8 Things I Would Tell Someone Who is Struggling With Porn

Pornography can feel like a python squeezing the life out of you. I know first hand, I was caught in the trap for years. The struggle can feel like a vicious cycle that pulls you deeper into hurt and isolation. We need lifelines, rescue ropes, and voices of strength that push us to endure and fight for our freedom. Advice while struggling with sin can be well intentioned but poorly executed. We can leave with condemnation, more rules, and less hope. This isn’t one of those times, this is a lifeline, a piece of advice that will help you. Let’s dive in!

 

Don’t believe the lie that you will struggle with this forever

 

The intensity of a struggle should never determine your hope. You could be struggling with sin for 2 years or 10, it doesn’t matter, our hope rests in Jesus came to set us free. Freedom is God’s standard and we should line up our perspective with His. God has paved a way for freedom and the first thing we do is believe it’s possible despite our experiences. As a man walking in freedom for over 7 years, I want you to know it’s very possible to live free.

 

Don’t hide it, talk to someone who isn’t struggling

 

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It can be a terrifying to talk about your struggle but it’s a necessary step on the road to living completely free. Jesus breaks all our shame so that telling our struggle can be liberating. God has designed our lives to be healthiest when we’re in community. When we open ourselves up to healthy community we begin to receive their strength. Isolation is never the pathway to healing rather, community is essential to freedom.

 

Don’t live by rules but by your identity 

 

Rules and plans can appear wise but they fail because they’re built around the assumption that our behavior is the problem. This is a revolutionary idea for many but your struggle with pornography isn’t the problem. It’s the fruit of the problem and the real issue is how you see yourself. Do you see yourself as loved by God? Do you see yourself as forgiven by God? Do you view your past as your past? When we give our life to Jesus, the Bible says we become a new creation. Our identity is no longer defined by what we do but what Jesus has done. We are not pure because we stick to a purity plan. We’re pure because Jesus has made us pure. This is the origin of healthy behavior. Proverbs says that “as a man thinks in his heart so he is.”  How we view ourselves is crucial and Jesus gives us a new identity that will change our behavior. We’re not recovering, horrible sinners anymore. Jesus has transformed us into new people and we need to start living like it’s true.

 

Don’t be foolish, get some boundaries

 

Boundaries are tools that when used well promote health. Boundaries are not just a list of things you can do. Boundaries protect what you have said yes to in life. You can make boundaries that say “no computer after 10pm because I don’t want to look a porn” or you can make boundaries that say “I don’t look at my computer after 10pm because I value the purity God gave me.” Boundaries work best when they protect what you value not what your afraid of doing.

 

Get your needs met in healthy ways

 

We all have needs in life, for example we all need to feel loved. Now, if we don’t know how to meet that need in a healthy way we can fall into sin. Most men who fall into pornography have had a hard time finding love. Not love like a girlfriend but unconditional love that gives them worth and value outside of what they do. The need to feel loved is the need to know our worth. If you can find healthy ways to find your worth you will start beating pornography to the ground. An example would be to get worth from God and know how much He loves you.

 

God is good and he is for you 

 

How we view God determines so much about our life. Once I discovered that God is good and wasn’t out to punish me then I leaned into Him. I stopped being afraid of Him and started to trust Him. This led me into living in His strength. I now could approach Him because I knew He loved me and was for me. He not only had the power to help me but he wanted to help me. This was crucial in my journey to living free from pornography. I no longer felt God was angry but that He loved me and was there for me.

 

Temptation doesn’t mean you’re broken inside

 

Temptation is real, Jesus dealt with it. Most of us however deal with it very different than Jesus. The moment we’re tempted we think it’s because we have a problem inside of us. The bible says Jesus was tempted in all ways but without sin. This is huge; temptation isn’t a sin. Temptation can lead to sin but it doesn’t start as sin. We have to remember that the enemy tempts us and we always have a way out of it. Does that mean all temptation doesn’t come from within? No, some temptation comes because we perpetuate it through sin and poor thinking. But not all temptation comes from within us as Jesus revealed with being tempted by satan.

 

Don’t believe the lie that because you’ve looked at pornography now you wont have good sex when your married

 

I have had so many questions and sometimes statements about sex in marriage after being addicted to pornography. The concern is that now you won’t be able to get the images out of your head or you’ll be triggered by it. I am here to tell you that it’s possible to have a great sex life in marriage and not let any of your past affect you. Does it mean the enemy doesn’t try? No, he does try but his success is determined by me and I don’t let him win. God loves sex and He designed it for marriage, so you have more support than you think.

 

Chris Cruz is currently a full time Pastor at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA. It’s a school of over 1800 students that’s dedicated to equipping revivalists to pursue worldwide transformation in their God given sphere of influence. Along with BSSM, He speaks at Bethel Redding on Friday nights and helps lead Tribe Young Adults.
 
Website: chrisjosephcruz.com
Facebook: facebook.com/chriscruzpage
Twitter: @chrisjosephcruz
Instagram: @chriscruz

 


Does Siri know you better than your friends?

Who are you connecting with?


 

Did you know that the average person checks their phone 110 times a day?*

 

I was in a bit of disbelief when I heard this, until I paid attention.

 

It didn’t matter if I was in a conversation, eating dinner, watching a movie, or just hanging out- I noticed that people we’re always on their phones. (I wish I could say I was exempt from that group, but I can’t.) But why? The obvious answer would be the plethora of distraction. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Temple Run, Candy Crush- the list goes on! But why? Are we really that bored and lethargic that we’ll open Instagram 3 times in less than a minute just to keep ourselves occupied? Or is there something else going on?

 

I think, sometimes, it’s easier for us to be numb than to be sad. Sometimes, instead of dealing with the stress of bills, we watch a show we don’t even follow. Sometimes, distraction is easier than confrontation. Sometimes, instead of calling a friend and asking how they are doing, we check out their Facebook and decide for them. If we’re not careful and we remain unaware of this problem, “sometimes” will lead to “all the time,” and we will find ourselves scared, isolated, and alone.

 

Community matters. Having people in your life that know about the details of your life- the fears, the victories, the struggles, the relationships, the hurt, the promotions- matters! Living on your own, isolated and independent, will only get you so far. You need people who can love you through your messes and celebrate you in your victories! You don’t need 20 people to know everything and having one person is better than no person, but 3-5 is healthy and realistic. Plus, with numbers, you gain the variety of perspective and experience.

 

So, who knows you? Besides Siri.

 

– Anna Weygandt (Intern)

 

* Woollaston, V. (2013, Oct 08). How often do you check your phone? The average person does it 110 times a day (and up to every 6 seconds in the evening). Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2449632/How-check-phone-T…

4 More Guys You Should Never Date

MR. WRONG (CONTINUED)

 

Just because we had so much fun writing our last list, 5 Guys You Should Never Date, we wanted to hit you with another list. Your welcome! Here are 4 More Guys You Should Never Date.

 

1. Mr. Jokes-On-You

“Babe, I was just kidding. I’m sorry you took it the wrong way.”

The Mr. Jokes-On-You is easy to date because he’s funny… at first. He gets your humor and you get his, however, it doesn’t take long before you become the but of his jokes. He oftentimes tells you to loosen up, or to not take their jokes so seriously. Listen:


In a relationship, jokes at the expense of someone you care about are called attacks.


No one likes to be made fun of. Especially because relationships are about building trust and support. Anything that does the reverse is only working against your connection. This doesn’t mean you can’t joke around, that would be ridiculous. Instead, take time to discover what you both enjoy. Try watching a funny movie together or going to a local comedy club. In time, shared experiences will begin to transform the things you laugh about.

2. Mr. “Right”

“I see what you’re saying, but…”

The problem here isn’t when he’s right. It’s the attitude he carries because he’s decided to become the answer to all of life’s problems. It’s amazing how much animosity is created in a relationship when someone decides your need for understanding is less important than their need to be right. You can’t argue with Mr. “Right”, and if he’s been at it for a long time then…


he definitely knows how to keep his composure…


while making you look like the “emotional/out-of-control” one. It’s okay, we feel you. The best way to avoid Mr. “Right” is to look for social cues early on. See how he interacts with people he’s not in a close-relationship with. Watch his communication style, and ask yourself some of these questions: “Is he simply hearing or trying to understand?”, “Does he ignore someone in middle of a conversation (especially if that person might potentially be wrong)?”, “Does he always have the last word?”, and “Does he consider ‘dumb people’ an actual people group?”

3. Mr. Insecurities

“Tell me honestly, do you think he’s better looking than me?”

From the simple yet profound words of Mrs. Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” If a man doesn’t believe he has something good to offer, then he needs to work that out. That is not your responsibility, otherwise you will become his source of confidence. It may sound nice at first, but give it some time and you’ll find out…


it’s not worth it!


This goes back to the two powerful people spiel I mentioned earlier in 5 Guys You Should Never Date. Just to clarify, it takes two powerful people to establish a healthy relationship, not to simply create one. Anyone can start a relationship and have it look healthy for the first few weeks. What I mean is: two people who know who they are and are comfortable with themselves, know their needs and when not to overindulge, are responsible, and can pretty much lead normal lives by themselves.

The beauty of finding someone who is powerful, is that even though they can reasonably manage their own life, they are extremely confident in the fact that they have chosen to share it with you.

4. Mr. ‘Fraidy Cat

“Why should we get married? It’s just a dumb piece of paper anyways.”

Isn’t the purpose of all this dating to finally find someone to spend the rest of your life with? Marriage isn’t just some dumb piece of paper, or even some whimsical happy ending to your relationship problems. It’s hard work! It literally means, “You can’t leave or I take half of whatever your worth.” A lot of times, the problem isn’t finding a man who will pop the question, it’s finding the balance between freedom and pressure during your dating phase.

To avoid someone who’s naturally afraid of commitment, try establishing marriage as one of your goals early on in the relationship. Sometimes it’s best to wait until you feel your relational intimacy deepening, and other times it’s best when you just can’t keep your hands off each other.


Commitment on a superficial level means no one else gets to have you.


But don’t settle for just that. Challenge yourself to find out what commitment really means to you personally. Pray about it, and when you think you have the answer bring someone else into your process.

 

If you have any of your own dating advice, tips, or dilemmas, then feel free to leave a comment below. Our team would love to give you some feedback.


5 Guys You Should Never Date

MR. WRONG

 

So we’ve all had our fair share of scheming, sketchy exes. You know, those people you run into 5 years later and thank God you got out when you could. But why do we date those people? And how can we avoid making the same mistakes? For the sake of all humanity, or maybe just us single ladies, our team came up with a list of 5 Guys You Should Never Date.

 

1. Mr. Mad Man

“I don’t know why I always seem to lose control. I’m working on it. Just bear with me… I’ll change.”

He may or may not change, but that’s not your problem. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who can’t control their temper.


Managing your emotions is a sign of maturity, and should not be ignored.


Sometimes we get into these relationships unexpectedly because he can handle small disputes. Then we rush to commitment without actually handling any real conflict. The best way to avoid the Mr. Mad Man is to give the relationship time. Try not to snuff rising disagreements, and learn to celebrate your differences instead.

2. Mr. Mama’s Boy 

“I really don’t do my own laundry… or my own taxes.”

Loving your Mom is cute, but there comes a time in every man’s life where he has to leave the nest. It’s true, how a man treats his mom is a clue to how they will treat you, but he shouldn’t come to depend on his mother at the end of the day.


He needs to break up with his mom before he starts dating you.


You need two powerful people in a relationship for it to work well. If only one of you can have the power at a time then you should really reconsider whether or not you’re being his girlfriend or his new mom.

3. Mr. Chronic Complainer

“Do we have to? This is really stupid.”

Complaining is a passive way of letting people know your wants, needs, expectations, and desires. It’s one thing to complain about a messed-up order or waiting in line, but to complain all the time…


Really?


If you’re dating a Mr. Chronic Complainer, sometimes making them aware of their behavior solves nothing. In fact, if you bring it up he’ll probably just find a way to complain about you!

To avoid the Mr. Chronic Complainer find ways to establish short and long-term goals in your relationship. Be open about your wants, needs, expectations, and desires. The next time your man tries to complain, allow them to be honest and upfront with phrases like: “What do you really want?”, “Can you just be honest with me?”, and “I’m for you, just help me understand what you need.”

4. Mr. Why Bother

“I don’t feel like it. Why don’t you do it?”

Being motivated is more than just going after what you want. It means being able to make tough choices because you have a vision for your life and your relationships. Mr. Why Bother is incapable of just that. Most of time, he just puts down others who seem to be going places; all in an effort to down-play their own complacent behavior.


It’s a trap!


Do not get caught up! The best way to avoid Mr. Why Bother is to get moving! Find reasons to get up and go after your own dreams. Nothing scares complacent people more than someone who’s motivated.

5. Mr. Playa’

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Wrong! Anyone who refers to a relationship as a game should be shunned.

Why you say? It’s because it’s easy to love Mr. Playa’. He’s smooth, easy to talk to, funny, charming, and smells great. He’s someone you can take back to your friends and family, and they either think he’s a catch… OR they swear he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Yet, we ignore the latter.


Yes, you have permission to date beautiful people…


but you should never sacrifice the wisdom of your friends and family on the altar of self gratification. Period!  The best way to avoid the Mr. Playa’ is to stop ignoring the people God has so graciously placed into your life.

If you have any of your own dating advice, tips, or dilemmas, then feel free to leave a comment below. Our team would love to give you some feedback. By the way, we know we missed a few so stay tuned!


9 Steps To A New Life

 

Countless people are imprisoned by life-controlling sin and mind-numbing fear. Here are nine strategies on how to escape the grasp of the enemy and win the battle against hopelessness. If you are held hostage by the fear of failure, despair and depression, these steps will help you break free from the chains that hold you captive and win the victory against sin. Get ready to unlock divine opportunities and be released into your destiny!

1. Admit that you’re wrong and that it was no one else’s fault but yours.

2. Ask yourself what the real root cause of your failure is – what’s really wrong?

3. Repent; be truly sorry and change your mind about the core reason why you failed.

4. Clean up your mess; ask forgiveness of everyone and anyone that your failure affected. It doesn’t matter that they failed also. That’s not your business when you are trying to change your own life.

5. Find somebody who’s really strong in the place that you failed and ask them to mentor and disciple you.

6. Ask God to give you strength every day to turn your life around. When you fall down get right back up and don’t feel sorry for yourself.

7. Refuse to give up; don’t make excuses for your failures or defend yourself when you’re corrected. Receive wise people’s input into your life.

8. Forgive yourself because God has forgiven you. Refuse to live in regret of the past.

9. Have a big YES in your life; find a reason to live for Jesus, a purpose that you are willing to die for.

Have these steps spoken to you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 36 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

The Invisible Effects of Sex Before Marriage?

QUESTION


What are some of the effects of sex before marriage?

 

THE TEAM’S ANSWER


We know what you’re probably expecting from an article like this– Yes, sex before marriage can lead to unplanned pregnancy. Yes, it can lead to sexually transmitted infections. Yes, it can increase the risk of identity issues, depression, and broken relationships. But, there’s so much more to talk about than that, particularly some of the invisible effects of sex.

First let’s start by understanding this: we can’t stop our bodies from doing what they were created to do. What were they created to do? Bond. We were created to connect with another human being in such a way that we would become one unit, together, for life.

Why does this happen?
Because our hormones cause us to glue, so-to-speak, with our partner. No amount of consent or informed decision making can change that. There’s a bonding that occurs that supersedes a mere skin-to-skin connection. Scientifically, we know that sex engages us hormonally, neurologically, psychologically; it forms intense bonds mentally, emotionally, and physically, especially when we do it over and over again.1

How does this happen?
Quite simply, any kind of sexual activity that takes place releases chemicals in our brains. For women, it is primarily the hormone oxytocin, and for men it is vasopressin. Oxytocin allows a woman to bond to the most significant people in her life. It eases stress, creating feelings of calm and closeness, which leads to increased trust. It also causes her to want to nurture and protect the one she’s bonded to. Vasopressin is very similar to oxytocin, except that it is primarily released in the brain of men. This hormone causes a man to bond to a woman during intimate contact. Some call it the “commitment hormone” or “monogamy molecule”. This hormone generates a desire for commitment and rouses loyalty. It inspires a protective sense over one’s mate, and can create a “jealous” tendency.2 There is a third set of hormones called endorphins released during sexual activities, and they affect both genders. Endorphins are what we call happy hormones. They are highly addictive and cause us to want to experience the rush again and again and again.
What makes things even more interesting is that these hormones are  values-neutral.3 Whether it’s a one-time encounter or a lifelong commitment, we bond the same way. It also crystallizes these emotional memories in our minds, making these encounters and experiences difficult to forget.

Now, in a marriage, these hormones are extremely motivating and helpful. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that some days marriage would get hard. He knew we would need some help choosing each other day after day, over and over again. He knew that some days we wouldn’t like our spouse very much. We would argue. Bills would come in. Babies would get sick. In-laws would come to town. Emergencies would happen. Stress would overshadow the relationship. So, He installed an over-ride system (hormones) that would cause us to stick together through thick and thin, in good times and bad, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. It would cause us to feel devoted, loyal, possessive, and willing to endure trials to keep what belongs to us. What an intelligent Designer we have.

So, what happens when we have multiple sexual partners?
Scientifically, we know this: As we bond and break, bond and break, bond and break, we lose our ability to properly bond.4 When we’re ready for that new, serious relationship or marriage, something is missing that prevents us from fully bonding; we don’t feel that connected or committed. Our feelings may seem to diminish. When we see someone else a little more exciting, more appealing, more perfect for us, we’re ready to move on in a heartbeat. The condition of being “crazy in love” suddenly disappears. We may say we don’t feel all that excited anymore. We may even lose faith in falling in love again.
This is why it is important to protect our purity; spirit, soul, and body. We must understand that ability to be pure and save ourselves is not just a religious ideal. It’s not just about giving your valuable v-card to someone. That’s not the point. The point is to keep our stickiness intact so that when we find the right person, we connect with them for life.

 

*For more information, check out Hooked: New Science On How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children by McIlhaney and Bush.

References:
1. McIlhaney, Joe S., and Freda McKissic Bush. Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2008. Print. 45.

2. Ibid., 41-42
3. Ibid., 33
4. Ibid., 43


Silencing Shame

 

Have you ever heard that little voice in your head say…?

“You don’t fit in”

“Nobody likes you”

“You’re stupid”

“You’re the only one who has made this mistake”

“How could God love you? I mean He really knows everything about you”

“You’re not lovable”

“You will never fulfill your destiny”

Have you ever felt like…?

“Everyone is against me”

“I’m not as good as others”

“I just can’t do anything right”

“Maybe if I just try harder, then…”

“I’m all alone”

“I hate myself”

“I’m worthless”

If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, shame could be speaking to you.

 

SHAME HAS BEEN SPEAKING SINCE THE GARDEN OF EDEN

When Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, guilt was an appropriate symptom of their disobedience. Guilt is built into our conscience to let us know when we have done something that threatens our connection with God.

Guilt is actually a good thing. It’s like a warning light on a car’s dashboard that lets you know when something needs attention before the engine blows up.

Guilt is from God

Shame is from Satan

Guilt says, “You did something wrong,” like when the apostle Paul said, “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Guilt is about what we’ve done.

Shame goes further: It speaks to who we are.

Shame is the sense of feeling unworthy. It’s a core (even subconscious) belief of unworthiness.

Shame says, “You are wrong.” “You are a sinner.” “You are bad.” “You are not good enough.”

Shame asks, “Who do you think you are?

 

SHAME ATTEMPTS TO SPEAK TO OUR IDENTITY

If the devil can convince us that we do not have a supernatural identity as children of God, then he can derail us from our supernatural destiny.

When Jesus was baptized, he heard the Father say, “This is my son…” Identity. Interestingly, Jesus did not preach one message, heal one sick person, or prophesy until he first heard of his true identity. We can only fulfill our supernatural destiny to the degree that we believe our supernatural identity.

 

SHAME TRIES TO TALK US OUT OF OUR IDENTITY

After his baptism, Jesus was led out into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Two times, the devil assaulted Jesus’ identity when he challenged him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” And then, “If you are the Son of God, jump off of the Temple’s roof.”

The devil was attempting to tempt Jesus into performing to prove his identity because he knew that if Jesus took the challenge, it would demonstrate that he did not really know who he was. Moreover, he would have to spend the rest of his life proving his identity over and over. Knowing our true identity prevents performance for approval.

 

SHAME IS THE SOURCE OF PERFECTIONISM

Shame always seeks to seduce its prey into perfectionism. When we listen to shame, we will never feel secure in our identity. We will always need to do more to prove that “we are O.K.”, while never actually appeasing shame’s appetite for approval.

The pursuit of feeling worthy by being better, more successful, thinner, smarter, wealthier, accomplished, or even in “good” busyness, is a futile attempt at cultivating a godly sense of worthiness.

The apostle Paul states in Ephesians 2:10 that, “We are saved by grace, not of ourselves; it is a gift of God, so that no one can boast.” That means you cannot earn worthiness. We are worthy of God’s love because of His grace – nothing more.

Additionally, we were God’s treasures before we ever became Christians – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” When God created Adam and Eve, He said that they were “good;” they had intrinsic worth – worthiness – His treasures.

 

SHAME SILENCERS:

1. Learn how to recognize God’s voice from the devil’s voice.

Ask yourself, “Is what I’m hearing the truth or a lie?” Try writing down all of the times shame speaks to you during the day. You may be surprised at how often shame is speaking.

2. Learn how to be vulnerable.

Shame loves secrecy. The truth will set us free. Being open and honest requires great risk, but also reaps great reward. Begin with yourself, God, and then reach out to someone who can give you good feedback. Telling someone that we have been listening to shame releases us from the power of secrecy, and silences shame.

3. Learn to recognize your feelings.

Empathy is the antidote to shame. When we are able to discern and identify our feelings and the feelings of others, it creates a pathway to finding out what we need from God, others, and ourselves. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” “What do I need?”

4. Learn to take every thought captive.

You are going to be tempted to believe and act in negative, hurtful, and dysfunctional ways to the shame messages spoken to you. Shame is silenced when we take ownership of our mistakes, accept our limitations, deficiencies, and limitations, as well as interpret other people’s motives correctly. Take responsibility in submitting shaming thoughts and feelings to become obedient to Christ’s perspective (2 Corinthians 10:5).

5. Learn how to listen through the ears of faith.

Ask yourself, “What does God want to say to me about my identity right now?” “What does He think about me?” Additionally, begin reading Scripture from the perspective that God is for you, that you are a good man or woman, that you are a saint saved by grace, an overcomer, the apple of His eye.

6. Learn to be grateful.

The fact is that you are wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). Being grateful for how God has made you in all of your limitations and imperfections will help you to replace shame with acceptance and love. Every time you hear shame messages left on your mental voice mail, erase them with gratitude. Thankfulness prepares the way for breakthrough.

We hope this post helps you silence the shame messages that have been sent to you.

Be looking for some more important practical tips on how to silence shame coming soon!

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 36 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

Pt. 3: The White Knuckle Approach To Purity

 

In case you missed part 1 and part 2 of this series, let’s do a quick recap:

At Moral Revolution we’ve come to find that there are three main environments in which we learn about sex. We call them the silent environment, the saturated environment, and the conflicted environment. Why is this important? Well, before we can grow in truth and freedom in our sexuality, we need to see where we’ve come from.

As the Bible puts it, we build knowledge line upon line, and precept upon precept. This means that we’ll stack new knowledge on top of our current understanding and hope it sticks. If we’re honest, most of us, in one way or another, have some shaky foundations when it comes to our sexuality. We need to expose and let go of cracked, slanted, or unstable sexual foundations if we’re going to be able to become a society of sexually stable, healthy, free individuals, couples, and families.

In parts 1 and 2 we discussed the silent environment and the saturated environment. In this blog we’re going to talk about the conflicted environment– the one most often seen in contemporary church cultures.

Imagine a bedroom door that swings open and closed. You get a glimpse of something — an idea, an experience — but before you can figure out what’s going on, the door closes. We see this happen a lot in the church. We’re told, “Once you’re married, you get full access to whatever is behind there. However, before that day comes, you shouldn’t even want to look inside. If you do, for shame! Shame on you for even wanting to know what’s inside of there, you little pervert.”

Then, once you’re married, the door swings wide open and the message changes to, “It’s going to be amazing! Once you get through that door, it will be unbelievable. Euphoric. You’re not just marrying a person, you’re marrying a sex slave. They’re going to do everything you’ve ever imagined. Buckle up, baby, it’s going to be the ride of your life! Don’t worry — you’ll know what to do once you get there.”

“But hey, you’re not married yet. You just stay pure and don’t look in there because God forbid you get a glimpse of something you can’t have, lest you succumb to temptation.”

In this environment, we may feel like we’re living a double life. We want to be pure, but we peek through the door because we have thoughts, desires, and hair growing in new places. We’re being drawn by a natural curiosity about ourselves and others. We feel shame, and yet the desire to know more is insatiable. As we white-knuckle it to our wedding night, we begin to dream up and cling to unrealistic expectations about what sex will be. Unfortunately, while the “hope” we have for sex may help us stay pure in the waiting, it can lead us into unforeseeable disappointment and pain if we’re not careful.

“Although it’s beautiful to have the desire to “follow the rules” and be pure, it’s not enough. We must know why we want and need this in order to be healthy and live purely. The white-knuckle approach to purity may control behaviors, but it can’t resolve a heart condition or change a belief system.” – The Naked Truth About Sexuality

The conflict classically arises when we get married and walk through the door, only to realize that sex does not start as a magical, euphoric experience. We are taken aback, confused. We are hurt that it wasn’t everything we were told it would be. Sometimes there is even shame involved, particularly for women, who have to make a sudden transition from sex being bad or forbidden to good and expected.

As you can see, this environment, even with its celebration of virginity and married-sex, doesn’t fully translate the reality of sex. Sex is a language, not just an experience of pleasure. We learn to give and take within this secret world where a private connection is taking place; our bodies and souls are building memories, creating bonds and being knit together. All of this takes time to grow into — not just sex itself, but yourself and your spouse: body, soul, and spirit. It is a life-long learning adventure, not of a series of one night stands.

In this conflicted environment, the kind of inner monologue we hear is, “I’m just going to try to do what I’m supposed to do, and hopefully I don’t mess it all up.” How many of us have heard something similar to this in the church? “Do it this way. Why? Because it’s the right way.” Our response to this teaching is, “I want to be pure because I need to be pure.”

Although it’s beautiful to have that desire, it’s not enough. We must know why we want and need this in order to be healthy and live purely.


The white-knuckle approach to purity may control behaviors, but it can’t resolve a heart condition or change a belief system.


Striving starts when we operate out of rules without understanding the love and purpose behind them. When we pursue any ideal outside of love, we will never produce fruit that remains. This is why so many of us just want to pray away our sex drives and escape the growing process altogether; it’s too hard to try to do it on our own.

When God gave you your sex drive, He had a plan. He knew that it would take self-control and patience to manage. He knew it would require you to grow in all of the other fruits of the Spirit as well — love for yourself, joy and peace in the waiting, kindness toward yourself and others, good choices, and faithfulness as you trust in Him. He knew that you wouldn’t be able to do it without His help. And He said it was good.

In giving you your sex drive, God had a plan to grow you up, both in maturity and relationship with Him. Because He started this good work in you, He will be faithful to see it completed. He is not going to leave you until you figure out how to be perfect. He is going to teach you how to steward your sex drive in a way that honors Him as well as the person you will eventually commit to for the rest of your life. No matter how hard you pray for it to leave, He won’t take your sex drive away; it was a gift!

So, what are we supposed to do about it? My suggestion is to open the door and look in. Not with shame, not with the guilt that comes when we feel we’re perverted, but taking a healthy glimpse inside for the sake of understanding. Find safe, wise people to dialogue with- ask your questions. Find godly resources and learn. God opened the door long ago and it was the church that shut it, not Him.

Regardless of which environment you may have come from, this is the truth: God always wanted to show us exactly what sex was meant to be. He wanted us to know the power in it. He wanted us to be fully aware, fully alive, and fully connected within ourselves and with our spouse without regret, shame, or pain. Whether you’re starting your journey for the first time today, or continuing to build a legacy that will change your family forever, we bless you. Together we can break the silence, silence the shame, and gain a pure, godly, unadulterated understanding of the naked truth about sexuality.

 

*Keeping It Hidden Doesn’t Make It Pure (Part 1)
*Overthinking A Simple Encounter (Part 2)
* Resource: The Naked Truth About Sexuality

 


Pt. 2: Overthinking A Simple Encounter

 

In the first part of this series, we discovered that sex may not be what we think it is. Or at least, we might not be thinking about it in a healthy way. So many of us are looking for freedom and empowerment in our sexuality, but are getting hung up on what we already believe to be true about sex.

Why focus on what we already believe instead of going right to the facts? Well, I can share with you new ideas, theology, and scientific statistics until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re already indoctrinated, you’ve already made up your mind on the matter. Chances are that you won’t be able to fully hear what I have to say because you’re hearing it through the filter of what you know or what you’ve experienced.

Though some of us grew up in a healthy environment when it came to sex, many more of us (sadly) didn’t.


We all need to take an honest look at where we’ve come from if we’re going to get where we need to go in the area of our sexuality.


 

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, there are three main environments in which we learn about sex. We call them the silent environment, the saturated environment, and the conflicted environment. In part 1 of this series we discussed the silent environment. In this blog we’re going to survey the saturated environment – the one we see the most in our contemporary culture.

In this scenario, imagine a bedroom door that is completely open — almost as if there’s no door at all. Everything is accessible, nothing is hidden, and there’s no indication that there’s anything sacred or special happening in that open room. Those around you talk about sex through crude jokes, watch explicit movies with sex scenes, and have casual, overt sexual relationships. If this was your home environment, you probably can’t remember having a deep or intentional sex talk. Why would you need to? It was just everywhere. Sex was, simply put, a part of life. You learned that it’s okay to view sex as nothing more than a casual physical experience. Anything more is over-thinking a simple encounter.

Many who came from this environment don’t understand why sex is such a big deal to other people: “What’s so sacred about it? I don’t think there’s any kind of spirit or soul connection to the act itself. It’s just a way of connecting on a physical level and showing someone you ‘love’ them. Right?”

Without a door to the bedroom, everyone in the house can see every detail of what’s going on. Sex loses its mystery; its sacredness. It becomes casual and familiar, something we throw in with our everyday activities. In fact, everyone becomes so familiar with sex that they think, “What more is there to learn? I already know it all. I’ve seen it, been around it, had my own experiences. What else do I need to know?”

This is where the deception occurs in this over-saturated environment. Since it’s everywhere, we are comfortable with it. No shame, no blame, no guilt. All good. Or is it?

The world paints this picture so clearly, doesn’t it? We turn on the TV and watch sitcoms that celebrate one-night stands and “friends with benefits,” suggesting that this is just a part of life. So what? You get naked, you fool around. It doesn’t matter. It’s your body, so you can do whatever you want with it as long as everyone is consenting. I made no commitment to you, you made no commitment to me. What’s the big deal?

When we live out of these misguided beliefs, we are violating our nature and design. We believe that we are powerful individuals, choosing how to use our bodies. However, we can’t stop our bodies from doing what they were created to do, and, consequently, many of us think there’s something wrong with us. For example, the lingering feelings toward someone that you can’t get over — feelings of jealousy, a sense of ownership, feeling bonded — throw us for a loop. We think we should be able to have an encounter and walk away. We feel that we should be able to give away the most precious part of ourselves without any commitment, and then just move on with life.

There is a generation on the earth today that believes they should be able to walk away from a sexual encounter (or romantic relationship) without it affecting them at all. The truth is that we were built to bond for a lifetime, not separate after each encounter. We’ve made something sacred into something casual; something holistic into something basic. Is this the result of an over-saturated culture?

We must understand one thing: the saturated environment is not a healthy environment when it comes to learning about sex. Experience doesn’t lead us to freedom, wisdom does. Making something an everyday part of life may allow us to become more comfortable, but it will not give us the full picture of what God designed. It won’t give us what we require for a healthy perspective.

If you were raised in this environment, give yourself a chance to explore how your spirit and soul are touched by sexual activity. We hope that you’ll have a greater understanding of yourself, and that it will bring real freedom and light into your life.

COMING SOON: Part 3


Keeping Something Hidden Doesn’t Make it Pure

 

Many of us clicked on this article in search of truth on the topic of sex. Some of us are excited, others desperate, some just plain curious. We’re ready to absorb facts, find freedom, and walk away, forever changed… or so we think.

Why then, do we search, sometimes for years, hearing truth and walking away unchanged? We have the best intentions, but unfortunately, our presumptions and preconceived notions have shaped our ability (or inability) to dialogue about sex in a healthy way.

You see, I can share with you new ideas, theology, and scientific statistics until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re already indoctrinated, you’ve already made up your mind on the matter. Chances are that you won’t be able to fully hear what I have to say because you’re hearing it through the filter of what you know or what you’ve experienced.

There’s no shame in that; we’ve all been there. But if we’re going to move forward and find freedom, we must first realize that it is impossible for us to learn about sex without knowing where we have already learned about it.

At Moral Revolution we’ve come to find that there are three main environments in which we learn about sex. We call them the silent environment, the saturated environment, and the conflicted environment. In this blog we’re going to tackle the first environment: the silent environment.

Imagine a bedroom door. The door is locked; it has been locked for most of your life, and someone threw away the key. All of the other rooms in your life — kitchen, living room, bathroom — are accessible to you. The bedroom door, however, is shut. It’s almost like it doesn’t even exist. What’s behind that door? A big, whirling black hole of mystery. Your parents never mentioned anything to you. Your church has no idea what you’re talking about. “Door? What door?”

This is the silent environment.

Here we learn that sex is neither good nor bad; it’s just never talked about. You begin to wonder what the big deal is. The people in your life never told you anything about it, and you were left to figure it out on your own. For most of us, that meant watching movies, staying up to watch late night TV, browsing the Internet, or asking friends. Maybe you were surprised one day to find that there was a whole world out there no one told you about. Perhaps it was overwhelming. Maybe you happened to be in a situation, even physically, where you didn’t know what was going on. It just happened, and you suddenly realized that there was more to it than meets the eye.

In the Silent Environment we learn that sex is a part of life, but it’s too private to talk about or it’s not overly important. After all, if it were really that important, someone would have said something. If it were really vital to know what it’s meant to be, how it’s meant to be used, and the power of it, then the most important people in our lives would have talked to us about it. Right?

Maybe our parents thought they were protecting us. Maybe our church leaders thought it was too private. Perhaps they really didn’t think it was important, either. Whatever the case was, that silence said something to us about its value, importance and power.

Contrary to popular belief, the silent environment is not the most pure environment.


Keeping something hidden doesn’t make it pure.


Sex must be talked about; if we don’t, the silence we believe will protect us actually opens a different door. As a result, we often see shame, guilt, confusion and fear fill in the gaps of the unsaid. This is particularly true in the lives of children and youth. If time is not given to explain the value of something, we’re left to discover and learn about it on our own.

If we go through this process alone, we decide to go with whatever suits us or sounds good in the moment. The danger is this: when we’re not informed by people we trust, we let other voices influence our perspective. We begin to learn about sex, sexuality, and beauty from pop culture. Society begins to dictate what we should do with our bodies or what should happen in our relationships. These ideas become our beliefs. These beliefs become our actions. These actions begin to define our character.

If this was your environment, take a deep breath. You can start to renew your mind and get yourself back to a healthy baseline when it comes to sex and sexuality. Ask yourself the following questions. Maybe grab your journal and take some time to reflect on what you believe in your core about sex. Take your time. This is a personal journey.

1. What was I told about sex?

2. What did I learn from my environment?

3. If I had to describe sex or sexuality in one to three words, what words would I use?

4. Do I feel free to talk about sex with trusted people, or do I feel the need to refrain?

5. How do I feel about sex and sexuality: dirty, fearful, curious, excited, etc.?

It’s time to break the silence!

 

COMING SOON – Part 2: Overthinking A Simple Encounter