On Day 2 of Kallos’ online conference, Real Talk on Love & Sexuality, on July 4, 2020, an all-female panellist shared their thoughts on why it’s important for girls to know their worth, what are good things to look for in a boyfriend and spouse, and how to deal with shame that comes from sexual sins.
Moderated by Kallos director Quek Shi Wei, the following answers have been adapted from the responses to a few of the top questions posed by the participants. The panellists were Joanne Kwok (Creative Producer at Thir.st), Amanda Teo (Writer for Selah) and Noelle Wee (Part-time Youth Trainer at Focus on the Family).
Is it wrong to find your significant other through a dating app, and can girls court guys?
Joanne: A married couple I know, who first met through a dating app, said that they believe God can work through algorithms as well. Similarly, I don’t believe that God’s hand is too short to reach when we meet people in an online space.
But, of course, the substance of what we’re going for, which is marriage, doesn’t change.
As for whether girls can make the first move, I’d say put the ball in the guy’s court and see if they get it. But to be fair, guys don’t always get it, so you might need to watch the situation as well, like the intensity of your conversations, how long are you talking every day and frequency.
From there, you can get a gauge of whether the guy likes you and be brave to have a conversation to define the relationship.
It also comes down to courage and knowing your worth. That authentic version of you is worthy of love. Personally, I know that this can be a struggle.
You need to be really rooted in your worth as a person. Before you jump into relationships and dating, deal with yourself. Self-work is the hardest work you can ever do. Most people have never done it or have not done it well.
What are some practical ways we can give self-care to our female hearts?
Joanne: There are certain things women rate and rank ourselves in, like whether we’re attractive, whether we have a man who loves us, whether we’re married, whether we have babies… I call this the “currency” we trade in, or how we value our worth and compare ourselves to each other.
The currency that we’ve been using to rate ourselves with all these years will feed into our self-worth.
I believe the Lord is calling us out of that currency to make a divine exchange. Just like how we go to the money changer to exchange our currency, we need to do a heavenly exchange to exchange the currency we’ve been trading with for God’s currency – how He values us.
One practical step is to go to Him in prayer and ask for that exchange. How have you been valuing yourself? Trade that with what the Lord values.
Do I submit to my boyfriend if he is less spiritually mature than I am?
Noelle: I used to date a Christian guy who was less spiritually mature than me. We used to attend church services together, and he would always be tardy because he would wake up late. I had to always remind him it was time for service, and I was the one who would always initiate whether we can meet before service.
When it came to sharing our thoughts on devotions, he was also not keen on engaging in a deeper conversation. One year into the relationship, I found that I was very tired – spiritually, emotionally and physically – because it felt that throughout this relationship, I had to be the one who kept pulling him.
That’s when I came before God to ask Him what was wrong. God showed me that this was an issue my boyfriend had to first address with Him. Regardless of how hard I tried, I was not God.
God also revealed to me that this was not healthy for me because I wasn’t growing. And it wasn’t healthy for him too because I had become a distraction to him instead of who he should really focus on. That was when we broke up, which was really painful.
However, I do know of a friend who was more spiritually mature than her boyfriend at the time they got together, but her boyfriend had a divine encounter with God. As a result, he grew to be more spiritually mature than her.
Having said that, from my own personal experience, it didn’t happen that way. If you’re in a relationship where you know you’re more spiritually mature, go before God. Ask God to speak to you personally. A lot of times, like for me, we need to allow the guy to come before God and address this with Him first.
Do I need to have the same calling as my spouse?
Amanda: In terms of life profession and calling, my husband and I have very different jobs. I’m in the arts industry and he’s in the finance industry, but we’ve seen how the Lord has partnered us for ministry. In church, he leads worship, while I lead the prayer segments.
So there are circumstances like that where husband and wife work hand in hand to serve the Lord in church or in the mission field, despite being in vastly different industries.
I’ve also seen couples where the husband is the breadwinner of the family and the wife is in ministry. We see a beautiful marriage and partnership there too, where the husband supports the wife to be able to do what the Lord has called her to do, or vice versa.
It’s not so much about your husband having to have the same calling, but about a journey of partnering and supporting each other. Ultimately when you’re partners with someone in a marriage, two persons come together as one, learning to embrace each other’s journey, whether the calling is different or similar.
Joanne: The first calling has to be the same, which is the calling to be a child of God. But I don’t just want to be with a Christian. I would want someone who knows the cost of pursuing Christ and understands the suffering that comes with the transformational journey we’re on with Jesus.
It’s the calling to say “yes” to the Lord over and over again. I need to know my spouse is not going to run away and say “no, I’m not going to work on this with God”. I need a spouse who’s going to stay in the refining fire.
People always say that only those who are “ready” can get married, but that’s not true. The majority of that process of being “ready” happens in the marriage.
PORN & MASTURBATION
How did you fight against shame in the process of struggling with sexual sins?
Noelle: When I first struggled with watching pornography, one of the challenges I faced was thinking that it was a little thing – that I was just viewing it. I allowed the enemy to tell me that it was okay.
But I realised that I wasn’t allowing God to really deal with it. After watching pornography, I felt really shameful and guilty.
I learnt that the first step to fight against shame was not to deny it, but to come before God and confess my sins. In my experience, I found that I couldn’t just confess this only in my thoughts.
I had to really say out loud, and tell God that I was struggling with pornography and that I had masturbated. I had to acknowledge that He was not pleased with it but because of His grace, I wasn’t going to allow this shame to hold me back.
When we’re shameful, we tend to hide. That’s what I did for many years. But I had to come to terms that I couldn’t stay in this shameful corner anymore.
The next steps I took were to find someone whom I could share with. To confess to a close friend and say, “hey, this is what I’m going through, can you pray alongside me and walk through this with me?”
Amanda: I want to highlight three things. The first is that the devil will always want to keep us in darkness, and that’s the most dangerous place to be.
If you’re in sin or in shame, don’t be kept in isolation, because that’s where the devil has space to put lies, fears and doubts within you. And because you’re already weak, you don’t have the strength to fight, and you give in and spiral down.
So I would say, walk out of the darkness and live in the light. What that looks like is finding someone whom you can trust to journey with and talk to.
The second is: don’t wait to seek God for forgiveness. I believe that redemption can happen to us in an instant – it can happen right now. So seek forgiveness immediately, even right after the act of sin.
The third thing I want to highlight is that sexual sin is spiritual, so we shouldn’t fight it with physical methods.
If you’re faced with temptation such as watching pornography or fantasising, rather than trying to distract yourself by watching TV or going on Instagram, I’ve found in my own journey that fighting with spiritual weapons is so much better.
I remember being in my room once when temptation hit. But I felt the Lord asking me to put my hands together. And of course, when my hands were together, I couldn’t masturbate. Then I felt the Lord telling me to pray.
I remember naming things and people that came to mind – it was such a powerful moment where I felt so victorious over temptation and sin. As I looked out of the window, it felt like I was staring the devil in the eye and asking him to get behind me.
So put your hands together, get on your knees and pray. Don’t just run and flee from the battle, but fight it in the spirit.
For more honest conversations on love and sexuality, check out Kallos’ book “Real Talk: Exposing 10 Myths About Love & Sexuality“. For more details on what was shared at the conference, you can also head to the Kallos website.
- What “currency” have you been trading with when it comes to your self-worth? Are you valuing the same things that the Lord values?
- Is your relationship or marriage helping each other to grow and be transformed in the image of Christ?
- Are there sins you have been struggling silently with? Would you consider allowing someone to journey with you?