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Worst Advice I Ever Got from a Pastor

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We sat across from our pastor. Nervous.

We should have been.

Noah and I were just starting to “get serious.” Talks of marriage were already underway after a year-long friendship and whirlwind romance. But that’s not why we were there.

We were there because we were having sex.

As Christians, we loved Jesus and desperately wanted to “do His will.” Why was this part so hard?

So, we did what any good Christian does. We went to our pastor for help.

We explained our situation. We confessed that our hearts were broken about sleeping with each other because we knew it wasn’t God’s best plan for our lives. We wanted to wait until marriage.

So, What Was the Worst Advice I Ever Got from a Pastor?

I’m sure for anyone else his “worst advice” would have been golden. But maybe not.

He said, “Throw away the condoms.”

In essence he was saying: ‘in order to solve your problems, get rid of the object associated with it.’  DO NOT address the actual issue, but put a band-aid on it.

Today, I would say: “Hmm…Solid advice, Rev. But try again.” But my 23-year-old-self said: “Sweet. Let’s do that!

So, we did.

Needless to say, I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks before I walked down the aisle. I spent the better part of our honeymoon curled around the toilet with morning sickness.

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Now, I know it’s my responsibility to control my body. I’m not blaming the pastor for my sins.  That would be foolish. (He’s actually an amazing pastor). He, surely, didn’t mean for it to be the worst advice I ever got from a pastor.

And my eldest daughter is nothing short of a miracle and I would NEVER return her. (Okay…maybe somedays).

But as young Christians, we were looking for the guidance of our hearts, not our actions. 

It reminds me of a couple different scenarios in my life. Namely, my eating disorder.

You see, I used a long slender teaspoon to elicit vomit. When I became a Christian (and my eating disorder came back full force after giving up heroin), I wanted to be “free” of my eating disorder so I would throw away the spoon. (Read my testimony here.)

That would work for about three hours, until I would find myself buying new teaspoons.

Throw away the spoon. Throw away the condoms. Like that would solve the issues of my heart!

You can imagine the same scenario when I struggled to give up smoking. Throw the pack away, go spend $3.50 on a new pack, smoke one cigarette, throw the entire pack away. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

(Yes, I realize it’s been a long time since cigarettes were $3.50…The Lord did deliver me from my eating disorder and my cigarette smoking).

So, to combat the worse advice I was ever given, I want to give new advice.

Flee from sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV

You could insert any word for “sexual.” Flee from cigarette immorality. Flee from eating disorder immorality.

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But don’t only flee from it outwardly, flee from it inside.

Three tips for fleeing from sin inwardly:

  1. Know why you are doing something.
  2. Dig deep.Think about your past.
  3. Pray that the Lord would reveal your secret sin…you know, the one underneath the other one.

In sex, my secret sin was looking to others for validation.

In my eating disorder, it was believing that I was God.

I had to change my perspective. I am not God and he is the only one who can validate me. When I got those truths INSIDE me, the other stuff melted away. (Some of it is still melting.)

Do I believe that sometimes getting rid of things isn’t the worst advice?

Surely!

But during my course of eating disorder therapy, they taught us that one of the major triggers for an eating disorder is “putting stuff up on a shelf.”

You tell yourself: “I can’t have that. I can’t have that.” And then you steal it.

They taught us to allow ourselves to have the Oreos in the house. Tell yourself “I can have that.” Re-learn how to listen to your body. Yes, you may eat the entire package at first, but if you continue letting yourself have some, eventually you will stop eating the entire package…eventually you will learn balance.

  • Allow yourself the choice of choosing the wrong way
  • Re-learn the right way, trial and error
  • Establish in yourself a pattern of choosing the right thing
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This is real transformation. This is real worship. Denying yourself and secretly wishing you could have it is not the fullness of Christ we are called to. That is a “whitewashed tombstone” as Jesus calls it…pretty on the outside and ugly inside.

Obviously, there are times we aren’t supposed to find balance in “eating the entire package.” For example, sex before marriage or cigarettes (sorry, if you think sex before marriage and smoking are okay…my blog, my viewpoint).

But if you have your pack of cigarettes in arms reach, you have a choice. I can smoke, but I will decide not to.

Paul says,

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT

When you stop being a slave on the inside, you are free on the outside.

 

 

We sat across from him. Nervous. We should have been. We wanted advice on how to STOP having sex. We never thought we'd be getting the worst advice for our situation.

Head covering Christian woman who loves good coffee and stinky cheese. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my seven children (5 girls, 2 boys).

GO DEEPER


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Leave a Comment

  1. Reply

    Great word Elaine. As church staff, I can say, it is so tempting to look for the quick fix – outward fleeing. We are so messy on the inside (Deep Breath) but if we really want to see lives transformed we’ll go there.

    • Penney Malcolm
    • October 24, 2013
    Reply

    Elaine: this was just GREAT! We really should get together and talk!! LOVE your ‘bare it all honesty’ and just what this world needs right now. Preach ON, sister!

    • Reply

      Thanks, Penney! My husband was like…oh, there she goes again…telling the world how we screwed up! Haha…poor guy. Didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he married a writer!