Identity Part 3 — internal and external

The previous posts in this series focused on:

Behavior cycles and Identity — Understanding how we the interactions between our identity, experiences, and behavior.

Identity Part 1 — Foundations of how we identify with certain values and tenants of this life and how they affect us and what we should look for instead.

Identity Part 2 — Understanding rebellion against what our Identity should be in Christ.

Today I’ll be writing on internal and external identity, differences, and recalibration thereof.

Internal and External Identity

Internal and external identity can also be thought of in terms of innate qualities versus external qualities. Likewise, I would suspect that the most common way that most people view it is “nature” veresus “nurture.” In the terms of ‘game’ I suppose you could reference in terms of “inner game” versus “outer game” although most PUA/player blogs don’t make such a distinction. They’re really all variations of the same thing; however, I’m going to be approaching this from a Christian point of view obviously.

Forasmuch as the PUA blogs tend to talk about cultivating inner game and faking it ’til you make it obviously it works to a larger extent. The human body, spirit/soul, and heart/mind are interwoven into one and thus the confidence extracted from learning and getting better at things is indeed attractive. Such things to a long extent can be internalized and where expertise is concerned produce a confidence that is overwhelmingly attractive to women.

However, the problem with the outward in approach is that it will never develop the ultimate anchors of internal confidence that extends past women, past your career or job, past your relationships with family, and is firmly rooted in God. This is what allows you to surrender to the Holy Spirit and receive the joy and peace of God which passes all understanding:

Philippeans 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [c]near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all [d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Understanding correct valuations in identity will help us to develop the internal mindset and confidence from which to work. This along goes along with the internal and external spiritual qualities that we are looking to develop.

Internal versus external valuation

Let’s take a look a specific example.

In the context of Christian men desiring a Christian woman and our search for a wife, ultimately it is important to realize that we have been created with an innate sexual desire for women. The only people who haven’t been have obviously been given the “gift” of celibacy, although there is some debate what that means I won’t go into it further.

From what I have seen in the ‘sphere and other places, most Christian men lament they have a sex drive. It is seen as a curse rather than a gift to be stewarded appropriately. I believe that the majority of the lament stems from the observation that non-Christian men have it so good that they’re able to have sex outside of marriage and do what they want with women. This is clearly an incorrect view as a Christian. The fact that they’re endangerous their souls should be more than reason enough to challenge that view in a Christian’s mind. However, the more insidious part of adopting such a view is that basically you’re idolizing sex and/or women over the nature of what God has created sex and marriage to operate in.

When the lie is exposed for what it is then it is able to be corrected. However, I’ve even fallen prey to it in some of the earlier posts on this blog and in my comments around the ‘sphere as well. There is no reason for lamenting the fact that I can’t have sex out of marriage. Why would I want to value something what is bad over that which is good? However, realizing this fact is the beginning.

There is an incorrect valuation on the external identity as a means for developing confidence rather than an internal identity as a means for being confident in who you are.

One of the things that most men struggle with is lust. The drive to have sex is interesting because it has been created by God, but the value in examining it is that it is one of the most easily abused. As I discussed in the Dominion Part 1 and Part 2, mastering and being disciplined in your life and your sphere of influence is God’s command over taking control over the earth. Lust is one of the things that both unmarried and married men have to master lest it control them.

However, mastering and disciplining yourself is often taken too far in the wrong direction. Instead of harnessing the drive for sex in order to signal to women that you’re interested in potentially seeing if they can be a spouse, the sex drive is seen more of in the context of a negative or even neutral manner rather than positive.

The drive to have sex is a positive desire all the time. Both before marriage and after in marriage. The faulty mentality arises from a few sources.

  • Most have the mentality that sex before marriage is a sin and thus bad, and sex after marriage is not a sin and thus good. However, this external valuation (sinful vs. non-sinful) of the act of having sex prior and after marriage is often construed or imprinted upon the unmarried as an internal valuation of the desire to have sex. Thus, the desire to have sex before marriage is bad, and the desire to have sex after marriage is good. This mentality is false, and this is often the one you see in Church.
  • In terms of feminism, the sex drive of women is treated as good and the sex drive of men is treated as evil regardless. This is more a commentary that feminism itself is rooted in evil as the majority of it’s valuations compared against the Scriptures are false.
  • A complete warping and distortion of God’s intention for sex. The desire for pre-marital sex is good and overwhelming to the point of compromise; however, in marriage the desire for licit sex is bad and underwhelming. This is the issue you typically see in Christian marriages where the husband and/or the wife has “lost attraction” for each other.

Thus, you can see how important internal valuation of the way the Father has created things to be is important and must be separated from the external valuation of what is good and what is evil.

What happens when you have the mindset that the sex drive is “bad” outside of marriage and “good” inside of marriage is that when you’re single you feel guilty about having a sex drive. This creates conflict between the body and mind/heart. Your body naturally has a sex drive which has been internally created by God to be good, and your mind/heart is assuming it is bad this creates a large amount of cognitive dissonance within most Christians. When the body and the mind/heart and spirit are not in alignment this cognitive dissonance creates confusion, timidity in expressing what you believe, lukewarmness, and the like.

It should be no surprise that you have a culture where “Christian side hugs” become the norm because “purity” is pushed. Men lack confidence in expressing desire to marry. Men lack assertiveness to even ask women out. Christian women think Christian men are sinning if they express sexual desire or attraction for them.

Such a culture is a misrepresentation of what God designed to be good both inside and outside of marriage.

Recalibration of internal identity and valuation

I’m going to keep using the same example since it is an obvious area where single Christian men and women have issues with identity.

The key as I mentioned in the previous section is to sync the body, mind/heart, the spirit, and soul all into alignment. This is exemplified in the first commandment: Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. When everything is in one accord there is no confusion. There is no timidity. There is no lukewarmness. There is no lack of confidence.

Personally, I feel like most of my earlier writing on this blog has been more about cultivation of external behavior. It’s only after I started digging in the past ~3-4 months that this has become more clear to me that the foundation and internal qualities must be realigned correctly. This is not to say that cultivation of external behavior isn’t good; however, it shouldn’t be the primary method of what you’re aiming for. It’s funny that this is all coming to a head because of what I talked about with David in Identity Part 1:

1 Samuel 16:6 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for [b]God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

What is the heart of this man David that God was looking at?

If you read the very next chapter, the heart that was cultivated in David that God was looking at was David’s internal confidence that was showed exteriorly. Chapter 17 of 1 Samuel is about David rising to Goliath’s challenge and slaying him in the name of the Lord. In essence, that which David was cultivating internally to ground himself to God comes out even as confidence in war.

Jesus reiterates this in Luke as well as Matthew:

Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good [aa]treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from [ab]that which fills his heart.

It is not just spoken words that come from the heart, but it is also the actions we take.

As we’ve gone through previous times on this blog, it’s often not what you say as a man that a woman responds to but the confidence behind it that is attractive. If a man is not confident in expressing the sexual desire that God has given to him then what does that say about His belief in who God created him to be?

The main gist of this Identity series has been to continue to evaluate and reevaluate yourself in context of what God says about us. As I stated in Part 2 of this series, if what I think about myself doesn’t match up with how God views me then I live in rebellion to Him. This is going to lead to dissonance as a Christian. If we use our previous example of sexual desire then we see that our mind/heart fights against our sexual desire whereas it was created to be good in the body. Likewise, as Christians we know the Holy Spirit living inside of us also values our sexual desire as good, but we resist that. It’s rebellion against our bodies and the Holy Spirit.

Those of you who have kept up with Donal’s and my blog for a while know that I typically bring up discussion of sex within a couple weeks of meeting a woman that I either ask out or am interested in. The reason why I bring it up is because it is one of the most important discussions to actually have with a woman you want to be married to. Sex is one of the lynchpins of marriage like the thumb is to the hand.

I received a bit of pushback on that from the women stating it was “too early” but at that time I had not delved deep enough into the Word to explain why I was fine with it. I hope that I have now given you a correct mindset through how to evaluate things in this post that it’s not to early to discuss sensitive topics such as sex early when meeting women. Why?

It’s not that it is “just an important topic” to discuss for marriage; however, it is the views behind what it internally versus externally good and evil. From what I have found the women that are going to be more prone to being loathsome about discussing sex are those that have improper attitudes toward sex. That is they believe sexual desire is wrong, and it should be kept in the context of marriage. Well, do you think a switch is suddenly going to flip when you say “I do” to where a woman is comfortable with discussing and having sex? Certainly not. A nagging woman before marriage is still going to be a nagging woman after marriage.

The key reminder here is the concept of reciprocality. You tend to attract the things that you are like in personality. If you’re uncomfortable with sex before marriage and discussing it then you’re also likely going to attract women who are uncomfortable with sex before marriage and discussing to it. It’s going to bleed over into your marriage as well unless those things are addressed.

This is the majority of the reason why I am not shy about discussing sex with women I’m interested in, and why I’m also not uncomfortable bringing it up in a discussion. It’s obvious that I’m not going to discuss sex in the context of pre-marital relations unless we’re talking about something such as hook up culture. However, is there anything wrong with discussing sexual desire and sex within marriage? Certainly not. Sex in marriage is holy and pleasing to God. Sex is a Sacrament.

Thus, recalibration is obvious. Instead of reading this article and comparing it against your internal framework and seeing how it fits you have to go deeper than that.

To truly recalibrate, you have to:

  • Go deep into the framework and behavior within your mind and heart.
  • You have to examine what your identity and values are.
  • You have to compare what values you hold if they are correct with what the Scriptures say about God, yourself, or others.
  • If they are wrong you have to repent of them, and accept God’s values.

This is along the lines of repentance but it goes far beyond repentance. Repentence is typically used in the context of confessing sin. This is going to the extent that there are areas in your life that may not necessarily be sinful. God’s not going to come and tell you that you have to be able to discuss sex with a woman you’re interested in marrying. However, it would be a very unwise thing to do for you not to.

This is the difference between living life and the abudant life.

Testing a recalibrated internal identity and realizing it into confidence

In Part 1 I also discussed the uncomfortability test. Basically, the uncomfortability test is what I would term as and outside to inside look at your level of identity and confidence in believing what the Scriptures and the Father say about you.

When you’re uncomfortable you’re being challenged by an outside factor. It has two parts to it.

  • If what is being said is false, and you’re uncomfortable with it then why? If you know the Truth inside of you why do you have to be uncomfortable if something untrue is said about you. This is the fear of man in terms of having to prove others wrong, rather than the fear of God. It is rooted in pride.
  • If what is being said is true, and you’re uncomfortable with it then why? If you know the Truth then do you not truly believe it? Do you care about what others think about you more than what God thinks about you? This is the fear of man in terms of wanting to fit in, rather than the fear of God. It is a fundamental insecurity about who you are.

As you can see, when such things manifest as fear and especially as an irrational fear of man rather than a rational fear of God, typically the uncomfortable feeling manifests itself into a lack of confidence, lukewarmness, capitulation, and the like. It is not so much about what is being said; women respect and are attracted to men who stick to their guns even when they disagree with them.

The part about the recalibration and realizing the confidence is two fold.

  1. Internally you have the correct identity. I’m comfortable with discussing sex with women I’m interested in simply because God says that my sexual desire is good, both inside and outside of marriage.
  2. Externally you have to have the ability to express your identity. This is where concepts like improving your public and conversational speaking come in (Part 1 and Part 2). External factors do have practice components to them. If I never talk about sex out loud I’m generally not going to be comfortable talking about it because knowing what is True on the inside is slightly different from a Truthful expression.

Thus, I must first come to terms with a correct identity about sex. Once I recalibrate my internal identity to that of God’s in the realm of sex and all of the facets that it talks about then I am good internally. Then it must be practiced. Personally, I first practice at home alone or in the car. When discussing sex practically I’d aim for the topics that you feel most uncomfortable about:

  • Do you have trouble expressing your preferences in a mate out loud?
  • Do you have trouble talking about why sexual desire is good outside and inside of marriage, but why that is different from why sex outside of marriage is a sin and inside a marriage is holy?
  • Do you shy away from a discussion on the holiness and sacrament of sex in marriage?
  • Are you afraid to correct people when they have an incorrect view?

Topics can manifest in a large number of ways. Generally speaking, as a man since we control the conversation you can guide them down any path you like. However, it must be noted that if you’re shy in discussing them — your words trail off at the end of your sentences, you end your sentences like a question, you speak quickly rather than measured and slow, and the like — then you have things to work on.

Likewise, can you confidently express your dreams for the future? Can you articulate your ambition for your career or hobbies? Do you have a view for how you want your family to be and can talk about it firmly? Can you talk about your testimony confidently?

All of these factors are involved with the root of what is attractive.

“Just be yourself” is really a half truth for as much flack as it gets. Yes, you have to be willing to be an individual and express your views confidently. You don’t have to try to become like a PUA or player. We as Christians know that we know the Truth — that Jesus died for our sins and invites us to be His disciples and enter into communion with the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. So why don’t we act like it.

Conclusions

Assuming the correct valuation of internal identity is the most important. Otherwise, those in the Christian manosphere are trying to emulate PUAs and players while still be Christians. This cannot be done. It is an external to internal framework.

However, being a Christian is an internal to external framework. The inside must align with God, and confidence arises from living within the Truth of God and then is fostered externally by practice.

Recalibration of the internal must go through several prospective steps, including analyzing thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions that may not necessarily be sinful but not living in abundant life:

  • Go deep into the framework and behavior within your mind and heart.
  • You have to examine what your identity and values are.
  • You have to compare what values you hold if they are correct with what the Scriptures say about God, yourself, or others.
  • If they are wrong you have to repent of them, and accept God’s values.

This is along the lines of repentance but it goes far beyond repentance. Repentence is typically used in the context of confessing sin. This is going to the extent that there are areas in your life that may not necessarily be sinful. God’s not going to come and tell you that you have to be able to discuss sex with a woman you’re interested in marrying. However, it would be a very unwise thing to do for you not to.

The abundant life is living in the fulness of our identity in Christ. I know that my hopes, my dreams, and my visions align with what God has said they do in His Scriptures, and they align with my desires as well. I can speak about them confidently in a public setting.

You will notice that once your internal identity and values are calibrated correctly you receive greater measures of peace and joy from the Lord.

Then you will begin to live unashamedly for the Lord, and that which you seek being confidence that is attractive to women will be manifest.

It’s that simple. In the next post on Identity I’m going to discuss more about recalibration of internal identity in terms of the Scriptures.

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20 Responses to Identity Part 3 — internal and external

  1. Jenny says:

    I’ve always thought being passionate about life was more glorifying to God than being sinless. It is hard balance to keep, maybe one we don’t need to worry about so much.

  2. @ Jenny

    You got it. The very act of being passionate about Jesus draws you away from sin because you’re made more into His image. Though that does still mean confessing sin to God and one another when we do, but intentional sins should fade away as we mature as Christians.

    Our witness to others is not about not sinning. It is living the abundant life in His grace and mercy and love everyday.

  3. yeah, me says:

    The church’s words have as become as empty of effect as the world’s, despite being founded in truth. Maybe it’s time to try another approach. With only one or two exceptions, the happily married Christian couples I know all come from a place of baggage and error, and not from a place of steadfast adherence to the prescribed path.

    Even the Bible itself contains very little in the way of recording virtuous, rule-following men. The Bible is an account of trouble-making rule breakers and their path to righteousness, not an account of righteous men who prospered.

    I think I’m going to find an unsaved girl, and missionary date her, possibly in multiple sense of the word. Why not? It seems to be working well for all the Christian couples I know who are married and active in the faith.

    A Christian spouse is a wonderful thing, but I think that one has to make one from scratch, because the ones you find already in the faith are not going to treat you as they should. This is a painful lesson that I have been required to relearn too many times. Well, I finally learned the lesson, and after a long time on this path, it is time for a change for me. I still wish the best for those who are keeping the course, and hope it works as intended. But I’m no longer able to believe what I once believed. God Himself is going to have to talk to me if He wants me to change my mind, because the Church, despite being correct in the technical sense, has nothing left to offer except hopeful words.

    If I am going to experience mistreatment, I am going to experience it from those who have the excuse of being unsaved. If I had it to do all over again, I still would have probably done as I have done, and kept the course as long as I have. So, only some regrets, but no point in wasting any more time following ineffective guidance. If it was right, it would work.

  4. donalgraeme says:

    Yet further proof that the Male Rationalization Hamster can be just as formidable as the female one.

  5. @ yeah me

    I mean this in the most loving way possible:

    So basically you’re saying that you hold obtaining a wife above the commands of God.

    It’s the face value definition of an idol. God has already told us in the Word not to make idols out of anything, so He has already spoken.

    That said I do understand your frustration as I’ve had to process through it myself. God doesn’t promise us a wife: will you still be faithful to Him even though it may not happen?

  6. yeah, me says:

    DeepStrength:

    I am not interested in being unfaithful to God. I am re-evaluating whether what I have been told by the church all these years is actually the correct interpretation. It is the Church I am questioning, not God.

    DG:
    I really have nothing to discuss with Catholics, because I place no validity in the additional books they have added to the Word, nor to the myriad corruptions present in their theology. I think you’re being a bit of an intellectual sloth by waving off arguments as “hamster rationalizations”. Similar dismissals are a staple of female/feminist conflict management.

    All I can say is that you will probably understand when you are older and more mature, at least I hope so. In the meantime, if it simplifies your life to take such a shortcut, be my guest. You make a critical mistake, however, in assuming that a person of your youth and comparative inexperience is qualified to judge people who have walked this path far longer, and under deeply oppressive circumstances. Just as women are not to preach over men, the Bible also admonishes us not to let the new believer enter church leadership, because they will become puffed up with pride.
    QED

  7. donalgraeme says:

    @ yeah, me

    I really have nothing to discuss with Catholics, because I place no validity in the additional books they have added to the Word, nor to the myriad corruptions present in their theology.

    If you knew the history of the Church and Christianity, you would understand that the Catholic Church didn’t add books- it was Protestants who took them out. Those books were considered canon for well over a millennium. Further, they are considered canon by more than just the Western Church. The Orthodox Church and some of the earlier non-Chalcedonian churches include not only them but others as well.

    As for intellectual slothism, well, if you had made an intellectual argument, I would have responded in kind.

    You make a critical mistake, however, in assuming that a person of your youth and comparative inexperience is qualified to judge people who have walked this path far longer, and under deeply oppressive circumstances. Just as women are not to preach over men, the Bible also admonishes us not to let the new believer enter church leadership, because they will become puffed up with pride.

    I am not claiming to be a church leader, but at the same time I am not new to the faith. Maturity does not necessarily come with age, which is obvious in this day and age. As for my “youth and comparative inexperience”… well, I remind you of this:

    12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

    (1 Timothy 4:12)

  8. yeah, me says:

    You do not have enough life experience yet, it is simple as that. The wisdom of the young is most often found to be little more than skillful recitation and rephrasing of rote-level understanding. Further, allegiance to a religious conglomerate like the RCC is typically going to cause one to view opposing viewpoints as “rationalization”. To those with orthdoxy, unconventional views will be gleefully labeled heresy. These accusations comes from the same part of the brain that feminists use to level charges of “bitterness” against anyone who voices a legitimate complaint about the treatment they have received from others. It is either laziness, or worse, it is what Vox calls disqualification. It is an attempt to circumvent direct engagement via a form of ad hominem.

    This is why a loquacious young person will often wind up in a position of influence in the Church, while a less articulate person may be dismissed. But the Lord’s wisdom can often be found in greater measure in the simpler individuals than those with a skilled tongue.

  9. yeah, me says:

    Also, I think that some deeply religious individuals experience a certain distress when attempts to use scolding to herd others back onto the plantation. It only works on the weak.

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  14. “What happens when you have the mindset that the sex drive is “bad” outside of marriage and “good” inside of marriage is that when you’re single you feel guilty about having a sex drive. This creates conflict between the body and mind/heart.”

    A lot of it.

    I took a face-value interpretation of Christ’s words about lust in the Sermon on the Mount, and viewing my God-given libido as a constant source of tribulation crushed me for years. It was some time later where God Himself had seen enough and called me back to Him. I’ve come to realize that Jesus was trying to make his audience realize that living a holy life by following the Commandments was futile, and by default He was knocking the self-righteous off their pedestals.

    I’m largely free of that bondage now, but even so, I’m virtually asexual. I think I always had a low sex drive and always would’ve, even if I hadn’t have gone through all that.

  15. @ Chris Dagostino

    Yep, and at some level the lack of peace that you have plays into it. Even *if* you are being tempted there is a deep seated peace that you have about walking according to God’s ways.

    But incorrect thinking can warp our views on what is right and wrong especially in the context of our desires and thinking they are “good” or “bad.” It leads to a lot of psychological conflict that isn’t good. I think of it as a reminder to take everything back to to God, especially if you’re struggling.

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