The First Step in Your Recovery – blog
Last week the focus of my daily emails was that we need to stop trying to just stop. We usually say that right after we have had another fall. If that fall has been discovered by a spouse, we are quick to repent and tell our loved one that we will try harder and hope our words and intentions will make a difference. However, if we do not start to do the things we need to do to stop our intentions will evaporate over time as the battle with our flesh, our world and the enemy of our soul continues.
Or, maybe if you are not married and are just really sick of this sin and you see what it is doing in your life you know you need to make a change … but your history shows you that so far what you have or have not been doing has not worked.
Let me share with you what I have learned in my 13+ years of working on my recovery. The most critical thing we need to understand to start a real recovery is that we cannot do it alone. That is not because we are weak and worthless it is simply because of the powers working against us and the reality that this behavior has been a part of our lives for years if not decades. It has become a habit and we should have all the proof we need to tell us that remaining in isolation will only lead to more failure.
Here is the first step in our 180 Recovery Program. It is a very hard first step but is one that can have a powerful impact on you as it had on me. The first step is for us to be honest with ourselves and with God. This is done by sitting down and beginning to write out our sexual sin inventory. I did this over one weekend in two sessions and it took me about 9 hours. It was very difficult but so necessary.
I asked the Spirit of God to help me remember all of the sexual sins that I had done in my life. I was 54 at the time and that meant trying to remember back 43 years of my actions. I did not focus on specific details but just the basics of how old I was, what I did or what was done to me. So, I recorded my age and the basics of what happened and moved on. It took me 9 hours to finish it.
After looking it over I realized how much sexual sin had been a part of my life and how it had been destructive in every relationship I had with girls and women. My self-loathing hit a new low and I sat in my basement softly weeping before the Lord. I literally prayed out loud; “Father, I feel like a pile of shit.”
Then, at that moment I felt my Heavenly Father say to me;
“John, those are the things you have done but that is not who you are.
You are my son and I love you.”
I started to feel waves of forgiveness wash over me. I felt the deep and unconditional love of my Father and my Lord Jesus embracing me much like I imagine the prodigal son felt when he was embraced and welcomed home by his father.
I would desire for you to have the same experience. This is where recovery starts by being honest with ourselves. Over the years we have done things of which we are ashamed. These memories are like piles of garbage tossed into the basement of our soul. Because of fear and shame, we have kept them locked in the darkness.
This exercise is simply taking out the garbage. This is inviting God to go down with you into that garbage, turn on the lights and allow Him to take the garbage out.
If you really want to begin to experience God literally changing you and helping you recover this is the first step and it is a very difficult one. However, I urge you to do it. Again, it is very important that you ask the Spirit of God to guide you in the process and to protect you against any demonic interference. Make it a sacred time alone with Him and take your time walking through your memories.
Now I will end with this. If you have been sexually abused or have experienced real trauma as a child, then some of those memories might be too painful to remember. You do not need to remember all the details. Just the time and place of the event and not go into any details. So, for example, it might be as simple as doing this.
Age 4 – sexually abused by ____________.
If there has been sexual abuse in your past it may be very helpful to work with a professional to work through the issues and wounds you have suffered. However, I believe and know from my own experience that Jesus wants to and can heal wounds that others have caused in our life.
Tomorrow I will go into what we need to do with the list of our sexual sin inventory.