Life is hard even in the best of circumstances. It gets a whole lot harder when trying to overcome sexual struggles and strongholds. We instinctively know that problems of any kind are rarely solved by information alone. And especially when the problems are personal. Personal problems require personal solutions. In short, if you want to heal from sexual brokenness and pursue greater integrity, you will need friends who can help you along the way.
This post is the 2nd in a five part series on the Pathway to Purity, helping you recognize and engage the key markers for living a life of greater integrity.
Make Some Friends
There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Many may try to travel the Pathway to Purity fast but they don’t get very far. It’s a hard road. It was made for walking, not running. And to walk it well requires help along the way. No one can successfully master this pathway alone. No one!
The idea of needing friends in life is not new, even if we don’t always understand what true friendship is really all about. Life consistently proves to us that we are better off in community than isolation. But this doesn’t mean we always intentionally pursue community, especially when dealing with personal and painful struggles. And sexual brokenness qualifies as a very personal and painful struggle.
So, what are the benefits of making friends on this Pathway to Purity?
First, let me define true friendship. “A friend loves at all times…” (Prov. 17:17a) A true friend is one who works for your best at their own expense. In other words, a friend is someone who loves you. It’s that simple. Love always seeks the highest good of another.
There are 3 main benefits to making such friends on the Pathway to Purity:
Friends Encourage Growth
Encourage means “to inspire someone with the confidence to do something.” Good friends are good cheerleaders, consistently reminding you that the journey you are on is a worthy one; that taking the next step is not only right, but good.
The Pathway to Purity is a road we must travel throughout our whole lives, only “ending” when we die. We won’t reach the “destination” of complete wholeness and “purity” until we are at home in heaven with God. Therefore, we have many steps to take on this journey, and some steps aren’t as easy as others. A life of integrity is marked by humility, grace, accountability, healthy boundaries, suffering for doing good, and much more. We need encouragement to keep growing in these attributes, and good friends can encourage us in this growth.
Friends Comfort you When you Fall
Everyone stumbles on the Pathway to Purity. Everyone! And most stumble many times, even if they have been walking the path for a long time. Stumbling is frustrating, sometimes humiliating. When we fall, sometimes we don’t want to get up. We feel like just crawling into the ditch and dying. But to remain down on this pathway will ensure that you never experience the beauty and joy that comes by continuing.
When (not if) you stumble it is critical that you have friends who can come sit with you in the ditch and comfort you. In the moment you stumble you do not need instruction, you need comfort; “consolation, reassurance, support.” Out of this comfort your friends can give you perspective, reminding you why you stepped on this pathway in the first place: to grow in God’s design and purpose for you. Good friends can help you take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and stand back up on the Pathway to Purity.
Friends Challenge you to Keep Going
In the same way that everyone stumbles on the Pathway to Purity, everyone wants to quit at some point. Everyone! And many do quit. But one of the key factors that will keep you from giving up completely is to make friends early in your journey. Remember, no one successfully masters the Pathway to Purity alone, and if you “want to go far, go together” -- with some friends.
There are lots of obstacles and challenges on the Pathway to Purity. There is pride, fear, temptation, fatigue, past wounds, shame, just to name a few. If you think you can overcome all these on your own you are in for a very short trip on the Pathway to Purity. Overcoming these challenges requires the power of God and loving accountability from some friends. A true friend keeps pushing you to move forward even when the journey gets difficult.
Do you have some friends, true friends, who are traveling with you on this Pathway to Purity? If not, pause right now and pray for God to show you who He wants you to reach out to for such friendship. Be patient with yourself and with the process of building true friendships. But be persistent! You need friends on this journey...
For help finding a support group in your area, visit Groups.Bebroken.com.
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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
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How can you face the withdrawal symptoms that come with breaking a sexual addiction? Find out in this popular edition of the Purity Post.
For help getting started on your recovery journey, visit StartingPoint.Bebroken.com.
Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction
by Dr. Mark Laaser
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Here we are, at the final post in this 5-part series on the Benefits of Recovery. I hope you have gained encouragement and insights as you have read these posts. Whether you struggle with addictive patterns or know someone who does, my hope is that these benefits of recovery will help draw more into the hope and joy that is found in recovery.
Let's dive into the final Benefit of Recovery.
Recovery Benefit #5:
Recovery leads to purpose and service.
If addicts are increasingly selfish, you can be certain they aren't serving others out of a caring heart. They may be involved in "service," but it's probably with an agenda or a sense of duty to cover up the truth about their raging addiction. This is another reason why addicts don't have deep joy: the greatest joy is only realized through giving.
As an addict progresses in recovery, there comes a point when a "nudge" starts happening. It's similar to a nesting bird when she senses it's time for the baby chicks to spread their wings and fly. The early stages of recovery are like the incubation and hatching period; a total dependence on the protection and nurture of the mama and papa birds (sponsors, mentors, counselors, etc.). But no bird is meant to live its entire life in the nest. And no addict is meant to live his or her entire recovery in the "nest." There must come a time to fly.
"Flying" in recovery is when an old-timer addict simply takes a few newbies under their wing and mentors them. He share his story with them. He encourages them as they tell their story and face all the fears of starting this awkward journey. He passes along insight and wisdom as one who knows through experience the highs and lows of the recovery process. And most importantly, he reminds them that recovery is worth it because there is a God who loves them and made them for something special, something beyond addiction -- something even beyond recovery...
For additional recovery resources visit PureCommunity.org
So far in this 5-part series on the Benefits of Recovery I have shared that:
These benefits are great news to the addict who is drowning in self-loathing and despair. And there are still two more benefits to share!
Recovery Benefit #4:
Recovery leads to freedom and joy.
I have never met an addict who hasn't immediately answered 'Yes' when asked the question, "Do you want to be free?" All addicts know they are in prison (even if they won't verbally admit it, they know it in their soul). But not all are ready to be free. Not all are broken and weary enough to give up their way for a different way. This is why patience is so important when trying to help someone break free from an addiction. Freedom only comes to those desperate enough to die for it.
Jesus once said regarding life in His kingdom, "Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it." (Luke 17:33) Some addicts keep clinging to their life of addiction, all the while losing it more and more. But when an addict chooses to give up control, to submit their life and future to their Creator, they finally discover the life of their dreams.
Freedom is a beautiful thing; to no longer be controlled by impulses and temptations and false ideas of happiness. This freedom, however, is not found in recovery, but rather along the way. You see, freedom isn't a place, it is a Person, Jesus Christ, and the freedom He offers is more than simply cleaned up behaviors and properly firing synapses. Jesus offers freedom for eternity. He said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
The freedom that God offers leads to joy, something an addict has rarely known. Addiction and joy do not mix. But recovery can lead to freedom, and freedom brings joy. I believe that the goal of recovery is to lead an addict to a place of true love and joyful community. This is the way God made us to live, and recovery is a pathway for addicts to discover this.
In my next post we will look at the final Benefit of Recovery: Recovery leads to purpose and service. Let's finish strong!
by Russell Willingham
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