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About Skylark

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  1. My dear brother, your story breaks my heart. I'm so, so sorry that Jesus' people haven't been there for you in the ways that you've needed, though I'm impressed that you keep showing up to church when it's not a place where you've found solace. Good for you! It seems like you are deep in a dark place, and I hope and pray that you find your way out. I don't know if you're looking for advice from people on the internet, but let me recommend seeing a good counselor and having a talk with a trusted mentor or church leader. Both might give you valuable perspective and wisdom. I will be praying that you remember you are an accepted and beloved part of Christ's body (whether you feel like it or not) and that you have a community where you can love and be loved by God's people. Take courage, my brother.
  2. A few thoughts: You asked if this kind of behavior is normal. Who cares? What matters is if you're uncomfortable and/or don't appreciate it. I assume you've communicated your boundary very clearly, as in: "You keep asking me for nude pictures. I have told you no and I will not change my mind. Stop asking now." If you've been wishy-washy on that point, it's time to be incredibly clear and leave no room for misunderstanding. This is an absolutely reasonable request to make. If he wanted to be a worthy partner for you, he could easily comply. If you've already been clear, and he has continued to ignore you, then I'm with @BigMat. He does not respect you. Instead he ignores your boundary, pretends not to notice your discomfort, and uses manipulative tactics to punish you when you don't comply. To me, that disrespect for your boundaries is a HUGE red flag, just as bad (if not worse) than the request for nude photos. He is not worthy of your trust. Move on. Tell yourself: "He has qualities that I am attracted to, but he failed a very basic test of being a good friend and partner. He didn't care about my feelings, pressured me, and tried to punish me when I exercised my choice. He put his desires ahead of mine. He did not take no for answer and ignored my boundaries. He is not trustworthy. I deserve much better."
  3. Waiting and Loneliness

    @BlackRose I don't mean to suggest that you or anyone else is responsible for his/her loneliness, so I apologize for my linguistic carelessness. If you'll permit me to rephrase, I think that our culture undervalues friendship (in contrast to marriage), which can make unmarried individuals feel more lonely or feel that they don't have "real relationships." You noted that: That statement suggests to me a cultural belief that friendship does not involve commitment. That's the impoverished view of friendship that I was trying to describe. I wonder what would be different if we (again I'm speaking of my fellow Christians) devoted more time and thought to developing a robust theology and practice of friendship. True true.
  4. Waiting and Loneliness

    Thank you for saying this. A corollary to this point: when we* over-emphasize romantic fulfillment through marriage, we are often left with an impoverished view of friendship. This neglect harms both married people (who inevitably realize that a spouse cannot meet all one's relational needs) and single people (who may feel inferior for lack of romantic relationship). Married or not, most of our relationships will be probably be friendships, and I think sometimes we feel more lonely when we undervalue friendship. *I'm thinking of the American evangelical church specifically, but the point may apply to broader American (maybe Western?) society as well.
  5. About the job-searching: try Ask a Manager for excellent advice about applying for jobs and writing strong cover letters/resumes. I hope the job situation improves soon. I know that work situations can strongly affect mental health. To address your more important question: it sucks that you can't see your psychologist sooner. It sounds like your mental health professionals need to know as soon as possible that you feel your depression isn't well-controlled right now. And make sure you let loved ones know, too. People who care about you want to know that you're hurting. You might also look into low-cost counseling (churches might have good resources/recommendations). In the meantime, keep doing all those endorphin-producing activities: exercising, spending time outside, socializing when possible, eating healthy food, etc. You say that you don't have much of a community of friends around you, and my heart breaks for you. Building a good community of supportive friends once you're out of school is not easy for anyone, and I imagine that depression would only make it that much more difficult. (Sidebar: I often think about how men seem to have more difficulty building strong networks of deep friendship, and I wish it were different.) If you can, keep showing up to social events and pat yourself on the back every time you do. That takes serious bravery. Also, there are lots of places around the web where people gather to support each other through depression, and they might be able to help you fight against the lies that depression tries to tell you. It's hard to stay motivated when you're depressed, so be patient with yourself. You are valuable. You are important. Take courage, dear one.
  6. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been hurting for such a long time. I'm not remotely qualified to give advice for your situation, but It sounds like you might benefit from counseling, both on your own and hopefully with your wife as well. A good counselor would help you understand and heal from past hurts, develop strategies for dealing with your co-workers, and communicate productively with your wife. I hope you find the help that you're looking for. Take good care of yourself.
  7. New Members-Girls Only

    Welcome! It's good to have you here.
  8. My aunt and uncle, who've been married 35 years, say that this article is spot on. The author's attitude to marriage really resonates with me, but I'm curious how some of you respond. Two excerpts: And this: Thoughts?
  9. Yes. You said just what was on my mind as I continued to think about this thread. Fear poisons love. I hope we all can strive to bravely reject fear and insecurity.
  10. There's an unfair cultural expectation out there that a man should have the same or more romantic/sexual experience than a woman in a relationship, which can cause men to feel insecure about "too little" experience and women to feel ashamed about "too much" experience. I wonder if you're feeling the effects of this expectation. As waiter in my 30's, I know what it is to look at hopes I had as a younger woman and realize that they may not be realistic anymore. There is a certain grief that comes with that realization, and I won't pretend otherwise. I think it's important to call it grief and handle it in an honest and healthy way. That said, I want to paint a more hopeful portrait of mature love and romance that the scenarios and worries that you've described. Heartbreak can produce compassion and empathy. Waiting can develop contentment and maturity. "Firsts" matter less than "bests" and "mosts." Life experiences (romantic and otherwise) can produce wiser and more confident people. People can love deeply, be hurt deeply, and love again more deeply still. Past relationships are past for good reasons. And how beautiful it would be for two mature and wise people to say to each other: "Of all the love stories in the world, ours is my favorite."
  11. Trying to Get Over a Break-Up

    Breaking up just sucks. I hope you're doing ok. Grief takes a while to process. Daily habits have to change. It'll be hard (maybe for longer than you think), but you'll be ok. This American Life, one of my favorite radio shows/podcasts, devoted an entire episode to break ups ("Break-Up" Episode 339). It has some sad stories and some funny ones, and it's a good reminder that whatever you're feeling, you're not alone. You can find it in the show's web archives. I hope you are finding healthy ways to process and heal.
  12. Thank you for pinpointing why this article made me squirm. Like you, I applaud the advice that it gives about kind words, and I suspect that I may be missing key points about cultural context and audience. However, I agree the article undermines the agency of women, and I also think it suggests that wives are treasured possessions rather than valued partners. I know that I may be out of step with some of my Christian brothers and sisters on this, but as I get older, I have less and less patience for Christian teaching that encourages female passivity or relies on broad stereotypes of men and women. <stepping off soapbox now>
  13. Seeking Pleasures of the Flesh

    I'm curious about the premise of your question: where do you see that scripture condemns seeking the pleasures of the flesh? I looked for a scriptural reference, and I didn't find one, but perhaps you're referring to a broader teaching that relies on a number of passages. I do see scriptural warnings against the lust of the flesh (2 Tim. 3:4) and against being a slave to pleasure (Titus 3:3). Those passages don't seem to condemn the pleasures of the flesh, but rather unbridled desire that has no regard for Christ's authority. Given the Bible's joyful depictions of pleasure in feasting, dance, and sex, I'd hesitate to claim that seeking the pleasures of the flesh is sinful.
  14. Christian Advice about Modesty

    I'm a Christian, and I have a lot of thoughts on this subject, but I'll try to keep this brief. I watched the first 10 or so minutes of the video and found it difficult to stomach in places, especially when teenage boys are presented as experts about how men behave and how women should behave. I always get uncomfortable when we Christians discuss modesty. As Invincible said, the conversation tends to revolve around women's behavior. We seem to blame women for what they cannot control (the sexual attraction of men) and fail to hold men accountable for what they can control. I know that our clothing can reflect our spiritual condition (much like our spiritual condition is reflected in our finances, our attitude to work, our friendships, our leisure and hobbies, etc.). I know that the Christian life is lived in community and that we are called to love, support, and encourage each other. But this is one issue where I believe that our teaching has placed an unfair burden of shame on women. I'll also admit to some conflicted feelings on this topic. I don't mean to imply that I believe modesty is unimportant or that I have no respect for the perspectives presented in the video. Nor would I ever want to offend any of you other posters. I humbly submit my misgivings to a community I value.