When it comes to home improvement projects, fixing things around the house, or just hanging a frame on the wall I’m about as clueless as they come. Seriously. So when my wife comes to me with a “project” she’s found on Pinterest yesterday my anxiety level immediately went to DEFCON 1. She knows me so well too, saying, “I know you don’t like to do this type of stuff, and it makes you unhappy.” Yep. Pretty much, that is the case. It’s not that I don’t want to do it. It’s that I’m extremely insecure about the fact that I can actually do it and then have it turn out to be something even remotely close to what she’s dreaming. Truthfully I have some real “performance” issues when it comes to handyman skills! I don’t know if there’s a “blue pill” for that but if there is I’d order by the pounds.
After a bit of foot-shuffling I finally conceded and started watching film on the project (THANK YOU YOUTUBE). By the way that’s what us guys do who can’t tell the different between a drill bit and a cork screw, we consume youtube film attempting to gain any possible advantage. So after an hour or so of watching film and making a list of supplies I was off to the most anxiety producing place on the planet for people with my issue – HOME DEPOT.
So, now I was armed with a list and the project was actually beginning to take shape in my mind. VISION I’ve learned over the years is absolutely critical to the accomplishment of anything worthy of our time. But that’s a post for another day. Back to the HOME DEPOT trip. This was no time for wondering cluelessly around the vast aisles of products that have something to do with your house. I shook off my natural male tendency to avoid asking for help, honed in on a guy in an orange vest, and walked right up to him naming off the stuff I needed. Didn’t take long to collect everything, still I scanned and re-scanned my list to make certain I had everything. Funny thing is I’ve always wanted to push around one of those nifty lumber carts with actual lumber on it. Now I had my chance! It at least appeared as though I knew what the heck I was doing. To help with my role playing I even wore a large orange tape measurer on my pocket. Smile.
Back at home I started in on the project. I anticipated that something wouldn’t go right, as is typical for me in these situations. But amazingly things went pretty well. There were bumps along the way and the second half of the project didn’t go nearly as well as the first half. Still, though, it wasn’t quite as painful as I anticipated and I BUILT IT! All that is left is sanding, painting, and hanging. What is priceless is the enormous sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT and the BEAUTIFUL smile this “easy project” (to quote her) put on my wife’s face.
Here’s the message, I really owe my wife and Pinterest a lot of props for calling me out. You see, I’m the pastor who is constantly challenging the church, pushing the envelope, and confronting Christians about moving away from what is COMFORTABLE. Heck, I’m the guy who writes and speaks about PORN all the time! I’m the guy who rails on the church for playing it safe, lacking innovation, and being short sighted. I am the one sure of God’s power, His resources, and His will to accomplish great things in and through His church.
But I’m also the ultimate HYPOCRITE when it comes to stepping out into the unfamiliar and the unknown and my wife and Pinterest exposed me.
Let’s not get carried away here. I won’t be searching the gazillion pages of Pinterest with Christina, looking for some new clever craft to do. I’m still no Ty Pennington by any stretch, but perhaps I’m less afraid to wade into a project UNSURE of my skill and even less sure of the potential OUTCOME.
Perhaps God has spoken quite clearly to me letting me know that you can talk a big game up front, but you better be ready to live it at home and elsewhere.
Oh, and by the way, if any wives out there would like to torture their husbands who suffer from the same “issue” I do with a “project” you can find the $10 Picture Ledges here http://ana-white.com/2010/10/plans/ten-dollar-ledges .
Guys, to quote a line from one of my all time favorite movies, Nacho Liebre, “You can do it!”
- Break up…with all those “fantasy” girlfriends you’ve been checking out online and dating in your mind. Make a clean break. Remember they really aren’t that into you. End it, and never turn back to their lies. Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy either. Just walk away. Ignore any advances or even invitations to “hook up”. When you’re weak and lonely reach out to a real person who actually cares about you. “Take captive every thought…” 2 Cor. 10:5
- Boycott media…yeah there’s probably some stuff you shouldn’t watch or listen to! Probably a video game or two you should just totally get rid of for a time or even permanently. It’s likely you’re like me and play that game of, “well it really doesn’t effect me.” You and I know good and well that it does. Even if it’s something as “mild” as the recent edition of the SI swimsuit issue that you’ve managed to rationalize as not being “porn” it’s time to give it the snub. “If your right hand offends you cut it off…” Matthew 5:30
- Band together…it’s awkward I know but there’s just no other way to get free and stay free. We need others. So if you’ve been going it alone and wondering why that hasn’t worked the answer is you’ve got to acquire some allies quick. You may not want the world to know your problem but a small band of brothers needs to know about your problem. A live group is ideal but if you can’t swing that then sign up for an www.X3groups.com through www.xxxchurch.com. “Two are better than one…” Eccl. 4:9
- Buy resources…this issue is so prevalent that there’s ton’s of stuff out there. There’s awesome stuff that’s FREE but you may need to actually redirect the funds you’ve been spending on porn or massage parlors toward purchasing the best resources you can. Most dudes don’t want to take the time to read so get audio books and listen while you drive or work out. I highly recommend saving up the money or selling something to attend the Everyman’s Battle Workshop. It’s not cheap but the return on investment makes it well worth it. There’s also the 30 day online recovery workshop www.x3pure.com. “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…” Proverbs 14:8
- Bravely confess…it takes enormous courage to be this vulnerable but it is absolutely necessary. Why do you need to confess? Truth is you don’t. You can go on the way you have been, hiding, lying, pretending (I’ve been there) and you’ll never be free. Confession is our commitment to dealing with the reality of our situation. It is professing with our lips that we don’t have it all together. It speaks to transparency, authenticity and our refusal to live in denial. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper…” Proverbs 28:13
- Build barriers…or you could say “boundaries” here. However you want to put it the point is you’ve got to add some structure to your recovery. For instance, tons of guys are vulnerable in the shower, late at night in their rooms with a laptop, phone or other device. Strategize in advance on how to avoid the trap. Limit your showers to 5 minutes. Don’t turn it into a spa session where you have time to drift off to fantasy land and act out. As for devices commit to leaving them device(s) somewhere other than your room. Yes, you can do without them through the night.
- Believe truth…addicts are good at telling lies but far more damaging may be the lies we believe. Such as, “I’ll never be sober,” “you’re not hurting anyone else,” or my all time favorite, “you deserve it!”. It’s only when we start believing truth that we find freedom from the lies. Jesus clearly stated that he was the epitome of truth (Jn. 14:6) so we can believe Him and all that He said like, “If the son sets you free you are free indeed…”(Jn. 8:36) or “For God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16) and a very appropriate one for this discussion, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt. 2:17)“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
- Begin NOW…stop putting things off. Stop telling yourself you’ll start next week or next month! Make this day one of a life time of living free of porn. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
If you or someone you know is a parent or will be one someday then join us for a FREE webinar on
Tuesday, March 4th at 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT/ 5 PM PT.
When doing premarital counseling for young couples I often ask where their first information about sex came from. It’s usually a rather awkward conversation but typically they tell me a story about how their parents either totally ignored the subject, gave them a book to read, or just told them, “don’t do it!”. Of course most of us got our information about sex from older siblings or school friends.
Having a healthy and appropriate conversation about sex with our kids is absolutely crucial to setting them on the right track. This evening I want to invite you to check out a FREE webinar designed to support you as a parent in having THE TALK.
The webinar will be hosted by Craig Gross, founder of XXXCHURCH.com
Click here to sign up
Craig Gross, and the team at xxxchurch.com is offering an e-book version of Pure Eyes for FREE today! Craig Gross, and Steven Luff wrote this book to support guys that are struggling. Don’t miss this opportunity for a FREE resource that could get you unstuck!
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I’ll confess a certain hedonistic tendency. If you’re honest my guess is you’ve found yourself strung out on pleasure seeking from time to time as well. That’s just it, pleasure, the Bible doesn’t condemn it unless it becomes the only thing we find worth living for. Or if it becomes the only way we know how to cope with life. In fact I would say pleasure has always been God’s idea. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” And remember Jesus words in John 10:10, “…I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”(The Message)
Sounds like a thumbs up for pleasure to me. So there’s a reason we’re created with certain pleasure sensors in our bodies. There’s a reason why parts of our brains light up during sex, eating good food, and even when we solve a difficult problem. There you have it! Pleasure is just something we were born for! Let’s eat, drink, and be merry people! (by the way that’s in Ecclesiastes 8:15)
But still, as a Christian it’s easy to be suspect of pleasure and whether or not God is pleased with my being pleased. After all there’s an overwhelming amount of self-denial, and sacrifice talk in scripture. That seems far more inline with how Jesus lived. But could it be that our guilt about pleasure stems from a lingering belief that I still have a debt to pay? In other words, while I understand what was accomplished through Jesus, that “my debt” is paid, and I am “saved”, I still struggle with having it too good. But that really is the point. We have it really good, that’s what the gospel is, really, really, “good news!” It’s good news about freedom, joy, salvation, and yes, even pleasure.
Again, it can’t be overlooked that our tendency is to go overboard on this pleasure thing. That’s why even though we know the gospel, and the good that it brings, there’s the need for caution. Too much of a good thing is still too much. So while pleasure isn’t prohibited for the Christian a hedonistic approach to pleasure is. For the hedonist it’s all about the next pleasure trip. It’s always self-serving, and it has no limits.
That really is the issue. We have to set limits. I know it’s unheard of in our country, where it’s life to the max, but for believers it’s the only way we live well in obedience to God. I love the way Paul puts it in I Corinthians 10:23, “Looking at it one way, you could say, ‘Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.’ But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well…”
So I leave you with these three ideas about pleasure and living well…
- Love Jesus more than pleasure.
- Live the gospel when it comes to pleasure.
- Limit pleasure for the sake of living well.
I hear from college students and young adults quite a bit on this. They’ve found Mr. or Ms. “right” and plan to spend the rest of their lives with the best thing since sliced bread. Then comes the awkward revelation either by confession or accidental discovery that the love of their life struggles (or has struggled) with sexual sin (porn, masturbation, sleeping around, fantasy etc.).
For some it’s a deal breaker and they walk away from the relationship in search of someone a bit less defiled. But others can’t, or won’t walk away from the relationship, and believe the one they’ve come to cherish can and will change before the big day. If you fall into the latter category here’s some guidance on just how to proceed…with caution…because I’m not convinced that you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater in all cases.
- Watch their actions don’t just take their words to heart. In the heat of a relationship that has progressed to the point of a proposal and an anticipated wedding date it’s easy to just take your struggling significant other for his or her word. Don’t do it. Look for significant, intentional actions he or she is taking to get better and achieve sobriety. Further don’t you be the one doing all the work for them. An identifying mark of someone who is pursuing purity is that they are in fact doing the pursuing! Remember that CONSISTENT action speaks louder than mere words.
- Don’t be afraid to put things in a holding pattern. The thing about being engaged is that it doesn’t have to be permanent! Marriage is a solemn vow to a lifelong commitment. So before things get to that point it’s wise to be certain you want to spend the rest of your life with a guy or girl who is dealing with their problem in the best way. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back and putting the wedding plans in a holding pattern. I know this is so hard for people because you have “plans”. Parents, relatives, venue, dresses, tuxedos, the limo, honeymoon, not to mention the minister who we just have to have perform the ceremony. All these things add pressure and potentially cost you money if things aren’t kept on schedule. I totally get that, but still, the damage is really minimal compared to the overwhelming cost of an unhealthy marriage. If he or she is unwilling to alter the schedule then that might be a good indication that it wasn’t meant to be anyway.
- Pray. I’m not just trying to fill space here. I can’t emphasize enough how important seeking God is when you’re contemplating marriage. It is especially important when you know your potential spouse is struggling sexually. So many young couples simply move forward assuming that things will just work out. Optimism is important for sure but the stakes are too high to rely on human intuition and wishful thinking. There’s a divine component to marriage that can’t be overlooked. If you’re a christian young man or woman truly seeking to have a God-honoring marriage then you’ll spend more time praying and less time making excuses for your potential mate. Anyone married anytime at all will tell you that there is nothing more painful than marital distress and chaos. Don’t get me wrong every marriage will have it’s share for sure. But out of the gate if you can have an edge it can make all the difference in the world down the road. Seek God out in prayer and make it your discipline through your courtship, engagement and marriage.
So, if your boyfriend or girlfriend is struggling it doesn’t mean you have to kick him or her to the curb (at least not right away). But don’t ignore it either. Watch what they do not just what they say. Don’t be afraid to press the pause button. Pray.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.