The work of Engaging your Story is a doorway to experiencing God’s forgiveness.
Understanding your story gives you new ways for your brain and body and heart to work in concert with God’s will again.
Engaging your story involves all of you. It means pulling a memory from your brain, unlocking it from your heart, feeling it in your body and then sharing it with another person.
You are created to be loved by God. You are created to be part of a grand, triumphant story.
Your sexual sin doesn’t take you out of the story!
Throughout scripture, we see God choosing and inviting all sorts of characters with all sorts of issues into THE bigger story. Don’t let shame make you believe otherwise. God still wants you. God still chooses you.
Your sexual addiction draws from the broken parts of your story, wrapping it in shame, isolating the behavior and you. Pulling together those broken parts, unwrapping the shame and inviting wholeness into your isolation is all part of the work of learning to engage your story.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a story. In fact, you have an epic story.
Just like Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego, walking around in the fire (Dan 3:25); you may be walking in what feels like a furnace right now.
To engage your story means seeing the flames of temptation, desire, shame, and addiction but not stopping there. Story work means feeling the consuming heat of it all and choosing to walk through to the other side.
To understand the process, let’s consider the basics of a story: Who? What? Why? When? and How?
Your life tells a story and you are the main character.
Understanding who you are and who you are meant to be is the powerful story your life is waiting to tell. If you’re battling an ongoing sexual addiction, shame may have given Satan the role of co-author. And that means, you are believing a false storyline.
Your life tells a story and you are the main character.
Don’t let his whispers sabotage the purpose you’re meant to live out.
God wrote your story with love and friendship and honor and dignity in the details. Digging deep into your narrative highlights the lies.
The beauty of engaging your story is that you aren’t alone and there’s nothing new under the sun. So, consider bringing the secret you’ve been hiding into the light – begin with pen and paper and simply write the words.
Imagine what it could feel like to live a bigger story, to amplify your role as a more important character.
A part of story work involves looking for the coping techniques that helped you survive when you were little. Believe it or not, unearthing those subtleties is key to growing in sexual integrity.
Consider this: If you grew up in a loud home that was verbally abusive, you might have learned it was best to keep quiet and lay low. That behavior of staying under the radar kept you safe. Or, if you grew up in a home with a disconnected mom; maybe you saw a connection between hugging her or offering to brush her hair and how she noticed you. Then, that behavior of physical touch became key to earning love.
Those adaptations as a child, left unnoticed, not only grow with you but they can grow into the very unwanted sexual behavior you’re trying to quit now.
The sexual fantasy you struggle with, in a way, is trying to rewrite the story with a different ending. Jay Stringer, author of “Unwanted,” refers to sexual fantasy as a way to reverse some damage that’s been done or to repeat what’s been done but change the power dynamic of it.
So often, the sexual behaviors we struggle with are less about sex and more about human relational experiences that become sexualized.
It is time to “put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator” (Col 3:10)
Notice that: The image of your Creator NOT the image of your past.
“Our pursuit of unwanted sexual behavior is shaped and predicted by the parts of our stories that were never addressed.” (Stringer, Jay Unwanted)
Where you come from matters in where you’re going. Your life is a masterful compilation of characters and storylines.
The hurtful, shameful, painful parts of your story are purposeful and hopeful because of Jesus. Your unwanted sexual behavior has kept you in cyclical darkness long enough.
Now is the time to conquer the darkness through the powerful combination of the blood of the Lamb and by the word of your story. (Rev 12:11)
Freedom and wholeness are the invitation before you. The thief has stolen, killed and destroyed enough of you.
Story work is a YES to the real and eternal life Jesus wants for you.
There is no right or wrong time when picking a starting point for story work.
A great way to begin is with someone.
Spiritual Coaching, for both men and women, offers the gift of reflecting your story to you while being with you in the process. The goal is not to write an entire autobiography. Allow the freedom with that to give you a deep sigh of relief. Start by drawing out a line.
Then, plot chronological ages on it. Next, allow your mind to think about a few core memories.
Another way to pick a starting point is to think back on a chunk of time- elementary school, drivers ed, college – then write out the people, time, and setting like a book report.
Fill in the missing details – the who what when where why of the story can lead to eye-opening discoveries.
Ask the Lord to fill in those words thereby expanding your language, expanding your capacity for healing.
Until you have addressed the wounded parts of your heart, you can’t love yourself well, you can’t love others well.
Counselor and Story work specialist, Adam Young, says, “The only way to experience shifts in your heart is to engage and reflect your story.” (Adam Young Story Work Resources )
The point of engaging your yesterdays is so you can love and live fully in your todays.
How you engage your story is as important as what you engage. It is key to hold Honor and Kindness for yourself throughout the process. The feelings or reactions you may have dismissed need to be included and understood.
Neuroscientists call this integration.
God desires integration for you, for you to be a whole, individual person. Engaging your story involves all of you. It means pulling a memory from your brain, unlocking it from your hart, feeling it in your body and then sharing it with another person.
Deciding to do the harder work of uncovering and digging and understanding is life changing. You hold a powerful opportunity to change the trajectory of your life. If, along the way you find yourself needing extra help, consider reaching out to us and we will set you up with a Spiritual Coach to come alongside you in your important work.
You are a complex, marvelous being with many layers and moving parts.
When it comes to sexual integrity, you may assume your body is the enemy, the source of sexual sin. At the core of Christian theology is that God himself, who is spirit, became flesh. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn 1:14)
For those of you wrestling with sexual sin; you sin sexually with your body. We feel temptation in our bodies, it’s a physical experience. This can be confusing.
In the process, we can be tempted to blame our bodies, to vilify our bodies, to look down on our bodies. When we do that, we are more likely to want to leave our bodies behind.
Don’t forget the beginning of the biggest story – that at the pinnacle of creation, God created humankind in His image and in His likeness. You were created in His own image; God created you in the image of God. (Gn 1:27)
While God spoke everything else into being, your story begins with the Almighty Creator using His hands to carefully gather the dust and pull you in close to breathe the breath of life into your nostrils.
This is important to remember as we seek to be men and women of integrity, as we seek to take good care of our bodies, as we seek to steward the physical aspect of who we are, and as we seek to love other people.
“If you want to heal, to be made whole; it is imperative that you untangle your history from your behavior.” Jay Stringer, author of Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing.
The work of Engaging your Story is a doorway to experiencing God’s forgiveness. Understanding your story gives you new ways for your brain and body and heart to work in concert with God’s will again.
Remember, you are created to be loved by God. You are created to be part of a grand, triumphant story. Your sexual sin doesn’t take you out of the story. Don’t let shame make you believe otherwise. God still wants you. God still chooses you.
There’s a blank page waiting.
Ready to connect your struggle to your story, and your story to God?