How Hurricanes Help Develop Habits for the Long Journey Home!

Here we go again.

Hurricane Dorian is wreaking havoc already, and it’s still days from making landfall.  I have lived in Florida nearly all of my adult life.

As such, I am accustomed to dealing with hurricanes.

By saying that I am accustomed to dealing with hurricanes, I don’t mean to imply that I know how to handle them. Instead, I mean that expecting them, preparing for them, and doing my best to endure them is now a matter of habit.

Indeed, activities I used to give considerable forethought, are now second nature.  For example, without much thought, I have already taken the following steps to get ready:

Continue reading “How Hurricanes Help Develop Habits for the Long Journey Home!”

One Ounce of Prevention . . . Kids and Porn

“One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

This axiom, credited to Benjamin Franklin, is as true today as it was then.  Especially if you want to help your kids steer clear of pornography.

This quick post is designed to do that very thing: help you help your kids steer clear of pornography.

I am a father of three teenagers.  I am a man who has won hard-fought freedom from porn’s grip.  This ‘ounce’ of prevention is designed to give you some handles so that you can do the rest!

Take it seriously! Porn is an epidemic that targets the youngest of our community.

Here are three simple suggestions that may give you a place to start:

Daily check-ins!

Spend a few minutes everyday in download mode with your kids.  I’d suggest around dinner, or just before bed time.  You, however, know your child (or children) best.  Take advantage of the moments you have.  Simply ask them how their day went.

Let them know you care about them.

Encourage open lines of communication.  If they have seen or have been viewing porn, then they are likely hiding it from you.  This produces shame and guilt, which will potentially lead them view porn again.  You can minimize this cycle with a daily check in.

Delight in them!

I know, it sounds weird.  But if your child (or children) know that you take delight in them, then they will learn to take delight in themselves.  Kids, more than ever, need to know that parental and familial wells of love run deep!

Notice them.

Discover the things they love or those activities and endeavors in which they excel.  Pay attention to their hobbies.  Then affirm them!

Again and again and again.

I have encountered hundreds of children and teenagers who have been tricked into porn because they didn’t feel well-loved in their home, by mom or dad. I’ve always believed that a well-loved soul cultivates a life that’s well-lived!

So, take delight in your kids.

That means some of us will have to stop delighting so much in ourselves.

Demonstrate Grace!

The day will come when you will discover that your child (children) has stumbled into porn, so to speak.  I promise you that they can stumble into it without ever trying to find it. Porn targets our children.  That’s why social apps ought to be under the highest parental scrutiny.  So, when that day comes, handle it with grace. Show love and extend mercy.

Yes, you’ll need to put in boundaries.  Yes, you’ll need to take restrictive measures.

But, before you begin dealing in the ‘whats and hows,’ you’ll need to fish out the ‘whys.’  All too often we overreact and push our children further from us.  The road of consequences is best paved with the gravel of grace!

Take a minute.

Step back.

Treat your children like you wish your father had treated you.  I’ve learned this lesson the hard way!  I try to treat my children like my heavenly Father treats me.  I love the way James Bryan Smith puts it in his book, The Good and Beautiful God, when he says, “The way God is Father to me teaches me how to be a good Father to my children.”  Amen.

There you go.  Just one ounce will go a long way!  If you need some help, please reach out to me.  It’s a journey we are all on, its time we wake up and realize it!

Disrupting to Renew!
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Christmas Morning: Opening the Gift of a Porn-Free Life!

The Christmas season is one of gift-giving and receiving.  In all likelihood you will, on Christmas morning, celebrate this gift-exchange tradition with friends and family.  You may gather around a tree, in a living room, near a fireplace, etc. and open gifts shared by those who love you and those whom you love.

If you happen to be struggling with your porn addiction during this season, you’ll likely be disengaged from this life-giving moment.

You may, in fact, totally check out.

Indeed, if you’ve been trolling the web for porn in recent days, then meaning-filled, life-giving moments of community such as the ones I’ve just described could easily and quickly overwhelm you.

While the external joy may be palpable to everyone else, your internal, secret shame will prevent you from the soul-enriching moment this opportunity provides.

You will want to run.

And you may think that running is your best option.

You may believe that running is your only option.

Porn addiction bedevils us into believing that secrecy and segregation are the only options we have available to us.  The addiction screams within, “Run away, you’re not good enough to enjoy this gift.  Run away, return to me.”

It’s a lie and we all know it.

I am not sure we know – or have experienced – why it’s a lie.  To know why it’s a lie is to discover hope.

Continue reading “Christmas Morning: Opening the Gift of a Porn-Free Life!”

Does One Bad Moment Make Me a Monster?

During the early days of my journey out of porn addiction, I remember a time when I had been porn-free for about 90 days (yes, I numbered freedom by days, not months).  It was, at that time, the longest I had ever gone without clicking a website, watching a video, or trying to get porn in any form I could.

Then one day I crashed, badly.  All the signs were there; I just didn’t see them.  Either that or I simply refused to take note of them.

The triggers were:

  1. Fatigue.  I was tired: worn out from a busy season of life and ministry.
  2. Isolation.  I was alone, even in the company of others.
  3. Boredom.  I was restless, unfulfilled, desperately seeking something no human could ever really provide.

After the relapse, or the one bad moment, I suffered a host of unmanageable and debilitating emotions.

one-bad-moment-disruptus-renovatus

I was angry.

I was embarrassed.

I was sad.

I was miserable.

All the purity I had enjoyed?

Gone.

In one bad moment, with one click of a mouse and one surf on the web, months of purity were flushed down the drain.

If you’ve ever battled pornography addiction, then you can probably relate to my experience.  You’ve made it a day, a week, a month or more without feeding the addiction.  Then, one day, you stumble.

You fall.

You crash.

The question I want to ask, and I think it’s an important one for us, is this:

Does one bad moment make me a monster?

Continue reading “Does One Bad Moment Make Me a Monster?”

Beholding True Beauty! Traps and Triggers, Part 4.

Triggers and Traps: The Trap Day

man-praying-on-beach-my-own-journey-out-of-pornI know the term Trap Day is an unfamiliar one.  It is, in fact, not one I have heard of anywhere else.  That’s because it’s one that is birthed from my personal journey out of porn addiction and into a porn-free life.  In my experience the Trap Day is a day of ongoing struggle with porn’s pull.  It’s a day when one is particularly susceptible to porn and its destructive power of persuasion.

The Trap Day is as unexpected as it is unavoidable.

The Trap Day is debilitating because it is durative.

While the term may be new to you, the experience I am describing is likely all too familiar.  It’s the experience of being stuck in your addiction and – seemingly – unable to break free.  You can break free, though.  Before I discuss how it’s possible to live porn – free in the troes of the Trap Day, I am going to identify a couple of Trap Day characteristics.  Identifying some characteristics may help you recognize, prepare for, and resist this day in your life.

Continue reading “Beholding True Beauty! Traps and Triggers, Part 4.”