God called me into full time ministry to sexually broken people with only three words: Tell your story. So, ever since the early 2000’s I have been doing just that, telling my story. Over and over. But the first time I told my full story wasn’t as one called by God to minister to others. It was years earlier in a counselor’s office as a broken, desperate man wrestling with the destructive effects of a 13-year addiction to porn and sex.
As I look back over the nearly 20 years that I have been on this journey of recovery and growth I see a sort of “pathway” take shape that has led me to where I stand today. And while I have certainly not walked this pathway perfectly (nobody does) I have seen how it is the same pathway that anyone who wants to break free from sexually addictive patterns must walk. Therefore, if you would like to pursue a life of greater integrity, I invite you to walk this pathway with me.
This pathway has 5 key markers on it, and I want to share each with you over the coming weeks. Here is the first marker on the Pathway to Purity:
Share Your Story
The very first step on this Pathway to Purity is to share your story -- your full story. You must share your history of brokenness, failure, fear, hurt, and false starts. Everything in the dark needs to come into the light, because this is not a pathway covered in shadows. A life of sexual wholeness is marked by confession and openness.
I recommend you seek out a pastor or counselor or trusted friend who will hold in confidence all the pieces of your story. If you sense that the person you are sharing with is “unsafe” and does not have your best good in mind, then do not entrust your full story to them. Move on to someone who exhibits trustworthiness and a genuine desire to see you move forward on the pathway to purity.
Sharing your story is not only confessing sin. It is also revealing your confused and broken heart. You must share the feelings you have carried in secret. The questions and doubts you have had about yourself, your family and friends, and even God. We all struggle with the brokenness of life and how this brokenness invites us to fear, anger, shame, and despair.
You may be wondering why is it so necessary to share your “full” story. Can’t you just share the current sexual struggle or challenge you are facing? The problem with only sharing your current circumstance is that it is only revealing the culminating symptom of what has occurred in your history. In other words, your “today” is connected to all your “yesterdays”. To try to address today’s problems without uncovering all your yesterdays is to leave you with an incomplete picture of what today’s problems are really all about.
Once you tell your story, take a deep breath. You have done a good thing. You have taken your first step toward a life of integrity and wholeness. That is worth celebrating. Don’t try to run on this pathway; it’s meant for walking. So, take your time on this first step of sharing your story. After all, you probably have more than just one yesterday to share.
I’m praying for you to have the courage to take this first step on the Pathway to Purity. Because if you never take this first step you cannot make it to the subsequent mile markers. Sharing your story is the key to starting well. You can do this!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
To share your story with a qualified counselor, visit Counselors.Bebroken.com.
To find a support group, visit Groups.Bebroken.com.
by Keith Repult
Order on Amazon.com
Everybody loves a good story. The drama, the suspense, the unexpected twists and turns that draw us into the characters and the momentum of the plot. We like it when good triumphs over evil and when, in the end, the guy wins the girl. Even sad stories capture us as we feel the emotion of each character as they suffer or grieve.
What seems to be consistent in all good stories is a piece of reality to which we can connect it. We like to think that what compels us to become enthralled in a really good story could somehow happen, even in the smallest sense, in our own lives.
When I was a kid I watched Superman. What a great story! Baby gets jetted off a distant planet just before it gets destroyed and lands on earth. But he isn't like other babies. No, this kid has special "gifts." He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (or something like that).
But his powers weren't what actually made the story great. It was his struggle with how to use his powers that drew me into the story. Would he hide his special abilities and just try to fit into this foreign culture of human beings? Or would he use his powers for selfish gain? (What guy hasn't wished for x-ray vision?) But he knows deep inside that such gifts are to be used for good, to save lives and resist evil. That makes the story great, and is why I would wear a cape, pretend I was flying and "become" Superman.
We don't just love good stories. We want to be part of a good story. We all want what the good stories offer: a spark that moves others to respond. We want our lives to compel someone to "put on a cape" and emulate the good we are striving for. But a problem arises when we engage this pursuit? We discover we can't achieve good or offer the "perfect story" for others to admire. And rather than continuing our search to be part of a great story, we give up, tuck our head, and resolve that Clark Kent is as close to the dream we can get. But I believe there is another way, a way you and I can be part of the best story.
Superman is cool and did some pretty wild stunts, like reversing the earth's rotation to "rewind" time. (if you're a physicist, please don't write me explaining how that could never accomplish this) But while Superman is cool, he's got nothing on Jesus. (also, Superman isn't real...) Jesus created the heavens and the earth, raised men from the dead, walked on water, fed thousands with a handful of fish and bread, and made a way for us to be part of His story -- forever.
Jesus' story is the most compelling of all, and it started a bit like Superman's story. Jesus left His place in heaven to be born as a baby on earth. He came on a mission to save human beings from the deadly effects of sin (separation from God). He was tempted to use His power for selfish gain and abandon His mission. But He chose to complete His mission and sacrifice Himself to pay the penalty that we all owed to God for our sin. Upon completing His mission He then offered to us the simplest way possible to cross from death (where sin leads) to life (what Jesus brought through the cross): faith. Everyone who believes in Jesus becomes part of a new story, one with a great ending.
But what about your story to this point? Does it matter? Is it worth telling? Absolutely! No matter what your story includes, it matters. It may not seem compelling to you, or interesting, or dramatic, or mysterious, or anything that resembles a blockbuster Hollywood hit. But you are precious to God, so much so that even before you took your first breath He was "reading" your story. With rapt attention, I might add. He loves you, total story included.
Here at Be Broken Ministries we value story. It matters immensely to us when a person takes that courageous step to spill their guts and share their story. A story of pain, secrets, sin, betrayal, lust, anger, shame, everything. Nervously, they dip their toes in the water, wondering if a shark is circling, just waiting to devour them once they jump in all the way.
But there is no shark, only regular people who desire healing for broken souls drowning in the dark. As more and more of their story bursts forth, the Light of Jesus cascades into hidden places in their soul and a new sense of hope and freedom and direction is realized. Could it be that the way out of their terrible bondage might come by way of telling their story? It seems too simple, so it must not be. How could sharing a story matter that much?
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Rom. 10:17)
No one comes to God without faith. And no one acquires faith without hearing God's story. What a picture. The God of all things telling us a story. A story that changes everything. But what moves me most about this picture is that after God tells His story, He sits quietly, patiently, and says to us, "Tell me your story."
For some of you, He is still waiting. And He is still interested...
Because your story matters...
Secrets: A true story of addiction, infidelity and second chances
by Jonathan Daugherty
Order at New Growth Press