I'm at the National Pastor's Convention in San Diego for a couple of
days. With the rather harsh winter we've had in Salt Lake City it is so
good to get to the sun, beach, and sand! My wife is usually on this
trip with me and we have an awesome time. We eat a lot of food and we
just chill together and we always come back restored. This is a good
time for me to be here though, I've been helping 3 different couples
sort out their marriages and it has been draining. Of course in one
case it is a couple that isn't married yet but she caught her guy
looking at porn she wasn't happy and it looks like that wedding is
postponed. I'm helping her guy get some help. But my wife isn't with
me this year and hear I am in a hotel room with free high-speed
internet and pay per view movies. Don't worry, I'm okay, I've got
accountability, and I've prayed over the room that it would be a
sanctuary and not a porn fest. But my mind went back to the times when
I would be traveling to speak somewhere or something and things were so
different. Let me take you back about 4 years.
I can still hear my wife's words, "do you want to lose this!" She spoke those words through her tears one night after she caught me, once again, looking at Internet porn. For my wife and many wives/husbands (including pastor's wives/husbands) its like being strapped to a big wooden roller-coaster and having to ride over and over again without any breaks. Things rush by very fast, there are frequent, painful jolts, you feel trapped, and sick to your stomach (I guess thats suppose to be fun?...I do like roller coasters!) This was one of many painful experiences my wife endured for almost a year (not to mention the 10 painful years before I was caught...when I was only half present because of my secret addiction) before there was a breakthrough with me, and I finally got serious about recovery. But I'll never forget those words. They stand out because that is really what it comes down to when you think about it. What are you willing to lose for porn? A ministry? A wife? A husband? Children?
Those were dark days when I was so far gone into porn. It was hard to think, even harder to see what was most important with porn always clouding my mind and heart. Ministry was tough because I was hiding a secret. I was paranoid that someone would find me out, and that would be the end of me being a pastor. There was constant distress, fear, anxiety, and frustration over the fact that I couldn't break free. Yes, I wanted to be free. Maybe not for the right reasons at first. You see I think in the case of us guys, often we just hate the fact that something has such control over us so we get motivated to beat porn simply because we want to be in control of our lives. That isn't all bad because that can lead to abstinence at least. But in my opinion abstinence isn't all we're after especially for us pastors. Just because we may be resisting the pull of porn doesn't mean that we have arrived at a new place of passion, commitment, or intimacy. It just means that we aren't looking at porn. Which is a good thing, but not where God wants us to leave things.
I'm just now starting to get this. It was one thing to get rid of my old flame (porn) its another thing to truly live, love, and lead without her and without desire for her! Don't get me wrong she calls me up every now and then she says she just wants me to remember the "good old days" when it was just us, and she had my full attention and I was so into her. She's got some new stuff even that she's willing to let me "sample", if I'm interested. Thankfully God's Spirit gives me discernment, clarity, and wisdom to see that she is not all that she's cracked up to be. She's really not worth it and I've got so much more to live for (so much to lose).
Pastors, I want to be here for you in any way that I can. I want us to rediscover that passion, power, and intensity that has been covered over from years of dabbling in porn. I know it is the life we all long for. Courage.