September 12th 2023
#34: Overcoming Stuckness: Navigating the Journey to Sexual Integrity
Ever felt like you’ve hit a wall in your journey towards sexual integrity?
It’s a common situation, but not a dead end. In our discussion today, we shed light on the causes of this ‘stuckness’, such as fear, perfectionism, and a culture obsessed with instant gratification.
We also explore how Scripture, particularly Psalm 84:5-7, can empower us to move forward. Remember, Jesus doesn’t want us to remain stuck. Realizing that we are stuck is the first step to freedom.
As we continue, we delve into the transformative role of prayer in this journey. Prayer is not just a religious activity, it’s a path to self-understanding, a tool for staying present, and most importantly, a comforting reminder that we are not alone in our struggles.
We discuss how prayer can provide discernment and guidance to navigate our challenges. So, whether you’re grappling with feelings of stuckness or seeking a deeper connection through prayer, we invite you to join us.
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Take solace in the truth that even in struggle, we’re never alone because Jesus is with us.
Transcription: Overcoming Stuckness: Navigating the Journey to Sexual Integrity
Andrea Smithberger [00:00:00]:
All you have is right now. How does that sit with you? If it makes you feel stuck, I’m glad you’re here. If it overwhelms you because you know that you’ve been stuck for a while, well, then I’m really glad you’re here. Moving and learninga and growing in sexual integrity is not easy. Under statement. I know pornography has been a quick fix for your anger. Masturbation has been a go to for comfort. Hooking up eases the ache of loneliness for a bit.
Andrea Smithberger [00:00:41]:
But as you’re rewiring your brain, repaving your pathways from time to time, you might get stuck. The thing with getting stuck in this journey is it can already feel pretty vulnerable to ask for help, right? So asking for help or reaching out to say, I’m stuck, I feel like I can’t move forward and I don’t want to look back, that is so hard. I’ve been praying for you in those times when you feel stuck. I have. And please know that the fact that we’re even recording this as an episode shows how common it is to feel this way. You aren’t alone in your stuckness. Why? Well, lots of reasons. Fear can be paralyzing.
Andrea Smithberger [00:01:33]:
What if they find out? What if I never change? What if I do it again? Perfection. Wow. That can be paralyzing, right? If the goal is one month without masturbating and then you miss a day, you might feel stuck. On top of those inner attacks of fear and perfectionism, we also live in a world, a world of instant gratification that is slowly killing our ability and our willingness to just wait. I want what I want and I want it now. Is a persistent message and even endorsement for you to get what you think you need when you need it. Oh, but you maybe you have got it all. Tying you down to one spot.
Andrea Smithberger [00:02:23]:
You’re afraid of your past, worried you aren’t doing it well enough now. Still wanting what you want, when you want it. And you’re taking in so much information about how to live free that it leaves you feeling very unfree. Feel like you no wonder you feel stuck. It’s a lot. Let’s ask Jesus together right now to help cultivate a space, a space beyond the land of being stuck. Would you cultivate a big open space uprooting fear and breaking through perfectionism to make room? Because I feel stuck. Jesus doesn’t want you there.
Andrea Smithberger [00:03:07]:
Stuck in your stuckness. There’s a time for stillness and a time for motion. In your journey to sexual integrity, maybe this time feels more than just stillness. So let’s look at scripture, but not as a prescriptive. Let’s look to God’s word. More of like a map. Sound good? In Mark four, before Jesus calms the storm, he invited he invited the disciples to the other side. The disciples go from solid ground to the sea that they knew to a storm they never saw coming.
Andrea Smithberger [00:03:45]:
To get to learn another side of Jesus and then get to the other side of the storm with Him. Jesus wants to be with you in the storm, in the learning and the goal setting and the fear, not just to be with you in it, because, praise God, he will be. But even more, even more, he wants to get to know you and for you to get to know him along your way to the other side. When people heard about John the Baptist baptizing, they had to move from their city, the land they knew so well, they could navigate with their eyes closed. They had to move from there into the wilderness, of all places, just to get to John, who would then take them to the Jordan to be baptized. Moving from what you know and can navigate with your eyes closed and you know what that is and where that is, to a wilderness where you have to open your eyes and your ears because you don’t know what’s coming next. But you keep going because you know that the cleansing, refreshing water is waiting for you. Are you feeling the motion? Are you noticing the shift in terrain? It feels a lot like the journey that you’re on, moving from comfort to the unknown, to be with Jesus, to ultimately get to freedom.
Andrea Smithberger [00:05:16]:
That forward motion is great until it isn’t. And there are a lot of reasons why you’re feeling unable to move. I can’t even begin to name them all. You’re learning your story. You’re doing your work. And if being stuck right now is part of your story, own it, know it, feel it. If you can’t imagine taking the next step, can you look back just to ask yourself, what worked? Why did it work? Why did it stop working? Is it because you’re growing? Psalm 84, five through seven says, blessed and greatly favored is the woman whose strength is in you and whose heart are the highways of Zion passing through the Valley of Weeping. They make it a place of springs.
Andrea Smithberger [00:06:11]:
The early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, increasing in victorious power. Each of them appears before God in Zion. This passage is loaded strength to strength. How does this speak to you about being stuck? Here’s what it says to me. So one thing was working for you, and now it’s not. So you were feeling motivated and hopeful, and now you’re not. How can you get unstuck strength to strength? This phrase has momentum.
Andrea Smithberger [00:06:57]:
We keep growing and changing. So do our strengths, so do our weaknesses. Even our partnership with the Lord grows and changes. What worked before doesn’t work now. Then pray god, there are so many things changing. I feel stuck. What do I do next? You are the source of all power. Help me move from strength to strength.
Andrea Smithberger [00:07:26]:
Can you do that? Can I encourage you with this truth? I’m going to do it anyway, but I just hope that you receive it. If you are aware that you’re stuck, if you know it, it is less likely that you’ll stay stuck. It’s more likely that you’ll move. Is that good? Maybe you can pocket this for later. I am a visual learner and teacher, and this visual feels good for me when we’re stuck. And I learned it from a great teacher, kurt Thompson and I’ve adapted it for us. Let me know what you think. Imagine that you are on a train taking you through this journey to sexual wholeness, okay? And on the first track, you look out and you see all the hurts and pains and traumas.
Andrea Smithberger [00:08:14]:
And on this track, fear starts weighing you down and pushing on the brake to bring you to a stop. Anxiety adds more pressure. What if it happens again? What if I do it again? And shame and judgment come in to sludge up the gears and your train gets stuck. On the second trek, you can still see all the past pains and hurts and traumas. But here you swap shame for curiosity and reflection. Remember the statement at the beginning of the episode all you have is right now on this trek. Your willingness to look at the brokenness with careful questions and honor now become your fuel for your train. That fuel doesn’t leave too much room for anxiety about the future because you are present in your present.
Andrea Smithberger [00:09:11]:
On this train, your momentum takes you to new places. It creates some distance between you and those past hurts. They don’t disappear entirely, but they also don’t crowd your view. What track are you on? It can change from day to day. Taking in a lot of information and gaining knowledge is one thing. It’s a great thing. Learn tools and verses and download charts. But can I suggest that you pray for discernment? Holy Spirit, search me and know me.
Andrea Smithberger [00:09:50]:
Guide me towards the best word for me, the best tool for me. Help me stay where I am. Help me know where I am. Stay near me, Jesus, until I’m ready to move. We’re all on a journey. There are highs and there are lows. There are times of growth and times of stillness. Jesus, I pray for the woman listening.
Andrea Smithberger [00:10:17]:
I pray that she knows where she is and to know that you are with her through it all. Amen.
- How does the idea of being stuck resonate with you personally? Are there areas in your life where you feel stuck?
- What are some of the reasons mentioned in the episode that can contribute to feeling stuck in our journey towards sexual integrity? Can you relate to any of them?
- The speaker mentions fear and perfectionism as factors that can keep us stuck. How have these emotions hindered your progress in the past?
- How does the culture of instant gratification impact our ability to navigate through challenges and setbacks?
- Can you identify any specific moments in your journey where you felt stuck? How did you handle those situations and did they eventually lead to growth?