About this podcast
Resources from Brad Hambrick See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
About this podcast
Resources from Brad Hambrick See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 9
If the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we must end this study talking about how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not about what we avoid, but what pursue. How we run to God’s design for our life finds a unique expression in each person’s life. For this reason, you will do most of the writing in this chapter. It is your life that is being stewarded for God’s glory. The goal is that you would find things that you could give yourself to more passionately than you once gave yourself to your food rules. But not just temporal, slightly healthier things that would quickly become the next edition of ruling desires; and not things that you give yourself to in private so that they foster selfishness and excess. Rather, eternally significant things that you give yourself to in a community of faith to maintain endurance, temper desire excess, and become an example to others. As you read through and answer these nine questions, remember God’s patience and timing. There will be some aspects of God’s design that you can engage in immediately. But there will also be ways you want to serve God that will require you to mature more or be equipped before you are prepared to fulfill them. The main thing is to begin to have a vision for life that involves being God’s servant and actively engaging that vision where you are currently equipped. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 8
Are you enjoying where you are? Even if you are not “there yet,” can you identify aspects of this part of your journey that make it significantly better than where you’ve been? Unless you can answer “yes” to this question and take delight in that answer, perseverance will be grueling. Striving without delighting is exhausting. One of the keys to persevering, especially with a struggle as recurrent as food-related struggles (with which we have daily interaction) is the ability to enjoy an imperfect, in-process life. God does not just delight in you at the culmination of your sanctification. God delights in you right now. He invites you to agree with him; where he has you in this process is good. This provides the emotional stability and security to engage an unhealthy relationship with food. With that as our starting point, let’s ask the question, “What does it look like to continue to follow God from here?” Chances are that you’ve put so much energy into getting “here” that it is not entirely clear how to prepare yourself for life after an intensive focus on change. What do you do when your life is not focused on changing your relationship with food? That is the topic of this chapter and the next. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 7
As you reach this chapter the momentum of change has probably already fluctuated several times. Getting started was hard. It felt like an uphill battle. Old patterns of life didn’t want to let go of you and you didn’t want to admit they had a hold on you. Changing your eating patterns can feel like betraying a friend; breakups are never easy even when they’re good and needed. But honesty with self, others, and God has a great way of building momentum. You began to let go of the weights of sin that clung to you so you could run free (Heb. 12:1). This second phase is almost always exciting. When there are so many ways that your relationship with food can be healthier, it can bring a great sense of hope and progress. In the third phase, the one we’re starting now, life restructuring may begin to feel more like work again. “Implementation” is not an exciting word or process. Lasting change happens in incremental units and mundane moments. Change begins to impact moments that feel “less relevant” to your battle with food. The relief you’ve gained tempts you think you can risk a few of your previous bad habits. In this chapter you will evaluate the effectiveness and needed modifications to your life restructuring plan made in chapter six. This step will require the passage of time. Implementing (chapter seven) takes longer than creating a plan (chapter six). For this reason, if you are in a group program, it is recommended that you give at least two months to this step. You will need to see how your plan responds to the changes of settings, relationships, and emotions that happen over months rather than days. As this time passes, there are two areas of assessment that you will be performing from this chapter. First, you will be learning how to measure lasting progress. What is the difference between “I’m having a good day” and “My life is beginning to conform to God’s design”? Second, you will be looking at key areas of your life to make sure that you have not overlooked something that was not immediately relevant during the emotional crisis that precipitated your seeking help. But before we engage those subjects, we will spend a couple of sections discussing the topic of relapse. What is a relapse? How do I know if I’ve relapsed? If a relapse doesn’t “just happen” what contributes to a relapse? What do I do if I realize I’ve relapsed? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 6
This is probably the chapter you were looking for when you started this study. Thank you for your patience and perseverance in getting to this point. The foundation you’ve laid will help to ensure that your current efforts towards establishing a healthy relationship with food do not meet the same fate as previous well-intended efforts. You’ve probably known that in order to be a better steward of your body you needed more than food facts and an exercise plan. You needed to understand how you were misusing food for purposes food could never fulfill. You also needed to allow God and others to play the vital role in change that God designed them to do. Now you’ve done those things. That means that practical advisements on meal plans, approaches to exercise, and other life management changes have the opportunity to become healthy lifestyles. No longer are these plans your “savior.” No longer are you merely mustering will power. No longer are you striving to make yourself acceptable to God and others through your appearance. You are now merely seeking to be a good steward of the body God gave you in the context of loving-supportive friendship with fellow believers. We will look at what this good stewardship means in three sections: Accepting Your Body Preparing for a Return to Healthy Eating Body and Food Stewardship Practices See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 5
You will only be as free as you are honest. Privacy kills change and fuels sin. Transparency kills sin and fuels change. Chances are this step may scare you as much as any step you have taken since the first one. But remember it is not nearly as scary to move forward as it is dangerous to go backward. Don’t allow fear to make you forgetful. When you are tempted to think, “This is not worth it. Too much is being asked of me. Why do I need to confess my struggle to others?” remind yourself of these things. Our tendency has been to face difficult situations with indulging in food or punishing ourselves with restriction. That can no longer be our life pattern. Now we will face hardship by being honest with others. Confession serves two functions: Acknowledging how we’ve harmed relationships and making amends Inviting people to become a more informed part of our support network Confession is what invites other people into our lives and points out to them where they can help. Confession is how we acknowledge our weakness and admit that we need their help; we won’t lie, dismiss, or lash out. Confession is what ensures others that we have the humility and realistic expectations necessary to be safe to receive help. Confession is the door to community; the door through which we must enter if we do not want to be alone in the dark with our disordered eating. Simply put; we confess to others because it is good for our pursuit of righteousness as much as because we’ve sinned. Often, with confession, we are like the child who is offended by their parents telling them to eat the vegetables so they can be “big and strong.” We perceive the remedy as an insult highlighting that we are “small and weak.” It makes sense, but as long as we think that way, we’re trapped. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 4
Should we really say, “God I am sorry my food portions were not ideal (either too large or too small)?” After all, haven’t we established that God does not have an ideal body type? Doesn’t the idea of repenting for a bad relationship with food wreak of legalism? Aren’t we getting dangerously close to holding ourselves to the standard of some fictitious “heavenly meal plan”? These questions push us to ask, “For what are you repenting?” As we will see, the most important part of repentance is never the behavior that made repentance necessary. When we focus on behavior we will inevitably make some kooky legal code that is supposed to please God. We, then, either become a slave to the code or become repulsed by the code; either way, our focus fixates on the code more than God. We repent for the way our sin replaces or misrepresents God. When we sin, we either believe we have found something more satisfying than God (replacement) or we believe God has become unreasonable / out-dated (misrepresentation). So while repentance does involve saying, “I did wrong,” the real action of repentance is in gaining an accurate view of who God is and placing God back in the center of our lives. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 3
If only we could say that we eat because we’re hungry, and we stop when our hunger is satiated. But does anyone really eat that way? We eat for comfort. We abstain because of fear. We eat to socialize. We abstain to be liked. We eat to be entertained. We abstain to punish ourselves. With the briefest of reflections, we quickly realize we have a very complex and elaborate relationship with food. This complex relationship with food starts very young; actually, from infancy. Food is used to get a child to stop crying. Food is used as a reward (extra dessert) and a punishment (no dessert). When you ate all the food on your plate, you were a “big boy” or “big girl,” but you couldn’t get up from the table until you ate at least five more bites of your vegetables. Food has always been more than fuel. We learn to use food for many reasons long before we had the ability to reason. We see in this statement the two realities we will explore in this step: (1) our disordered eating has a history and (2) our disordered eating has motives. Both perspectives are useful in our efforts to gain a healthy relationship with food. We do what we do to get what we want. That is true of all human behavior. Lasting change requires changes in our motives. We need a healthy “why” we eat if we’re going to get to a healthy relationship with “what” we eat. But we’ve also been doing what we’re doing for a long time. Habit is the momentum of the soul. Habit easily fools us into believing that self-sabotage can be comforting. We keep doing what we’re doing because change is hard. Unless we carefully examine and expose our unhealthy eating habits we will blindly repeat them because “they haven’t killed us… yet.” These are the two subjects we’ll examine in this step: history and motive. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 2
Thank you for continuing on this journey. It takes courage to persevere in something that is difficult. You are to be commended for completing step one and beginning step two. In this step we will examine breadth and impact of our unhealthy relationship with food. In step one, we named our struggle, now we will examine it. It may be strange to realize that we all learned to start using food as both a self-soothing and punitive instrument as infants. Food is a primary tool in every parent’s motivational and disciplinary strategy. “The baby is crying. Maybe she’s hungry. Give her a bottle… If you don’t quit pitching a fit you won’t get any desert… You were so good you can have we’ll have your favorite dinner tonight.” These things are not bad. They just reveal how we’ve related to food since before we knew words. “You began life with normal eating habits: You ate when you are hungry and didn't eat when you were full. But in a weight conscious world, where food is used for comfort, you take small steps and ‘normal’ gradually disappears. You want to be thin, so you become more serious about dieting. You like how food makes you feel, so you overeat and binge (p. 4).” Ed Welch in Eating Disorders: The Quest for Thinness With this much history, it is hard to imagine that our relationship with food would not significantly impact our lives. Allow this thought to help you engage this chapter non-defensively. It is easy for this subject to illicit a sense of feeling judged or ashamed. That makes this journey more difficult, because it makes the journey lonely. If you can use this study to invite other people to come alongside you in your struggle, it will be a significant aid. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 1
What is your goal for this study? We’ll discuss several self-defeating goals a bit later in this study, but for now let’s consider what a good, sustainable goal would be for this study: To develop and sustain a satisfying lifestyle That seeks to honor God by being a good steward of the particular body He gave you By relating to food in a healthy way And recognizing that God gave us food to be enjoyable fuel “We need a new relationship with food altogether, seeing it as an aspect of life but not the reason for life. While food ultimately is fuel for our physical vessel, it is also something we accept as a pleasurable and good gift from God. There is evidence of his care for us and that his provision of food goes beyond necessity to include aspects of his generosity and kindness (p. 53).” Gary Thomas in Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul Notice that in this approach we do not use numbers – ideal weight, desired pant size, pounds to lose-gain per month, etc… We simply want to be a good steward of the body God gave us. That is “success.” We will talk about numbers later, but they merely serve the larger purpose of stewarding our body. When numbers get in the front of our mind and priorities, bad things happen. This stands in contrast to ways that we often think about changing our eating habits (contrasting with four points above): We think about short-term fixes that we’ll abdicate in the near future We try to manipulate or condemn our body to conform to some idealized shape or weight By relating to food in unhealthy ways or manipulating ourselves with food as a reward or punishment And trying to use food to distract us from or resolve struggles over which it has no influence Hopefully, you can begin to see that most people try to change their eating habits by becoming personally abusive. Shame, condemnation, and coercion are their emotional motivators of choice. If they parented their children or treated their co-workers like they related to food, they would be arrested or fired. God wants something better for you. You can also see that most attempts at changing our relationship to food are self-sabotagingly short-term. Whether it’s someone who over-restricts eating a bit less to get parents off their back, or someone who over-eats “going on a diet,” the dysfunctional relationship with food remains the “norm” from which they commit to temporarily depart. God wants something better for you. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 9
It would be easy to want this study, like this season of your life, to just be over. But this study, like your life, has least one more chapter (and several appendices) left. When you put a great deal of effort, as you undoubtedly have, into getting past something, it can be easy to forget that there is something next. The fact that God has brought you to this point should be evidence enough that He has more in store for you and more to do through you. In Step 9 you will be doing most of the writing, because it is your life that is being stewarded for the glory of God. No one else could write this chapter but you. What you will be given is nine questions that walk you through a life assessment to determine where God wants you to serve now and where He may want to prepare you to serve in the future. As you read through and answer the next nine questions below, remember God’s patience and timing. There will be some aspects of God’s design that you can engage in immediately. But there may also be ways you want to serve God that will require you to be more mature or be equipped before you are prepared to fulfill them. The main thing is to begin to have a vision for life that involves being God’s servant and actively engaging that vision where you are currently equipped. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 8
At this stage in the journey it can feel like scary relief not to be actively dealing with a problem or to be constantly taming powerful emotions. After a season being perpetually “on” guard, “on” the lookout, and having to be “on” top of things, it can be unsettling to be able to be “off.” That is what you should begin to experience more and more of in this step; becoming comfortable getting to be “off” again. Until we are comfortable being “off” duty, we are living in the hyper-vigilant effects of our spouse’s sin. Hyper-vigilance is a common response to a majorly disruptive event like the betrayal of a spouse. In this step we will look at three things. Indicators of a New Normal – These items are indicators that your personal recovery and marital restoration (if possible) are nearing a healthy resolution. Remember the conclusion of marital restoration is the beginning of marital enrichment. Piecing Together Your New Story – This is the final step in the narrative portion of personal recovery. While your emotions may still rise and fall, at this point the processing of those fluctuations will be a rehearsing of previous steps rather than beginning a new process. Preparing for Transition – Part of the scary relief of the perseverance step is moving from a formal study in formal helping relationships back to normal life and discipleship. This section will help you prepare for that transition and minimize the unsettling effects of your marriage “being alone” again (which should not be “alone,” but only relying upon your small group instead of a counseling relationship). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 7
To this point we have emphasized knowing facts, understanding impact, and processing well over “doing.” A spouse’s sexual sin creates a context of grief and trauma. These affects are often overlooked in the name of “figuring out what to do.” When this happens the offended spouse is left feeling like no one “gets it” and as if all actions are only Band-Aid fixes, moral manipulation, or shifting responsibility. Hopefully the road we have traveled has alleviated the fear of this step. But in this step, we will begin to focus upon responding. Grieving losses and processing trauma would be incomplete without direction for the future. Step 7 will primarily assume that your spouse has been cooperative with their role in the restoration process outlined here and in False Love. However, even if your spouse is uncooperative, Step 7 is still applicable, although it would be applied in your personal journey towards healthy rather than a marital journey towards restoration. It is possible that as you read through this step, you may become defensive and think, “Why should I do that? I am the one who was sinned against. This is not fair. My spouse has no right to ask that of me.” You will likely be right. Fairness has no way of creating restoration after sin. Restoration, even mere freedom from bitterness, is always built upon a foundation of grace that is “unfair.” If these emotions do arise, it would be wise to review through the work you did in Steps 4-6 to help you process those reactions. In this steps the kind of goals, actions, or decisions that you will need to make are discussed in four sections. Forgiveness: What It Is and Is Not Trust: A Wise Journey Communicating About the Whole Journey The Divorce Decision See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 6
There is another step to take in your personal recovery before your focus shifts primarily towards the possibility of marital restoration (if desired and possible). By this point, the line between personal and marital restoration may feel blurred as one leads more naturally to the other. As you read this chapter, it is important to emphasize again that you are not looking for the “explanation of” or “way to make sense of” your spouse’s sin. Sin is illogical. Trying to make sense of it will keep you locked in pain and confusion. What you are seeking in this chapter is to regain a sense of meaning for life that can include both the wrong that was done while also providing hope and direction for the future. For five steps we have examined how your life has been disrupted. We have looked at pain, history, and consequences as if they were pieces to a puzzle. We have sorted the pieces to understand them better. We have looked at how you are prone to put the pieces together in destructive ways. We have mourned that the puzzle is broken. Now we are going to begin putting the pieces together again within the frame of the gospel. This frame extends the picture beyond any of the pieces we have examined and creates a larger context for experiencing each piece of the puzzle differently. In contrast to the way the suffering story connected the pieces, this gospel story re-framing turns a tragedy picture into a redemptive one. This will not be quick or easy, but it can be pervasive and “worth it.” We will work through understanding how the gospel story makes sense of your marriage in five questions: (1) who am I now, (2) who is my spouse now, (3) who is God, (4) what is sin, and (5) is love worth pain? We will look at these questions in light of the reading you have already done. We will not be able to give a particular reframing of your specific marriage story, but hopefully we will give you the framework to make sense of your marriage differently and with real hope. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 5
Unpacking your suffering story was painful and exhausting. The temptation is now to want to whatever is “next” just to get you away from the pain. God is more gracious than to drive you that hard and that fast. God wants to care for you as a person and that involves knowing when you need rest and comfort more than “progress.” This is one of those times. Mourning is how we find rest in the midst of something painful and sad without living in denial or surrendering to cynicism. Having identified the destructive themes of your suffering story, you can now mourn the various losses associated with your spouse’s sin without reinforcing those lies. Until we articulate our suffering story as false or distorted, we would be prone to meditate upon our suffering story instead of mourning our true losses in a healthy, God-honoring way. Mourning does not mean hope has died. Confusion on this point is often why couples resist this step in their personal and marital recovery process. Mourning is a time of emotional transition. In a vehicle the driver must come to a stop before changing the transmission from reverse to drive or press the clutch to change from one gear to the next. Mourning serves a similar function in a relationship. It is the pause that allows a new type of work to begin. In this chapter we will examine mourning in three sections. 1. What Is Being Mourned? 2. Mourning’s Evil Twin: Bitterness 3. How to Mourn? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 4
Medical professionals who work in the area of chronic pain often differentiate between pain and suffering. Pain is the physical experience (i.e., a pinched nerve) that travels from nerve to nerve and registers in the brain. Pain can be treated medically. Suffering, however, is the sense of hopelessness or despair that attaches to pain. It does not travel via nerve endings, but is part of our immaterial mind (not our physical brain). Hence there is no medical treatment for suffering. That is a work done in the soul not the body. As we look at the suffering story which you use to make sense of your experience, we are examining suffering (i.e., the meaning you have given to your experience) rather than pain (i.e., the act of betrayal or how you learned of it). As in chronic pain, both pain and the suffering are real and should be treated. In Steps 4-6 we will treat the suffering. As your spouse works through False Love and in chapters Steps 7-8 of True Betrayal we will treat the pain of your experience. You might ask the question, “Why are we dealing with the ‘suffering’ before the ‘pain’? Can’t we do both at the same time?” We are. If you spouse is working through False Love, that is the most important component of working on the pain that can be addressed at this stage. At this time in your spouse’s work, he/she will be learning what it means to genuinely repent to God, how to thoroughly confess his/her sin to you (humbly seeking forgiveness, not just giving you an accurate history), and learning what is reasonable to expect of him/her in the restoration process. This is an important time for your spouse, but these steps may not be as conversationally interactive as the previous steps. “However, in early recovery there is very little available for you because all the energy you partner put into his or her addiction must now be directed toward his or her own recovery… The addict can no more understand your need for remorse than you can understand what it’s like for him to not act out for 30 days (p. 50).” Stephanie Carnes in Mending a Shattered Heart Unless we take some time to work on the suffering side of your experience, it would be tempting for you to grow increasingly passive, impatient, and bitter as your spouse transitions from steps where there is a high information transfer to steps that produces less information to share. These do not have to be “the silent steps” for you. They can be a time when you work through the information you have gained in the first three steps of your journey. You have taken in an unsettling amount of information. It would be unwise to quickly move forward without taking time to assimilate what you’ve learned, distilled the destructive messages (Step 4), grieve the betrayal (Step 5), and reframe these painful events in light of the gospel (Step 6). While you may share with your spouse pieces of Steps 4 and 5, the more complete version of what needs to be said will put into words as you complete Step 6. Realize that your spouse will be in a similar place in his/her journey through Steps 4-6 of False Love. Hopefully, the honesty and disclosure of Steps 1-3 has developed enough trust to sustain this middle leg of the journey. As we define and examine the suffering story you use to make sense of your suffering, we will do so in three sections. Sexual Sin: A Disrupted Story Ten Potential Themes of Your Suffering Story From Facts to Themes to Story See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 3
It is one thing to experience the impact of your suffering; it is another thing to understand the impact of your suffering. You have been experiencing the impact full force since the revelation of your spouse’s sexual sin and (likely) even before discovery you were wrestling to make sense of its impact without the central piece to the puzzle. In this chapter, we will begin to understand the connection between what happened and the changes in your life, emotions, and relationships. In this chapter we will look at three subjects. Factors that Increase Impact The Impact on You The Impact on the Marriage As you go through this chapter you need to have realistic expectations for yourself. Gaining a better understanding of chaos does not make it orderly. At first what you read may simultaneously make sense – providing a degree of relief – and make no sense at all – leaving you feeling more overwhelmed. That might tempt you to think that you failed or that the effort is pointless. This simply means that within a storm no amount of education in meteorology (the study of weather) will keep you from getting wet. “Adultery recovery is overwhelming, all-consuming. It is a rare person indeed who can think clearly in these circumstances (p. 101).” Gary & Mona Shriver in Unfaithful At the end of this chapter you should be able to say some of the following statements. “I’m not the only person who has felt this way... I’m not crazy… There are reasons my spouse and I see things so differently… That doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is hard-hearted or that I’m over-reacting… It makes sense why my ability to remember or keep track of time is disrupted… Etc.” See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 2
Chances are your imagination has been running wild. When we don’t know the facts about a bad situation, we have a tendency to fill in the blank with the worst possible details. More painful still, our imaginations have the capacity to create more possibilities than could have really happened, but because we don’t know the truth we emotionally react as if every hypothetical were the reality. During this time of “acknowledging the specific history and realness of your suffering,” you will likely begin making sense of things that have seemed out of place for a long time. As this happens, remain humble towards your interpretations. Each interpretation will be influenced by the limited information you have and the intense personalizations that come with sexual betrayal. “The one cheated on often knows something is not quite right but can’t put a finger on it. The one in the affair is often oblivious to the changes taking place: the different behavior patterns, the irritability or indifference towards the mate and the marriage, and distorted thinking along these lines: the partner is becoming less attractive, the tension is somehow the mate’s fault, the partner is no longer understanding, and the marriage was never that good anyway (p. 348).” Doug Rosenau in A Celebration of Sex There is a temptation that comes with information you will gain during this step – trying to use the information you gain to control or master your spouse’s behavior. As you learn more about the what, when, and how of your spouse’s sin (why is examined in Step 3 of False Love and rarely delivers as satisfying of an answer as you desire), it is natural to think you can use this information to protect your spouse from his/her sin. Or you may protect yourself by controlling your spouse. Either approach inevitably leads to an unhealthy dynamic of taking responsibility for your spouse’s sin or parenting-style relationship. “If you are in a relationship with an addict, please know it is the addict’s responsibility to identify and avoid pornographic materials. It is not your responsibility to protect the addict from all things you think are pornographic (p. 31).” Mark Laaser in Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction This is why and how even painful truth sets you free (John 8:32): free from infinite hypotheticals, free from owning your spouse’s sin, and free from ignorance. In this chapter you will go through the process of learning the extent of your spouse’s sexual sin (at least as much as he/she will disclose at this time) and receive some initial guidance on what to do with that information. This chapter will be built around answering five questions. What should I ask my spouse and how should I ask him/her? What benefits do I gain from knowing this information? What benefits does my spouse gain from sharing this information? How and when should we evaluate the health of our marriage before the sin? What should I do with what I learn? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
True Betrayal - Step 1
You were not ready for this… and you should not have to be. Being ready would have meant living in fear, resentment, or numbed denial. Being caught off guard and overwhelmed is the best possible and healthiest response to sexual sin by your spouse. That doesn’t lessen your pain but it should help alleviate some of the sense of shame and failure you may feel. In these early stages, you do not know if you know the whole truth and you don’t know how to discern when you will have learned everything you need to learn (or even how to discern what you do and don’t need/want to know). That is an incredibly disorienting position to be in. It’s like being spun around 20 times, given a broken compass, and told to run North as if your life depended on it. At this stage in the process, sexual sin is being used as a broad term, encompassing pornography, emotional affairs, and adultery. Some distinctions between these will begin to be made in Step 2. Right now you do not yet confidently know that your spouse has been completely honest about his/her sin. Therefore this chapter will focus on how to prepare yourself to receive the information that will need to be disclosed. This chapter is meant to give you a North-ward rail to hold on to at a very confusing time. The True Betrayal study is meant to be studied with a trusted companion as you walk (not run) North. This trusted companion is not your spouse, at least not yet. Neither of you are objective enough at this stage in the journey to serve as each other’s primary companion in this struggle (that is undoubtedly part of the sting and shame associated with sexual sin in marriage). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
False Love - Step 9
If the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we must end this study talking about how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not about what we avoid, but what we pursue. How we run to God’s design for our life finds a unique expression in each person’s life. For this reason, you will do most of the writing in this chapter. It is your life that is being stewarded for God’s glory. The goal is that you would find things that you could give yourself to more passionately than you once gave yourself to your lust. But not just temporal, slightly healthier things that would quickly become the next edition of ruling desires; and not things that you give yourself to in private so that they foster selfishness and excess. Rather, eternally significant things that you give yourself to in a community of faith to maintain endurance, temper desire excess, and become an example to others. As you read through and answer these nine questions, remember God’s patience and timing. There will be some aspects of God’s design that you can engage in immediately. But there will also be ways you want to serve God that will require you to mature more or be equipped before you are prepared to fulfill them. The main thing is to begin to have a vision for life that involves being God’s servant and actively engaging that vision where you are currently equipped. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
False Love - Step 8
Take a deep breath. You’re probably thinking, “I’m ready to be done with this study.” If you’re at Step 8, you have come a long way. You have made many sacrifices and opened your life to many more people than you ever thought you would. Hopefully, you are experiencing the restorative forgiveness of God in ways that are incredibly refreshing. Let me ask you this question, “What does it look like to continue to follow God from here?” Chances are that you’ve put so much energy into getting “here” that it is not entirely clear how to prepare yourself for life after focusing on change. What do you do when your life is not focused on overcoming a life-dominating struggle? That is the topic of this step and the next. In this chapter we will look at post-temptation temptations—those temptations that arise when we’re doing “better.” Finish the journey you’ve started in a way that honors what God has done in your life to this point. In order to help you finish strong, we will look at three subjects for this stage in your journey. Common Lies & Distractions Victory Changes Temptation Preparing for Transition See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.