Several years ago a popular series of books crowded the bookshelves of Christian book stores across America, including the one in which I worked. You may remember the series: Every Man’s Battle, Every Woman’s Battle, Every Young Man’s Battle, Every Young Woman’s Battle, Every Crotchety Old Man’s Battle, Every Crabby Old Woman’s Battle, etc. Ok…I may have made those last two up… Anyway, the premise behind the series is we all struggle to maintain sexual purity – men in their ways, and women in their different ways. Like I said, these books took off, hence all the spin offs, and they were all anyone talked about for awhile.
And I, being the cynical rebel I am, refused to read any of them just out of principle. If there are a million different versions of something, I suspect there are greedy execs somewhere selling the same old thing with different pronouns inserted, and I don’t want to support them. But, the main reason I never picked up my demographic’s book was because I didn’t see the need – I don’t struggle with sexual purity in any of the typical ways I assumed these books would address (affairs, pornography, homosexual desires, etc.).
But then something weird happened.
Within a week’s time, Every Woman’s Battle was recommended TWICE to a group of people I “just happened” to be sitting in. When it was recommended the first time, I thought, “Hmm, maybe I should check that out,” and promptly forgot about it… Then it was recommended the second time, and I thought, “Hmm, maybe God really wants me to read this book… I’ll go read the back cover at the bookstore.” And when I read that back cover, I thought, “THIS BOOK IS TALKING TO ME!”, which was both exciting and horrifying at the same time.
It was exciting because how often does a book nail you right where you are? (“Not often” is the answer I am looking for.) But it was horrifying because I knew if I read the book, it would tell me how to change my bad patterns… and if I KNEW how to change those bad patterns, then I’d be held responsible to actually do it… I could no longer claim ignorance before the Lord. If I read the book, He’d use it to highlight a problem in my life, He’d use it to show me how to correct that problem, and I’d be left with a decision: obey or disobey. That’s it… no more “I didn’t realize that was a sin, Lord,” or “but I don’t know how to change, Lord.” The rubber would meet the road, and I didn’t know if I was really ready for that….
Sometimes sin is just so comfortable and the thought of changing is just so daunting…
Turns out the woman’s version of this book on sexual purity is really more like a book on total purity… Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical… The fact is a lot of us women don’t struggle with physical sexual sin (pornography, affairs, homosexuality, etc.). Purity is more of a mind game with the majority of us. Consciously or subconsciously, we envision ourselves being in relationships with other men besides our husbands, and, when we feed that kind of day-dreaming with romance novels or TV shows or by cultivating friendships with other men, WE ARE SINNING. We are sabotaging our marriages.
Had I known this book was more about the emotional ways women struggle than the physical, I would’ve picked it up a long time ago.
I am five chapters in right now… I’ll let you know how it turns out… In the meantime, if you are looking for a new book, pick it up….you just might find yourself in the pages…
…unless you’re male.