May this blog be a blessing to you as you seek to understand the why's behind addiction and where to go from here.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Yea, Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

I confess, in the midst of my current walk, there are days where I am just beat down. As I sit in front of my (Covenant Eyes Filtered and Monitored) PC in an empty townhouse, separated from my family because of my own sin, I am exploring my pain, and trying to demonstrate how I am currently turning it over to God...

I am constantly dwelling on the fact that I'm sick, have been sick for 42 days. I picked up various symptoms, including a cough that has persisted and become pneumonia (which I think I am finally kicking), an ear infection that is leaving me deaf in my right ear, vertigo for most of that time, throwing up for two days because of a reaction to medication (?), nausea if I don't fill my stomach with something shortly after taking my medication, and minor flu-like symptoms like achiness and heavy sweating (though this is not influenza) and insomnia on some nights (probably due to the pseudoephedrine in the Mucinex D). Fun, fun. But it doesn't stop there...

I think of yesterday how I vicariously experienced my roommate's agony of receiving final divorce papers. There is a cloud over this household, and every time I walk past the small bookshelf that has the divorce papers sitting on top of it, I am reminded of my own precarious marriage.

My wife wrote an email to me the other day that confronted me with the landscape of destruction that I have caused in our marriage (19+ years of porn addiction and associated bad behavior), and how I had no right to ask her to focus on our relationship at all at this point. So I am faced with having to go visit our house, see the kids, pretend that I don't desire my wife, and just do my best to serve. I often feel that with the years of self destruction and with my wife's hardened heart, which she has fortified against me because of my sins, that there is little hope. And her resistance toward rebuilding our marriage, though merited, puts a dagger in my heart. She is not committed to divorce (yet, or as far as I know), but she is not committed to our marriage. So I am in a purgatory of depression and fear, trying desperately to connect with God, and keep myself pure. I guess I now know what my wife felt like after I lost my job due to porn. In no way do I want to justify my sin, as a disclaimer here, I am just sharing all of the thoughts that put me in this current despair.

But in the midst of this, I realize some major problems with my own thinking, that I am definitely not aligned with God when I focus on the tidal waves of my problems - that didn't work too well for Peter while walking on water; when he took his eyes off Christ, he began to sink into the water. Thankfully Jesus was there to rescue him.

So, what do I do? Well, I wanted to write this while I am in the midst of my struggle, and similar to a Davidic Psalm, I will explore the range of my sin/emotion versus God's perfect way. David had a way of starting psalms off by asking where God was, why He was rejecting him, what in the world could he do to pull himself out of the pit of despair. He all too often finished by talking about entering into the house of worship, or calling on the Lord, and then focusing on who God was - His nature and His promises, upon which all of our hopes rest.

So here is my plan:
  1. Pray out loud. Like David, I want to turn my hurt and frustration over to God, share and explore with Him what is ailing me to the point of realizing that it is likely a rejection of God's sovereignty and redeeming power that causes me to lose hope. Nothing is random, and everything works for good for those that love God. I need to worship Him and dedicate myself to Him no matter what is going on. It is in the act of actually praying and opening my mind and heart to Him that I begin to realize these things, and I become a bit stronger.
  2. Repent. Realize that there is a difference between Godly sorrow that leads to repentance, and fleshly sorrow that leads to death. I will CHOOSE to face up to God, bring Him all of the things that cause me sorrow, and ask Him to help me sort through it all. I will refuse to enter into a pity party, practically bathing luxuriously in my sorrow.
  3. Re-focus. Realize that my relationship with my wife has been a major trigger to reject God and act out in evil, such as looking at porn. This relationship addiction, or co-dependency, or idolatry is getting in the way of a right relationship with God. So I guess I need to ensure that I am putting away fears about my relationship with my wife, and right now focus on my relationship with God, and just serving others in His name. I will continue to lift up my marriage in prayer, but give it over to God.
  4. Love my children no matter what. They have been too negatively affected by all of this as it is. I need to pray that we can find some way to bring God into the household 
  5. Pray for my wife's heart, that she would be healed and softened toward a better relationship with God. I hope that she will not find God culpable for my sins. I rejected God at times to perform my sins, and it is therefore against His will that I sinned against her.
  6. Meditate on God's Word. Get into the psalms, the gospels. Examine how God has loved me so much, is reaching out to me for a full and lively relationship.
My prayer will always be that my wife will love me like she never has before. I pray that the harm that I have done will recede with time, and that my wife and children will be healed. I pray that I can come back home, and that we can learn together how to do battle against the darkness that threatens to tear us apart. But in all things I will realize that my God is Lord, and all things are in His hands. HIS will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.


Anonymous said...

Hi my brother in Christ. I too have stuggled with porn lust and masturbation and went to the point where every day I would just get up and wallow in self condemnation because I was constantly looking on others who overcame the thing that I was still struggling with (even my ex,we both gave back our lives to Christ at around the same time). So I went to my sister in Christ ( my accountability partner ) and told her how I was feeling. She pretty much said all the things that Jod Synder said in his article on covenant eyes then she sent me the links to a song called Redeemed by Big daddy weave. Listen to it bro! Just the way the song started was encouraging because I was focusing on my struggle more than what God told me in his word. The word says that im a new creation but I couldn't see it because I was so stuck looking on other people and my stuggle. Have faith bro let God fight your battles while you rest in him (his word) cast down the thoughts when they come and remember that when Jesus was here he was tempted just like us but he overcame everyone! Thank God for the blood of Jesus! Don't make the mistake that I made in that when I fell I ran away from God and covered myself but run to him and confess. We are over comers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies. Don't be afraid, fear is not of God but look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith.

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Anonymous said...

Excellent advice, brother! That has been one of my "mantras" lately... "I am a new creation". I've always love that Big Daddy Weave song, but never really focused on the opening words. Yeah, I think I am too focused on the conflict itself sometimes. And that is when I begin to sink.

Anonymous said...

Glory to God! Be encouraged bro. Remember that God is greater than our struggles. All power in heaven and on earth belongs to God. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Jesus Christ loves you! He sees you and he knows what you are going through. Too often we beat ourselves down, its like God doesn't even have to punish us because of how badly we punish ourselves. Be of good courage! God said he will never leave you nor forsake. Seek to get in your Word always. Ask God for a hunger and thirst for righteousness daily so that your mind can be renewed. We are One Body in Christ in Love. Love you with the love of God bro!

Anonymous said...

Almost three years ago, I was in the same boat as you. One of the best advice I was given in that darkest moment was from my father, telling me to submit myself to whatever I needed to do, and that would be a SMALL price to pay for my children. I'm back with my wife and kids. My relationship with my wife is better now than I ever could have imagined. I love her and respect her enormously. However, I still struggle with addiction. It is sporadic and I kill myself when I make a mistake. The covenant eyes article really spoke to me. I think complete healing is still years away, but the last three years have yielded tremendous healing. It is just hard to see on a day to day basis. I don't think there are instant fixes on this addiction. But the future is bright!