Last week, I sat down with my wife and kids to confess something very painful.
I was sexually abused by an older teenager when I was twelve years old. He stole part of my manhood that day. The worst part was that I froze, I allowed it to happen.
I vowed to never talk about it again.
When I sat down with my kids I wasn't talking about childhood issues. It was about adult sexual brokenness. Deep anxiety and shame caused me to hide my struggle for many years.
What if my kids see my nakedness?
I CONQUERED GIANTS. Fear and shame fled when I faced them down out in the open.
I CONFESSED A LONG-TERM STRUGGLE WITH SEXUAL ADDICTION.
Yes, I took off my counselor man-of-God mask and got real with my family.
I have an open marriage. We talk about everything. My wife has been a non-judgmental supportive spouse from the beginning of our marriage. She is a big part of my liberation. We have walked out this path of healing and freedom for many years.
I can report to you with confidence that I am a FREE MAN today.
I wanted my adult children to know my struggle and to see how grace works when we apply it to the biggest battles we have in our lives.
I was amazed at their support and mature feedback. It was a huge relief to break this cycle in my family.
TOO MANY LEADERS SUFFER IN SILENCE.
You believe the lie that you can conquer it on your own but you can't. Your hiding it from your wife, your kids, your church and maybe you think your hiding it from God. But you're not.
My battle was not with porn, another woman or some secret lust. It was a hidden fantasy that manifested when I was deeply stressed.
I felt like a shameful little boy who would hide himself in the corner.
I couldn't win battle hiding it from others. It beat me every time.
Stop kidding yourself. You can't win this battle on your own. Stop justifying your sin and recognize that you are hurting yourself, your wife, your family and the people who are important to you.
RECOGNIZE: THAT THE PROBLEM STARTS IN YOUR HEART
Stop blaming her. Own it.
For years I blamed my wife because she lost interest in sex. I shamed her for not pursuing me and making me feel like a man. I projected the responsibility for my sin onto her. But the real truth is that this was my life-long battle with my insecurity about my manhood not hers.
REPENT: TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SIN
Stop rationalizing, minimizing, justifying and compromising about your problem.
Lead the way to freedom by asking for help. Confess your struggle to trusted people in your life. Seek out help from others who have struggled and won this battle for themselves.
RECEIVE: OPEN YOUR HEART TO GOD'S GRACE
Let God love you in the place in where shame rules.
I am free not because I tried really hard and disciplined myself to never think dirty or unholy things. No, my liberation came after I opened myself to a mentor who led me through a healing process that started twenty-seven years ago. This man is like a father to me.
The healing process has been a relationship exchange not a behavioral shift.
I gave up the isolation and fantasy for healthy connection with my wife, kids and close friends.
I didn't know how to receive from God as Father. Relationship with God was a big performance. I hid from HIM when I failed.
But when I learned to receive His light, love and truth the broken places in my soul healed.
COME OUT OF HIDING. RECEIVE GOD'S GRACE. BECOME THE MAN YOU REALLY WANT TO BE!