Laying Down My Idolatry of Women
I sat down to write this blog post several days ago, but I didn’t get much further than the title. I know by now that writing posts like this can stir up pain, offense, and put a finger on sensitive places in people’s hearts and lives. I write this post not as someone who doesn’t get it, but as someone who has been there and hasn’t forgotten what it’s like.
When the Holy Spirit starts to reveal something to us, it can sometimes feel like pieces of a puzzle suddenly being put together. I will never forget when the Holy Spirit started showing me that I was putting women in a place that only Jesus deserved to be in.
The relationship I was in with another woman just after high school started me down a path of putting women in a place they were never meant to be in. I all but worshipped the ground she walked on, and I would have probably given up everything for her, given the opportunity.
Years after our relationship ended, I had given my life to Christ, so I knew I couldn’t be in a relationship with another woman again. I unfortunately started looking at lesbian porn as an outlet for the same-sex attraction I was wrestling with. Consequently, I lived in a fantasy world for quite a few years. I had dreams several nights a month that were as graphic and seemingly as real as the porn I watched.
I was living one life on the outside and an entirely different life on the inside.
I was doing incredible damage to my relationship with Jesus, not to mention I was also married by this time. I was destroying any hint of intimacy that my husband and I had. I thought my only opportunity to have a deep connection with someone again would mean being with another woman. As a result, I was destroying my marriage from the inside out.
When the Holy Spirit started showing me that my desire to be in a same-sex relationship again was a need for intimacy that could only be filled by Him (not even my husband), I started learning how to build intimacy with Him. Still, I would find that the fantasies I wrestled with would all come rushing back when I started going through difficult times in my life.
I finally started to see these fantasies for what they were.
When I was doing everything I knew how to not fantasize about other women anymore, the Holy Spirit started showing me so clearly that I had been putting women up on a pedestal and idolizing them.
I wasn’t just putting my desires above my own marriage, but I was putting them above God.
This is when I started to see the state of my own heart. I knew what I was doing was sinful but looking back I chose to do it because I thought it was a need I had that wasn’t being met.
When I read these familiar verses one particular day, I recognized my own situation for the very first time. The Holy Spirit started connecting those puzzle pieces I mentioned earlier:
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason, God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper” Romans 1:21-28.
I had been “worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator” for so very long.
It could have just as easily been men, but I was idolizing and worshipping women. I had been putting them in a place that only God deserved to be in. I was willing to compromise so many things to have what I felt like I so badly desired.
God never revealed this to me in a harsh or condemning way, but He did speak it loud and clear to me that day.
As I attempted to lay down this huge idol in my heart, it was painful, scary, and humbling. It was something my identity was attached to. It felt like I was laying down my own perception of who I was. It caused me to feel like I was walking alone in the wildernesses for quite a while, and I didn’t know anyone in a similar situation.
This deeper place of healing He was taking me through was intense and painful, but it amazed me how much peace I would have when I stopped digging for answers all the time and just waited on the Holy Spirit for direction. I kept seeing, more and more, that the times I was tempted to fantasize about being with another woman the most was when I was craving a deep connection with someone and when I was seeking comfort. Again, it came back to continuing to build intimacy with God.
If I hadn’t taken steps like this (with Jesus’ help, of course) I am almost certain I would have walked away from my marriage and relationship with Jesus to be with another woman. That’s where I would be today, I am quite sure.
I have gained so much more than I have lost since I allowed Jesus to take the place that only He should have in my heart. I didn’t trade idols and put my husband there (although I tried that, too). Only Jesus can fill that place in my heart.
I still sometimes questioned how a need that seemed sexual to me could be filled by Jesus, but He did fill that need.
As I got to know the Holy Spirit better, as well, I started seeing how the Bible described Him as the Comforter. I remember finally realizing that I had been seeking comfort from those fantasies for so long, when the Holy Spirit was right there wanting to comfort me all along.
I remember feeling uncomfortable relying on Him so much at first. I had always fought the need to be over-dependent on the relationships I had, and I started to feel “needy” when it came to the Holy Spirit after I started relying on Him more and more.
This is when God showed me that I was created to rely on Him. It was not wrong or needy, and it was not the same thing as relying on people too much or being in a co-dependent relationship with someone.
I have had to deal with many different kinds of idols in my life. This certainly wasn’t the only one! I do have to say that it was one of the most difficult ones to let go of, though. It felt like life to me. Letting go felt like I was letting go of a piece of my own heart.
As someone who talks to many women (of all ages) who are wrestling with their sexuality or experiencing same-sex attraction, I have often recognized a similar theme of idolatry. It will look different for everyone, but I have talked with women where the desire to be with another woman is so strong, and the fear of giving that up is so strong that being with another woman is chosen over having intimacy with Jesus. That’s a scary place to be in.
There can be a misconception of hoping Jesus will come in and fill that place so we can then let go of our idols, but that’s not how it works. We need to take the scary step of letting go of our idols (no matter what they are) and then Jesus can take His rightful place in our hearts and lives.
This is why I focus so much on building intimacy with Him in my posts, videos, and in my book. It can seem unfathomable to give up everything for someone we don’t know intimately.
The intimacy you can have with God is far better than the sexual or relational intimacy you could have with another woman. I promise you this!
This does not mean we do not need relationships with other people. We were created for connection. Since laying down this idol, I have been able to develop relationships with other women that are deeper and healthier than ever before. My marriage is also much stronger, since I am no longer secretly feeling like I would be happier and more fulfilled with a woman instead of a man.
Recognizing that we may need to lay down an idol (no matter what subject it is related to) can be scary and painful, but there is so much hope, freedom, fulfillment, and intimacy with Jesus to be gained as a result.
Has someone filled a place in your life where only Jesus should be? I totally get it. It can be very difficult and scary to let go. The comfort this idol provides can be alluring, but if it’s not something Jesus has for you, it is a form of false intimacy and will actually prevent you from experiencing the true intimacy that you were meant to have with Jesus.
Do you find yourself in this place, regardless of what the idol is related to?
This is something you can pray:
Lord, I pray that you reveal to me any idols I have been worshipping, knowingly or unknowingly. Please forgive me for worshipping anything/anyone besides you. I choose to turn away from these idols. In response, I turn to you, the only One worthy of my worship. Fill these places in me that I have tried to fill with other things/people. I break all ungodly connection with these idols, in Jesus’ name. Thank you for loving me enough to show me the content of my heart. It’s not to condemn me, but to heal and restore me. Show me who the Holy Spirit is. I want to know Him better. Show me what intimacy with you is. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
*You may also want to check out my video on Identifying & Breaking Unhealthy Soul Ties
This is such a powerful article. When I graduated high school eight years ago, I was in a dark place that seemed to go darker as time went on. I had been broken up with by my first boyfriend and I felt alone, depressed, angry, and betrayed. I started watching pornography namely lesbian pornography. I never felt attracted to women but I felt less vulnerable viewing that than other types. I allowed myself to be vulnerable with this boy but did not sleep with him as he requested and therefore he ended the relationship. I felt like I was flawed even though I knew it wasn’t my fault. I would have times where I thought I was better but it just became a vicious cycle. Two years ago, I finally stopped watching pornography. That was a huge step for me but I still struggle with another aspect of sexual impurity and when I am stressed I use that to cope. I also notice that afterwards I feel dirty and unloveable. But I feel like it’s become a part of my life that although I wish I didn’t struggle with, it has become a sort of place where I am comfortably numb in the moment. I want to lay it all down but I’m not sure how. I also sometimes have thoughts or dreams about things I used to watch and I wish I could scrub them all away. I know that I have not fully put my heart into fighting this. I know I have been in a place of comfort so long that I don’t know how to get out. I am willing to lay this at the Lords feet now and make a conscious effort to fight this struggle and rely on Him for guidance Anyways, thank you for the article and I look forward to reading more!