Peace, love, joy, no pain, etc., etc.. In essence, we all want desperately to be connected. We all want to be connected to God, ourself, and others in some way shape or form. What is it YOU really want?
As I type this post, I am in pain. I have a degenerated disc at L-5 and the one above it is dying too. It hurts to move. It hurts to not move. It hurts my emotions to not be able to play with my young son the way I want to, and the way he needs me to. It hurts to not be able to help my wife with certain things or friends with other things. I’m basically being prevented from living the life I want….or am I? Perhaps I’m learning something.
What steps did I take to make change toward the life I want? I went outside of myself and got advice and help. My body hurts so I went to the body doctor. I went through visits with my general practitioner, then to the orthopedic doctor, then I endured physical therapy, then back to the orthopedic doctor, then to get an MRI and back again for a CT scan, then back to the orthopedic doctor to be referred to the neurosurgeon who is an hour away, have two visits and then to be scheduled for a surgery which I have not only been told is painful with a long recovery time, but I have watched the procedure on YouTube AND have visited a new friend from our church who just had the same identical surgery. ‘My’ surgery is scheduled for 5 weeks from today, and I am going through with it.
Why? What is it I”m really after here? What is it that makes all this agony and pain for the next few months, every day – all day,worth it? My only answer is this…for the results. I look forward to six months from now and will do what I need to, and what is told to me TO do. Results in my physical life is what I want; less pain; more fun and joy; for things to be better.
So then, why is it that we are not as eager to take these same seemingly painful steps to get the results we desire in our marriage, our relationships, in addiction recovery, and in our own spiritual walk with Jesus? Why, when the results are there to be had?
F.E.A.R. = Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real. WE (myself included) are so afraid of what we don’t know, but even more so when it comes to the truth of ourselves. “Who am I, really”? “What am I, really”? “Why do I do these things, really”? and “Do I even want to know”?
Society and the devil would have you think that you don’t really want to know these things and that it doesn’t matter, but it does. In order to get results in improving our relationships, and in sexual addiction recovery, we must take the painful steps of exploration to answer some of these types of questions. I know I want my marriage to be able to make it through anything but am I really willing to go through painful stuff to ensure that it can? Am I willing to be transparent and vulnerable, open to possible rejection? Am I willing to allow my wife to do the same and not judge her or condemn her for her thoughts and feelings? We all have them and that doesn’t mean that they are true or real, it’s just fear preventing it. We fantasize about the rejection instead of setting up ways to have safe and comfortable conversations where we can be honest about our needs, wants, and desires that are in most cases not being met in healthy or godly ways. Establishing safe talks is vital. It’s like a doctor’s visit when something is wrong physically; we share our pains in a non-violent way, without anger, without resentment, and without blame. Then we quietly listen to what is said in return, with respect, with consideration, with a desire to know what we can do to get better results in the situation. How about at home? In bed at night? During or after dinner? While co-raising your children? Are you seeking future results, or not really?
Marriage requires work – INTENTIONAL work and effort on both sides. To see results and change, and to have your needs met means going through some painful relationship ‘surgery’ for a short time to experience the fullness of what God has blessed you with; each other, and a purpose FOR your marriage. And in recovery from sexual sin there is hope to the max and a life of freedom just waiting for you to seek it out, with Jesus. But there are painful steps here as well.
Consider these thoughts;
God wants all of me, and am I willing to give it over to His control? What will that mean giving up? What will it mean to me spiritually to suffer a short while to receive the crown that is promised to those who overcome? How else does one connect with God? Is God worth it?
To connect with myself is to understand and accept myself the way God made me, and to find and then do what His will for my life is as He directs. Ask yourself – What needs to happen for me to understand and accept the ‘real’ me? What am I holding onto that is preventing this? Who can help me with making this discovery? Will I seek them and be transparent? When will I do this? Am I worth it, really? (Yes, you are)
Connecting with others is equally important, and equally difficult. There are many variables to consider, but the three most vital are 1) communication 2) understanding 3) acceptance. And these each ride on the two-way street of life. So ask yourself – How do I communicate my thoughts, feelings, and needs to others I am close to? Am I approachable for hard talks? What do I understand most about significant others in my life? Do they understand me? Can I accept others for who they are without trying to make them fit a particular mold I expect them to fit? Can I truly forgive?
Getting what we want doesn’t always happen when, or the way, we would have it. But it does happen. When we are physically sick, we go to the body doctor; when we are emotionally and mentally sick, we go to the mental health doctors; and when we are relationally sick, we should go to a relationship doctor; and when we are struggling with an addiction of sexual nature, we need to go to someone who’s been there in the pit and has directions for the way out, without judgement or condemnation. Each way, there are Intentional steps to take, and guidance to follow for the results we desire. Jesus knew this all too well and simply said “Follow Me”. His guidance is like no others and is the light we follow for restoration and healing. He also says to deny ourselves and carry our own crosses. Painful and fearful steps to take, but what great rewards waiting ahead. Isn’t this what we all truly want more than anything; Connection with our Lord Jesus? So what are you willing to do to find connection with God, your self, and others? What is the cost, and what is the reward? How about having every one of your needs met in ways that glorify the Father, honor your wife, self, and others.
Won’t you walk with me along the path of painful steps? God tells us to “fear not”, and “I will lead the blind along unfamiliar paths, I will turn the darkness into light and make the rough places smooth. This I will do. I will not leave them or forsake them”. I won’t either.