Saturday, November 5, 2011

Staggering Reality

I recently had the opportunity to read a report by Josh McDowell that has some updated statistics about the use and availability of porn in our world today. These statistics are staggering when you look at the change in our world over the last 10 yrs alone. I believe with many other world church leaders that internet pornography is the biggest threat to the family. If you are caught in the trap or a family member is caught please ask for help. This is a bigger problem than you can fight on your own. You will need help and resources to find long term success and healing.

Below you will find the link to the McDowell's paper which includes these statistics.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We were created for this!

So many times when I am counseling men, I hear these words "I just wish God would take this away from me". Whenever I hear that from a man who is struggling with lust, sexual impurity, or sexually addictive behaviors, I have to stop them and ask, "What is it you are asking God to remove"? Often we want God to just zap the struggle out of us, miraculously "remove all our shortcomings", take it way. I have found that the healing is in winning the battle over lust. Walking the journey out with others who can help you along the way.

The Message version of James 5:16 says "Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. ". This says to me that part of the healing journey is walking this out with others and learning how to manage our temptation, lust and sin.
We were created to be sexual beings. God crafted this amazing gift of sexuality into each of us. We were created to be aroused by the sexuality around us. It is right and normal that we are "turned on" by the media and how much sexuality is in our culture today. We find our bodies and minds responding in a normal healthy way to the sexuality in our culture today. However, we are called to renew our minds. Romans 12:2 In this act of renewing our minds we are choosing to focus on healthy, Godly and relationship building things rather than t
he temptations that are around every corner.

So give yourself a break, acknowledge the temptation is there, acknowledge that you are normal and that the goal is to be successful in navigating this beautiful gift of sexuality and learn to manage it in a healthy marriage relationship. It's about learning to avoid the temptations, relationally confessing when the temptation is nearby, and choosing to connect sexually in a marriage relationship rather than false intimacy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reading True Faced

Over the last year I have been reading and re-reading a book recommended by a former professor of mine True Faced. My professor recommended this book about three years ago and it took me a couple of years to pick it up. I used the excuse that I was too busy in grad school to read anything else. Now I realize what he was trying to get me to see. This book has radically transformed my life.

If there is anyone one book that I recommend to my clients it is this one. I believe that the subject matter of True Faced is what many of my client struggle with. Are we going to be honest with God and others as to who we really are? We have all experienced actions from others that have hurt us as well as our own behaviors that have hurt others. It is our shame and denial that keeps us from admitting the truth about ourselves that often keeps us in relational conflict.

I know in my own life, when I am in conflict with my wife it is usually because one of us is having a difficult time admitting our own flaws. (usually me). I have found that relational healing takes place when I remove my mask of "I've got this all together" and admit that I am not really who I am pretending to be that we are able to see each other and intimacy is created.

If there is one book that I would recommend this year it is True Faced. Pick it up and let it change your life.

Also check out these helpful resources from the authors.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Problem is....

Those words of Dr. Tim Nelson at Friends University often ring in my ears. I get the amazing privilege of sitting with a couple or family who are having difficulty in their relationship. These words many times are sitting in the back of my mind to help me with the case. “The problem is, the definition of the relationship.” This simple yet complex diagnosis can be the help that a couple needs to see the changes that they wish to make in their relationship.

Most relationships can be categorized under two categories that define how the relationship is going to operate.

PEER relationships are those husband-wife, friend-friend, brother-sister, coworker – coworker, ect. These relationships are characterized by each of the persons involved in the relationship have the same amount of power, control and influence. There is not one side of the relationship that is unbalanced.

POSITIONAL relationships are the employer – employee, parent – child, judge – defendant, ect. These relationships are characterized by one of the individuals having a greater degree of power, control, and influence over the other.

When we have entered into a relationship such as a husband – wife, each spouse is expecting to have a balanced amount of power, control, and influence. Conflict begins to happen with one spouse begins to experience that the other is taking a greater degree of power, control, and influence. The husband – wife relationship could be characterized as a parent – child relationship. It is at the point that the relationship has been redefined as a positional relationship rather than a peer, conflict begins.

We get one relationship with any given person. When we begin to play more than one role we start to create blurred boundary lines. Example. Boss – Secretary = Positional relationship. Things are good. Boss starts to confide in secretary and they build a friendship, = peer relationship. That relationship might have just taken a detrimental turn.

Play the one role in all your relationships well and you will find peace, safety and security with those you love.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Family Reunions

Recently, I had the experience of reconnecting with some of my extended family in the ever dreaded FAMLY REUNION!!!! I am sure that my nervous anticipation of the judgment and ridicule is a familiar experience to many others. As a kid, I was experienced by my cousins and extended family as being extremely spoiled. However, on the inside I experienced great shame and embarrassment of who I was. As I reflect on what I must have been like as a child, I am sure that I was trying to cover up my feelings of inadequacy and shame by being annoying, frustrating, and generally rotten.

Fast forward 30 years, I am sitting around the campfire with the same family members who I provided great material for teasing and harassing and I was able to experience love and acceptance. Much of the time was spent catching up on each others lives. However, there were moments when I felt we were able to look past the image of our youth and see who we are as adults. Many of us have had tremendous relational difficulties, marriage failures, and deaths that have impacted us deeply. While there were the usual jabs at each other, there were also the moments of reality that each of us is tied to the other through the stories of our lives, our parent’s lives, and our past generations. In this place of pain, struggle, success, and love, we were able to stand together and find acceptance and healing.

As with many of my clients, I am no different in that the story of my life has played a significant role in creating who I am today. The same insecurities that I experiences as a child can often show up and have me behave in ways that are frustrating and hurtful to others. In these moments when these insecurities show their ugly head, I find it difficult to stand firm in who I believe that God has created me to be. I find that to be the honest, confident, self-accepting man that God created me to be can be extremely difficult in times that are awkward, scary and uncomfortable.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to be involved in a seminar that is built on the idea that “you cannot change or heal what you do not acknowledge’. So, I continue to acknowledge my wounds, fears, and shame and step forward into the future with confidence that God will continue to work in me to be whom I was created to be all along. It is also my greatest pleasure to walk beside my clients who are struggling to find who they are created to be, and help them find acceptance and love. I am sure I am not alone on this journey, so if you find this a difficulty for you, talk with a trained professional that can help you find the amazing person God has created you to be.