Happy New Year!!! I hope that you had a beautiful holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s. I get it, the holidays are busy and there tends to come a level of craziness, but congratulations for making it across the finish line!
This year, the holidays in our household were beautiful. I would even go so far as to say it was probably the most wonderful Christmas we’ve ever had together as a family. The amount of memories and experiences we created this year with our kids was awesome. It’s so important that we teach our kids that it’s not about the amount of presents and gifts you receive but the moments you get to share with one another that matter most because those are the things that last forever.
I don’t think my mind and my heart were prepared for what I would feel on Christmas day as we lit a candle to remember our family members and loved ones who made past Christmas’ so special and are now with Jesus. What a sacred, weighty moment filled with long pauses and many many tears. I think I’ve come up with a new strategy for the painful moments we feel in life: “Feel it, then reveal it”. We HAVE to acknowledge what hurts, not stuff it down or ignore it. Pretending something isn’t there only creates a bigger problem. And then after we feel it, we need to reveal it. We need to share it with someone healthy – whether that be in prayer or with a friend or family member. The revealing release of pain allows our souls to breathe. And to truly live.
I feel like this idea of feeling and then revealing can also apply in monumental ways to our recovery from pornography and sexually compulsive behavior. How often in your life do you experience a feeling, whether positive or negative, and then you act upon that feeling in some way? There is some type of response cognitively, which may or may not trigger a memory or emotion, which then is converted into an action. For us addicts, we’re training our brains to think differently. Instead of responding the way we always have before by acting out and attempting to medicate or dull pain, we’re learning the better way: Acknowledge what is there, feel the pain that is present, and then learn to reveal and release those feelings in a healthy way.
You have may no trouble with the feeling part. I think probably 99% of people have no problem with that! But it’s the revealing that is what gets us in trouble. We stop short of talking with healthy people in our lives and letting them in to see what is real, no matter how messy it might be. I’m convinced shame has a huge hand in all of this. I know that it did with me. Remember, guilt says you’ve done something bad. Shame says that you ARE something bad. Shame says you are the problem, not that you have a problem. So when we stop short of processing painful and complicated emotions with people, it tends to become a breeding ground dealing with our pain in other potentially unhealthy ways.
Revealing the things that we’re feeling comes at a cost. It means no more hiding, no more covering up, and no more pretending. It means people will actually know the real you (possibly for the first time in your life). And trust me when I say this: It will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make! I know it was for me. You don’t often hear about a man complaining because too many people cared about his heart.
So let’s assume you care enough for your heart that you’re ready to take the journey towards honesty with other people about your internal world. What’s the next step? A great place to start would be considering Small Groups Online. SGO is a platform that offers online support groups for people seeking sexual integrity, community, and mental wellbeing. These are spaces where you are able to come with complete transparency about the current struggles are facing in your life and your marriage. Consider becoming apart of SGO today. It’s sure to be one decision you won’t regret.
Feel it then reveal it. I think this is probably one of the most important foundational practices a person can ever implement in their life. What if you made 2024 the year that you prioritize your heart in a fresh and new ways? What if you allowed the Lord to work through the lives of other people in caring for your heart? It starts with you and your commitment to becoming the person that God wants you to become. That’s someone who is healthy and whole, unashamed to be truthful about who they really are.
Frank is passionate about helping individuals live with sexual integrity. He also works alongside his wife Tracey in helping spouses who have been devastated by their partner’s addiction. Frank & Tracey live in beautiful southern Delaware with their two children: Nathan and Addison.