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..
I lived as if ”
taking care of my heart and my life
was for someone else to do.
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..
His grace is our covering
as we step out
of our hiding place!
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!