Finding Strength in Weakness

David Wever

Earlier this year I was able to accomplish a feat that I had always desired to do. This was a feat that I had tried for years to begin and accomplish. It seemed to always elude me no matter how much I motivated myself and received encouragement and sometimes admonishment from others to do. I wish I could tell you it was a feat such as climbing Yosemite’s half dome (which I missed summiting last year by one-half mile) or winning a 5k run event (which I never even entered).

Although those would be awesome accomplishments to attain, the one I was able to attain and then maintain was flossing my teeth.

Yes, flossing my teeth!!!

I can only imagine what you might be thinking at this point: ‘Dave has finally lost it.’ Or ‘Dave, you have such high goals for your life.’ Or ‘We never knew and now we wished we didn’t.’ But bear with me for a moment.

This accomplishment symbolized an aspect of my life that for years I had never seen about myself and I thought I could never achieve it: Taking care of myself.

For years my shame from my sexual acting out had not only covered things around my heart but also stole away energy and awareness of the need to take care of my heart and body. For years when I would visit the dentist, my hygienist or the dentist would say, ‘Dave, if you would only take 2 minutes a day and floss, you would save your self so much grief around cavities and fillings.’ And I would leave the dentist sometimes feeling guilty and sometimes feeling empowered only to never begin the practice and finding myself feeling defeated and weak again.

When I first began recovery for Sexual Addiction in late 1995, my sexual addiction was not the only mess in my life. In actuality my whole life was a mess!

Flossing wasn’t the only thing I wasn’t doing for myself. The Lord began to reveal so many weaknesses as He and I began to address the sexual addiction. For starters, I was in financial debt up to my eyeballs, my desk in my office could never be seen for the piles and piles of papers I rarely ever filed or threw away, and I would always complain I was tired even if I had gotten 8 hours of sleep the night before.

The shame around these weaknesses was for me much like the shame I felt around my sexual acting out. I was so afraid of being seen as weak yet that is what I was. Not so much from the weaknesses themselves but rather from the denial, hiding and resentment I had around my heart. For me I lived as if taking care of my heart and my life was for someone else to do..

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I lived as if ”
taking care of my heart and my life
was for someone else to do.
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When I married my wife, Rebecca, I think she thought she was getting a full-grown responsible man who knew how to take care of himself. Instead she got a seven year old boy scared to death of responsibility. I leaned so much on Rebecca to be that strength for me. She couldn’t. And it was also not her role to do that for me. I had to begin to face these weaknesses and the condition of my heart head on. And the revealing of my sexual addiction did just that.

But I was not alone in beginning to face the weaknesses. ‘

The apostle Paul speaks of facing his weaknesses in II Corinthians. Speaking of his weakness he writes, ‘At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ ‘so the weaker I get, the stronger I become (2 Corinthians 12:8-9,10b, MSG).’ When I first read this passage in recovery I was somewhat encouraged but at that point much more scared and doubtful at the prospect of finding strength in weakness.

Looking at my weaknesses would mean dropping my guard. But as I began to drop my guard and look at my weaknesses, a funny thing happened. I began to feel strength. The strength to sit in a financial seminar and begin to learn to budget. The strength to begin to take the time each week to file papers and organize my desk. The strength to begin to eat and sleep properly and care for my body and emotions. And the strength to floss my teeth. I believe that as God began to help me face my weaknesses and truly see my heart, His covering of grace allowed me to have strength to do even the smallest of tasks in my life. The responsibility of taking care of my heart and life began to happen out of the grace and strength He gave me in facing my weaknesses..


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His grace is our covering
as we step out
of our hiding place!

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Brothers, His grace is our covering as we step out of our hiding place and begin to look at the weaknesses He reveals in our hearts. What areas of weakness has the Lord began to reveal in your heart as your shame and guard begin to come down? Write them down and begin to talk about them with someone within a safe, healing relationship. Remember, His grace is enough. It’s all the strength you will need!

For more help see our Every Man’s Battle resources and Every Man’s Battle workshop.

What’s in Your Hand?

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied. God said, ‘Throw it on the ground.'” – Exodus 4:2 (NIV)

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re wondering what some obscure Old Testament verse has to do with recovery, and particularly recovery in the sexual integrity realm. Well, as we look at it a little more closely, I think you’ll see it has a lot to do with it.

At this point in his life, Moses was a shepherd, and the shepherd’s staff would have been one of the most useful tools he possessed. So first and foremost, it represented his identity. Every shepherd had one, it was the thing that identified them from other people with other occupations. Secondly, it represented his source of income. It was the thing that kept the sheep in line, and that kept them from wandering off or getting into dangerous situations. It was the thing that enabled him to do his job, and earn a living. And thirdly, it represented his influence on other people, as we see later when he uses it to, through God’s power, part the Red Sea. In short, the staff represented the very essence of Moses.

Give me your whole life,
Who you are!
What you do!
How you act!

So when God tells Moses to throw it down on the ground, it’s not just to perform some fancy trick with a snake, it’s a way of saying, ‘I want you to give me your whole life, who you are, what you do, and how you act. I want you to throw it down before me and let me have it, and let me make you into the man I want you to be.’ What’s your identity? Is it the good father and husband at church, but the one who flirts with and can’t keep his eyes off the secretaries at work? God wants you to throw down that which identifies you with sexual impurity; let Him have it, and let Him change you.

Or how about your source of income? Are you in a job that pays well but is adding to your internet pornography struggle that you can’t seem to get a handle on? Afraid to step out in faith that God has a better job somewhere that will boost your recovery rather than hinder it? God wants you to throw it down, let Him have it and let Him change you.

Or how about your sphere of influence? Do you have leadership gifts that you know God has blessed you with, but you can’t seem to break that addiction to prostitutes or massage parlors? You know you could be a good influence over many people, but right now your gifts are just being wasted? God wants you to throw it down, let Him have it and let Him change you.

Throwing down sexual sin
requires one thing:
submission to God.

Throwing down sexual sin requires one thing: submission to God. It requires saying, ‘God, you know best, and I’m going to give it to you.’ And the best way to ‘give it to God’ is to follow the action plan that Joe gave you at Every Man’s Battle. It requires spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. It requires having an accountability relationship, and a support group of other strugglers. It requires meeting with a spiritual mentor for guidance, and it may require seeing a professional Christian counselor to get at some of the deep-seated wounds that you haven’t felt comfortable dealing with.

Most of all it requires saying, ‘God, everything I am and have is yours, and I throw it down before you, and give it to you.’ Then you’re ready to be sexually pure, and ready to be used in a mighty way by God.

To find a Christian counselor or coach in your area, just call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.

Dave Boyle

God at the Brothel Door!

Sam Fraser

100 years ago, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really searching for God.”

God at a brothel door? Provocative thought. What was he getting at? Perhaps we have turned to sexual encounters, via prostitute, massage parlor, sexual affair or the good old standby porn because we don’t know how to connect more deeply with God?

What we hunger and search for in this old world cannot, will not be satisfied through the ways of the world. Being made in God’s Image, we can only satisfy those deepest longings by being in relationship with Him. Perhaps, what we are resorting to is a disappointment that we cannot seem to remedy in isolation, by ourselves to ourselves, alone. Alone, in that deepest part of being, yearning to fill that part of us that is empty, in pain, or a deep desire for transcendence, but disappointed, falling short every time. It requires effort and self discipline, and more than a little suffering as we work through our immaturity, dig down into our unfinished business from the past. It is very much in our human fallen nature to not want to make the effort. It is much easier to settle for mediocrity and resign ourselves to second best. The easier way, the counterfeit, that is less demanding. Sexually acting out in whatever form we have established will always be a far cry from what God’s best… and we know that.

“Every time a man
knocks on a brothel door,
he is really searching for God.’
G.K. Chesterton

As good as the anticipation may be, the acting out and release that takes place, it is not long before whatever gratification we enjoyed, gets exchanged for the condemnation, guilt and shame that follows. The old hollow feelings return to haunt and taunt as it becomes the seedbed for the next acting out to occur as the cycle repeats itself all over again.

Although there is a momentary pleasure, however shallow and temporary it may be, it does draw us back again and again, over and over, even though it never remedies our deepest longings. It only medicates and distracts us from the pain. Until next time, when the unmet need reels us back to the old unsatisfactory acting out. We knock, and knock again at the brothel door. It is safer, easier, and a less demanding counterfeit in lieu of the real deal.

With a little thought, it begins to make sense what old G. K. was getting at. But the kicker is how can we find a way to enjoy the pleasures of God more than the pleasures of sin? If sin didn’t feel so good, it would not be so difficult to stop. We are sexual beings and as men we are designed to respond to stimulation. Putting ourselves in stimulation’s way has become very easy these days. But how to de-sexualize our need for intimacy with ourselves, others and God makes sense upstairs in our heads, but doesn’t seem to have much pull downstairs in our hearts where the emotions and drives can seem so overwhelmingly powerful and seemingly impossible to stop at times. It is easy to get discouraged and resign ourselves to defeat.

To experience more pleasure and enjoyment with God than through the old, old habits of sin is the $64,000 question (with inflation maybe it is now the ten million dollar question).

Each one of us in our own way needs to discover how we can enjoy God, to find pleasure in relationship to Him to such a degree of depth and intimacy that the pleasures of the flesh, of this world, or of our own selfish indulgence can be confronted, battled and defeated. Ephesians 3:17-19 says it this way:

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (NLB)

The point I want to raise is to get you thinking about the making a conscious choice between the two types of pleasures. It will take a little thought and some creative experimentation and you may have to try out several different activities to make the right connection, of enjoying the pleasures with God, but it is worth the effort.

Through this growing process, there are as many different ways that fits us to a ‘t’ that can fulfill the knocking inside. So experiment: try this, try that, don’t stop, the Lord will help you. He wants this even more than we do! Get those legitimate needs met in a healthy expression of an intimate relationship with the Lord….regularly.

For me, one of the greatest ways, when I am alone and circumstances dictate that I have to find a way to enjoy myself without access to others has been to whip out my ever-growing collection of praise and worship c’d’s. Worship opens the door to all the Lord’s goodness. Psalm 30:4-5 says,

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!

I particularly like the Vineyard style of contemporary music. To each his own. The point being is to try out some different activities, get creative, find some ways that will bring you to God and experience deeper pleasure with Him rather than our own former discretions.

Knock, knock, knock…. go in.