The very first step to getting better is to establish sobriety. Getting sober is like thawing out. It’s coming out of -20 degree weather with a light jacket to sitting in front of the wood stove. As you start to warm up you begin to tingle, it hurts, your body aches deep in your bones. Had you stayed out much longer they would have been cutting off body parts from frostbite, but you made it, your alive, and the pain lets you know it.
Anger, grief, shame, fear, anxiety,…all those things you have been numbing by acting out sexually you feel them for the first time. It’s brutally painful at first, but welcoming the pain and refusing to escape from it is the only way to get better. You can’t go around it, over it, or under it, you have to go through it.
Do you want to be made well? Then pick up your mat and walk. John 5:8 You’re healing requires you to do something, pick up that thing you have been laying on and get after it, the first step is sobriety. When you sober up you will feel pain. Know that this is a sign that you’re doing it right. Healing hurts. You are in trauma recovery and you’re going to feel beat up for a while and that’s OK because you have refused to ever feel before….because frankly, it hurt to much. I know this because you formerly numbed the paid with porn, masturbation, fantasy, sexual encounters, and the list goes on. These things were slowly killing you. Now the game has changed and you are slowing killing them.
What does picking up your mat and walking look like? It’s many things. First acknowledging you have problem. Come out of denial, come to Monday night, or find a group near you, just walking through the door takes courage and it’s healing in it’s self. It’s an act of humility and humility heals. It’s an admission of need. Say out loud “i need help.” You do, we do, I do, we all do, that’s life. Don’t just do it once, make it a lifestyle. sexual purity is a team sport, not an individual event we need each other to get better. Picking up your mat and walking looks like you reaching out, confessing sin, receiving prayer, listening to others, praying for others, becoming human, and articulating your need.
Picking up your mat and walking looks like you observing the spiritual disciplines of worship, study, solitude, simplicity, service, prayer, mediation, guidance (a great book on these is Celebration of Discipline).Picking up your mat and walking looks like you doing the work to learn to talk, to learn to touch, to learn to feel. It looks like you going to bed early, doing the physical discipline of exercise, doing what you say you’re going to do, keeping commitments, cutting out things that have brought you down in the past for a period of time, working, providing for your family, taking care of your body, eating right, getting in the right relationships, pulling out of the wrong ones, and being dangerously honest. It looks like you finding what brings you alive and doing it.
The act of healing is on going. Keep doing what got you well and you will stay well. You were crippled, but now you can walk. It was Jesus who healed you. It is Jesus who is healing you. Now pick up your mat and walk.