Updated: Jan 10, 2020
It's warming up outside! Most people get excited this time of year because they have vacations coming up and body goals to conquer. But for the Saved Singles, it's when the strategies for battling summertime lust go into full effect! This time of year always brings some level of anxiety for us because of the temptation that comes along with it.
For the men, it may be short shorts and skirts, sundresses, and skimpy bathing suits. For women, it may be spotting a sweat-glistening, shirtless man going for a run, or even being tempted to forsake modesty to compete with other women who are gaining more attention in tiny outfits. The temptations may be different but the struggle is just as REAL for both men and women.
The only way we can both enjoy the nice weather AND keep from slipping up is to arm ourselves with strategies to prevent us from giving in to temptation.
1. Master the glance
If you look long, you look wrong. This takes some self-control. Normally when we see an attractive person, a double-take is involved- at first glance we notice that they are attractive, and the second look serves as a "snack" for our eyes, which can quickly turn onto a feast if we get carried away.
I've learned to leave it at the first glance because I personally cannot always be trusted with a "snack," especially since I'm a highly imaginative person - I can easily get carried away on my own thoughts and imaginations. This is when "just looking" becomes a problem. Looking turns into thinking, and thinking turns into doing- Lust begins in the mind. The Bible says, as a man thinketh, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). So we've got to protect our eyes from meditating on certain sights and images if we don't want to fall prey to lust.
2. Know Your Lust Triggers
If you know what sparks your lust, then you'll be able to have more control over it. This takes away the "surprise" factor- the "it just happened so fast" component of it all. You can't plan for what you aren't aware of, but you can prepare for what you are. Become fully aware of the things that you find attractive and what has a tendency to tempt you the most.
Never give yourself too much credit when it comes to these things. It's always to be better safe than sorry. Sometimes, we can overestimate our strength in this area and that's the exact moment we get tempted and testing. Most often, this leads to a slip up and brings us right back to square one on all of the progress we've been able to make so far.
Know your triggers and do what you can to avoid them, but in the event that you can't, have a plan of action in mind for how you will handle the situation. I would even suggest writing down all of your lust triggers and a corresponding plan of action to go along with it. Success in this area isn't always about saying "no" in the midst of temptation, but instead using wisdom to stay out of temptation's way in the first place.
3. Know Your "Why"
Why is it important for you to resist temptation? What will the consequences be if you give in? Who will it affect? What will happen if you succeed?
You need to know the answers to these questions because they will be your motivation (and saving grace) when you just want to throw up your hands and give in. When you're clear about your goal and what achieving it means for you, then the sacrifice to achieve it seems much smaller compared to the benefits of reaching it. Avoiding and refusing temptation can then be seen, not as denying yourself pleasure, but as progress towards achieving and maintaining your goal.
4. Fast and Pray
Resisting lust is a lot like changing your diet. The more you eat the foods you want to avoid, the more you'll crave them. Similarly, the more you give in to the things that feed your lust, the harder it'll be to resist them. The best way I've found to control my lust cravings is to "detox" from my lustful desires through fasting from food.
Fasting works wonders for increasing self-discipline and self-control. If you can turn down food - one of life's most basic needs- then turning down other things becomes a walk in the park! It takes the focus off of feeding your "flesh" so that your spirit can become stronger. It also helps to form the habit of thinking before you act. Sometimes we can operate on auto-pilot without giving much thought.
Fasting takes careful intention. There have been plenty of times when I was fasting and was able to catch myself before mindlessly popping food into my mouth. And this is a habit that spills over into other aspects of daily life, such as thinking before going certain places with certain people, watching certain shows, listening to certain songs, ect. It's helped me to think about what the possible consequences are of every action I take. It's become second- nature.
When it comes to lust, it's easier to prepare than it is to start over after a slip up. The effort you put into arming yourself with strategies like these ahead of time will be well worth it!
What's your biggest "lust trigger"? How do you plan to handle the situation if you encounter it? Let's talk about it!
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