even touched the guy. What was going on?

In church, I had grown up hearing about physical boundaries like: “Don’t have sex until you’re married” and obviously “don’t kiss another girl’s boyfriend.” What would have helped me out a whole lot that night is knowing about emotional boundaries.

Emotional boundaries can be a little trickier than physical boundaries and definitely aren’t talked about as often. Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get over someone? It might not necessarily mean that you and that person are meant to be. It might just mean you guys keep crossing emotional boundaries even though the other person doesn’t want a relationship. You’re diving into deeper intimacy together without any commitment. Let’s look at another example:

I had a friend I used to hang out with all the time. I felt like I had made it clear that we weren’t going to date, so I thought it was okay to keep hanging out with him one-on-one and talking to him almost daily. When he finally asked me if we were ever going to date, I said I didn’t think so. My ego wanted to think it was because I was such a great catch, almost irreplaceable in fact, but it wasn’t. He found a great girl in a matter of weeks and they ended up very happy together. He had been thinking the two of us were going to date because we basically already were, not because I possessed any magical quality. When he started dating someone else, I was crushed, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was because I had been letting him meet all sorts of emotional needs and treating him like my boyfriend when he wasn’t.

I want to step back for a moment and say building intimacy and deepening your connection with someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re dating someone, then doing these things can actually bring you closer together, which is what you want. The problem happens when you are repeatedly doing these things with someone you don’t want to date (or that person is doing them with you). If you learn to be aware of these, you will save yourself and the people in your life a world of hurt and confusion. Here are a few things I’ve noticed that deepen intimacy and can, therefore, cross emotional boundaries:

 

1. Sharing things you don’t share with very many people (fears, struggles, past hurts, hopes, dreams, joys)– This makes someone feel they are special, that they have been admitted into your inner-world, that they have magical qualities…

2. Talking about intricate details of each other’s lives and families- The good, the bad, the ugly… these are the things that don’t need to be communicated one-on-one under a starry night sky. 

3. Large amounts of time or hanging out together, especially one-on-one- One way to remember this is the four T’s- time, touch, text, or talk. Doing too much of any of these things is flirting with the friendship line. 

4. Planning, thinking, or talking about the future as if that person is going to be in it- Especially for us ladies, it doesn’t take much for us to start planning our wedding, honeymoon, or the next five years. Guys, help us out and don’t talk about it unless you’re going to back it up. 

5. Caregiving or repeatedly going out of your way to meet someone’s needs If you continually do special things for someone, then they are going to feel special. Strange, I know, but it’s how it works.

 

Guys, if you’re doing these things with a girl, don’t be surprised if she gets all heart eyes emoji over you. Girls, if you’re doing these things with a guy, then don’t be surprised if he thinks you want to date him. I know, I know. You are probably really charming and attractive, and it’s making you irresistible. But you’re probably also boyfriending him when he’s not your boyfriend, or leading her on when you don’t want her as a girlfriend, so stop. In fact, have a conversation and tell each other where you’re at so you can both gain clarity and manage your expectations.  Deepening intimacy naturally brings the expectation of commitment, when one or both of you might not have any intention of committing.

Even inside a relationship, it’s still important to set emotional boundaries. You can’t just go from level one intimacy to level ten overnight. He may like all the same movies as you and have the perfect personality. She might be the most gorgeous human you’ve ever laid eyes on. You still have to build trust and go through each stage of dating so that your relationship has a good foundation. Don’t rush it. Take your time through every stage.

We’ve said this before, but the basic thing to remember is your level of intimacy with someone should not exceed your level of commitment to each other. This is definitely true with physical boundaries, but it’s also true with emotional ones. When you start to share things about your life and your feelings that you don’t share with a lot of people, you are giving someone access to a deep place in your heart. They may be a completely trustworthy person, but until they’re committed to you, there are certain parts of you that they haven’t earned access to.

So ladies, if you find yourself sitting under a starry night sky with a handsome man who has a girlfriend, I don’t care how perfectly thought-out his questions are, keep it surface level! Favorite color, candy bar, type of cheese- but that’s it. On the other hand, if he’s available and wants to date you, well that’s a different story…

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

 

For more information on healthy communication and how to do relationships well, check out our free summer video series

 


How to Not Be Ruled By Your Feelings

Are you the emotional type? Or are you more of a thinker? Whether you process life through your emotions or your thoughts, it’s important that you not only understand, but also learn how to manage the way you feel. We are not to be governed by our feelings or make decisions solely based upon them, however we do need them. They help us know what we need, and how to respond to the environment around us. I learned a long time ago that feelings are not right or wrong; they just are. We have to hold them in their proper place in our lives.

 

FEELING HEALTHY?

One of the main attributes of noble people is their ability to manage their emotions, feelings and passions. Why? Because it’s not what we want that defines us; it’s what we will! Feelings are great servants but terrible masters. While they are extremely valuable, it’s important to recognize that how we feel isn’t always how we are, and what we feel isn’t who we are. Learning to “feel” in a healthy way all begins with accepting the fact that feeling is a part of how God created us.

God created us with the ability to feel—to sense our emotions and know what is going on inside of us so that we can respond appropriately to the world around us. Without the sense of “feeling,” we would not know how to interpret the other natural five senses or to navigate through life. For example, when we feel depressed, we may deduce that a cold virus is coming on, and that we need to do something to bring health to our body. When we feel afraid, we may deduce that we should run from the growling dog. When we feel discouraged, we may need to reread the prophetic words that have been spoken over us. The same thing works in a positive light! If we feel joy from dancing, we could come to the conclusion that this is something that brings us life. If we shut down our negative feelings we run the risk of shutting down the positive ones with them. And the bottom line is that if we disconnect from feeling, we also disconnect ourselves from understanding what we need or how we’re processing the world around us.

 

YOUR FEELINGS ARE NOT SHAMEFUL

Many people are afraid to actually feel. So many lies can get in the way of us tapping into our true feelings, like the lie that feelings are a sign of weakness and immaturity, or that feelings are opposed to faith and maturity in Christ. That is total nonsense! Sadly sometimes the church has taught that emotions are bad – that they are part of the “flesh.” Clement, who was a Christian Gnostic and early Church Father, impressed aestheticism on the church. He taught that emotions were part of the fallen sin nature of man, and therefore needed to be cut off in order to grow spiritually. He stated that, “The goal of the Christian is not to simply manage one’s emotions, but to eradicate them.” Yikes!

Feelings and emotions are an essential element of the way God has made us, and a key to our well-being. They’re signposts from our soul to tell us helpful information that empowers us to be healthy individuals. Being aware of our feelings and emotions is the beginning of understanding what we need in our environment, and what we need from our environment – Spiritually, physically, and relationally. Growing in our awareness of what and how we feel allows us to request and pursue our needs being met by God, ourselves, and others, which makes perfect sense. So this week I want to encourage you to practice asking yourself these three questions: What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way right now? What am I going to do about the way I feel?

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

Are You Aware of Your Soul Needs?

WHAT IS BEAUTY?

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? For both women and men, we shower, fix our hair, brush our teeth, and do the best we can to look beautiful on the outside, yet we rarely give any thought to enhancing the souls within us. The fixation we have with impressing one another has led to the adage, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone.” When external beauty is a manifestation of the healthy soul that lies within you, it feels authentic, real, and attractive. But when the soul within you is drowning, starving, ignored, and unkempt, everything you do on the outside is futile. So beauty is then much more all-encompassing than what our society tries to lead us to believe.

 

THE GREAT PRETEND GAME

Many self-help books today are more like acting lessons that teaching people how to behave in the big-screen movie of life; but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that the training they impart is just spray paint and stenciling for anyone hoping to become like Captain America. It rarely ends well.

It’s incumbent upon us to ask the question, do you pretend?  We are all born with an intense need to feel significant, loved, valued, and accepted; sometimes we fear that we are not worthy of these things. So we pretend to be the people we think society wants us to be in order to meet the desperate needs of our souls. Let me be clear: these are not just wants or desires; these are God-given needs. What water, food, air, sleep, and sunlight are to your body; love, acceptance, attention, approval, and significance are to your soul.

Sadly, most believers don’t even acknowledge, much less manage, these needs because they were actually taught by their pastors to ignore their souls! In fact, in many circles the soul is thought of as something inherently evil. In other words, some people teach that to be truly spiritual you must suppress or ignore the needs of your soul and instead focus only on spiritual things. If a person is drowning in a pool, nobody stands by and says, “You need air, you airless person! If you would just read your Bible more often, you wouldn’t need air!” We all know that no matter how spiritual somebody is, he or she still needs air. You can go to church every day, read your Bible consistently, and pray all the time, but none of these things will fulfill the need you have for oxygen.

 

SOUL NEEDS ARE GOOD AND VALID

We must learn to care for our soul needs if we ever hope to cultivate Kingdom virtues that empower us to walk in our high callings, and if we ever hope to demonstrate the true beauty of our creator in us. So today I want to challenge you to take some time and assess what soul needs could use some attention in your life? What does your heart need? Is it rest, fun, connection with a friend? Do you currently need to feel known and seen? The more we go after taking care of these needs, and therefore our souls, beauty will start to really radiate from the inside out! And that, my friends, is exciting!

What’s one way you like to take care of your soul needs? How do you proactively love yourself? Let me know in the comments section! And for more on how to have a healthy soul, I encourage you to check out my new book, Destined to Win.

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

What’s the Difference Between “Coffee” and “Dinner”?

I grew up in rural West Virginia. If you’ve ever been to West Virginia, you know “rural West Virginia” is redundant because most of WV is rural. It’s also culturally the South. When you found someone you were interested in, you asked them out on a date. That usually meant dinner, bowling, mini-golfing, or a movie. That was a date and how you communicated yourself and your interest.

When I moved to California, I kept hearing about taking a girl out “for coffee.” That seemed odd to me, and I didn’t really have a good box to put it in. I later went back to WV for Christmas and realized, outside of gas station coffee, the closest coffee shop was 1.5 hours away. THAT explains why “coffee” wasn’t on my grid, but I quickly learned it was on the grid of women around me. It was time to update my vocabulary and find out what I was actually saying. In dating, it’s not just about what you’re doing but what you’re communicating to your date. I started asking women around me what “coffee” implied and what “dinner” implied. The results were as follows…

 


What’s the difference between “going out for coffee” and being “asked out for dinner”? 


What “Coffee” Means

Coffee implies a more casual interest and is low stakes for both parties involved. You ask her out for coffee if you’ve seen her around or know a little bit about her, but want to get to know her more and see if there’s anything there. You show interest but also a desire to keep it light.

 

What “Dinner” Means

Dinner implies a more serious intent. This communicates you’re for sure interested and ready to let her know. Maybe you already know her or maybe you just know you’re interested. There’s no ring in sight, but there is a higher level of commitment and seriousness here. It’s more intentionally showing romantic interest.


 

After you ask her to “go out for coffee” or if you can “take her out to dinner,” she may have questions. She may ask you “what do you mean?” or “is this a date?” Confidently reply. “Yes, I’m asking you out on a date,” or “I would like to get to know you better.”

 

Note: Some girls love the word “date” and other girls run from it because it feels too heavy. I wish I could tell you who is who but I usually find out after I ask. I like to say “date.” I’m a man asking a woman on a date. I’m not a boy playing around. I’ll use the word. If they seem to be shocked or scared by it, I’ll affirm with “No pressure. It’ll be low key,” so they feel safe, but I want them to know I’m showing up. I think when more men start asking women out for dinner, asking a woman out for coffee won’t be as big of a deal.

 

You set the level of interest based upon the amount of time, energy, and money you’re investing in her (and asking her to invest). Consider the difference of time and money between coffee, Applebees, and a “you-better-dress-up restaurant.” The point of this is good communication and lowering the stress without over explaining. Dating should be fun. If it’s not, you may be doing it wrong. Go find yourself a pretty lady with good character and see if anything’s there. 😉

P.S. If it’s coffee or dinner, pay for hers. You’re a gentleman asking a lady out. Pay for hers.

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM 
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/ABRAMGOFF

Why Gay Pride Isn’t the Problem

A Once-Gay Person’s Thoughts on Gay Pride

I passionately disagree that homosexuality is normal sexual behavior, but I honor everyone’s right to have a different opinion. I don’t hate anyone and I have spent my life loving people I completely disagree with. To me, agreement isn’t necessary for relationship. I’m not the kind of guy who beats people with the Bible and I think it’s hard to punish people into true purity. At the same time, I also think it’s wrong to remain quiet and allow only the homosexual voice to be heard in society. Given that a few weekends ago was the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade, the largest gathering of the LGBT community in the Unites States, I wanted to allow Ken Williams to share a part of his story with you.

Ken Williams is on staff with Moral Revolution—an organization I founded years ago to help define healthy sexuality. A few weeks ago, he wrote a blog post out of his own personal journey into freedom. I wanted my readers to hear from someone who struggled with homosexuality and came out of it. Whether you know someone struggling with same-sex attraction, are struggling with it yourself, or have no grid for the lifestyle, I hope this story will encourage and inspire you towards greater levels of freedom! I have so much hope in my heart for anyone struggling in this area and Ken’s story is an incredible testimony of true freedom, not the false freedom that the LGBTQ+ community covers itself in. Check it out:


Here we are at the time of the San Francisco gay pride parade,  LGBTQ+ people will be proudly demonstrating and asking society to celebrate their gay and transgendered lifestyles.  I know that the church will have mixed reactions to this display of pride.  Some will turn their noses up at the idea that anyone could possibly be proud of such an abhorrent lifestyle.  Others will be glad that their homosexual friends are finally able to find some peace and acceptance. They may even wonder if being gay isn’t as bad as the Bible seems to suggest.

But as for me, I was that boy who grew up having only sexual desires for males and none for females, being made fun of and called “faggot” on the playground, going through life feeling there was something deeply wrong with me at my uttermost core.  So it makes sense to me that  if, one day, I had decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I came out of the closet—the most vulnerable, dangerous, and potentially isolating thing I could possibly do—but was then welcomed with open arms by a community who loved me enthusiastically (something that no one in my life had done up ’til that point), I tell you what, I would rally around that cause. I would link arms with those people and carry their torch. I would paint a giant rainbow on my chest and proudly walk in the gay rights parade.

Gay pride isn’t the enemy here. Imagine the freedom you’d feel if you found a group of people who celebrated the most reviled, hated, and despised area of your life? Wouldn’t you celebrate too?  The real problem is that gay pride pushes people further into a lifestyle that God does not condone and, therefore, cannot be what’s best for that person.  That actually won’t take away the pain from a lifetime of rejection and self-hatred.  That covers over brokenness with sex acts.  That miserably fails to meet the deep needs within a person. God cares deeply about our fulfillment and joy.  So much that He had his only Son die in our places for it.  Many marching in the gay rights parade believe that they were born gay and cannot change.  But that just can’t be true.  My sexual desires did change.  For decades, my only sexual desires were for other males (I had none for women). But, that is not the case today.  I have been happily married to a woman for 11 years.  And, I know quite a few other people who have had the same experience of transformation.

Take, for example, my friend Elizabeth. A seminary degree-toting, lesbian feminist with a long-standing conviction that homosexuality was a God-approved lifestyle, who wholeheartedly embraced her gay identity and lived within the gay community.  A change in her sexual desires was nowhere on her radar.  She had so embraced a lesbian identity that when she discovered that she was having sexual desires for a man, she actually felt humiliated, at first.  But, changes happened nonetheless.  And, Elizabeth credits encounters with a living and knowable God for this.  Today, she has been married to the man of her newfound desires for 12 years.  You should hear her speak of him as though he were one of the knights of the roundtable.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing if not transformational. Dramatic change is possible when closely following Him. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us that anyone who is “in Christ is a new creation.”  That the “old things have passed away” and that “all things have become new.”  Jesus is in the business of setting people free to live their deepest and most fulfilling lives…physically, emotionally, sexually…in every way.  And, there are people out there, including myself, who have experienced a radical transformation in their own understanding of themselves and in their sexual desires.  They’ve gone from gay to straight and remained that way.

With God all things are possible.  So, we who follow Him ought to humble ourselves and pray and demonstrate an extravagant love to every person around us, regardless of their ethnicity, gender identity, height, weight, occupation, or any other measurement.  But, we also need to be mindful of God’s righteous standard for sexuality…one male and one female committed for life to each other within the bonds of marriage…and to pull on Heaven, expecting God to manifest Himself to the men and women who struggle with same-sex desires and other perversions, and to transform their sexual desires.  He certainly has done so for me.

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KEN WILLIAMS IS A PASTOR AT BETHEL CHURCH IN REDDING, CA WHO HELPS OTHERS FIND AND LIVE OUT THEIR TRUE IDENTITIES. HE IS A WRITER, TEACHER, AND MINISTER. HIS PASSION FOR SEEING THE ONE WHO FEELS DETESTABLE BECOME A FREEDOM FIGHTER LED HIM TO CO-FOUND EQUIPPED TO LOVE- A MINISTRY TO THOSE IMPACTED BY HOMOSEXUALITY. KEN ALSO SERVES BETHEL’S MANALIVE MEN’S PURITY GROUP AND MORAL REVOLUTION AS A LECTURER, WRITER, AND MINISTER. HIS GREATEST JOYS ARE HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE AND THEIR FOUR INCREDIBLE CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KENWILLIAMSMINISTRIES 
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/EQUIPPEDTOLOVE 

 


5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Sex

There is so much shame surrounding the subject of sex in the culture we live in today. The media paints a perverted picture about what sex is supposed to be like, while the church rarely says a word. That is until we have a quiet, one-time, whisper of a “talk” with our kids that is filled with awkwardness and may leave them uncomfortable and scared. But what we’re missing is that sex is God’s idea! He’s not scared of it, ashamed of it, or hiding it! When God said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” He was giving us a sex drive. It’s time the church speaks up about God’s heart for sex and develops a healthy sexual culture, breaking the shame culture that’s been developed over years. Here are some practical tips for teaching your children about sex:


1. Celebrate sexuality.

It’s God’s idea, and He talks about it throughout the Bible. He’s not nervous about sex and He made it to be beautiful and desirable. In Proverbs 5:18-19 it says, “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” That’s in the book of Proverbs—the book of the Bible known for sharing wisdom! Isn’t God’s heart for sex beautiful? Sex is something that should be celebrated, not hidden.

 

2.Teach them the power of sacrifice.

The goal of a healthy sexual culture is not to get rid of the desire for sex, but rather to manage the appetite for it. We must stop using shame to do this. Teach your kids that by saying no to temptation now means saying yes to a better future. The value of their virginity is in the battle it took to keep it. It gives them something valuable, that they’ve had to sacrifice and fight for, to give away to the one they love on their honeymoon night.

 

3. Teach them to manage their desires from a young age.

This principle begins when they’re young! Think about how your kids cry out for candy bars. We can teach them to manage this desire by telling them they need to wait until after dinner to have candy. This trains them in gratification delay, so that when they’re older they’ve already learned how to wait for good things. We can’t always get what we want when we want it, and every child needs to learn this lesson from a young age. It will only help as they manage their sexual appetite when they’re older.

 

4. Don’t punish them into purity.

We can’t create a positive by enforcing a bunch of negatives. In other words, we can’t just motivate our kids into purity by saying “Don’t have sex because you could get pregnant!” Rather, release and empower your children into fighting for their purity. Paint a picture and give them a vision of the importance of waiting so that they’re motivated by a strong “yes” to something beautiful, instead of a weak “no” to temptation that’s motivated by fear. Instead of motivating by punishment and shame, help them make a battle plan and always support them in keeping to it. And here’s the kicker—if they fail, God can restore anything, even your child’s sexuality.

 

5. Create a safe place for them to talk about sex.

Have age-appropriate conversations with your children about sex throughout their lives, so that you don’t just constrict communication to “a talk” but rather a normal part of your family culture. The principle of first mention comes in here. It says that when we hear about a subject for a first time, it becomes the foundation by which we determine what we believe about that subject. Everything else we are told about it is then weighed against the foundational core values we learned. In other words, the first time we hear about a subject it creates lenses that we will continue to have anytime we look at that subject. Let’s be the kind of parents who create the lenses and perspective that our kids view sex through. Let’s instill kingdom virtues in them by talking about God’s value for sex. If it is difficult for you to talk to your kids about sex, practice with your spouse. Get comfortable with it so that you don’t project awkwardness or shame when you actually begin to have these conversations.


I know this may be challenging for some of the parents out there because you probably didn’t grow up in a healthy sexual culture. Today I want to encourage you to break that pattern and begin a new culture with your family! I pray that you would have supernatural wisdom and be equipped with arrows of purity and morality. I pray that you would know how to bring light where there is darkness, and I break shame off of you and your home in Jesus’ name. I release a joy over you and a celebration over sexuality, that you would carry God’s heart on this subject!

 

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

 

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?



First Comes Sex, Then Comes…

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

Except when sex came first, now what?

My hope is to shed some light on the struggles of intimacy in marriage and how our sexual history may have impacted that. If you are not married don’t stop reading, this is still for you. Ultimately, we will dissect what happens when sex, love, and marriage happen out of order, then break down how to pursue healing.

A large percentage of people throughout the world practice “Casual Sexuality.” Casual Sexuality is sexual engagement that is primarily about feeling good or emotional coping. Examples could be: masturbation, one-night stands, multiple partners, or even non-intercourse sexual experiences. It is important to know that this is most likely not entirely your fault. Your first sexual experience has a massive impact on your sexual narrative.

God designed sex to happen within marriage for a very powerful purpose. Sex is meant to bind a couple together at a depth they have with no one else. We all have multiple relationships in our lives, but no matter how close we are, sex is reserved only for our spouse. There isn’t a single other person, family or friend we are meant to engage in this way with. Why? Because God knew we would need a, “’Til death do us part,” bonding agent that connects our body, soul, and spirit. For this to happen most naturally, the partners need to have abstained from casual sexual experiences. What happens when one or both partners have engaged in sex casually?


“God knew we would need a, ”Til death do us part,’ bonding agent that connects our body, soul, and spirit.”


You may be a product of sexual conditioning and not even know it. Think back to how you were introduced to sexuality. For many guys, it was late elementary or early middle school when an older brother, friend, or neighbor introduced them to porn. For women it is often, though not always, through gaining affection in some way.

Then as life continues, the first interaction creates a drive for sex and fulfillment. For many, porn seems harmless because it is “just me and my screen.” Women tend to be more aware of the pain, but because of the instant feeling of value, continue engaging. So we walk through life experiencing casual sexuality. Our first and then most frequent introductions to sexuality are done with very little meaning.

Consider the first time a person has an orgasm because of a video or image. When he or she looks at that image and then has the climax moment, it is the same exact physical response they will have to sex. The first sexual experience with our spouse is meant to create a powerful bond. However, for most this isn’t their first time. As a matter of fact, many can’t count how many orgasms they’ve had. Their entire sexual narrative was built on casual experiences and now they are supposed to flip a switch to reframe an orgasm to be intimate. By the time you are in marriage, it’s embarrassing to admit you think about someone else, relive past memories, or need porn still.

Perhaps it’s not pornography, but you have had multiple partners over the years. If this is you, I encourage you to stop and ask this question, “Am I practicing divorce?” By bonding with different partners then breaking up, we are devaluing the bond that takes place in our brain.

So now what? What can be done to change a paradigm and reset for an intimate marriage? The answer is not a quick fix or easy, but it is more than possible!

A leading Christian neuroscientist on this topic is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She wrote a book entitled, “Switch On Your Brain.” In this book, she explains how the brain works in regards to creating and changing habits. She then breaks down how one would begin to repair a broken paradigm. This book gives a crystal clear path of how to rewire the brain based on science and the Bible.

So here is a brief paraphrase of some of Dr. Leaf’s thoughts. I highly recommend her book because she really dives into this in ways I just simply lack the knowledge to do.

 

1. Acknowledge the sins committed

This is something that is important for us to practice as Christians. We must repent. It seems that many misunderstand grace as something that overlooks sin. Grace forgives and redeems sin but one must acknowledge that sin was committed.

 

2. Accept forgiveness

It seems impossible that we would receive something for free. It’s important to spend as much time on this as you need. Thank God out loud for your forgiveness and tell Him you believe in His grace. As you do this, you will be hardwiring your brain to believe God has forgiven you.

 

3. Create a Statement of Change

Prayerfully create a statement that addresses the broken paradigm. For example, if pornography is a struggle, try to discover why. A statement of change might be, “I find my value in who Christ has made me, and I don’t need casual sexuality to discover my self-worth.”

 

4. Find Loving Support

Identify someone in your life whom you trust and who will commit to you. Ask them for a 21-day commitment to help retool your thinking. They will be your support when you feel unforgiven, are struggling with temptation and will pray for your freedom.

 

As many know, it takes 21 days to break a habit. This comes from the time it takes your brain to rewire a thought. You may need two or three 21-day cycles depending on a number of things, but with the power of the Holy Spirit and your partnership to be diligent, I am certain freedom will be yours. Your sexuality will cease to be casual and you will begin to rebuild a foundation of purity that will prepare you for marriage or repair your current marriage, so that you and your spouse can thrive.

 

COLE  ZICK CURRENTLY LEADS THE YOUTH MINISTRY AT CAPITAL CHRISTIAN CENTER WITH HIS WIFE CAITLIN IN SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. IN 2014, THEY LAUNCHED THE MY CITY CONFERENCE, A YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT CONFERENCE FOCUSED ON UNITY IN THE SACRAMENTO REGION. THEY ARE ALSO A PART OF THE NEXTGEN CITY PASTORS STRATEGY TEAM THAT LAUNCHED A REGION-WIDE NETWORK FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT PASTORS. THEY HAVE A DEEP DESIRE TO SEE THE CHURCH THRIVING AND WORKING TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE. AS A COUPLE, THEY HAVE MADE SEXUALITY A KEY FOCUS OF THEIR MINISTRY AS THEY SHARE THEIR STORY VERY OPENLY AND VULNERABLY HOPING TO SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH IT. THEY CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS. 

How to Ask a Girl Out

While attempting to navigate through the dating process, I’ve found that I’m not alone in my ignorance of how this process is supposed to go down. Many men need courage and many men just need language and a healthy example to follow. This is the goal, a quick example and some language to help you out when you see a girl you want to get to know better in three steps: The Approach, The Question, and The Follow Through.

 

THE APPROACH: YOU GOT THIS.

Take a deep breath. Don’t overthink this. Your entire future does NOT hinge on this moment. You’re just asking her for coffee or dinner to get to know her better. It’s going to be alright. You can do this. You’re a good-looking guy, and you’re going to make her laugh and smile and bring value to her life.

Remember, relationships are about what you can give to the other person, not what you can get from them. If you’re not ready to add value to someone else’s life, then you’re not ready to date. Assuming, you’re ready to give to someone, then go for it and show her a great evening/afternoon. Get out of your head. If she says yes, then you show her how a gentleman should treat a lady. If she says no, you were brave, kicked fear in the face, and broke off passivity. Keep rolling, she just didn’t see you with those eyes.

 

THE QUESTION: SHORT, SWEET, THEN SILENCE

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve seen “Friends,” I know how it’s supposed to work. You confidently walk up to a woman you think is attractive and would like to know better and then drop the Joey Tribbiani line: “How you doin’?”

I’m joking. While this does show that you’ve got a good sense of humor and are familiar with 90s pop culture, it’s actually never worked for me. At best, I’ve gotten a good laugh then a period of silence which left me realizing I didn’t have a plan for what to say next #awkward. I needed language. So here’s what you’re going to say, tailor it as needed, but this will give you a start:

 

IF YOU DON’T KNOW HER:

Find something that you admire about her, besides “she’s hot.” Notice her smile, her laugh, the way she interacts with others, her shoes, something you like. Approach.

“Hi. I’m sorry, to interrupt, but I just wanted to let you know I really like…(insert honest genuine compliment).”

(She’ll say thank you.) Hold out your hand to shake hers and introduce yourself. (She’ll tell you her name.)

“I know this may seem a little forward since we just met, but could I take you out for coffee/dinner sometime? I’d love to get to know you better.” Easy.

 

IF YOU ALREADY KNOW HER:

Approach.

“Hey, how’s your day/week/month going?”

(Listen to her answer. Respond accordingly. Keep it light and short when she returns the question to you. Don’t talk for thirty minutes while awkwardly building up to the question.)

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you and I was wondering if I could take you out for coffee [or dinner?]”  Boss. Nailed it.

Here’s an important note: if you’re nervous after you ask, don’t keep talking and explain yourself. Be okay with some silence. This may be a surprise to her and she’s running through a lot of thoughts in her head. Just breathe and let her think. Don’t feel the need to over-explain yourself. If she’s confused, she’ll ask. Let her speak. 

If you have her phone number, call her. Please don’t send her a text asking her out! She wants a man to show up. It’s good for us, as men, to be bold and cross that chicken line. I really don’t like talking on the phone period, but I want to show women they are worth the phone call. You can use the language given above.  Rehearse as much as needed, no shame in that. Just pick up the phone and go for it.

 

IF YOU GET HER VOICEMAIL:

Don’t ask her out over her voicemail. One time, I was so nervous and had rehearsed my words so many times that when her voicemail came on (the shortest voicemail message in the history of the world), I blanked and launched into my speech on her voicemail. Don’t do that. It doesn’t work. If her voicemail kicks on, keep it short and sweet:

Hey __________,  This is _________. I hope you’re doing well. I had something I’d love to run past you. Give me a call when you get a chance. My number is ____________.

 

THE FOLLOW-UP: WHAT TO SAY NEXT

IF SHE SAYS “YES”:

Have two or three ideas and dates in your head. Women like to know you’ve got a plan and intentions and most of us don’t think fast enough to plan when we’re nervous. Have two ideas so if the first option is a no-go, you have a back-up plan. P.S. Don’t forget to breathe.

Great. How does Monday Night/Thursday Morning/Saturday sound to you?  How about the coffee shop on Lincoln Street? Do you like Italian? Mexican? How about Los Tacos on 5th Street?

If it’s coffee, set a time you’ll meet her. If it’s dinner, ask if you can pick her up. Remember, be a gentleman. If she says yes, give her your number and ask her to text you her address, then go clean out your car.

 

IF SHE SAYS “NO”

Respect the no. Hopefully, she’s nice about it. Don’t take it personally. It could be that she just got out of a relationship, her grandpa just died, her world is spinning right now, or a hundred other reasons that have nothing to do with you. Don’t take it personally and don’t beat yourself up. I usually smile and say:

Fair enough. Well, it was a pleasure to meet you. I’m glad we got to talk briefly. I hope you have a wonderful day and it would be great to see you around.

or 

That’s okay. I really just enjoy getting to know you. If something changes, feel free to let me know. I’d still love to take you out sometime.

 

HEAR ME ON THIS:

No matter what she says, celebrate yourself. You were bold. You went for it. You gave it a chance and put yourself out there. So much of being a man is showing up, taking a risk, and going for it. You just killed passivity and were courageous. Celebrate yourself for that. After that, enjoy your date or shake it off and find another lovely lady you’d love to get to know better. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but going for it and living in the present is always better than living in your head wondering what would have happened.

P.S. If you’re a lady reading this, feel free to pass it on to any guys you know or would like to know ;). Guys, if she tagged you in it, go for it. It’s going to go well for you.

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM 
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/ABRAMGOFF

 

 


Four Tips for Being the Woman Men Want

A few weeks ago I shared 4 Tips for Being the Man Women Want. Some of you asked for tips from the other side of the coin – what do men look for in a woman? You asked, and I listened. I surveyed some men and asked what stands out to them in the woman they are looking for, and here’s what they said (once again, even if you’re dating or married, I encourage you to keep reading as these may be a good refresher):

 

1. Confidence.

This overlaps with what we told the guys, and that’s because confidence in general, is just plain attractive. Men love a woman who knows who she is and has done the hard work in life that grows fruit of self-awareness and self-assurance. Confident women know their value, and they don’t have to overtly prove it to anyone but also don’t try to hide it away. They know what they want and don’t hesitate in being clear with their “yes” and “no” (Matthew 5:37). So ladies; when you stand strong in your identity and spend time getting to know yourself, it empowers the men who are pursuing you to get to know you too.

 

2. Beauty and Self Love.

Another important thing to look for in a life partner is self-love. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as [you love] yourself” (Mark 12:31). In other words, the standard with which you love yourself becomes the measure with which you will love others. A woman who loves herself well knows how to get her needs met in a healthy way. It’s also attractive to men when a woman takes time to care for herself, including her body, because they’re visually driven. I want you to hear me here that I’m not saying you have to starve yourself to try and look like a supermodel. Not at all! But taking the time to dress in clothes that make you feel beautiful and expressing your creativity in the way you do your makeup goes a long way. Men love a woman who encompasses beauty in every aspect of life: in the way she treats people with kindness, the way she carries herself with grace, and in the beauty of her spirit.

 

3. Passion.

The point of dating and marriage is not that you arrive at a destination, but rather that you’re adding to the life you’ve already started to build. Men are looking for a woman who has a purpose in life and isn’t just waiting around for Mr. Right to come along before her life is kickstarted into greatness. What are you building and contributing to? What makes you come alive? Ladies; having hobbies and unique interests speak to the special way you’re created! Lighting up when you talk about your passions is very attractive.

 

4. Encouragement.

I liked being around Kathy because she believed in me and made me feel comfortable, and I see this as a common need among men. Guys appreciate a woman who encourages them so they feel free to be themselves without feeling judged. Ladies, real men are attracted to women who take an honest interest in them and encourage them along the way. The truth is that most men are pretty insecure in the presence of a strong woman. They need some reassurance that you see something valuable in them and believe in them. It’s really not that hard to make a man feel this way. Just taking a sincere interest in someone and asking the right questions to discover his true passion goes a long way toward breaking down the walls of fear and insecurity. You can be inviting and friendly without being overtly sexy.

Dating Is a Two-Way Street

Bottom line, ladies, is that being powerful and intentional is something you can do regardless of your season! I want to encourage you today to be empowered, whether you’re single or dating, to know that you too play a role in pursuit and dating too. Do you agree with these four attributes? What would you add to the list? And give a shout it in the comments below to someone you know who encompasses these traits!

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

5 Red Flags to Consider Before Marriage

Have you ever looked at a couple that’s about to get engaged or married and thought, “Oh please, no! Don’t do that!” as the glaring red flags of their unhealthiness slap you in the face every time you look at them? How is it that it’s so clear for an outsider to see the warning signs of a road to an unhealthy marriage, and yet sometimes the couple themselves have no idea? Unconscious ignorance, and sometimes straight-up stupidity, often get in the way of couples seeing their relationships clearly, and in the worst situations, committing to a marriage that is setting them up for a journey of pain.

We’ve been chatting a lot on the blog about relationships, what to look for in a guy or girl, and how to date well. Today I want to share some fatherly advice with you when it comes to taking the big leap into marriage. Here are some red flags to look out for and seriously stop and pay attention to before saying “I do.”

 


1) If someone says they love you but they refuse to respect you, they are lying. An example of this if they say, “If you love me, then you’ll have sex with me.” The truth is, if they loved you they would protect your virtues! If they disrespect you in this way they are most likely thinking and speaking from their raging hormones, not their heart!

2) Never marry someone to fix or change them; it never works! If they have serious issues to work through; porn, drinking, drugs, cheating, lying, etc., the reality is that’s what you are marrying. It may be hard but if this is where you’re at, it’s time to face the facts. Marrying someone to be their savior is a bad plan and will lead to heartache! Also, serious addictions and unhealthiness aren’t fixed by marriage. I’m not saying that someone with a rough past is disqualified from marriage. I’m simply saying that if they aren’t willing to look at these issues and work through them, then you’re setting your marriage up for pain. Rather, choose someone who has put in the hard work to get healthy, just as you do the same.

3) They say love is blind but the truth is love is stupid blind! Therefore, it’s imperative that you have wise people around you that you give a place to speak into your romantic relationships. If your significant other is not open to the feedback and counsel of wise people around you, that is a red flag. Think about it; if you’re about to make the most important decision in your life, not listening to wise people is stupid blind and dangerous.

4) Ladies, however this guy treats his mother, is probably how he will treat you when you marry him. Men, however this girl treats her dad, is probably how she will treat you when you marry her. There are exceptions to this concept, but this is truer than most would admit. If your partner treats their mother or father with disrespect, they’ll likely treat you the same way. This is warning sign to consider, as respect is necessary for a relationship that will bear the fruit of freedom and love.

5) Ladies, getting pregnant so a guy will stay with you never works! Neither does having children to fix a marriage. It’s a really bad idea to use a child as a band-aid and in the end do you really want to be in a marriage that you had to manipulate someone to be in? You’re worth being chosen for who you are and don’t need to control someone into a relationship. Ever.


 

I want you to hear my heart today. Some of this may sound harsh, but it’s because I want to share wisdom that will protect you from heartache in the long run. If you’re in a relationship that has some of these red flags, I encourage you to seek wise counsel from some mentors around you. Process through this in the context of safe community. If you need to make a hard decision to end an unhealthy relationship, I pray grace, strength and courage over you today. It may hurt in the short run but I promise you that it’s worth it to wait for a healthy marriage than to jump into one prematurely simply because it feels good now.

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES