Every Woman a Theologian
— When God Doesn't Take Your Feelings Away —
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Dear friend,
I got a great question on Ask Anything Monday about asking God to remove feelings for a crush.
I remember asking that exact thing. And getting the exact same result… nothing changed.
I loved this question because it illustrates a larger issue causing turmoil in Christian life. It's this: God causes everything, including my thoughts, feelings, and struggles. So If I'm struggling with a constant desire and it won't go away, it's God's fault.
How many of us become determinists as soon as we have a desire that feels out of control? God made me this way. This isn't my fault. It's not in my control. God won't fix it, so He's the bad guy here.
We need a heavy dose of truth about our feelings in a culture driven by what it feels.
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As I answer this issue I want to be clear that it's not wrong to have a crush, to be angry (and not sin). God isn't looking down on you for having feelings, including feelings of attraction, affection or desire for marriage. I believe some desires - for justice, to enter covenant marriage, to grow a family, and to build homes that bless the world - ring deep within us because of how God made man and woman. There is a “deep calling too deep”, a part of being human, that longs for these things.  These are not the ONLY way to serve God but they are also a part of His design. If you're single and longing for them, that's good, normal, and even worth celebrating. If you're single and content, Paul says to celebrate your gift of celibacy, whether if it's “for now” or long term!
But maybe you have the desire… and the timing isn't right. Or the person isn't right. Other times the desire we're dealing with is not for something good or pure or holy and when we bring it to God, it's still not removed. What then? Did God cheat us? We prayed, He didn't do what we asked. Is God not good?
This is where discernment is SO key and truth is more than necessary. Not every desire you experience, or thought you think, was sent to you by God. 
Read that again.
God is not the direct cause of every feeling or desire you experience as a human. You are an image bearer in a fallen, broken world in a fallen, broken body. As an image bearer, you may desire marriage, children, a great job, community, good food - all wonderful things that God made. But in a fallen world, these things may be abused, or may vanish for a time, or may be delayed. 
With Christ at your center (if indeed He is - if you have confessed Him as your one and only God) you are being shaped more into the image of Christ daily. But you will still have times when your human desires grow strong. You'll have times when thoughts pop in your head. Sometimes the desires or thoughts are completely a-moral! They aren't of themselves evil or wrong (e.g. a crush, or a desire for great food). But what you do with your desires can be holy… or not.
When I was addicted to erotica I battled this daily. A thought would come into my mind; a scene from one of those books I'd quit. I had a choice… entertain the thought or reject it. Interestingly, when I entertained the harmless thought, my desire grew. First it grew for the books, then for the sexual content, then to do the things I was consuming. It wasn't long until I had backslidden in my addiction.  I would beg God to take away the feelings and when He didn't, blame God as if He was the one who caused it all. 
In the years I blamed God for my feelings, I did not find freedom or contentment. How can you get free from something when you won't take responsibility for your part in the bondage? That's like a person walking into a jail, locking the door, then screaming at the jailer for putting him there. 
Listen: God Himself tempts no one (James 1:13). If you're struggling with temptation, God isn't causing it - but He's ready to help you escape (1 Cor. 10:13). If you back that temptation up to the beginning, you'll likely find a moment of choice: a simple thought entertained. A train of thought endorsed. Fantasizing. Meditating. Worshiping. 
Even good things can be worshipped in a manner undue them. Until our eyes are fixed on Christ and we bring these thoughts - even the good ones! - to Him for help, we'll continue to live as victims of our own lack of self control. And you know something about self control? It's a fruit of the Spirit! The Holy Spirit, given to you when you followed Christ, will MAKE you self controlled… if you let Him.
To circle back to the desire for marriage/sex/family, I want to add an important note: Getting what you desire will not fix a lack of self control regarding desire. If you let your desires run your thought life, and therefore your real life, eventually this will show up in marriage/parenting/your new job. Yes, you got what you hoped for, but your character remained unchanged. When a new desire arrives you're not ready to say “no” to it. This is how porn addictions continue into perfectly healthy sex lives. It's how we live from one discontentment to another for eighty five years.
Sometimes God doesn't take away your feelings because He expects you to take responsibility for your response to them. He won't do the work He has asked you to do. He won't make you submit to His Spirit. He won't force you to become holy. But He will offer you all the resources to get there. So when it comes to desire, let's stop blaming God for not “taking away” the thing He's using to invite us to intimacy with Him. He offers all of Himself, His whole heart, His very Spirit, and EVEN a way of escape - and we stand there offended and angry that He didn't make us into lobotomized robots.
Can you see how much He loves you? He won't sell you short. He wants to walk with you. He wants to be part of the journey of learning restraint and wisdom, of learning to become a stronger person who is not dictated by every anxious thought, controlled by every whim, or discontent with the life before them. 
God didn't cause every desire you feel. But He's with you through every single one of them.
For more on this listen to my episode Can God Satisfy My Heart?
This Week's Agenda

Monday: I did Ask Anything Monday Instagram (Insta Q/A expires Tuesday afternoon). I had to do a video version due to time constraints today!
Tuesday: This newsletter arrives and I'll do a deep dive on Instagram!
Wednesday: New podcast episode - Ten Ways to Integrate Prayer Into Your Day! Listen in iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you love podcasts.
Thursday: Day in the Life on Instagram stories. You get to come along for a normal day behind the scenes at Every Woman a Theologian and on our farm.
Friday: Last week I answered assumptions about Christianity and it was so fun! Trying it again this week.
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My Five Faves

  • Grand Rapids Trip: We had been itching to leave town for a weekend and despite EVERYTHING conspiring against us (stomach flu, a flat tire at midnight in a blizzard the night before…) we were able to go. We drove south 3 hours to our favorite downstate MI city, Grand Rapids. We packed a lot into 34 hours and it was totally worth it. We hit:
    • Grand Rapids Public Museum
    • Frederik Meijer Gardens (the location of the 2nd Verity Conference! Anyone remember??)
    • Marge's Donut Den
    • Three Happiness Chinese Restaurant (so good and such good service)
    • Target, like the bumpkins we are.
  • Homemade Vanilla Sweet Cream: I love this on my Starbucks drinks but when I'm craving it at home, I found you can make your own version for pennies on the dollar!
  • Courageous Princess Books: These are a favorite with my girls. I've screened a good bit and haven't found anything unsavory. They're graphic novels written for girls age 7-12.
  • Stainless Steel Plates: Someone asked me what plates we use for our kids that are pretty yet unbreakable. We use stainless steel! I love these - they are so hardy, a neutral tone and last forever. We also use stainless kids' silverware and stainless bowls and cups.
  • I'm trying out the Pur water filter… I haven't filtered our water because it's a well, the water here is excellent, and it tastes great. However, I'm grabbing a filtering shower head because I think the hardness of our water is affecting my hair AND I would like to see if it makes a difference in some gut issues with one of our kids. We will see!
At Home with Phylicia

A little glimpse of what's bringing us joy at home: routines, books, kitchen and home life.
  • Week 21 of Classical Conversations: This week in CC we're studying south Central America, the Cold War, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Every Sunday I order the library books for our week's studies, so this week our books are focused on these topics. We built towers out of straws and tape in community day and one of my student teams built one 79 inches tall!
  • We put Every Woman a Theologian in the shop and it feels so official! I am so happy to see all the tags on Instagram of you reading the book. I cannot wait to see where else it goes!
  • My current evening drink is a little unique and the flavor is strong, but I've had a lot of success with ashagawanda (ginseng) helping my hormonal mood levels. I still sometimes make bone broth hot chocolate but this is good too:
    • organic milk 1 c.
    • 1 TB raw honey
    • ½ tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp powdered ashagawanda
    • Simmer together and sip!
  • Josh and I are rewatching the War and Peace miniseries by BBC. We're watching up to where I am in the book, and when I reach the next installment of the series in the book's events I can watch that episode! (I already saw the series and loved it so much it inspired me to read the book)
Look up! He said.
Look up from where you recorded my goodness and enter
the goodness before you now.
Don't miss it!
I made it for you,
if you'll enter the present and see.




for the awakening,