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While going through some of my childhood possessions, I came across something which took on a profound meaning to me: a kitten poster.
This was the first poster I got as a six year old. I immediately was captivated by it because of its cute factor. A small kitten, hiding in a paper bag? What's not to love?
You know, the phrase, "the cat is out of the bag?" Well, I couldn't deny that ditty followed me throughout my life, eating disorder shenanigans and, of course, my disclosure of and recovery from them. After all, within my book, "Thin Enough," I wrote a poem starting the chapter on disclosure, entitled, "The Cat is Out of the Bag."
Disclosure - it is intimidating.
"Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known." Luke 12:2
"Fight Club" is a powerful film, cemented within pop culture. It's notorious, in particular, for the famous line of its main character, Tyler Durden's, often quoted within our society...
"Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!"
And it got me thinking about secrecy.
Hug Me! Do We Fight Our Help?
I love this adorable cartoon post.
Dinosaur number one pleads, "Hug me!" to Dinosaur number two, who responds, "I'm trying."
I immediately thought of the "fighting your help" principle, both on the recovery front and the much larger spiritual playing field.
Many of us struggling with addictions, disorders and vices often employ a lot of self-sabotage when it comes to interaction and, yes, actual help.
We reiterate such statements as...
"I've made too many mistakes."
With those statements, we push others away; we fight our help.
And, of course, we do this with God.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7
We can really do a number on ourselves with our faulty thinking.
How many of us have said the following things to ourselves, about ourselves?
...never good enough..."
And then, if we're plagued with disordered eating and body image issues, it gets amplified even further.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
Artist, Gerald Moira, creator of the 1898 piece, "The Silent Voice," is a haunting image. In it, we see a young woman with an ethereal creature whispering in her ear.
To me, it calls to mind recovery from addiction as it relates to silence and the voice. Personally speaking, my restrictive abusive childhood discouraged any use of my voice which was considered displeasing. "Children are to be seen and not heard." That's how the saying goes.
And that sentiment had its oppressive hand in my eating disorder development and thought processes. Things "innocently" started out as a desire to lose weight and be thin. But it wasn't long before the disorders, in all of their different forms, became about control and exerting my declaration of independence. In short, disordered eating/image became my voice screaming against the silenced abuse, inequity and toxic environment I endured.
But, just because I've been removed from that confining time and space, does not mean my need to deal with those triggering voices is over. Quite the contrary, in fact. For whispers still come from unexpected corners.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
And these whispers are certainly not affirming. In the context of disorder and self-destructive tendencies, the whispers go more like this instead…
Remember when things used to be so great...
Remember how in control you were...
Remember how much better you looked being thinner...
** Are you having less sex with your spouse or stopped having sex with your spouse because you are looking at pornography?
** Are unhealthy emotions overtaking your thoughts and controlling the outcome of your actions?
** Have you tried to quit looking at porn but can’t?
If you answered yes to any one of these then you are addicted. Anytime we are addicted to something it means we are under its control and have become a slave to it. Does being addicted to porn mean you are a bad person? Not necessarily.
What it means is that you have a sexual temptation that you desire more than you desire the goodness of self brought on by God. You are allowing the sin to overwrite the natural goodness of your character. Satan is pulling at your flesh to look at porn, while principles and mores are put on hold somewhere in your mind.
Bad people remain in their addiction all the while getting worse spiritually and emotionally. Bad people don’t even try to come out of their addiction but rather revel in it and eventually get worse in their sinful behavior. Bad people don’t know they are lost, they believe they are following the right path already. Bad people are literally holding hands with Satan.
Some of you might be playing a game of tug and war because your conscience is having a difficult time dealing with your actions. This is the flesh (physical and emotional feelings) fighting with the spiritual aspects of your nature. The spiritual aspect of self knows right from wrong. Which way are you tugging? Did you fall into temptation again?
1. Recognize The Cause of Your Addiction:
First of all the most important thing you can do is figure out why you are addicted to pornography by recognizing what the root of the problem is. Do whatever it takes to bring it out in the open with yourself and then take the necessary steps to eradicate the sexual cravings from your mind. Do you think you can stop at anytime on your own free will? Easier said than done, right?
Do you have negative feelings towards someone or about something bad that happened in your life? If negative issues don't get resolved within your mind your sub-conscience will bring them back out in your actions. Only you can know for sure what it is that has caused pain and suffering within you. And only you can do something about it! Make it right for yourself in your mind, and do whatever you need to do to fix the problem.
2. Take the Blinders Off and Open Your Eyes:
I know this sounds harsh but look what closed mindedness towards God does to you! What you think and believe on a continual basis brings you into a life based upon those thoughts and beliefs. If our mind is not on God then what is it on?
Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? Luke 6:39
Have you ever stopped to think that you're addicted to pornography because of your unwillingness to base your life upon a spiritual and moral foundation? Simply put, your philosophy is with the world and not God. Some of you have even been conditioned into believing that viewing pornography is acceptable for you life. But I encourage you to break free from this kind of thinking, which leads to sin, and seek out the true source and foundation for your life.
“What if I can’t be fixed?”
You ask a bunch of guys about their biggest fears, and you hope for some open dialogue. You don’t really expect someone to whisper from the depths of the fog.
“What if I’m hopeless? This addiction killed my dad and my grandma. My sister’s relapsed over and over for fifteen years. And I’ve prayed and done everything I can for a decade, but I keep falling into the same pattern.
“What if I’m broken so bad that even God can’t fix me?”
How are you gonna respond to that? Think carefully, because whatever you say better not rhyme. It better not be some platitude or theological truism. He’s heard them all, and they’re salt rubbed in an open, bleeding wound.
We don’t want to hear “God can’t.” Our first reaction is to argue — God can do anything! And when that fails — you can’t argue your way out of the fog — we’re tempted to retreat to the safety of the Christian cocoon where the light’s bright, the fog’s clear, and people don’t talk about the hopelessness of addiction and depression.
Addictions - A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel is a book for every Christian. Usually when we hear the word "addiction," our thoughts immediately leap to illegal drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. As the author correctly points out in this book, every Christian faces the temptation of addiction. The difference is some addictions are more acceptable than others. I can be addicted to books for example. Others can be addicted to food, credit cards, a beautiful yard, a hobby, work, or a multitude of other items in God's created order.
Welch rightly calls addictions sin. Addictions reveal a love of self and thus are idolatry. In the practice of them we put ourselves above God. Addictions are sin. This diagnosis will not be acceptable to many in our culture. But it is what we need to hear.
The author shows the pathway by which one can become addicted. More importantly he shows the only true way that slaves to addictions can be freed. Thus this volume is filled with hope for those who are tempted to or are already feasting on a "banquet in the grave."