Recovery from unwanted sexual behavior is up to you. And only you can know how much of “you” is going into the work. It’s about postures of recovery.
In this episode, Josh and Kit examine a few postures toward recovery and how to readjust for lasting impact.
This important journey is about more than trying to quit a bad habit. True healing hinges on your posture. How vulnerable are you? Who are you doing this for?
We are digging deep into these questions with you. We pray you feel brave enough to recognize your motivation, honest enough to acknowledge your true level of commitment, and willing to stretch into a posture for true recovery.
God is inviting you to more.
Postures of Recovery: If I’m really doing the work of recovery, it means that I am literally walking places, looking at parts of my life, talking about things that I may have never looked at, talked about or walked through before and that takes courage.
Shallow recovery is like weeding, whereas real recovery is more like excavation
The reality of recovery is it extends beneath the ground in all sorts of directions and so, in recovery, we’re looking for roots. It isn’t about going in and plucking a weed.
What am I learning that I need to do for my sake to become the whole person that I was meant to become?
Why are you in recovery, because you don’t want to repeat that behavior anymore? Or are you in recovery to get more out of life?
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives; vulnerability is the path.”
Brené Brown “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.”
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
We’ve talked about this before that in many ways, all of us who are on a spiritual journey are in some process of recovery, we’re all recovering from something. And yet there are those of us that also have deep addictions that we are seeking recovery seeking to receive healing and understanding from God about what’s going on. And here at regeneration, we see a lot of people in that situation. And we noticed that there is a kind of a significant difference sometimes between how people go through this recovery, and some are able to really reach a place of deep surrender. And it’s disruptive. And it’s hard, but things come up, and they find freedom. And then there’s others that just can’t quite get to the end of themselves and surrender. So they’re kind of going through the motions. And it’s kind of painful to watch. And we understand that this recovery process is so hard. So today, Josh and I are going to talk about on our own, we’ve kind of thought about a couple of three things that we’ve seen, where people maybe can’t quite get to the depth of recovery that they might need to, and we’re going to talk about that in hopes that it’ll encourage people in their in their process. So Josh, do you want to start us off in one of the ways that you thought about that? You see?
Yeah, thanks, Kit, I think you said it? Well. I think, for me, the ideas that I came up with all had to do with kind of postures of recovery. And so the first, the first one that I thought of was the difference between having a posture of short term versus long term. And so I think a lot of people come and what you’re describing about getting to the end of themselves, there, they’re not there. And they what they really want to do is to is to find out what’s the least I have to do to kind of get my life back to where it was before whatever blew up. So, you know, like, typical experiences, my, my wife just found out that I’ve been looking at pornography for the last 10 years, she’s obviously upset, you know, let me let me get in and get this taken care of. And so after three, six months, even a year, it’s like, hey, things are going great. They’re better. And I’m out of here. And what I’ve seen over the years is that when somebody has that attitude, like what’s the least I can do, what’s the shortest time this is going to take? It’s understandable, I think there’s good in the desire. But I think there’s also often an unwillingness to accept that this is actually a deeper work than that. It’s you don’t you don’t turn a ship that’s been that’s been headed fast in one direction for 10 years, you don’t you don’t turn that ship very quickly. Without it coming back on the course it had been on to begin with. And I’ve seen so many people jump in, and then they leave quickly. And then a little bit later, they’re back. And they kind of repeat that over and over again. It just belabor the point makes it longer than it needs to be in the long run for them.
Yeah, we really don’t like pain. We don’t want to have to, you know, get into it. And so we kind of just say, hey, let’s just get back to normal, let’s just do what we can to, to you know, get this back on track the easiest possible way. And that doesn’t work in recovery, does it?
No. And I think you put your finger on the the main that main point is getting back to normal. The truth is that normal was not working. And so it’s it, we really don’t want to get back to the way things were while you were living the secret, while things were kind of peaceful in the surface. But there was this undercurrent of problem that wasn’t being dealt with. Yeah. Okay, what about you, number one for you? What was the shallow versus deeper or real recovery?
I think the first one that came to my mind relates somewhat to yours, it’s a little bit different. But you know, it’s this idea that we engage in behavior modification, you know, go through the motions, we attend our recovery meetings, we go to our therapist or our coaching meetings. But we don’t really allow the content to penetrate, we don’t become vulnerable. We just go through the motions thinking that that’s going to be enough. If I go to enough meetings if I you know, it’s like when I was a new Christian, I think I’m like, I’m a Christian. I go to church, I go to Bible study, but I wasn’t really allowing transformation to happen.
Yeah, let me go back into that. Thanks. Yeah, I think I think you’re putting your finger on something really important kid. And I think the other part of vulnerability or the other half of vulnerability is courage. It’s the, it’s that willingness to go to those vulnerable places to recognize that if I’m if I’m really doing the work of recovery, that means that I am literally walking places, looking at parts of my life, talking about things that I may never have looked at talked about or walked in before. And that takes courage. So I, I appreciate that.
And he said that famous quote of hers where she says that vulnerability is the birthplace of courage.
What does that mean? What does that mean?
Well, in order for us to learn to be courageous, we have to be vulnerable.
Yeah, that’s good.
Yeah. I mean, I think it’s really true, I think we, you know, we might have a have an appearance of courage. But unless we’re vulnerable, first, we won’t really be able to tap into courage to do some of these things that are really hard to do. You can’t pretend you can’t pretend to have courage, you can’t pretend to go through these hard steps of recovery, you have to be vulnerable.
Absolutely, yeah. Yeah, talk about it. Talk about it. So my my next one, and I just used an illustration here. Short, shallow, shallow recovery is often kind of viewed as weeding. It’s that kind of posture, where a real recovery or a deep recovery is more like excavation. And, and one other way to think about this is that, you know, we often weed where there are weeds. But, but the reality of recovery is that is that it extends beneath the ground in all sorts of directions. And so we’re looking for roots that extend to places in the yard, on the property in our lives, that may not be visibly producing weeds right now. So for example, you know, I’m dealing with my unwanted sexual behaviors, and I walked through the door, and I’m trying to, you know, weed those out of my life, not recognizing the roots, or the ground that became fertile to that stuff goes back, even into my childhood, to my other relationships, to my marriage, etc, etc. So having a posture that says, Look, if I’m going to get, if I’m going to really adequately deal with this part of my life, it’s going to mean, being willing to courageously vulnerably look into other areas of my life that I may be relatively comfortable with. But that may need excavation. So
I really like that Josh, it isn’t just about going in and plucking a weed, it really is, like you say, going down deep into these roots that, that go far and wide. That’s good, that’s really good.
And I don’t mean by that, to for those listening. I don’t mean by that, like, all at once. I don’t mean, you know, I’m here, like, let’s just, you know, mess up the whole backyard. But it just means being willing to kind of, if you I mean, if you’ve ever weeded seriously, like, there are times you have to be willing to follow the trail. And so you know, it can be one thing at a time, but it’s it’s a commitment to, to doing what it takes to really eradicate the where the problems come from, and take a look at those in a serious way.
I like the encouragement that you’re giving people by saying even though it is true that we need to be able to do that, it does take time, and it’s okay, you’re not gonna uproot everything all at once, you know, to be patient with yourself in the process, because it’s hard work. And it’s gonna take time, so that’s good.
Yeah, yep. What’s the next one on your list? kid?
No, I’m one of the other things that I see in meeting with people is that, that they’ve, the person has entered into recovery with their goal being to do it for another person, this person wants me to get over this. So I’ll do it rather than a deep conviction that, you know, this is necessary that there is sin there is you know, there are problems. This is an area of weakness for me, and I need to do this for my own life for my own self instead of doing it for somebody else.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Whether it’s a spouse, a parent, you know, my, if I’m in ministry, I’m doing it to get back into ministry. It really puts the locus of recovery onto the another person, which I think is makes it too easy to to, to kind of approach recovery as though I I’m, I’m not really trying to get better. I’m trying to convince somebody that I’m better enough I’m reading
rather than looking internally, you’re like, Is this enough? Is this enough? Is this enough? Yeah.
Yeah. And that can be really subtle. I mean, I think, I think that there are, if you can tell me if you have experiences too, but I’ve watched husbands who have come in who have a have remorse for what they’ve done, feel badly about hurting their, their spouse, and may have some level of wanting to change their, you know, get after what’s really going on. But, but it’s almost as though because what prompted the recovery or because the, the, the, the, what’s the word but the trigger point the the space where they feel the the pain most acutely is in the marriage, it’s like they continue to look to the, to their wife for the validation or for the approval that what they’re doing is enough as a as opposed to certainly working on the relationship with the wife, but but also really owning like, what, what’s what’s got me here, what, you know, what’s going on for me right now? And what do I What am I learning that I need to, to do? For my sake to become the whole person that I was meant to become?
Yeah. And to look to God for that, you know, for that healing and intimacy, not anybody, or anything else? Yeah.
And yeah, we could go a lot of directions with that one. I mean, I just, I think there’s such pitfalls there. And yeah, yeah. Okay, so last one, for each of us. Yeah, go
ahead. Tell me what yours is.
So my last one is, this call you some unpacking, but approaching recovery as as primarily about getting rid of something, versus approaching recovery as trying to gain
Unknown Speaker 11:53
something? That’s good? Yeah.
So if I if I have a an unwanted sexual behavior, I’m in recovery, because I don’t want to do that behavior anymore. As opposed to I have this unwanted sexual behavior. And, and, and I want more of life than I’ve been experiencing, I want to be a man or a woman who approaches life and relationships in a more life giving loving way than this, or, you know, whatever, fill in the blank. I mean, what are we in this for? And obviously doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. But But I think those who begin to really wrestle with, like, what do I want in life. Now they’re really facing I think, some of the deeper questions and and they’re also posturing themselves, to be paying attention to things that are really, really important. And I could say more about that in a minute. But anyway, respond to that a little bit kit.
Yeah, I really love that. I think it’s so critical that this is, you know, really getting to the place where you have a vision for your life, you know, that you want to embrace it, you’re kind of exhausted, with the way you’ve been living, it’s just, you’re done and you and because of that you you want to overcome fear, you want to embrace this life and not be complacent, and just, you know, get by anymore. And that’s, you know, that’s a very important part of this.
And one important sub category of that, that I’m just learning more about, even in my own story, in some unique ways today is that oftentimes, some of what we really want in life and really need in life is actually the fact that we haven’t gotten there that we’re not experiencing, that is part of why we’re wrestling with the things we’re wrestling with part of why we’ve engaged in unwanted sexual behavior. A person wants deeper meaning in their lives, and they they have been thwarted in that they have not experienced that they don’t know how to get there, they don’t know how to do the hard work or they’re afraid of the hard work. And it’s easier, just to shortcut to a little bit of a pleasure and, but but in that light, then that the unwanted sexual behavior actually becomes a an alarm, bell of clarion call of like, I want something more. And as Jay stringer puts it, he says some sometimes that, that the unwanted sexual behavior can be the most honest part of our lives, it can be that it can be trying to tell the truth that we need to listen to
there is a lot isn’t there to the idea of expectations we have of our life, you know, that it’s gotta be exciting and it’s got to be grand and it’s got to be you know, and there’s a lot to be said, Isn’t there for just a daily small but significant gratitude that can lead to contentment. And so that’s a whole nother dynamic, isn’t it?
I can I can see that. Yeah, I think though, I would save like one of the aspects for me that I’ve seen is that, that sometimes a person is afraid of the hard steps that requires to get where they want to go. And so they even might feign contentment, where really what they’ve they’ve slipped back into is a level of passivity, a failure to really go after some aspect of life that they that they really, truly do desire. And I’m not talking about in a raspy discontent, you know, I can I can make my own, you know, Kingdom on the earth kind of thing. But But even in a in a God ordained way, like who did God create you to be like, What? What’s the journey that He’s inviting you on to? And if you are in a place where where there limitations around you What is he inviting you into there? Like what is that going to be for as opposed to just just what, you know, what are you trying to get away from?
So that’s really good. Yeah.
So what’s your next one
is a little bit tied to the one that behavior modification, one accepted has a religious spin, you know, that we, that we approach it religiously, that we’re going to follow rules, we’re going to be obedient. Without real without any real spiritual surrender, we may even memorize scripture, but we don’t allow it to change our hearts. And so we just kind of put this religious veneer over doing the right things. So again, it’s it’s like the behavior modification, except that it has this. It you know, and again, it’s, it’s well intended, but it still keeps us from true recovery, if we’re just putting a spiritual veneer over it, instead of really allowing it to break us apart. And, and, and find redemption. Gosh,
So Alright, Kit, I’m so glad that you brought this one up, this is so important. Gosh, we would have been ashamed for us to end this without you bringing that up. So the one things I think about with that is, is scripture memorization or going to Scripture. And I am all for scripture memorization. I’m all for going to Scripture, Romans 12. Two, you know, it is so important to renew our minds and scriptures, it’s incredibly important to do that. But one things I’ve seen people do is almost like, it’s almost like there’s this, there are these problems, you know, that that are arising their life and they’re just, you know, instead of really addressing the problems addressing what’s underneath surface, just reciting scripture versus just reading the Word and read the word, almost like they’re just trying to drown out the problems by but you know, by going over scripture verses in Scripture verses in Scripture verses in which is just making it does that make sense? The difference between the two?
Yes, absolutely. You know, it’s funny how we can just misuse scripture, you know, and even memorizing it, and we can use it like a weapon against people or, you know, to Lord over or to justify, you know, and so obviously, the memorizing scripture is a beautiful thing when it’s used to, you know, like, honestly convict us and guide us, but it can be misused, and just go, you know, this religious kind of behavior can cover up, you know, what seriously needs to be uncovered by God.
Yeah, yeah. And I think that, that when when we find ourselves kind of fearful about exploring the deeper waters of our souls, and putting a religious veneer on it, you know, because, you know, I’m leaving the past behind pressing onto epor, calling Christ Jesus. Or, you know, I’ve been forgiven. You know, that’s all that stuff in the past, whatever it is, like, I think, I think there’s a there’s a fear based mentality to that, I think, even in our approach to God, and I’ve been there. I’ve certainly been there. I think when I first started being invited into like, looking at the deeper waters of my own soul and my own story, I had to go to God many times and say, Are you in this? Is this really what you want me to do? And, and he, he has led me into some great stuff. He’s not just after us, like, you know, wrestling. For the rest of our lives. He really does want to, to help us become free to strengthen us to excavate and to change us from the inside out. That’s such a gift.
Yeah, wrestled with that too. I mean, wrestled with not even knowing what it meant to actually allow God to have my heart versus just do the right thing, you know. And so it’s just it is a it fear is a big part of it fear and just not understanding and not wanting to give, that didn’t wanting to give up that control. I mean, control is a huge thing in all of this. And so just being willing to trust God. And to do that freefall, you know that freefall is such an important part of any kind of recovery.
Yeah. So let me wrap up baby, just kind of going back to the very first thing we talked about, which is the short term versus long term approach. If I could kind of wrap all this up into into one word, I would use the word sanctification. And I think you said in the intro, that that we really are all recovering from something, it is absolutely true. And if we can unfold our recovery journey from unwanted sexual behavior, or whatever other addictive stuff we’re dealing with, and fold that into this lifelong process of becoming more Christ, like of, of learning about our wounds in the past and healing, uncovering lies we believed and and figure out where those came from how to how to expunge the four lies, replace them with truth, uncover places where we’ve made agreements with the evil one and given him a foothold in our lives, and uncovered ways that even today our relationships with others are rooted in something less than, than healthy, wholly, honest, relating, honoring, relating. But if we can, if we can unfold all this into a really what we’re trying to do is become more like Jesus. And that’s the process of sanctification that God invites us into, initiated by Christ, carried on by the Holy Spirit and our cooperation with him. So I’m gonna wrap it up, I was like, that was not a wrap up. That was like a an epilogue. I’m so concise. So Jesus, thank you for your great love of us. And that you, guy that when you do look at our lives, you don’t just see the surface you see deep within your heart of compassion for what you see there. Or that you want to draw out both that which is under the ground, it’s that it’s poisoning the soil and poisoning the fruit. And Lord, also, you want to excavate those aspects that have been buried in our lives that are truly good and beautiful, and powerful, or things that got buried along the way that that you want to clean off, and put in a place of honor as opposed to buried somewhere into the rubble of our lives. And Lord, I pray for Kitt and for me and all our listeners who are on recovery journeys in whatever ways or have your way in us. That we can more and more look like you Lord Jesus Christ, and not just look like you on the outside but, but be like you through and through. We ask it for our good for the good of the world, for the good of your church. We ask it for Your glory, both now and forever. The name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.
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