Craig had this response to the post When “Sexy” Sits Next To Me:
I agree that early in recovery you made the right call with this woman and we need to know our limitations and temptations and act accordingly. However, genuine recovery must lead us past seeing this or any woman as Sexy B*tch and seeing her as a woman loved by God whom we are called to love as a sister. I think this means not fearing her and ignoring her. Always with our focus on God and his searching of our motives, that could also mean talking to her.
You can read my reply in the comment string for that post.
But even as i wrote my initial response, i was aware that Craig raises some legitimate issues that are worthy of further discussion.
The first thing Craig says that i totally agree with is that “genuine recovery must lead us past seeing this or any woman as a Sexy B*tch and seeing her as a women loved by God whom we are called to love as a sister.” Craig is right. i couldn’t agree more.
Craig adds that this genuine recovery, and learning to see all women as loved by God, means that we must not fear or ignore a woman such as the one who sat on the plane next to me.
Again, i agree with Craig — but with important qualifiers.
i am fully in agreement with Craig’s point about not fearing a woman like the one in my plane story — or any woman. i am in partial agreement with Craig on the issue of ignoring the woman in this story.
Yes, it was appropriate early in my recovery journey. i suggest that even this long into my recovery journey it could be the right move to ignore her again.
This is where nuance and subjectivity enter into the recovery journey. Not all men recover the same way. For example, although i greatly endorse the ministry of XXXChurch, i would not join one of their teams that goes to adult conventions and hands out materials, including New Testaments.
i am aware of my vulnerabilities. And the woman sitting next to me on the plane years ago, if she sat down next to me on a plane tomorrow, might be too much for my vulnerability on that given day.
Some days, she wouldn’t be. This all requires a dynamic relationship with God in which we are being directed by Him in real time; hearing His voice as He leads us; and living in the power of the Holy Spirit in the moment.
Craig finishes his comment by saying, essentially, this same thing:
Always with our focus on God and his searching of our motives, that could also mean talking to her.
It could mean that i should talk to her. God has to lead that. i have to be totally connected to Him so i know what is going on in my heart.
One of the really important skills to learn in recovery is what your threshold is at any given moment in the day. It’s a moment-by-moment necessity. It really is.
The questions i am asking God in relation to my own heart are things such as: “Would this movie really be OK for me right now?” “Do i need to change the song on the iPod right now?” “God, reveal the stirrings of my heart to me.”
Each day is different in terms of how the struggle manifests itself. Certain things that didn’t trigger me yesterday, might trigger me today.
So when “Sexy” sits next to me, i need to avoid two extremes:
- Automatically assuming that i have to ignore her.
- Automatically assuming that, because i am now further down the road of recovery, i have to talk to her.
i have grown to the point now where i could talk to a woman even in a situation as sexually charged as the incident on the plane. i have grown in how i view women: once i evaluated them strictly on sexual criteria, now i view them as image bearers of God whom i should bless.
That growth is possible because God healed my heart. So now that i have a healed heart, i can relate to God and others in a healthy way. i am now able to hear God leading me in whether i should, or should not, have a conversation the next time i am in a situation like the one on the plane.
The original post was making the point that the woman on the plane was more than simply a woman who tempted me, she was a metaphor for the battle that exists each day.