Christian and Vegan aren’t two identifiers that tend to go hand-in-hand.
Most Christians I know are happy meat-eaters who will point to the passage in Acts 10 where God showed Peter all the unclean animals Jews used to avoid eating, and told him to “eat.” The point of this passage was to demonstrate Christian liberation from the legalism of the old Covenant. And it’s a frequently-cited passage by people who think that Christian veganism is just… well … weird.
Most Vegans I know aren’t Christian–especially if they’re vegan “for the animals,” as the phrase often goes. Because let’s be honest. St. Peter and PETA wouldn’t get along real well.
If it was good enough for St. Peter, then it should be good enough for me, right?
So how on earth did I become a Christian vegan?
Before we begin, it’s important for me to say that I affirm the Acts passage and recognize that it’s not inherently wrong to eat meat.
I believe we live in a fallen world that won’t be right or beautiful again until Christ returns. Death in all its forms–for both humans and animals–is a consequence of The Fall that can’t really be avoided.
I do my best not to judge people who choose to continue consuming animal products.
I’ve had to stop and ask myself the question, “Just because death is unavoidable, does that mean I want to be responsible for more of it than necessary?”
“All things are permissible for me,” St. Paul wrote. “But not all things are beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)
For me, consuming animal products is not expedient any longer.
First, I received a command from God to go vegan at a certain point in my life.
I had already been on a long journey with the Holy Spirit to clean up my temple and treat it properly so that I could hear Him better. When a friend challenged me to a Daniel Fast it transformed my life, and I really felt the desire to continue that commitment by remaining vegan after the fast.
Not everyone can claim God told them to go vegan. And I wouldn’t expect them to. But I have to admit, it’s done a lot for my spiritual life.
Not only has it cleaned a lot of toxins out of my system that (I believe) were blocking spiritual receptivity, but it forces me to be more disciplined about my food choices. And that’s always a healthy thing for my spiritual life.
Around that same time, I was also told to shave my head, let go of makeup and stop wearing a bra–both of which (along with going vegan) really were outward signs of my commitment to following God, and to finding my worth and beauty only in Him.
All of this radically changed my life–and I recommend that any Christian woman make these four commitments for a defined period of time at least once in their lives.
Your relationship with your hair, your makeup, your female body parts and your eating are likely some of the most wounded parts of your feminine self.
God in His infinite wisdom raised all this for healing.
In the other areas, I was led to return to “normal” living. But for some reason, veganism stuck. Perhaps for Reason #2.
Second, veganism is a beautiful, tangible way of expressing your longing for the Kingdom of God on earth.
It says in Revelation that one day there will be no more sorrow, no more death, and that even the lion will one day lie down with the lamb in harmony.
I long for this day. And my eating habits are one way I can show my deep desire for that restoration of the harmony once found in the Garden of Eden. Every time I sit down to a plant-based meal–especially if I’m in the company of meat eaters–I’m reminded of what I’m hoping for.
Basically, you’re all going to be vegan one day, yo. May as well get a jumpstart.
It might sound strange at first. But this principle has actually promoted a lot of joy for me in this life choice.
Every time I enjoy a satisfying meal that didn’t involve cruelty toward any creature–including removing the mother’s young or depriving her of bodily fluids (ie: milk) intended to nurture her young–I tell God how excited I am to inhabit that future Kingdom where the world really will be the way He intended it.
Third, there are just a lot of health benefits.
Can a vegan diet be imbalanced? Yes. Do vegans have to be careful about certain nutrients and supplements to ensure they’re getting everything they need? Yes.
But if we’re committed to eating healthy while we’re eating vegan, we’re not over-consuming fats and proteins. (Yes, protein really is the most overrated thing people talk about when they object to veganism.)
I firmly believe that all flesh carries life energy, and when we’re eating dead flesh, we’re consuming all the terror, sorrow and pain that went into the final moments of the creature’s life before their flesh was taken.
How healthy can it really be to have that junk in my body?
Leonardo da Vinci expressed it well when he said, “My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.”
All things are permissible, yes. But not all things are beneficial.
Fourth, veganism has inspired me to have all kinds of adventures with food.
I buy vegetables now I never would have before. I’ve learned all about sprouted grains. I’m constantly expanding my smoothie repertoire.
Since becoming vegan, I’ve actually enjoyed all kinds of amazing foods I would never have found had I remained in the animal-eating camp.
As an adventurer at heart, I will always choose the route of curiosity and discovery!
There’s much more I could say about veganism, but I hope this whets your appetite (pun intended). Over time, I’ll be sharing recipes, tips and insights on running a cruelty-free kitchen.
Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer.” – Isaiah 54:5
Hello, Beautiful Sister, I see you there.
You have a deep desire to be married, to create a family that honors God.
Perhaps He has even given you a word confirming this is indeed His will for your life. You’ve been working on being the best version of you, dating as the opportunity arises andalwayskeeping your eyespeeledfor the arrival of your Mr. Right.
So why is he taking so long? I mean, Southern sweet tea cures faster in a patch of sunshine than your future man showing up. And the way things are looking right now in your love life, that’s exactly what he’s doing: either drinking his sweet tea under a tree somewhere in Alabama … or worse, still waiting for it to cure.
Either way, you’re getting impatient.
Where is God in all of this? Why are you still as single as a stand-alone song on iTunes? And what are you supposed to DO now to hurry this along?
Well, beloved woman, I can’t answer all those questions. But I sure can tell you this:
Sometimes the questions we ask will reveal the answers to us naturally, if we have the ears to ear.
The first two questions, I truly can’t answer for you. I CAN tell you that God is here, in the midst of your singleness, and that He has an answer to the WHY that He may or may not choose to share. And that’s all I can say on that front.
But that third question … the one of the “What am I supposed to do now?” variety.
Your answer to your question is right there, plain as day. That question in and of itself IS your answer to why you, the Rebekah marked out for marriage by God Himself, are still waiting for your Isaac. Or his servant with the ten camels. (Take your pick, it all ends up the same way.)
Let’s face it: you are a goal-oriented, driven woman who sees what she wants and goes after it. If someone who seems successful says, “Jump, and you’ll get my results!” Your response is always, “How high?” I bet you’ve already hired a dating or feminine energy coach, read all the books on relationships, attended every church singles event, perfected your online dating profile until it POPS on the internal search engine and pray hard every day.
Bottom line; if you could do something … anything … to make this guy show up, you’ve probably already done it.
Which is why it’s time to stop approaching this marriage process like a man, and start approaching it like a woman.
Yes, you heard me right.
Our culture today is sooooo sneaky. As women, we have been sold a lie that in order to be successful, we have to DO more. In the process, we get taught to behave like me: to set goals, check stuff ruthlessly off of lists, sweat hard and demand results. Which, as it turns out, are all masculine ways to get things done.
Yet this is NOT how we as women are wired to relate to God, ourselves or others. And when it comes to relationships, where our feminine energy is the REAL gift God has given us to bring to the man we’re dreaming of, we are rarelyif evershowing up as soft, receptive, open space.
Instead, we show up to the party trying to drive our agenda and get the man our way.
How can God send us a real man, when we’re so busy trying to be one?
You see, feminine energy—the essence of our womanhood that God gave us as our “superpower—is all about being OPEN. It’s about receptivity. It’s about being able to “dance with the flow” of life and trust that God will guide our steps. NO striving, no struggle, no sweat.
And it’s actually the exact opposite of our goal-driven, “girl boss” culture. A woman who is truly in her feminine essence may not be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, no. But she has most definitely learned how tostay present in her life, exactly where she is right now, loving exactly what God sends to her and immersing herself in the full sensory experience of what is on her plate right now.
In other words, a truly feminine woman—the kind of woman a “real man” wants to date and marry—is not in fight mode, conquer mode or competition mode. She’s busy enjoying her life, and nothing is more enticing than a beautiful woman who naturally helps a manrestfrom his own God-made goal orientation and relax into “the flow” in her presence..
Plese note, dear heart: this does not mean a feminine woman cannot be a successful visionary with dreams and plans God has given her, or a woman with “a lot going on.” But it means sheaccomplishes all these thingsby grounding into her life exactly as it is right now, not by deciding in advance what’s supposed to happen and pushing her agenda.
So, you still want to know why Mr. Right hasn’t shown up yet?
Part of it is timing. God isn’t going to bring him until the exact right moment … and you can get down on your knees and thank Him for this, because His way is best. But beyond that … God won’t bring Mr. Right into your life until you arefully surrendered to where you are right now.
You’ve got to love your life to the fullest extent, RIGHT NOW, whether or not your man is in the picture.
“But Lisa,” you say, as your eyes fill up with tears, “You have no idea how lonely I am. I just want to be loved, to be part of ateam. Is that so much to ask?”
Oh, my beautiful friend, I know how you feel. God knows the nights I cried myself to sleep wondering if I would ever experience love—both before my marriage, during it (because it was never strong), and after it unexpectedly ended in divorce.
As I speak the truth in love to you, I speak it from a place ofdeep tenderness and knowledge.
I didn’t want to hear that I needed to love my life, right now,beforeMr. Right showed up. But once I dried my tears and accepted this word, my life actually began to change.
You see, Mr. Right can’t be your everything. He can’t be responsible for your emotion well-being, for cheering you up every second of the day, for taking away your loneliness, for giving you a purpose, a hope and “an expected end.”
He’s a man. Like, a real one with flaws as well as features. And he’s going to need you to minister to him as much as he ministers to you.
The only One who can satisfy all the needs you have is God. And since He’s all you’ve got right now … right now is the perfect opportunity to change how you approach your life, so you can (ultimately) watch God change your situation.
A feminine woman doens’t have to fight or strive for what she wants, because she knows the Lord her Maker, the Lord of Hosts, is fighting on her behalf.
Believe me, I used to think it would be IMPOSSIBLE to love my life as a single woman. Yet, when I asked God to help me ground into what He’s given me, right now, and stop treating my love life like a mountain to be conquered, He answered me by literally SHOWERING His grace, His presence, and dynamic power, right into my situation.
I still hope to be married, yes. God has told me this is my future and has given me many specific dreams and words about it.
But I don’t need that man tomakeme happy. He will only, ever, be a complement to my happiness: the cherry on top the sundae of an already-amazing life.
Your life will be what you make it, with or without a man. So start making it extraordinary now, as-is.
And while you’re doing that, my dear friend, let Mr. Right off the hook. Let hims sip his sweet tea in Alabama, or better yet … wait for it to cure just right so he can bring you a glass to share.
He’s only a man, after all. And you’ve already got the Lord of Hosts for your husband.
Let Him be your all, and when you do, you will see how He gives you more than you ever dreamed possible …
For most of my life, I wouldn’t have said I had an eating disorder.
To me, “eating disorders” were things like anorexia and bulemia: big, life-altering struggles that required the intervention of doctors, therapists and pastors.
I never realized that every time I ran to the fridge for a snack when I felt sad, or cheated on my “vegetarian diet” (again), or couldn’t stop myself with just a few potato chips (cookies, cheese sticks, etc.) … I was essentially stuck in the same place as those women with “eating disorders” with more clinically acceptable eating disorders.
I was using food to cover up a craving inside that couldn’t actually be assuaged with sweets, salty, spicy or sour.
Today, many women comment to me that they wish they could eat vegan like I do now. “But I just can’t seem to give up the meat, eggs and dairy,” they quickly add. Others tell me they want to kick the sugar or the cola habit. Still others want to go gluten free, but the thought of no cookies or cinnamon rolls sends them running for cover.
If any of those describe you, I’m hear to hug you and say, “It’s okay.”
I was there, too.
The first biggest step I had to take to be free of my constant need for food, was to realize that I was in bondage in the first place.
After my powerful full-body opening in July 2017, at which time the Holy Spirit began to speak me more directly, I began to realize all the ways I was carrying trauma and hurt in body. I also began to see how that trauma was driving me to hold on to weight I no longer needed.
Because I needed to feel safe, my brain was keeping me overweight—essentially—“hiding” me under layers of fat. And the easiest way to do that was with an addiction to animal-based, processed and refined foods. Did the drive to eat every time I felt sad, or to overindulge at every opportunity, disappear overnight?
No, not in the least. Not by half.
But awareness is the beginning of freedom.
Once I knew what was going on, I could take steps to change my thinking, which changed my dominant emotional state and enabled me to finally change my behaviors around the fridge.
So if you’re reading this today, and you know that you eat according to your mood, not according to your nutritional need … first, you are not alone. And second, the fact that you have acknowledged this pattern is a HUGE step toward breaking free.
Because the truth is:
You CAN stop equating food with emotional comfort, in the deepest level of your mind.
You CAN come to a place where you no longer desire food except when your body is actually hungry.
You CAN adopt a vegetarian, vegan, raw foods or other alternative diet—once you are in a mental and emotional place where the first two points are already true.
And that’s the real issue here.
Most women I know who want to change their eating are trying to do so without first shifting their dominant thought patterns and their everyday emotions.
Adopting that new diet, losing weight or taking up more exercise simply won’t be successful if you try to “power through it” or make it “one more item on your to-do list.”
Heart change and mind change must happen first. You won’t be able to shift your thoughts or emotions overnight. It WILL require that you confess your addiction to God and ask Him to heal you. It WILL take work to discipline your mind and body. But when you learn how to do that, and learn how to relax into receiving a smaller body, fewer cravings, and healthier food … it can happen.
Many of my my friends and mentees have experienced shifts in their eating as a natural byproduct of clearing their thoughts and emotions.
That’s how it happened for me, ultimately, as well.
I didn’t totally set out to change my eating. My freedom from emotional eating patterns came as abyproduct of shift my thoughts to focus on God and His love, and learn how to live at the high, even emotional state that He desires for each of us.
Eating can be a FLOW, just like love, money and creativity.
Desiderius Erasmus was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1469. But he managed to expire all the way over in Switzerland in 1536. Which means he lay at rest just a few hours’ bus ride south from me when I was staying in Karlsruhe, Germany, on the French and Swiss borders at New Year 2018.
You might not be familiar with the name Erasmus. He was a great humanist and scholar of the Northern Renaissance, which doesn’t get quite as much press as its Southern counterpart in Italy. I guess the Italian were just flashier. Or better at 16th century marketing? Either way, when we think “Renaissance” we think Da Vinci and friends, not Erasmus.
To be a “humanist” in Erasmus’ day was not necessarily to believe man is the center of the world, as is often claimed today. Back then, being a humanist meant being interested in the humanities—comprising subjects like languages, literatures, and philosophies. He was also outspoken in his beliefs that the Catholic Church definitely needed reform. And although he did not feel kindly toward the Protestant Reformation or the Anabaptists—the spiritual lineage in which I was brought up almost five hundred years later—his work did indeed inform it.
Especially a little book called In Praise of Folly, which criticized the abuses of the Catholic Church through sharp and witty satire.
That’s where I got on the Erasmus train. Somehow, at age 16, I got ahold of Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly and read it. And loved it. It was amazing to laugh behind my hands at the sardonic humor of someone who had lived so many centuries before me. That book made an impact on me.
You might say Erasmus and I, well, had a moment.
And so it happened that on a damp, cold winter’s day in early January 2018, I decided to renew that bond, though it had been many years now since Erasmus and I had our moment.
Somehow I found out that though Dutch by birth, Erasmus had chanced to expire in Basel, Switzerland, which was south of my current location in Karlsruhe, Germany. So right after the new year I boarded FlixBus—that beloved cheap transportation of college students all over Europe—and took the three-hour ride south in search of his grave.
I fell in love with Basel at first sight. Sure, early January wasn’t the most flattering time to visit this city, through which the Rhine river continues to wind after exiting Catholic southern Germany. But still there was something charming about brightly-colored houses all shuttered up against the cold. And the warmth of the light streaming from the open shops made all the difference.
Every shop window felt like a welcoming pair of arms ready to enfold me in a warm embrace.
The price of goods was less welcoming, I have to admit. When I arrived at the train station (where the bus debarked), I desperately needed a cup of coffee and a doughnut. But the privilege of such a small treat, which would have cost just a couple euros back in Germany, cost more than the equivalent of USD $10 in Swiss Francs.
Well, for a girl traveling on a budget that was like my biggest expenditure in at least a week other than groceries. But I bit the bullet and enjoyed every minute of it.
At least I can say I had a snack in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
On my way to the Basel cathedral to pay my respects to Erasmus, I got sidetracked by the Basel Town Hall. This marvel of Swiss architecture boasted a riot of color and design more intense than anything I had seen outside of my travels in Nepal.
It almost didn’t look European, it was so … undignified. And yet the sight of it delighted me. A feast for the eyes. And proof once again that you never know what sort of surprises you’ll encounter.
I took time to wander all around the enclosed inner courtyard, where scenes of justice from Swiss history played out in colorful murals and frescoes. The Christmas tree was a nice touch, too.
Well, all this took some time—and then I remembered why I had actually come: to pay respects to my childhood literary crush, who was (supposedly) lying at rest beneath the floor of Basel Cathedral.
Leaving the city center, I wound my way out toward the bluffs above the Rhine River. At some points the path was so steep I wasn’t quite sure I could climb the rain-slackened cobblestones in my low-tread boots. But I managed to make it up.
Finally, around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I sighted my destination: the amazing Basel Cathedral. (Also known as Basel Minster.) It turns out this remarkable building is also the resting place of quite a few other notable medieval people—mostly patrons who gave for the cathedral’s construction.
Fun fact: The structure itself took almost 500 years to build, with a *minor setback* in the 1300s when the structure was almost completely leveled by an earthquake. Can you imagine building something which you never get to see completed in your lifetime?
Coming from such an instant-gratification age, I am not sure how anyone back then had the patience for these multi-century construction projects.
The inside of Basel Minster was just as awe-inspiring as the outside. It was as if I could feel those generations of laborers, toiling in summer heat and winter’s chill, their murmurs punctuated by the chink chink of chisels and the moan of the pulleys as each stone block was pulled up and set into place. Everywhere in Europe the old church walls resonate with all the lives lived inside them. Even, of course, as modern church attendance continues to dwindle in all these countries.
The sanctuary of Basel Minster was so huge, it took me almost an hour (or more than an hour?) to wind my way through it, squinting at the gravestones. The diffuse dimness of afternoon clouds, pregnant with rain, was the only real light in the place.
And there were so many gravestones. So, so many.
Yet none of them seemed to be Erasmus.
For more than an hour I searched for my literary beloved, but to no avail. I wondered if I had misread about his burial in Basel Cathedral—or if perhaps the author of the article had been misinformed as well. Plus the clock was ticking. My FlixBus home to Karlsruhe would be leaving in about two hours. And I still had to walk back through the old town all the way to the train station.
Finally, I chanced to find a map of all the graves. Turns out dear Erasmus was hiding behind a pillar—in a not-so-fancy grave as many of the others, like the one in the photo above!
I back-tracked to a modest side-sanctuary set off a bit from the grandeur of the main nave. And sure enough, that’s where I found him.
Eighteen years after I first “met” Erasmus in the pages of Moriae Ecomium, we finally met face-to-face, 5000 miles away. Talk about a long-distance romance!
That winter I spent in Europe was one of the roughest of my life: full of uncertainty, lack of direction and a lot of grief. But there were up moments. Like that day in Basel, Switzerland, where I found my dear Erasmus at last.
Books matter. Even when centuries pass from the time they were written. Standing there in Basel Minster, I felt like not a single year had passed at all, and that Erasmus and I were just old friends who had catching up to do.
I caught up with him, for once. And I’m glad I did. Though another five hundred years may pass before we see each other again …
If you got married straight out of the purity culture in the modern church, you probably discovered the exact same thing I did:
Your feminine sensuality didn’t switch on like a lightbulb just because you said, “I do.”
Sad to say, it took me eight struggling years of marriage and a difficult divorce to figure out that I wasn’t actually “broken” when it came to sex. Diagnosed at age 25 with a clinical sexual dysfunction, I struggled my way through round after round of dilator therapy that failed … completely … until I discovered the secret emotional root of my physical issue:
I just had no idea how to access the natural pleasure center God had given me in my body—which is as useful for enjoying a picnic by the lake as it is for having a triple orgasm in bed.
When you’re taught in church to cultivate your mind, your emotions and your physical strength–but not your sensuality–your natural pleasure sensors essentially act like an atrophied muscle. You can’t expect to run a marathon if you haven’t run a day in your life. And you can’t expect the rockin’ hot sex they promised you would be the reward for your purity if you haven’t prepared for sensuality.
But for years, I did not understand this. I thought I was broken. I thought that unforgettable intercourse and true joy in my body was only for thinner, fitter, less emotionally timid women than I was.
In my heart of hearts, I even wondered if sexual satisfaction was only for the women who’d had their first orgasm at an age when I didn’t even know what sex was.
But the path to freedom can’t really unfold as long we are stuck in the lies. Thank God, He began to transform my heart, my mind and my experience with this critical topic.
Now, I know my sensuality doesn’t have to be shut down. And it isn’t meant to be, either. Timidity, frigidity, body image issues, sexual frustration and/or low libido are not your birthright.
You also don’t have to wait until you finally say “I do” to try to figure out what turns you on.
Yes, I’m here to say it because I truly believe it:
Youcanbe both totally pure in your pre-marriage lifestyle and also totally tuned in to your sensual essence as a woman … which is gonna make it a whole lot easier for you to let go, relax and havesome bonafide fun in bed when God finally sends your Boaz.
Maybe you’re reading this, and you don’t resonate with a conservative church upbringing and its (often) unintended result of frigidity. Perhaps you have a different reason to struggle with your sexuality and sensuality. Maybe you experience a sexual trauma or were the victim of a sexual crime. Maybe one or both parents shamed your body from the day you were born. Maybe you just keep ending up with guys who make you feel like you’re not good enough.
Whatever your story, I’m here to say: it’s not too late.
You can fall in love with the body God gave you andtotallyenjoy the experience of having your body touched, loved and, yes … even penetrated … in a relaxed, struggle-free way.
The biggest key here is that the heart of great sex really has nothing to do with virtuosic intercourse. It has everything to do with your ability tobepresent in the moment,feel pleasure deeply,andopen yourself up to another human being.
Let me say that again:
Your enjoyment of sex has nothing to do with virtuosic intercourse.
It has everything to do with your ability to:
Be present in the moment,
Feel pleasure deeply, and
Open yourself up to another human being.
When I first began to understand this … and consequently to unpack what had actually happened in my life that had caused my deep struggles with sexuality … it was mind boggling.
I began to take the journey step by step. Looking for little ways to start experiencing pleasure in my everyday life, be present and stay open to what was happening around me.
And … my relationship with my sensuality changed, too.
It’s that simple.
But let’s face it: it’s also that difficult … because as modern Western women we are hardwired to check off lists and chase success. We know more about over-achieving than we do about having an amazing orgasm.
We tend to believe anxiety and depression are the status quo. So when we get into the bedroom and are asked to just have fun? Well, we have no actual skills for this strange, new request. Sex becomes a goal to be achieved, not an experience to be savored.
It’s time to change that, baby. Are you ready?
In the following tips, I’m not asking you to do anything kinky, weird or borderline sinful.
All I’m asking you to start taking time to enjoy who you are as a woman and what God has already put in your life … which, simple as it seems, will transform your current sex life (if you’re married) or the one you hope to have (if you’re not).
Because if you cannot stop to “just be” … allow yourself to relax into the moment and experience simple sensory pleasures right now, in your daily life … you won’t be able to access it in the bedroom, either.
You can cultivate a beautiful, feminine sensuality that will allow you to drop everything you’re doing and just “be” with your husband in a relaxed, loving way. When you cultivate this skill, you will totally open up to the deepest feelings of blessed married sex. The little things you do now to cultivate “being” will pay dividends later.
Here are 7 easy ways to cultivate your God-given feminine sensuality:
1) Start eating slowly so you actually savor your food.
Pleasure 101: You cannot fully experience and enjoy what is rushed through for the sake of getting done. If you’re currently married and sex feels like a chore—yes, I know you just want him to finish. But if you’re going to get serious about YOUR pleasure … you’re going to have toslow down.
Food, like sex, is a sensory experience, so it’s a great place to practice this slowness. But heck, it’s not just food. Start slowing down in general. Pause to really touch and enjoy fabrics that feel good. Pause to smell the scent of lilacs in your neighbor’s yard. Plant your two feet on the ground andsenseall the yummy and wonderful things around you.
2) Meditate daily, even if only for five minutes.
I said that sexuality is a practice of presence. Meditation is the best way I know to practice being present in your daily life. No, you’re not going to stop all the racing thoughts on day one. But over time, even a very short daily meditation practice will help youbuild the skill of getting outside your own head long enough to be quiet.
Very often a problem with sexuality for women is that we can’t set aside all the “stuff” that’s happening in our lives in order to be present with the other person we’re there to enjoy. Meditation will help you build that skill so you can be present with your spouse in a joyous and loving way.
As many ancient texts have also noted, sexuality is also a form of meditation. But that’s another topic for another day … For now, if you’re interested, I recommend The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevityby Dan Reid, a noted expert on Asian medicinal practices.
3) Keep a “pleasure journal.”
By now you might be saying, “Lisa, I’m not even sure what I love, or what makes me feel good. I’m so out of tune with my God-given pleasure sensors that I feel stuck even starting.” Okay, great; this is an awesome realization. Yes, I was there too. But the best way I know how to get past this big hump is to simply start trying stuff and noticing what works for you.
Try new kinds of coffee. Try on new styles of dresses. Go to a new restaurant. A new exercise class. Try a new dance. Each time you try something new, record how it made you feeland what you liked and didn’t like about it. Over time, you will begin to find the things that make youfeel good, that you really like.Bonus: some of them, you might be able to bring into the bedroom.
4) Pamper your body with baths, self-massages & oil.
This is big, especially if you don’t like your body very much. You have to startactingas if you loved your body so that you eventually will actuallyfeelthat love. I promise, it works this way … and only this way. If you wait for the feelings of self-love to come first, in order to pamper yourself, it’s never gonna happen.
So why is this so critical for your sex life?
Your man will feel about your body exactly the way you train him to feel. (I’ve tried this principle out multiple times; it’s completely predictable.) If you want your man to love love love your body … exactly as it looks right now … don’t make the poor man constantly build up your self esteem. Loving yourself as God loves is your responsibility first. Commit to love love love your body first, and watch what a difference it makes in your relationship. When you remove that pressure from Mr. Right, you’ll be surprised what happens!
Whatever self-care or body nourishment routine works for you, do that. For myself personally, I find that loving, gentle body self-massage was an amazing tool. I have to put my hands on my own skin and touch it in a way that felt good. This was revolutionary at first for a girl raised like I was.
5) Shut door, crank up the music and MOVE.
Nothing puts in your feminine, sensual energy like dance. Yes, I was born with two left feet. Yes, for years I was desperately afraid for anybody to see me do anything like dance. But then I discovered I could shut my door at home, draw the blinds, get naked and put on music I loved. And WOW, did I ever discover I loved to dance!
Dancing got me moving my body in a way thatfelt good(Hello, that’s necessary for hot sex …) And coming from a background where dance was basically forbidden, dancing at home alone got me past the mental hurdle of being afraid to move my body. Now I’ll happily do it in public … and I still dance every day at home to help me stay in my best, most aligned emotional groove.
For extra credit, dance naked in front of a mirror. (Yes, I hear you Baptist girls out there cringing!) If I can do this, you can do this. And trust me, your husband will thank you later.
6) Take up yoga once or twice a week.
Yoga is hands-down one of the best ways I know to get in tune with your sensual energy. No, the goal here is not to get yourself twisted up like a pretzel or perform the most contorted sex position you possibly can. It’s to learn how to feel what’s actually going on in your body. And to put those feelings into words.
When I started yoga, I had NO idea how to answer the instructor’s question, “Does this pose feel good in your body?” Literally, it was a foreign language to me. In the churches I grew up in, the body was deliberately divorced from public conversation (other than for topics regarding sports and “acceptable” medical procedures). I had to learn a form of sensation and conversation I had not innately learned as a child.
Over time, taking yoga not only helped me build strength and confidence. It helped me actually feel more of what was going on in my body and have words to describe it. Which you are going to need, eventually, when a certain gentleman asks you what feels good … in bed.
7) Burn your to-do list and do something you love.
Really, if we’re being honest, our Superwoman culture in America (which is as prevalent in the church as outside) is very often at the heart of our struggles in the bedroom. Because, as I said earlier, you can’t treat sex like a to-do list. It’s a living, shifting, expanding experience with another human being. Yes,it is an experience.
Most of the women I’ve counselled and coached for sexual challenges share one trait in common: they’re laser-focused on goals and achievement. Breaking yourself of your addiction to box-checking–and letting yourself drop into blissful flow–is one of the best ways I know to open yourself up to a less goal-driven interaction. Burn your to-do lists and try letting your intuition guide you to which tasks really need accomplishing, and eliminate which ones are just Superwoman Busywork.
Do things you love. Let yourself have pleasurable experiences more often, whether that’s a picnic at the park, a Friday night manicure or a day out with girlfriends. Eventually you’ll find that this newfound enjoyment of experience—surprisingly enough—follows you straight into the bedroom.
You’ll be able to go from stressed out to blissed out … you know, like the 0 to 60 in 6 seconds flat “WOW, BABY, CAN YOU DO THAT AGAIN????”kind of blissed out … and neither you nor your husband will be quite sure how it happened.
Okay, just kidding.
You’ll know exactly how it happened. And you’ll feel …. AMAZING. 😉
I didn’t plan on spending five or six weeks of my spring 2018 in the mountains of Colorado. Not that I’m complaining, mind you: spring in Colorado is gorgeous. Witnessings the transformation into spring is even more of a marvel. But it wasn’t on my plan. (Hello, that’s why I call myself a “recovering control freak.” Because sometimes the control thing still peeks out.
Anyway, when I arrived in Colorado it didn’t look much like spring at all. In fact as late as April 20th, winter was still in full effect. Consider this photo from my first weekend in Colorado Springs, where I stayed with longtime friends on the Air Force Academy base:
Yeah, not much spring to be seen there. I despaired that God had brought me out of monochromatically gray Milwaukee, only to drop me into another monochromatic winter landscape. Everyone had been telling me how beautiful the sun would be. How plentiful the wild flowers. Yet I still couldn’t see it, even though May 1st was just around the corner.
But I was tired now. Sick of endless weeks on the road with no real purpose or activities to shape my day. Sick of always looking to the horizon for something—anything—to happen. Sick (if we’re being honest) of praying and seeing … absolutely nothing.
I started taking my friends’ dog, Buddy, for twice daily walks. Every day I kept my eyes peeled for the famous Colorado wildflowers, even while I prayed to Heaven for a glimpse of a single petal pushing above ground in my own life.
For awhile, it continued to look like this: sunny, but barren. The weather warmed. And yet nothing pushed above the soil.
By the time I left for Milwaukee to lay hold of the place God had given me there, the slopes of the Rockies were carpeted with God’s most beautiful flowers.
It took a lot longer than I would have wished, yes. But the season of flowering did come in God’s time.
Be patient through the late springs snows, and continue to watch daily for the first signs of color amid the grass. Your time of breakthrough will come if you do not grow weary.
I believe the real test of our faith is not what happens in seasons of victory and activity, but what we do in seasons of silence and barrenness.
Those six weeks of silence, during which I saw almost no flowers pop up on those daily walks, was one of the longest and hardest I have endured. My patience and stamina were nearly at an end. I napped a lot—because there was little else to do.
Still no flowers. Anywhere.
And yet, somehow in the absence of the physical evidence I craved, Spring came. During that time I really re-committed my life to do exactly what God wanted. I heard the call to begin speaking His Name and His Word more intentionally in my relationships. Things that had been “out of order” in my life got placed back into order—none of which would have been possible had I been distracted by other things.
God even sent me a few rainbows and beautiful sunsets to encourage me that His promises were true, and in the acceptable time, He would shift my circumstances.
There’s a funny thing about praying for God’s “acceptable time,” just as it says in Psalm 69. God’s acceptable time is very rarely ours. His time for flowering often does not match ours. We are impatient. He has infinite patience. We want to run ahead though we can only see in the moment. He sees what’s coming, and acts accordingly.
In God’s acceptable time, breakthrough did come. I got a huge tax refund—several months late—that enabled me to return to Milwaukee and pay the avalanche of bills that were coming due in June. I let go of the last of my old life and got on board with God’s program.
And yes, the wildflowers did come out. By the time Buddy and I finished our daily routine of walks, the hills were abloom with Colorado’s finest.
By the time I left for Milwaukee to lay hold of the place God had given me there, the slopes of the Rockies were carpeted with God’s most beautiful flowers.
It took a lot longer than I would have wished, yes. But the season of flowering did come in God’s time.
Be patient through the late springs snows, and continue to watch daily for the first signs of color amid the grass. Your time of breakthrough will come if you do not grow weary.
I was 30 years old when I walked out of the highest-paying job I ever hoped to hold.
In the preceding months, I had done everything I could to ensure my success. I hired a business coach. Got a business plan together. And even started getting beta clients for my new business’s first service package, so I could pitch it with testimonials.
Of course, I was still scared out of my wits. But I was ready, right? I mean, as ready as I was going to be…
Sometimes I think it’s a blessing that God doesn’t tell us what’s going to happen in advance. Over the next three years, I learned how ready I really wasn’t to have my own business. And the business I did build was full of stress and struggle. Oh, I worked hard. So, so hard. But that’s just it: I did it all in my own strength. And I didn’t realize that while I had put the external foundation of the business into place, I hadn’t put the internal foundation there.
Owning a business that served entrepreneurs and freelancing for many corporate clients forced me to come face-to-face with what was really going on inside me.
Now, I tell women entrepreneurs: the external details of the business are important—what you are going to sell, who you will serve, what you will charge, etc. But if you are not truly strong enough inside (yet) to handle what you are stepping into … youwillfail.
Bottom line: you can’t do this business thing in your own strength. And God will use this situation to teach you that, like nothing else.
So how can you ensure that you are truly ready internally to take this entrepreneurship journey with God?
You’re ready when …
1) You’ve faced your fear of money.
Owning a business will show you, like nothing else, how terrified you are of money: both of not having enough, and of having “too much.” God had to break me of my “money fears” before I could stop putting limits on myself with my earning potential. I secretly believed that people who had a lot of money hurt other people. (NOTE: This presupposition is rampant in the artistic, social good and educational communities, which many women entrepreneurs identify with.) To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to get absolutelyclearon the sufficiency of God to provide for you, and be willing to breakthroughevery block you have around money that will hold you back.
2) You’ve faced your fear of self-promotion.
Oh sure, you want to have a business. But let’s talk about promoting your services, sharing your expertise and allowing your real, gifted self to be SEEN in the real and online worlds. Many women entrepreneurs I know describe themselves as “shy,” “not good in the spotlight,” and “wishing someone else would market the business.” I’m here to tell you, Sister. It doesnotwork that way. God wants you to stand on your talents in HIM. He wants you to stand firm and tall and proclaim who He has made you to be, so the people who need you can find you. Very often this means confronting issues of self-worth and self-doubt that plague all of us. (It did for me!) If you are not ready to face these things, you are not ready for this business.
3) You’ve faced your fear of success.
Scraping by is okay. Having enough and a little extra is probably fine, too. But wild, over-the-top, runaway success that silences all the haters and causes people to stare in wonder? Um, yeah, that’s getting a little uncomfortable now, isn’t it? As Christians, we are so often taught that God is not interested in our success or happiness—yet I believe He is deeply interested in both. Yes, both of these may have to bow to His will for us to experience sorrow and loss for a season (believe me, I have been there!). But I believe far more often we fail to experience His best because we simply open to the fact that it IS possible. And (see Point #2) we’re not sure we deserve it. This entrepreneurial journey will challenge all of these thoughts. If you are not ready to accept success, don’t bother shooting for it.
Owning a business as a woman—the kind of business that truly does good for others while honorably supporting you—is a noble goal. It IS possible to create these income streams. It IS possible to get out of the corporate rat race and experience the freedom and joy of owning your time and serving people you truly appreciate and want to help.
But even these beautiful goals come at a price.
You will not be able to carry your sense of poverty, sense of self-loathing or self-doubt into this process. And if you try … well, I can say from my own experience that God has ways of knocking it all out of you. In the kindest (but most serious) way possible.
Are you really ready to start your business? Well, you’ll never fully be ready. You might just have to take the leap. In fact, you probably will. But if you spend time really working on these three areas, you will be better positioned for success.
I don’t regret walking out that door at age 30. I don’t miss the salary. bonus or cushy travel allowance I had—because in exchange, I was a slave in golden handcuffs. But I also, today, recognize how much I had not prepared myself internally for this new journey.
Hard work will only get you so far. It can’t make up for the deficits you secretly believe you have inside.
NOTE: The following is a featured post from 2016 which first appeared on my former creative blog, Scrappy Storyteller. I’m sharing this as a way of embracing my past creative self and sharing ideas she had that, well, still matter today. Enjoy!
Anyone who knows me well knows how much I hate the process of revision.Ideas tend to flow through me like freight trains, complete thoughts barreling down the track that is my early phases of writing. They’re coherent and prolific. This blog post itself is mostly a first draft, composed on-the-fly with a few stolen moments of time.
Generally after composing such a first draft, I walk away satisfied that I got my meaning across. This is probably the only real reason I write: not for the beauty of language itself, but to get something off my chest.
And that is where things start to get messy.
Because the process of polishing my thoughts is never as straightforward or simple as the getting them down in the first place. I hate chaos, so there’s something inherently horrific to me about taking my neatly ordered ideas and tearing them up. Why un-make and re-make again what was decently adequate to start with—especially when it involves such violence?
To me, revision feels like a death: my beautiful first drafts get torn up into “little paper pieces” and scattered on the wind. Why can’t I just write it well the first time?
This is of course the purest form of creative impatience. Nothing on the planet (not even my words!) show up in the world fully formed. It must be shaped and fashioned, nurtured and evolved. Many sentences and paragraphs must die and rise again in new forms before the final product emerges.
That’s just not how the creative process works in real life. I think the same can be said for our inner stories as well.
A few weeks ago, I wrote aboutThe Other Side of Storytelling. In this post, I explored what it now means to me to refashion my personal narrative of my own life experiences—so I can actually livewithmyself and move forward. Author Jean Houston has called this the process of “re-mythologizing your life.”
Just as cultures tell themselves stories to make meaning of their collective experience, so we individuals do the same. Just perhaps, more unconsciously. But as I’ve learned since I wrote the post, re-mythologizing an inner reality is much closer to the traditional process of creative revision than I imagined at the outset.
Revision is nothing more than a process ofGetting Your Story Straight. To get your story straight, you must be willing to revise it, a thousand times if necessary. You must not fear the violence of ripping paper or the whine of the shredding machine. You must, in short, be willing to tear every unsatisfactory draft up into tiny paper pieces and scatter them to the wind.
Oh, the mess it makes!
Despite this mess, over the past few months, I have been blessed with so many angelic individuals coming into my life to help me “see” myself properly and retell my story at a crucial moment. Some of them are friends. Some are clients. Some occupy other capacities altogether in my heart and mind. But they all share one thing in common:
They have, each one of them, forced me to tear up and rewrite my story—again.
Every time I am tempted to settle for a less elegant rendition of what has happened in my life, or put up with a self-destructive turn of phrase, they pull out their red pens and call me on my bullshit. It’s editorial license of a breathtakingly destructive kind.
The funniest—and perhaps most grace-filled—part of it, is that most of these editors don’t even know they’re on the job.
They don’t know how many times I go home from being with them, feeling like my soul has been ripped up, ripped out or ripped open. They never see the tears I shed, or the long journal entries in which I force myself to reframe experiences that I have always naturally avoided, or seen in a particular, self-destructive light. Inspired by their nudges, I’ll start writing my story again, thinking this time I’ll get the final healthy version down pat.
But it just doesn’t work that way.
There’s always another draft I need to write. And pronto.
Despite my frustration with the slowness of this process, there is hope. In my most private moments I find myself gradually being filled up with a story that (while different from the one I originally wrote) is probably far stronger. Yet in the presence of my editors, I still find myself frequently at a loss for words, or saying the wrong things, or losing my power of self-expression altogether.
I do not have just the right turn of phrase to replace the part of my story they just redlined, or marked up with that dreaded bit of commentary: “Unclear. Rewrite!”
Paper pieces start showering down everywhere, and no matter how fast I chase them with broom and vacuum, I can hardly keep up with the mess.
Of course, I hate the mess. And I worry that my friends and clients and others in my life will soon grow impatient with all the flotsam in my wake. Don’t they hate breathing in wood pulp? Don’t they get tired of red ink-stains on their fingers? And aren’t they going to revoke our contract when they get another horrible mid-revision draft that’s just north of complete drivel?
Then I remember, that they don’t see what’s happening in my soul. They aren’t inside my process of re-mythologizing my life.
The paper pieces are likely invisible to everyone except me.
My mess, self-made, is also only self-seen.
So this is a thank you to all those brave souls out there who engage with me at a level I’ve never experienced before. You know who you are. You know how much you matter.
What maybe you don’t know is just how painful (in the best of ways) your kindness is.
I’m reminded of a quote fromA Course in Miracles, which states, “Discomfort is not the final result of your perception.”
I trust wholeheartedly that this time of new perceiving of myself, and of rewriting my understanding of my life, will bear fruit in the years to come. I trust that the discomfort of my new perception, inspired by your collective kindness, will be rewarded with a great joy that I can give back to you a thousand fold. I trust that the sea of red ink you help me splash all over my internal narrative will deliver us at last a clean, fresh story that is satisfying all the way to “The End.”
I trust this, yes.
And still , I grieve a bit every time a new draft splits into a thousand useless scraps.
Then again, maybe re-mythologizing not about getting the story “just right.” Maybe it is not about the death of the old drafts at all, but the celebration what might come in the next. And maybe—just maybe—that’s where I’ve always gone wrong with revision.
One can view the act of writing as a tearing up of the old, or as the welcoming in of something brand-new and wonderful.
Little paper pieces, I suppose, make their own kind of confetti.