When Quiet Times Become Chaotic: Encouragement for Busy Lives

Martin Fierro

Has there ever been a time when a gentle quietness brought a peace to your heart and mind? If you answered the question without going to that memory by moving to this next sentence you have missed the experience at the start. Let’s try it again, entertain me once again. Has there been a moment’ a time’ when a gentle quietness brought a sense of peace to your heart’. and mind’.? Sit here as you reflect to one.

Did you get to re-experience it again by this simple exercise? Rather, did you give yourself permission to experience that peace in the moment?

As an example, it was hoped that you went to a place in your mind which allowed you to experience true peace at the beach, the mountains, a river, a soft breeze on your face, laughing with your wife/children etc’. If you got there and wanted to remain there, then return and come back to this article later. It is that very resting spot that one can experience the peace of God that passes all understanding. It is also the place that the voice of the Holy Spirit comforts and challenges our soul.

It is far too often that we rush and move to the next thought, thing, activity, task, sentence or paragraph, and assignment without pondering the moment or moments. By such active behavior we miss so many opportunities to experience the rest and quiet God desires us to bask in. The possible results in the active behavior is not only missing and experiencing physiological rest but also miss times for spiritual discernment and wisdom. A benefit of resting in a quiet calm for any individual struggling with/maintaining sexual integrity is that it provides a healthy focus point to that of potential/destructive mental images and messages that lead to acting out.

Yes, peace can happen in resting in the creation of this world around us even with the modern man-made distractions.

It is not necessarily a process of creating rest, for in that alone is stressful. Just think about the last time you planned a long vacation to ‘rest.’ Was it truly a restful time? How many times have we come back from a vacation and said we need to rest from the vacation activity. It is maddening! Some rather just keep on the track of doing projects and responsibilities because seeking a quiet reflective experience appears irreverent or impossible. If you attend church regularly it is encouraged to sit and rest in God’s peace through prayer. During those times of prayer if your mind is wondering about the days/weeks events to come, once again the opportunity to have calm in the chaos is missed. Life then controls us. We just let life around us happen like it is a roller coaster ride (one hill after another). In letting life happen we surrender to it, then it takes our life focus and in that we become vague or superficial with ourselves and those around us.

In the process of recovery and staying sober from sexually acting out, our lives can become chaotic with activity as a means of distraction. Thus, a time of calm reflection and contemplation can diminish because we have to have something to tend to (hyper-stimulation in a different form?). Think of the all the time/energy used to maintain the secret of your sexual addiction and now re-using that time for true peace and calm to battle any of the triggers of your addiction. The quietness in the calm of the addiction recovery should not be mistaken as: 1. I’m healed! or, 2. Something must be wrong! Though such times of quiet in the past was the usher for your sexually acting out, perhaps these times can be used to re-focus on God and the relationship He desires with you!

Here are some ideas to consider with regards to regaining or finding some calm in the chaos. Look beyond the sidewalk to the blades of grass. The tree and the way the breeze moves its leaves. Watch a cloud as it moves so gingerly yet steadfast. Observe how the sun creates a consistent change of details through shadows at this time of the year and through out the day/month/year. Reflect on the flow of water as it hits the ground and runs to a common level seeking a resting space (much like we do). This is not being said to run around prance in a tutu as you reconnect with the world around you. Rather, do not miss this rich and free opportunity to walk out your office door, step out the car door or you own home front door to experience the calm in the chaos of the man-made world of activity. Become a child discovering nature again in its detail which is the handprint of God. If you have a young child or grandchild, watch and learn how they experience life, nature, and the world around them.

Maybe to experience some calm in the chaos is a time for each of us to go back to live as a child so we can have peace as an adult. For when we do not have peace as an adult perhaps we behave like an immature child.

For more help see Every Man’s Battle.

When the Wound Doesn’t Heal

Sam Fraser

Rarely is the road to recovery straight forward. It takes many twists and turns as God teaches us His way after we have been doing it our way. Recovery is more like a dance than a road really. It is three steps forward, two steps back, interspersed with one step ahead and four steps backward. However, one of the main ways to keep dancing backwards has to do with woundedness that has not yet been healed.

Being wounded keeps us in bondage. It is God’s truth that nothing in this world can keep us from the surpassing love we have found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. ‘By His wounds we are healed.’ That is a Scriptural truth. We are destined for experiencing freedom in Christ. Yet, we remain stuck in this addiction. Why the wound doesn’t heal can take several forms and so this article should help identify several of the main roadblocks.

This is the first part of a series in which we will go in depth to explore and highlight what may be occurring if we seem to be stuck and are not making any headway into recovery. This article will highlight these possibilities overall and the next articles will go in greater detail.

First off, we have to be patient. We need to pace ourselves. It is more about running a marathon than a 100-yard dash. If we rush forward we will not be able to sustain that pace over the long haul. This wound did not develop over night and it won’t disappear that fast either. I have found in my own life and working with many men that God’s intention is to teach us to identify the issues and then trust Him to show us His better ways to address them. That takes more time than we wish. But God not only wants us to get free but also stay free, thus the need for the time it takes is a process rather than instantaneous delivery. Sorry about that! This is often the best way to get the wound healed. It is akin to giving a man a fish to feed him for one day or even better to teach a man to fish and he can do so for a lifetime. The skills needed are to be utilized for the rest of our lives. Getting frustrated and discouraged, can make us end up in despair and want to quit.

Next, do you have an action plan? It is one thing to say I want to stop but unless we have alternative ways to deal with feelings and behaviors we will return to the very behavior we want to eradicate. It is like holding your breath. Some can hold on longer than others, but guess what? You are going to have to take a breath sometime. And so it is with acting out, we have to replace the former behavior with a new one. Have you developed an alternative behavior scheme to replace your old way of acting out? It is essential that you have found other options to dealing with your emotional needs.

Another important step of recovery is getting accountable. No longer ‘efforting’ it alone, by ourselves in isolation. That is a recipe for disaster. The basic root wound of this issue has to do with intimacy. We have gotten into this routine because we are not able to connect in a more fulfilling way. We need relationships. Without our being more connected to others we will return to connecting with ourselves, i.e., acting out again. So it is important that we begin to reach out for help by getting someone to hold us accountable for our behaviors. To connect with others meets the true needs we were designed for and replaces the false sense of intimacy that our acting out attempts to achieve.

This addiction is about connections and the lack there of. We need to have relationships with others and when we don’t, sexually acting out becomes a mode of coping. If none of the above mentioned factors are creating success and you are still not experiencing sobriety, then counseling by an experienced therapist who understands sexual addiction or a person, group or ministry team probably needs to be consulted. These possibilities are not the entire list. But often if you will begin with this list it can eliminate a lot of extra pain that will delay your recovery.

For more help see Every Man’s Battle.

Confession (Part 2)

David Speicher

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

As we addressed the concept of confession needing to be an adopted life style of the recovering sexual addict; let me lay out for you just one template of what thorough confession looks like. This will be a six step process that does not have to be followed exactly; this is designed to be a template for you. Several of the components are crucial; otherwise, you will fall back into worldly sorrow which is not the least bit productive. We know from our discussion last time that worldly sorrow leads to death, the death of your relationship. You do not want the death of your relationship, for that leads in most cases to the death of you.

Here are a few principles to hang on to as you go through the process of healthy confession:

1. Stay out of your own stuff. Confession is about the other person, not about you, so do not make it about you. Do not defend yourself, do not rebut, do not offer excuses or reasons why you did what you did, focus intently on the person you are offering confessions to.

2. Do not apologize or seek forgiveness until later. This is vital to understand, if you offer ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘please forgive me’ early, you may leave the impression that you are done with the ordeal. Trust me, you are just beginning, and the man who would be willing to just begin again with his wife is a man on the road to recovery. Apologizing too early short circuits healthy confession and forgiveness. Remember, this is not about you. This is about God using you to bring healing to someone you have wounded.

Let’s begin’

    1. Describe to your partner what it is that you have done to hurt your partner. I suggest that you write it down and share it with your partner. Now, she knows full well what you did in most cases, however in order to have intelligent conversation, you two must talk about the same thing. Speaking what you have done will also begin the process of ownership. Yes, that is correct you have got to take ownership. Do not tell her what she did to cause this, tell her what you did wrong. This may be some of the hardest stuff you have ever done’do it anyway. The end result is Godly intimacy.

    2. Ask your partner to share with you three feelings that came out of that experience. Feelings? I can not adequately convey to you the importance of addressing the issue of feelings with your wife. So often, when you apologize, feelings are left out of the equation. She has them, and you put them there. She truly needs to know that you realize that they are there. This is a travesty of your sexual sin, men. You are out doing your thing and she is paying for it. When you ask her how she feels about it, you get to look in and see the price tag for what you’ve done… step on in, be a man. As men sometimes we have to go places where we do not want to go, this is one of them.

When she shares with you those three feelings, be sure to give her every opportunity to pick the words she wants. Do not change them to absolve your guilt, listen to the words that she chooses. Make sure that you ask her why she chose those words over the thousands of other feeling words that are in her arsenal. This is not to make her defensive, this is to create conversation so that you can move to step number three.

3. Reflect back to you partner EXACTLY what has been shared with you. Be a tape recorder; push the rewind button and then the play button. Share with her exactly what you heard her say. Do not put your spin on this, do not point blame at her, and do not become frustrated with her. All of these things are about you; remember this is not about you. This is a very necessary segment of this process. Believe it or not, she needs to know that you heard her. She needs to know that you are willing to listen to what she has to say without telling her what she is supposed to feel or say.

Give to your wife the opportunity to clarify her message to you. After hearing you say what she just said, she might think of something different and want to share that with you. The more she has the opportunity to share and clarify now, the less she will do that with growing levels of intensity later.

4. Share with your wife whether or not you are responsible for the hurt she is feeling. Look at it this way, consider your wife as a hit and run victim. Were you an innocent bystander that is touched and grieved by the carnage left by the truck that ran her over? Or, are you the guy behind the wheel? This is important men. Later when the time comes, you can apologize for this thing happening to her or you can apologize for doing this to her. Which ever one of these that you choose will make all the difference in the world as to whether or not you experience Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow.

Tell her you were driving the truck. Now, one thing to remember to help you through this process, you are not taking responsibility for everything ever gone wrong in the relationship, only that one thing that you stated at the beginning of this process.

5. Share with your wife how you feel for her hurt. Men, follow me on this one for just a moment. Picture in your mind the throne of God. However that looks to you is fine. Seated next to God is you. It is take your kid to work day, and there you are for the day watching Dad (God) do what he does. Interesting thing is that He has His arm around you, holding you close to Himself. He is very happy that you are there with Him. What is it that God is doing at this moment in time? He is not looking at you, He is looking at your wife, the moment she found out what you did. He is looking at her heart. Men, my question to you is, what is the look on the God’s face? What do you see?

Do you think anger is the correct response, is God angry with you? No, in the most grace filled way let me say, that this is not about you, this is about her. God is not looking at you; He is looking at your wife. He is very glad that you are there with Him. Why, because He wants to invite you into a deeper sense of what He feels for your wife when you hurt her with sexual sin. God has you close so that you know that He is not rejecting you (Isaiah 41:9). There is another reason why God has you close, He wants you to see what He truly feels for your wife.

What is the look on God’s face? Maybe it is compassion, sorrow, a broken heart, maybe sadness. Do you think it would be all right if some of what God is feeling for your wife began to move into you? Do you think it would be OK for you to begin to hurt the way God hurts for your wife?

Now you are getting a deeper picture of 2 Corinthians 7:10 ‘Godly sorrow leads to repentance…’ Imagine if you will that God asks you a question, ‘What are we going to do about this?’ I believe that God would want to use you as a tool in His hand to bring healing to your wife even though you are the one who brought the hurt to her in the first place.

Men, do your best to communicate to her what you are feeling for her, not for you. This is not the time for ‘I am sorry,’ or ‘would you forgive me.’ Think about looking into the soul of your mate, tell her what you see. Here are some ideas for your use: ‘It saddens me that you are hurting so much,’ ‘it breaks my heart that you are left with this,’ ‘I can see that you are in a lot of pain.’ Some of the most powerful exchanges between a husband and a wife that I have ever witnessed have come out of this time. Those times were not because of the husband’s eloquence, it was because of the struggle for words. Men the words are not nearly as important as your heart attempting to communicate the heart of God. You at this point are God’s messenger.

6. Seek forgiveness and pray for you wife. Now is the time to say that you are sorry for hurting her for just the one thing mentioned at the beginning of this process. Seeking forgiveness before this would be premature. Men, ask her for forgiveness in a humble way. After you have done this, pray for her. You may not be a man who prays out loud much’learn to, your wife needs you to. Listen, when you pray, do so in such a way that your wife hears you ask for God’s forgiveness as well. She needs to know that you place yourself under His authority. This will allow her to trust you sooner in most cases. Be sure to pray specifically for the three emotions that she mentioned, ask God to specifically heal those through the power of the Holy Spirit. If appropriate, hold her at the end of this process.

If you are interested in a handout that greatly helps the flow of this process you can contact my office in Tampa at 813-626-5394. If you would like to e-mail me the results of this process please do. My email is Dspeicher@crosstownchurch.com. If you have questions concerning any aspect of this process contact me as well. Some marital situations are very volatile after betrayal, so be sure to use wisdom as to when to implement.

For more help see Every Man’s Battle.