This is a guest post by Tom with Ever Accountable. Tom is a 30 year old husband of one beautiful woman and father of two rambunctious boys. He is a passionate crusader against internet pornography after witnessing the destruction it causes in lives. He blogs for Ever Accountable because he believes their accountability software for Android phones will keep users honest and open in their relationships.
5 Steps to Take if You’re Addicted to Porn
Perhaps there is nothing more sacred on this earth than family. Our family fills the primal need to have intimate connections with others of our own species. Our species is a kind that thrives on real connection with real people, and there is no stronger connection than that of a family. So, it is with great sadness that we see the direction of society’s apathy towards perhaps the number one destroyer of families: internet pornography. What follows are five steps to take if you feel you might be addicted to porn.
The first step for beating any addiction is to admit that the addiction exists. There is a distinction between accepting and admitting that is obvious to everyone except an addict. An addict thinks that accepting the addiction as part of who they are is the same as admitting their addiction. However, the addiction is not who you are – the addiction just took up residence without asking. Admitting is realizing that you have to evict the addiction, or you will lose everything. Admitting is taking action because you realize that the most important thing in your life is getting rid of pornography addiction.
Knowledge is Power
Knowledge of its destructive nature is essentially what keeps us from trying meth, cocaine, heroin, or any other hardcore drug. Why should pornography be any different? For one thing, the problem is not admitted as such in mainstream culture, but there are still great resources that help us understand the science behind porn addiction and these outlets help us understand why we should quit. The science helps us get past the lies that the porn industry feeds us. Porn is harmful, it is destructive, it will ruin you.
Stop hiding it
Porn thrives in privacy. I get that it can seem impossibly hard to tell your spouse or significant other. I get that you fear losing your relationship when you think about telling those close to you. I understand that, but I also know that telling your spouse about your addiction is necessary and the absolute best thing you can do to stop your addiction. When you remove the secrecy of your addiction, you remove the “security” blanket that has kept you trapped in the addiction cycle.
Be held accountable
Because of porn’s reliance on secrecy, it is essential to find someone that will hold you accountable. Find someone that will be firm with you and bust your chops when they need busted, and lift you up when you need lifted. Talk to people in your church that you admire, talk with friends that you think of as strong, moral individuals, and talk with your spouse. Find somebody that you can trust with your addiction and have weekly meetings with them.
Protect your electronic devices
Perhaps the most helpful advice is to get right to the root and fight this problem at the source. Porn is still circulated via print, I know, but the internet is where porn breeds, hunts, and eats. It is almost nigh impossible to live without computers, smart phones, and tablets in today’s world, and fortunately, accountability software exists for this very reason. Accountability software allows you the opportunity to continue using those devices, but with the knowledge that you’ll be held accountable for your browsing habits. I like to use the analogy that putting accountability software on your phone or computer is like being loaned the keys to a Corvette, but with the understanding that the car will be inspected by an expert mechanic upon return. You might be tempted to test the limits of the car, but is that what you want to do when you know your actions will be brought to light? You know where your addiction lives, so it is absolutely imperative that you put in place a defense on that domain.
Don’t buy into the lies that pornography isn’t destructive. Don’t believe that your life hasn’t changed if you’re already in the addictive cycle. When you pull away from your addiction you will very quickly see the destruction porn was wrecking on your life. Be encouraged that stopping porn will be the best step you take for restoring every part of your life.
Her message was one of my favorite talks, possibly because it spoke to me in this season of my life. She kept her audience captive throughout her talk. It was a powerful message.
I also learned Ann is an introvert like me, so even though I saw her at a backstage event, I didn’t bug her. I just processed her message.
Here are my notes from Ann’s talk:
- “You can’t walk anywhere honestly and authentically apart from His promises”
- “Nothing can overwhelm you like his grace can overtake you.”
- “The enemy only has two battle plans. To blind you from who God is and blind to who you are in Him”
Three game-changing principles for absolutely everyone…including pastors…
From Jehoshaphat’s story in 2 Chronicles 20:
1. When overwhelmed. Pause.
- It’s counter cultural and counter to our natural inclination, but it’s Christlike.
- Only then we will remember who we are in Christ and live out of our identity.
2. Be present to His presence in the present moment.
- Enter into His presence with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is always the right response to the presence of God.
- I know who God is…He is good. In one minute you have your identity.
3. Pour – We can only pour out of the filling of His presence.
- So many of us spend so much time fighting tomorrow’s battle with worry and yesterday’s battle with regret that they can’t live effectively within the battlefield of the present.
- Why would we rather strive hard for Jesus than be satisfied with what Jesus has already done for us?
- If you want your love to change the world, slow down enough to enjoy more of His love.
This was a life-giving message for me. Thanks Ann. Thanks Catalyst.
One of the parts I miss about being gone from the Nashville area is I no longer get to see my friend Pete Wilson. Thankfully, I can keep up with him through his writing. And, I’ll read whatever he writes. Pete has a way of packaging thoughts into an easy to digest and apply way. I love his most recent book “Let Hope In“, because I believe it’s what we need the most these days…hope. The church must be an agent of hope for a dark world. In this guest post, Pete shares some thoughts about hope as it relates to leadership. Enjoy.
Let Hope In – By Pete Wilson
I’ve always heard that hurt people, hurt people. I agree with this sentiment and would take it a step further and say that if hurt people, hurt people then hurt leaders, hurt LOTS of people.
I realize that in my position of leadership, my hurt, my patterns of sin, and my unaddressed issues can bring a tremendous amount of pain to the people entrusted to my leadership.
I think somewhere along the way, we leaders, (especially Christian leaders) have bought into this idea that we should be “beyond” or “above” being hurt. We think, “if I were a stronger Christian, then I wouldn’t hurt so much“.
This misconception has created a lot of habits for us. It’s why we keep secrets. It’s why we can put on facades and pretend we’re someone we’re not. We’ve learned how to say one thing and mean another, and how to hide fear and deceit behind a fake smile.
We learned how to respond to the question, “How are you?” with “I’m fine.” But deep down we know this isn’t true. We’re not fine. We’re not fine at all.
And in the midst of these whirling emotions I’m often tempted to want to exchange friends for fans, relationships for respect, and intimacy for influence.
Can I offer you a bit of advice as you head into the last 3 months of the year? Don’t be seduced by life on the pedestal.
Part of what I write about in my new book Let Hope In is that we are leaders but first we are human. We hurt, bleed, suffer, doubt, and stumble just like anyone else. We must learn to allow Christ to transform our pain or we’ll just transfer it to the people we lead.
I’m at Catalyst conference this week again. It has been a couple years since I have been here and I missed it. I didn’t decide until recently to attend, but was grateful at the opportunity to blog from here. The catalyst for this particular post may have been the reason I came.
I sat in on a session by Dr. Henry Cloud. He’s a popular (and one of my favorite) author of the book “Boundaries”. Recently he wrote the book “Boundaries for Leaders.” I may blog later about his talk, but one line he said prompted my thought process far beyond just what he said. I guess that’s what conferences are supposed to do…aren’t they?
He quoted James 1:5:
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
The part that jumps out at me is the two words “without criticizing”. Powerful. Life altering. Needed.
Maybe this is just for me. Perhaps you need it too.
God wants to share His wisdom with us. Nothing new there. He does it in various way…through His Word…through others…through life experiences. Nothing new there.
But, He does it without criticizing.
He knows you don’t know. He knows you make mistakes. He knows you need help. He knows you mess up. He knows you need more wisdom…which is why He’s willing to share it in the first place. Duh! Of course! So, you aren’t disappointing Him when you don’t know how to do what He’s calling you to do!
Thinking you should have the answer…just because you’ve been doing this pastor/leader thing a while…is dumb! You don’t have all the answers. In fact, when you pretend you do you are evidencing the reality of this post and proving you are very misguided.
God shares wisdom…when we seek it…without criticizing us for needing wisdom.
What wisdom do you need today?
Seek it! Unashamedly!
“Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” He told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. (John 21:6)
Cast your net on the right side!
The disciples had struggled all night and caught nothing.
Suddenly a voice cried out to them, “throw the nets on the right side”. When they did…they were unable to haul in the catch.
The disciples were given a visual reminder.
They should never forget that on the right side of the boat is where the fish are….
And…where is the “right side” in life?
The right side is where Jesus is!
The right side is where the Creator and Sustainer of all is located. The right side is where you and I find the hope of the world. The right side is the place of grace.
Are you casting the net of your life on the right side of the boat?
If you’re having a though time right now with life…could it be your casting your net on the wrong side of the boat?
Throw your net on the right side today!
Choose Jesus! Choose His way. Choose to obey.
This is a guest post by my friend Michael Kelley. Michael is Director of Discipleship, Lifeway Church Resources Division and an awesome author, husband, father and friend. I’ve shared his stuff before, because I believe in him and his work. As he releases his next book, I invited him to share some thoughts with my readers.
There is No Such Thing as Ordinary
I’ve never met a president. Or saved a child from a burning building. Or climbed Everest. I don’t run in powerful circles or tweet nuggets of wisdom adored by millions. My office walls don’t have pictures with me and the Queen of England or medals from my wins at the Olympic Games. Perhaps if I were an international man of mystery, I’d look over and see a picture of me standing next to a world leader at that ceremony when I was awarded some token for my bravery. Then I could turn and see another wall full of mementos and trinkets collected from my adventures. Instead I’m looking at four family pictures, a calendar, and a particularly fierce-looking rendering of a black and yellow fire- breathing dragon laying waste to a castle.
A regular life isn’t bad, necessarily. In fact, a certain kind of bliss accompanies the “normal” life. There aren’t a lot of surprises, and for a guy who has a to-do list for every day (with the last item on that list being “Make tomorrow’s list”), a lack of surprises can be very comforting. What is more, an ordinary life actually affords an opportunity to love things like pictures from an eight-year-old of dragons and castles. In an ordinary life, your existence becomes papered with moments like these.
And yet . . .
And yet there are those days that just feel boring. The routine becomes monotony, and you find yourself refreshing your e-mail over and over again, waiting for something—anything—to break up the ticking of the clock. You feel something inside of you, something that appreciates the life you have, but at the same time wonders if there’s something more. Something that you’re missing. I feel that way sometimes.
The truth is that we will all spend 90 percent of our time here on earth just doing life. Just being ordinary. If I were writing a self-help book, I might follow that realistic, slightly demotivating statement up with something like: “Break out of the ordinary. Pursue your bliss. Go skydiving. Do something important. Carpe diem.” The same motivation, in Christian terms, might read: “God’s will is that you have a life of adventure. Get out there and make an eternal difference. Do something big for God.”
All of those statements are true in a sense; all of them can be appropriate. What those statements communicate is that we should be focused on Jesus and expanding His kingdom. That should be our priority. Those statements challenge us to recognize that we only have a limited time here on earth, so we need to make sure we spend our time doing things that matter. However, implicit in an exhortation like “do something big for God” is the notion that we are currently not doing stuff that matters, and we have to abandon that insignificant stuff to break out of the rut—chase the dream . . . be the man . . . overcome obscurity . . . all that stuff.
Chasing dreams isn’t the problem. Neither is maximizing what you have to make a difference in the world for the sake of Christ. The problem is in our definition of significance.
People tend to believe that the pathway to significance is paved with the big, the showy, and the grand. The people who are most often lauded as influential are the ones doing the big, impressive things with their lives. Consequently, those same people cannot involve themselves in these mundane details of life. Indeed, the mundane details are like anchors that weigh a person down from the bigger and the better. So moving toward a life that matters involves moving past the details that don’t.
But what if we’re wrong? What if “bigness” is not an accurate measure of significance? What if the whole idea of “ordinary” is a myth? And what if a life of great importance isn’t found by escaping the details but embracing them? What if God actually doesn’t want you to escape from the ordinary, but to find significance and meaning inside of it?
That’s what this book is about. This book is for the stay-at-home mom and the office job dad. It’s for the regular church member and the ordinary citizen. It’s for the person who has ever looked at the seemingly mundane details of life and wondered if they are really doing anything that’s worthwhile. It’s for all of us ordinary people who are following an extraordinary God. My hope, as you read the first half of this book, is that you would be awakened to the myth of the ordinary as you see and extraordinary God who is constantly moving and working. Then, as you move into the second half of this book, I pray that you might see the greater purposes in a few specific, but often ordinary, areas of life that we tend to push to the margin. And maybe, when we get to the end, we will have begun to see God, and life, in a whole new way. Perhaps we will have begun to see that there really is no such thing as ordinary when you are following an extraordinary God.