Monday, November 17, 2008

One Week Down...

Week 1 is complete and I'm headed back to Becoming Whole tonight. It was a successful week, but my thoughts and temptations gained strength as the week went on, and I'm ready to be renewed for this weeks battle. Yesterday at church, the Lord spoke into my broken spots, and the pastor spoke on 'Developing a Godly Self Image'. The shame and disappointment that my pornography addiction and masturbation have brought upon me often brings me to a place of...I wouldn't call it self-hatred, but I certainly haven't liked myself very much. This dislike of myself cycles with my addiction and reveals itself through my inner thoughts and bouts of semi-depression. It is hard to love others, grow in your relationship with your Lord, be a good father and husband, all while you don't even like yourself. I ordered the CD and will share some points from his sermon when I get a chance to review it, but I must say that it spoke into the deep parts of my brokenness.

Romans 6:11-14
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Digging deeper

I've been getting into the Word daily, and seeking the Lord as well. My wife and I had sex last night and for some reason I find myself vulnerable today. I haven't felt the need to search for porn or masturbate or perform any other act that would seem sinful to the outside observer. The temptation is occuring in my heart......... I have an avid interest in tattoo's and bodybuilding, though my body would fool you, and this has led me to magazines/websites involving these subjects. What I find is that my eyes starts to wander or my mind runs away with these images and my desire to look further and to look at more grows. It's been said, "You can look, but you just can't touch!" But Jesus said, [paraphrased]"If you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultry." That is the root of my struggle in recent time. The acting out has slowed to a crawl [though I am not completely immune], and the attitude of my heart is being revealed to me more and more. This brings up questions that I don't know the answer to.....or do I? Do I put aside my interest in tattoos, simply because the world attaches sex, fetishes, rebellion, and deeply erotic themes with this art? When you look at magazines, websites, etc, it is a hard thing to get away from. What about bodybuilding? It is a healthy thing, but in the hands of the world it gets twisted and turns to obsession of body image, sexual displays, and quite near to porn. Do I have to give up tattoos and bodybuilding? Or do I have to find a safe place to examine my interests so that I am not put into a place of temptation? I know the answer, but do I want to take the right steps?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Who thought it would be so hard?

Part of the accountability of Becoming Whole is to call one of four or five leaders on a daily basis to talk momentarily and to be affirmed / blessed as a man of Christ. On Tuesday, the first day after the meeting, I planned on calling, but kept putting it off. Besides, we just had the meeting the night before and I didn't feel the pull of temptation today. I'm good! What's the point of calling? Wow! This calling thing is going to be harder than I thought. I picked up the phone and thought about who to call. Was it too late? No! 6pm might interrupt someones dinner, but it certainly isn't late. Okay, here we go......... Dial the number. Ring. Ring. Voicemail. I'll leave a polite message that everything is okay and put a check in the block on my acccountability sheet. That wasn't hard! But I didn't really talk to anyone. Okay, next guy on the list to call. Ring. Ring. 'Hello.' the voice said. 'Hey, how's it going?' I say.

After a short conversation, the leader asks me if he can pray for me. I receive his prayer of blessing and encouragement for my family and I. Wow! That was cool. I like this.

Flash forward to Wednesday, and the hustle-bustle of life. I'm 'gonna' call went through my mind several times after work. I have discovered that this 'gonna' thing is not going to work. I felt the pull of temptation a couple of times on Wednesday, but I chose to take God's path of escape and felt empowered to keep my temptation at bay. But this phonecall........I forgot to make it. I'm too busy. I'm gonna. My family time is important, right? My college work is important, right? Today I will make time to make a phonecall, because it is important! It is the support of a brother that has been where I am at, who knows my pain and my stuggle. He desires the opportunity to pray with me and to bless me and affirm me as a man of God. I desire to be blessed and affirmed as a man of God, though at times I would not acknowledge it. Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I have worth?

My first meeting with Becoming Whole was a semi-nervous experience. Would I know anyone? Would I fit it? Or feel welcomed? Upon arriving to the location where the meeting was to take place I confidently walked into the building to find lights turned off everywhere. Sanctuary? Empty, lights off. Fellowship Hall? Empty, lights off. Am I in the right place? As I walked back outside I saw a familiar face directing me in the right direction, upstairs and to the right. I walked slowly into the room to find more familiar faces mixed with the anxious faces of men I've never seen.

Worship was great! It isn't often that you hear men sing from their hearts....even at church most men put on a mask of macho masculinity. After worship came 15 minutes of 'soaking prayer'. Men spread throughout the room, getting comfortable, and asking the Lord to speak to them where they lived and struggled. This is what the Lord said to me:
Don't beat yourself up over the past! Let go, give in......

A song played in the background and I listened to the words. My mind wandered momentarily and I thought, "Why do I struggle with pride when I feel like I am not even worth that much? I am a treasured possession of the Lord? He thinks about me all of the time? I am the Lord's obsession? What can I do to make God my obsession?
I called you! You didn't choose me! You get no credit for your salvation! That alone speaks of your worth and value to me. Accept it and it will change your view, then your attitude, then your behavior. Accepting it doesn't give you any more value to me. Your worth and value to me are the same, no matter what you do.

I accept it! I have value to God. I am able to change once I see and accept the TRUTH about my value to the Lord.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Privacy Act

Just to clear up any possible confusion about this blog:

This is about MY stuggle and MY journey. I will at no time share the struggles, thoughts, or ramblings of anyone but myself. The journey to sobriety is a private stuggle brought only to light in Christ and the security of brothers who are willing to battle along side one another.

Battle On!!

A beginning to my end.....

I am addicted to pornography, a fact that I have been dealing with openly for quite a few years. When I say openly, I in no way mean that I make it known to everyone or shout it from the rooftops. But I have been open with my wife, and openly share with other men my stuggle to be free of this and to strive to be more like Christ.

This blog will be a public outpouring of the stuggles that I endure while striving to be more like Jesus. My stuggles with sex and pornography first led me to a para-church ministry called Sought Out, which conducts Living Waters. Living Waters is a ministry to those who are sexually broken, and in turn it deals with many of the heart issues in the lives of the sexually broken. Living Waters pointed me to the cross of Christ and explained the cycle of addiction, how to deal with these cycles, why they exist, and how to change and turn from my habitual brokenness. Living Waters helped me attack my addiction and take many much-needed steps in healing.

My next step in this journey is a more practical attack to this addiction. Today I will start a group called 'Becoming Whole'. Becoming Whole is a form of SALT (Sexual Addicts Learning Trust) that provides accountablity, and more practically attacks the addiction by implementing weekly sex history sheets, daily accountablity phone calls, and concentrates on the physical cycle of sex addiction first. Once the acting out of the addiction is more controlled, then the heart issues are addressed.

I start my Becoming Whole journey today in an attitude of openness and pray that the Lord uses this to bring my addiction more under control than it has been before. After Living Waters I did well.......for a while. My cycles are less frequent and I believe that Becoming Whole will help me to address my attitude toward sex, and my heart toward God.

The war has begun and I am ready to battle!!