Understanding Sexual Sin’s Progressive Impact

by Jeff Fisher on July 17, 2015

{ 0 comments }

Our Saturday men’s group Is going through the workbook False Love right now.  False Love is written by Brad Hambrick, Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. 

Chapter 2 of False Love has an interesting section on how sexual sin progresses through five stages (pp.26-29).

  1. IMAGE
  2. STORY
  3. RISK
  4. CONQUER
  5. ISOLATION

IMAGE – The sexual addict starts with pictures.  They seem to satisfy his curiosity and sexual desire.  But appetites begin and he starts classifying others.  Some are pretty and sexually arousing, others are not.  We begin to lust and covet.  We also become dissatisfied with the relationships we have.

STORY – Pornography is more than images.  It creates a story or fantasy for us.  The sex addict begins craving sexual scenarios.  Stories might be about being desired, having power over another, or being with a partner who is willing to do whatever he sexually desires.

Some stories are romantic.  There is a struggle to be together, a chase or a rescue.  Some addicts want to be part of a romantic story.

RISK – Eventually, the addict decide to take risks in order to be a part of the story.  Risk adds to the thrill.  The more risks a person takes the bigger the rush.  As a person’s desire increases, so does his willingness to take risks.  Many addicts become addicted to risk.

CONQUER – Sexual sin tells the addict he “must have” what he desires.  Eventually, covetousness turns into a need to take, even by force.  The addict sees sexual encounters as prizes, and people slept with as conquests.  Sexual sin enslaves the addict, but also prompts him to enslave others.

ISOLATION – The addict pursues sexual encounters to meet his needs.  He wants to feel desired, loved, important, needed, or nurtured.  But his accomplishments leave him empty and full of shame.  He will turn more and more inward and shut himself off from reality.  It’s a sear of the conscience that is very deep.

JEFF’S REFLECTIONS

I’ve never seen sin’s progression described this way.  The deeper a person gets into pornography, the more his conscience is seared, the more he devalues others and enslaves his soul.  Pornographic images seem harmless to many, but they open a very dangerous door.

It seems to me we need large doses of truth and reality to stop sexual sin’s progression.  We need God’s Word.  We need to learn there is a real person behind each pornographic image.

I don’t think I realize the impact pornography has had on me, the impressions and shadows that remain in my soul.  I have many stories I still want to experience or make my wife do.  I feel needs at time to be risky and to conquer.  I definitely feel the dissatisfaction in my own sexual life that objectification and image preference has brought.

Help! I’m a Minister With a Lust Problem!

by Jeff Fisher on July 16, 2015

{ 2 comments }

Lust is a common struggle with almost every guy, ministers included.  It is a common temptation that most guys deal with.  You are not alone!

It should not surprise us that ministers deal with lust, but it does.  We think that our ministers are so close to God that they are somehow “immune” to these types of temptations.

I Cor 10:31 “No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man.”

THE ADDED DIMENSIONS OF MINISTRY
Being a minister does put you in a different “job category” than others.  You are entrusted with the spiritual care of others.  You are to be a mouthpiece for God’s Word.  You have the delicate, big responsibility of helping people with their soul issues.

The job of a minister can also be a job of isolation.  You have a lot of time alone.  You are on top, making decisions and many times, no one is watching.  If you are a small church pastor or church planter you know these feelings.

A minister is also out on the “front lines”.  He is more at risk because he is dealing with eternal matters.  Kinks in the armor will easily be exploited by the enemy.  Attacks to himself and his family come harder.  If there has been an unchecked history of lust, or secrets being hidden, you are incredibly vunerable.

AN ACTION PLAN
You need to get help – Lust problems will derail a minister very quickly.  It is important that you deal with your struggles aggressively, and thoroughly.  No one can do this alone.  NO ONE can do this alone.  Did you get it?  No one can deal with a lust problem alone.

Open your life to others – You can’t work on sin and struggles without talking to someone.  Find another pastor to talk to.  A denominational leader.  A counselor.  Call a ministry’s 800 number.  Email me at porntopurity@gmail.com.  Call someone.

You need to be courageous – It is a fearful thing to share your junk with someone.  You are worried about your reputation, the church, your family.  But telling the truth is the right thing.  You have to do the right thing.  You have to have faith and lean on God and others for help.

Many ministers have struggled with lust and have overcome – I am a minister who has been aggressively dealing with my lust, porn, fantasy, and masturbation problems for the last two years.  God has helped me.  He will help you.  I have met many other ministers who share our same struggles.  There is a deliverance and healing side, but you’ve got to get started.

You can’t keep the secret – Any time you keep a secret, you are living in the dark in that area of your life.  True authenticity is needed.  Walking in the Light.  Living in the truth.  You need to find a safe person to share your secret with.

God can be trusted – We preach all the time for people to trust God with their salvation, with their problems, with their struggles.  Is this any different?  God is still God for us ministers.  God will help you through this when you choose to work on it, and get the right help.  God is stronger than our lust.  He has a plan to help us navigate it.  Trust Him!

A HAND EXTENDED FROM JEFF
I have been there my fellow ministers.  I had a secret lust problem for 20 years.  I hid it and tried to go solo.  It just doesn’t work!  God had to finally pull the plug on me before I did real damage to myself, my family, and the Body of Christ.

Shoot me an email at porntopurity@gmail.com.  I’ll be a prayer support for you.  Many ministers have contacted us already with these struggles.

Go to our resource list on the right side of our blog homepage.  Or here’s a great resource list from our Porn to Purity main site:  CLICK HERE.

Be brave!  Trust God!


jeff@porntopurity.com or @porntopurity on Twitter

Fourth of July – Are You Doing OK?

by Jeff Fisher on July 4, 2015

{ 0 comments }

** For our readers in other countries – The Fourth of July is a big holiday for us in the United States. 
It celebrates our Independence as a nation.  

 

Our Beloved Porn to Purity Readers –

First of all, Happy Fourth of July!  I have a lot of great memories from childhood that revolve around the Fourth.  And a holiday that involves the grill, a swimming pool (or beach), patriotism, and fireworks seems to great to me. 

Holidays can be great relaxing times, or that can be very difficult for those of us who are in crisis.  It doesn’t matter what holiday is taking place, if you’re in crisis, it can be tough.  

  • You’re not distracted by your work and your busy schedule
  • You’re with your spouse and family
  • Things are usually quieter
  • You’re traveling
  • You’re in public places, which can be more triggery 
  • Or you’re not around your family, which hurts a lot.
  • You’re reminded of what things used to be like.

 If this holiday is a tough one for you, I just want you to know that I care, and to find God’s encouragement today.   Here are some helpful things to remember. 

1.  Recovery is a long process – God’s working into your life new habits and passions.  He is bringing you back to what He’s designed you to be.  It takes time.  

2.  Hurt relationships take time to mend – We can’t control the way others heal and don’t heal.  They have to work through their anger and emotions.  They have to learn to forgive, surrender, and let God work in their lives.  Our part is to do our part and be peaceable.  

3.  God is still working and loves you – Your main job is to stay focused on your relationship with God and on your recovery.  Bring your frustrations to God.  Let Him strengthen you.  Let Him remind you of His love for you.  Let Him speak His voice of encouragement and approval into your life.  Ask Him to help you focus on Him, rather than your difficult circumstances.  In other words, let Him be the focus of our holiday. 

4.  There are many people who understand and care – Some of you have a group of men or women around you that you can reach out to.  They are God’s gift to you during tough times.   Send an email, make a phone call… connect. 

Thousands read this blog and download our podcasts.  There are people all around who are going through the same things you’re going through.  You’re not alone.

Marsha and I understand and care.  We’re still in the middle of our own recovery.  If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, send us an email:  marsha@porntopurity.com or jeff@porntopurity.com
Tonight – I’ll be at a minor league baseball game here in the Raleigh area.  Marsha will be celebrating our Fourth of July with the kids and our church family. 

We’ll be thinking of you.

Jeff & Marsha

How Movies and Cartoons Sexualized Me

by Jeff Fisher on July 3, 2015

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

** This is a reprint from a July 6, 2009 post

I’m shocked how sexualized many of the movies and shows were that I loved watching as a kid.

** Sometime names of movies or links can be triggery, so I’m not going to name any of them. 

moviesA FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MOVIE
This past week, I got to thinking about a favorite movie from 1984 that I used to watch over an over as a kid.  I was getting a bit nostalgic and decided to order it from Amazon.  My wife and I sat down to watch it last night, and I was amazed how many sexual innuendos and scenes filled the movie!  I was embarrassed.   I didn’t remember  it being so bad. 
No wonder I had problems with sexual addiction. 

cableGETTING CABLE
When I was 12, my parents got cable.  We were so excited to be able to see the new channels, but also the movie channels.  MTV, HBO, and Cinemax were the places I would hang out.  I watched endless hours of sex-charged music videos and shows.  I was always excited for Friday and Saturday nights, because I could stay up late and watch TV.  That meant if I made it to midnight, I could see some of the really bad movies.  No wonder I had problems with sexual addiction. 

RATED R MOVIES
I couldn’t wait for my uncle to come to town from California each year.  Our bonding activity with him was for my brother and I to go to a movie together with him.  Of course we picked the rated R movie that was showing.  My parents obliged.  It was exciting to go, but I saw things in some of those movies no preteen should be allowed to see.  No wonder I had problems with sexual addiction.

eyeballs_pirateEVEN CARTOONS
Sexualization also came from some of the cartoons I used to watch.  How many Looney Tunes and Popeye cartoons would draw in the voluptuous girl and show the guys making “wolf-whistles” at her?  No wonder I had problems with objectifying women.

 

TWO THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
I’m not saying don’t watch cartoons or movies.  I do want to highlight two things:

1.  Some of our sexual problems may have roots in the TV shows and movies we have watched growing up. 

2.  We need to be careful what we are filling our minds and our kids’ minds with today.

Why Do We Have Edgy Days?

by Jeff Fisher on July 2, 2015

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

 I recently had one of those “edgy” days.  A day where every girl looks pretty to me.  A day where I feel sexual, and I have a highened awareness of triggery things.  A day when I’m thinking more with the “nether regions” of my body, rather than my brain. 

Ever get like that? 

There are five things I’ve identified from my own life and from my friends in recovery that may be contributing to my having an edgy day.  I’ll talk about 3 of them today, and the other 2 tomorrow, along with some Top Tips for dealing with edgy days: 

1.  GUYS HAVE A (SEXUAL) CYCLE TOO

We all know that women have a cycle when it comes to there bodies and their hormones.  Guys seem to have a cycle too.  Dr. Mark Laaser says that its every 3 days for guys.  Arterburn & Stoeker in Every Man’s Battle talk about a 48 hour cycle.  

 I’ve notice that there are two types of guys who seem to have a sexual cycle that’s much smaller: 

  1.  Guys who still have a lot of lust they’re dealing with 
  2. Guys that are newer to recovery

Some guys have dealt with the affairs and with the porn, but they are giving in regularly to the battle of the mind and the eyes. 

The guy who’s newer to recovery is still going through major withdrawals.  His battles for purity are deep, and right at the forefront.  He’s spending  lot of energy fighting off triggers and temptation.   

For the single guy, it means you being aware of your own sexual cycle and reaching out to healthy relationships when things get edgy for you.  It means you pouring yourself in productive directions instead of letting the lust flow overwhelm you.

For the married guy, this doesn’t mean that you need to have or should have sexual every 2 days (even though you’d like too).  I does mean that he needs to be aware of his own cycles and the physical buildup in his body.  It is a factor and we need to consider that it may be part of our “edgy” day. 

It’s not good for our wives to give us sexuality whenever we want either.  We guys need to learn self-control, the importance of serving our wives, and most importantly, that sex is not our #1 need.  Most wives have different drives too.  It’s not just about us, we need to learn to communicate with our wives about their needs.   

2.  DYSFUNCTION IN OUR MARRIAGES 
We probably have a lot of work to do in helping the sexual component of our marriages find equilibrium again.  I’m betting that the spouse who has the lust and sexual addiction problems has done some emotional damage to the other spouse.  Our marriages have probably been very self-serving for us.  I think it’s important to find a counselor to help you both work on this.   

My wife and I have found that our 12 years of sexual dysfunction was way beyond our ability to figure out.  We didn’t even know where to start.  It has taken many counseling sessions for us to get back on the same page.  Another discovery for Marsha and me is that we both have issues and backgrounds that have contributed to our dysfunction.  It’s not just my lust-driven desires.  It’s a complicated web of issues and ways of coping with our differences.  Our counselors have been very helpful as we have sought to unpack all of this.   

3.  OUR STRESS LEVELS
Another major factor in my edgy days is stress.  Let’s face it, when you are stressed out, you are going to have a harder time focusing on your purity.  I’ve notice that when my days are busy and I have a big load at work, my body starts looking for a break.  I’m thinking less about where my eyes are looking, and I slip into my old patterns for looking for sexual stimulation.  Sexual stimulation used to be my big escape and stress reliever.  The more stress I used to have, the more I would want to act out sexually. 

There are other emotions and needs that may cause you to have edgy days.  The HALTS acronym has been very helpful to me.  These are some times when I feel more edgy and things are more triggery for me:

 H – Hungry

A – Angry

L – Lonely

T – Tired

S – Stressed, Sick, Scared

When our stress or our needs are being neglected, we’re going to have more struggles.  When you start feeling edgy, you have to start asking yourself: 

  • What’s going on underneath the surface? 
  • What’s my heart look like? 
  • What am I feeling? 
  • What are my needs? 
  • What stresses or emotions am I dealing with right now?”

 

MORE TOMORROW ON EDGY DAYS
On tomorrow’s blog I’ll share 2 more reasons why we have edgy days and some Top Tips on “How to Deal With Edgy Days”.

FEEDBACK
Q:  What are some other reasons we have edgy days that I’m leaving out?

Breaking the Internet Trance

July 1, 2015

When I get on the Internet, it is easy to fall into a trance and lose track of where I’m supposed to go.

Read the full article →

Race Day: The Lowest Lows and the Highest Highs

June 30, 2015

** I’ve been taking a different approach to our Porn to Purity blog this week.  I’m reflecting on my experiences training for and running the Buffalo Marathon in 2003.  There are many parallels to being successful in our sexual purity journey.    Perhaps this marathon metaphor will help you think about your purity journey in a […]

Read the full article →

Training For a Marathon: Hurting in New Places & Finding Balance

June 29, 2015

** I’ve been taking a different approach to our Porn to Purity blog this week.  I’m reflecting on my experiences training for and running the Buffalo Marathon in 2003.  There are many parallels to being successful in our sexual purity journey.    Perhaps this marathon metaphor will help you think about your purity journey in a […]

Read the full article →

Support Group Excuses – SQUASHED!

June 28, 2015

Support group is such a great place to find healing from your sexual struggles. I lead a group on Saturday here in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.  We meet from 9 – 11 am every week.  The group is  full of newbies and veterans.  All of us are working on our sexual struggles and seeking […]

Read the full article →

Training For a Marathon: 3 Essentials That Will Save You

June 28, 2015

** Today I’m continuing to reflect on the marathon I ran in 2003.  There are obvious applications to our sexual purity journey and sexual addiction recovery.  I’ll leave them to you to make the connection.    Yesterday’s Blog:  “Running a Marathon on 5k Legs” — DISCIPLINE AND SACRIFICE How can a busy person who works 40 […]

Read the full article →

Running a Marathon on 5k Legs

June 27, 2015

** This week I’m going to share my reflections of my preparation for running the Buffalo Marathon back in 2007.  As you read this series of blogs, think about your own journey toward sexual addiction recovery and how it applies to you.  In 2007 I ran the Buffalo Marathon.  It was by far the hardest physical […]

Read the full article →