As men, we gravitate toward things in which we feel competent – things we know we can handle. Unfortunately, a passionate God-centered sexuality is not one of those areas for many men.
And so, we play it safe.
We hold back and don’t initiate. We settle and don’t engage – telling ourselves this is all for the best.
After all, what if I fall back into my old ways again? What if I don’t measure up to her expectations? What if she doesn’t live up to my past or my private fantasies? Doesn’t it seem best just to set the bar low, minimizing both expectations and disappointments?
Playing it safe does safeguard us a bit from these fears, but it also comes with a cost.
Ultimately, we hurt ourselves, others, and God when we play it safe.
How We Hurt God
We hurt the heart of God when we do not live up what he has called us to be. Imagine if your son stayed in the first-grade year after year, never moving on to higher grades. You know he has the potential for so much more, but he prefers the comfort and predictability of first-grade.
I imagine this would break your heart as it does God’s when we don’t grow our sexuality into its full potential. Many of us have settled for a sexual life that is safe and predictable. We have not yet matured as the true sons of God who are able to take off the training wheels and finally use our sexuality for the good of others.
God created our sexuality to be a reflection of his creativity, passion, and generosity. We hurt him when we play it safe and do not bring more life and love to others.
How We Hurt Others
We also hurt others when we play it safe. The easy example here is our wife. She longs for our presence and to know we are utterly captivated by her. The question in her heart remains unanswered when we hold back.
And while it is true she ultimately needs to look to God for her security and worth, God has appointed us to be the representation of his love toward her. When we fail here, we allow Evil to taunt her. Often this results in her heart becoming bitter and resentful. At other times she is more vulnerable to overeating, binging on television dramas, or falling into an affair. While she is still responsible for her choices, when we play it safe and don’t provide what she needs, we allow her to be more vulnerable to sin.
And because sexuality is part of our embodied nature, which is much more than what we do with our genitals, playing it safe can hurt even our friendships and the relationship we have with our children. Holding back in one area affects all others. As such, our friends miss the benefit of iron sharpening iron and our children miss the fatherly blessing their souls crave when we hold back.
How We Hurt Ourselves
Finally, we hurt ourselves when we play it safe as well. Somewhere in our quiet moments we know we were created for more, and when we don’t live up to our own potential we live a life of many regrets. Sometimes this leads to a life of despair in which there is no longer any joys. We may also develop persistent anger issues, seeming to be mad at everyone, but really mad at ourselves for not being the man we know we were meant to be.
In either case, our choice to avoid risk hurts us and sets us on the path to becoming grumpy old men.
While it is risky to open ourselves to new ways of being, maybe especially in the sexual area of life, this is the path of growth, and in the life of the Christian, the path of faith. Playing it safe is then anything but safe, and certainly not good. It hurts our relationship with God, others, and even ourselves.
Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back any longer. Become the man who is able to offer himself, even his sexual being, to others for the sake of Love.