The number seven appears frequently in the Bible: the seventh day as a day of rest, seven years each that Jacob worked for Leah and Rachel, seven cows and seven ears of corn in a dream that Joseph interpreted, and so on.
Seven is a number of perfection and completion in the Bible. Today it is a special number for me as well.
My life was on a somewhat predictable path seven years ago. My marriage was a source of tension. It looked like we were heading either for a marriage of largely separate lives sharing a house as roommates or for a divorce. I was happy in my professional life as a full-time college professor. Despite a slight shift in direction with a couple work-related opportunities, there was every reason to expect I would work full-time in higher education for another twenty years.
On this day seven years ago, I realized how deeply I’d hurt my husband in my insistence on controlling our sex life. I took one simple (simple, not easy) step: I made the decision to work on sex. I didn’t know what that would involve or where it would lead, but I took the step anyway.
I took just one step, and it changed my life.
Seven years ago, I thought that my life today would look pretty much the same as it did then. I didn’t know that the one step I took was the first step of a journey to joy and contentment.
As that one step led to another, and another, and another, I began a period of reflection and spiritual growth. I examined my actions in my marriage and tried to understand them. I saw the many other areas of my life where similar issues of control, fear, and low self-esteem were problems.
The first step to change my marriage took me on a journey I could not have predicted. My marriage, once filled with tension, is now a source of great joy and comfort to me. Today, seven years later, is the first day of school for many of my former colleagues. I now work from home on writing, ministry, and freelance editing and writing coaching. Although I still have struggles in my life, I am happier than I’ve ever been—and it all started with that one simple step.
My marriage is so much better, and I’ve written a lot about that here. As many other women have shared with me, I’ve learned that what happens in my marriage flows into every other area of my life as well. My professional life is no exception.
I loved the conversations I had with students about their relationships and family struggles. I was happy to be a college professor, but something was missing: a sense of purpose and calling.
As I began to reflect and pursue growth after taking that first step, I found that my heart was often drawn to writing—my childhood dream. I’d kept a small personal blog for a few years, read faithfully by a handful of friends and relatives. I enjoyed writing the posts, but it wasn’t something that seemed to matter much.
That first step seven years ago led to a clear sense of purpose and an understanding of what God has both called and prepared me to do. I moved away from higher education toward writing that matters—to me, to God, and, I think, to some of my readers.
Taking my first step seven years ago has brought fulfillment of a desire that God placed in my heart when I was very young. What I’m doing now feels less like a change than it does like a settling into what I am supposed to be doing (even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t expect to be writing a Christian blog about sex!).
Nevertheless, God continues to surprise me. While I’m not surprised to find myself writing, I still have moments of disbelief that I am part of a podcast about sex. I’ve been blessed by the opportunity to learn from and work with my friends Gaye, Bonny, and J. (And can I just go all fangirl for a moment? J began her blog just a few months after I took my first step on this journey, and I found that her posts challenged me in important ways. Her blog struck me as a real and relatable one. It played a role in my journey. And now I get to work with her! And I have her cell phone number! I feel kind of like I’ve arrived. Of course, once she reads this and finds out I’ve been fangirling over her, she will probably make me give her number back.)
If anyone had suggested seven years ago that I would ever be part of a podcast, I would have laughed at the idea—yet here I am. We are reaching women who don’t have the time or inclination to read blog posts. This work matters, too. (If you haven’t checked us out yet, you can listen here.) As I reflect on my seven years on this journey to work on sex, it occurs to me that our podcast is seven months old.
Seven years ago, I took a first step. I made the decision to work on sex.
Seven years later, my journey has led to blessings, joy, and the fulfillment of doing exactly what God has placed in front of me.
The first step was hard, but I took it. And it continues to make a difference.
What is the first step you need to take?
If you take that step today, where will you be seven years from now? It just might be even better than you can imagine.
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