Do you have a safe place to go with your brokenness? Who is the one man, or group of men that you have in your life that you can share your brokenness with? I would venture to say that if you do not have those kinds of men in your life, that you are in grave danger of being taken out over and over again.
In 2005 I left the youth ministry I had served in for many years to start a ministry called True Pursuit. One of the driving forces behind my starting True Pursuit was the realization that most men, including me, do not have
We all have a story
Unfortunately I was sexually abused at a very young age at the hands of a much older boy and was exposed to pornography and masturbation. Like so many others that I have talked to over the years, these kinds of atrocities pin so many of us down with shame, and force us into a lifetime of hiding. It is no secret that one of our tendencies is to stay isolated in our shame. It doesn’t help that we have an enemy that works tirelessly to convince us that we are the only one that struggle with these things. Until we become brave enough, or desperate enough, our secrets will keep us in the shadows for a lifetime.
One of my favorite authors, Peter Scazzero, says that
“a man will not move forward in his life until the pain of staying where he is becomes unbearable.”
I was 45 years old when that came true for me. Because I was exposed to pornography and masturbation as a young boy, it followed me into my adult life. Like so many men that I have talked to, I had months, and even years where I was able to avoid it. However, there were times when stress or loneliness would lead me to seek the perceived comfort of my old friend. I would be disgusted with myself and double my efforts to push it away. I would try and convince myself that I could over come it this time by being more disciplined, read the latest book, or memorize another verse of the Bible. All good things, but it wasn’t enough.
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The worst and the Best day of my life.
In 2002 my wife found pornography on the family computer and everything changed. As you can imagine, she was devastated. I often describe that day as both the worst day and the best day in my life. The worst because I had to come to terms with how much I hurt the woman that I loved, and the best because my life long secret had been brought out into the open.
My wife told me that she was willing to love me though this, but I needed to tell someone about my problem. So I told her that would tell someone, however, I didn’t really have a list of men in my life that I felt safe sharing that with. I mean who do you tell, right?
I finally decided that I would tell the men that I was in a small group with…which were men that were parents of the kids I ministered to…yikes. It took me a few weeks to work up the courage and then finally one morning while meeting, I leaned in toward the center of the table in a coffee shop and blurted out what had happened. Honestly, I had this vision of each of them pushing their chairs away from the table and walking out. Much to my surprise they all leaned in toward me and said “do you mean you struggle with that too?”
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I have to admit, I was thankful that they didn’t all point and yell in unison…you are a pitiful and sick man! And the very next thought that I had was…wait a minute, we have been meeting in this group that was about helping each other live lives of integrity, and authenticity, and we don’t know this about each other?
A ministry was born!
It was right there in the coffee shop that God planted the seed that would become True Pursuit. I learned for the first time that every man believes that he is the only one that feels the way he does. I became convinced that we all need a safe place to go with our brokenness. Honestly, how often do you look at other men and think that they have figured this stuff out, and yet you are still stuck? The enemy has done a masterful job of keeping us isolated in our sin and shame. It is time to find a another man, or group of men, where you can be honest…only then can you begin the long journey of healing and restoration.