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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Monday, September 29, 2008

Painfully Aware

I wasn't sure just what to entitle this post. I love surfing around other blogs and finding gems and jewels put forth by so many different people!!!! Blogging truly is a smorgasbord isn't it??? YUMMY

I have discussed the details surrounding my struggle with sexual fantasy as a way to avoid pain and escape what I felt was a tough situation. I intend to share more in further detail about the whole arena of what lets such a struggle foment inside. Here on this post i want to lay forth what i believe were the crux of the matter for what led me to act out in a way that was an escape. A painful self-awareness is at the root.

I have been a somewhat shy person overall. I am not shy to the point of being a mime lol but shy enough. I blush very easily and have been victim to those who delight upon finding ways to cause this *human tomato* response to occur for the amusement of any and all in the vicinity. I have had this happen over my height,chew,walk,run,skin and a number of others as well. I never quite learned the secret of overcoming this embarrassment response to teasing. I found it especially excruciating in jr high, which i think can be viewed as the closest thing to hell on earth by many.

When I was hired as the youth minister at the small church in Illinois i was nervously excited. I knew it was a huge opportunity and a giant responsibility. I was hu7mbled by the act of the church leadership giving me a chance to lead their kids into growing as believers. I got several chances to preach as well which was awesome. Teaching, preaching and working with the kids in those settings was all good. The sr pastor told me he wanted me to go the local jr high and high schools and visit with the kids, try to build relationship there. That TERRIFIED me!!!!! I was taken back to my own jr high and early high school years. I did not see or feel myself the man i now was seeking to minister to kids. Nope, I was the 13-16 yr old kid who felt like he wanted to hide in a shell because of constant torment and teasing about my appearance and self-consciousness. The more i thought about going to visit those kids at their schools, the more insecure and anxious i became. I thought about telling the sr pastor i just couldn't do it but i was brand new on staff and felt i would be undoing one of the things i had been hired for. So, my way to escape the misery to come was through the phone lines. A lil different from getting drunk or high but ended up with the ultimate end result.

i know in my next job, as a youth counselor for troubled kids, my anxiety rose as I was faced with needing to perform in some ways to lead and help control and change those kids and lead them into more mature development. I felt my own insecurities as I had tried to navigate my own maturity amidst the problems i had of feeling so alone,rejected and unable to get over my own hyper self-awareness. Phone lines were my escape hatch once again with terminal results.

I don't know why I did not wait and seek Gods way in dealing with these tensions then. I don't know why I have had my bouts with a blend of performance paranoia, perfectionism and a seeming inability to let His hugeness overcome all the fear and pain inside. Hopefully, I am learning that He is far more patient and understanding of me and all my *stuff* than i have ever been. A verse says that God's kindness leads us to repentance. I know this so well for everyone else, I truly want to know it for myself and embrace it fully!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Simply Complex

Nice oxymoron there eh??? I have been finding life to fit this description many times lately. Our world-view, our paradigm via which we interpret reality plays a major role in our experiencing of this reality, whatever it may be. The Bible in many places sure seems to want to simplify things for us. In the beginning God. God IS, no wondering how He got there or where He came from, He IS. God is love. God and love intertwined,enmeshed, regardless of what circumstances in the world and to us personally, God is love.

Of course much more of the Bible is far from simple and there are so many various ways the Word gets interpreted and understood, it makes your head spin. Within Christianity there are lots of divergent views, though the essentials are held to universally by and large. Lots of other belief systems out there floating around, offering varying views as to what constitutes reality and our ability to comprehend it. We all have different levels of ability mentally,emotionally,relationally,spiritually. Again, so very different but so very alike we all are.

We live inside our imaginations, there is no escaping unless we ar asleep. Even then we dream. Each of us have unique imaginations. Some of us have vivid, wild,dramatic visions we filter through our minds. Others of us have more black/white slow ordinary and mundane visions we experience. Some credit God with inspiring what fills our imaginations, others say its their own life experience which does it. Interesting that opposite ideals can fill difffering minds. Atheists or those who have no affinity for God can have spiritual dreams or thoughts enter their imaginations, while christians can have some very ungodly images slip inside their imaginations. Mystery indeed.

My pastor preached today on being prepared to meet God. Life is short. Death is imminent. Eternity is forever. Just how do you make sure you are prepared??? Some who may be like me and who can instantly worry about worrying how to prepare to meet God may chuckle. We live our lives, so much impacts us and moves so fast through our imaginations. Do we prepare as we continue to live??? Do we find special prep time as we take a time-out from living to prepare??? Do we prepare mentally,emotionally and spiritually in a way that is apart from physically??? Some of the myriad stuff wandering within my head.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inner Cries

I just wanted to make a post that is like free flow just let go what comes up within make it a bit more spontaneous So good to be able to post. Sharing painful occurrences is healing so much all at once God is always here but alot of times I let my focus slip and somehow He seems less here. I want to keep growing, I want to just curl up in a ball and hide I want to let go of me and the incessant cries I have inside

Why does life have to have so much hardship??? Trials cause growth and endurance and character. Solid answers mentally don't equate to solid answers emotionally. Death can happen anytime anywhere to anyone. Why did that cancer get inside my dad when he was 18??? i understand the reasons of pain and suffering, still have sought to out-think, out-smart and out-play it I don't want to be a survivor i want to be an accepter and lose myself to find myself. My mind runs a thousand directions at once. God knows all this and He still loves me!!!!

OK I have shared a good deal of the pain that occurred in my past due to sexual sin. Quite a lot of sins are *acceptable* within the circles of the Church, sexual ones are not in that category. It was extremely difficult to seek to enter into social relationships that had existed before this occurred and to see the changes that happened after. I lay no blame here, I just am stating how it was and in many ways still could be. Those who engage in sexual sin often feel like a scarlet letter is written on us that everyone sees and that is a constant reminder of our moral collapse and failure. There are always consequences and repercussions to actions taken, deservedly so. The aftereffects that go beyond the natural results are often deadly to the spirit and soul. I speak of the internal self imposed judgments here.

No one could cast any harsher aspersion or lay down any stricter punishment upon me than i have to myself, trust me on this. My biggest battle to date really is forgiving myself. I think for anyone, and this goes way past sexual sin, but ANY sin that truly causes deep shame and guilt. Hope is still alive though!!!! King David, a man after Gods own heart, as God Himself declared. King David committed adultery and murder. He suffered severe consequences, YET he held the hope God had given him. He repented and was renewed by God within his spirit. God never gave up on him.

I still struggle daily. I slip and fall at times. I most likely will until my dying day. I write this right now to any who believe they have blown it and all hope is lost. ITS ALIVE!! God still loves you!!!! God knows all your weaknesses front and back, He always did and He always will. Jesus died and paid the price for ALL your sins, that means PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE!!!! HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS YOURS!!!! It does not depend on our works or how obedient we are...... it has all been done by HIM!!!! I hope to expand on this more, as i think how we discover our freedom and hope has been misconstrued in alot of ways and i want to reach out to those whom this is true for.

Inner Cries- Let me bask in what You have done Jesus!!!! AMEN!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mirages Appear Real

Pleasure instead of pain. That is a catch-phrase that could be a bullet-point for just about any addiction. Sex,alcohol,drugs,gambling,shopping,food,power the list is endless. I have been very enthused to recieve feedback from dear people who have shared that some of my sharing can benefit people who may not struggle with my same issue, but who have very similar areas at the core of what fuels the addictiveness.

Maslow, a noted psychologist, put forth a very concise organization of needs which we all have as humans. Belongingness and acceptance are 2 which comprise our emotional/social/relational needs. I know there can be all kinds of factors which affect us as very young children and can alter our basic ability to function. Trust or distrust, which one stands out to us as we form our character??? The ability to adapt, to put on an outer facade which may serve as a buffer from perceived pain and problems can be formed very early on, even more so if the imagination is especially vivid. Usually maladjustments to what we take as threats to our security and wellbeing happen long before a genuine relationship with Jesus is established.

I want to speak more directly. Its hard sometimes to just get the nitty gritty down as it happens inside my head. There are vast numbers of men and women who have struggles with addictions and behaviors which fall outside the boundaries of holiness and godly living. It is not out of a desire to turn away from seeking God and His Kingdom. It happens often even while deeply involved in and committed to dedicated Kingdom goals and life pursuits. There just can be pockets which seem to go very deep and mirages appear that offer something we normally know in our right minds cannot truly exist. However, we put our right minds on hold and try to imagine that maybe, just possibly the mirage is REAL!!!! Sadly it never is, but that lure of the possibility and the temporary relief from whatever pain nudges us inside, is enough to keep us as fish chasing bait on a hook over and over again. I am processing some things i really want to share here, i pray i get them clear in my head so i can write them here as I seek to. So good to come to grips day by day that the mirage is not real nor necessary.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stops and Starts

None of us have a corner on the WHOLE truth. We have access, via Gods grace, to the Truth, but seeing as how we get this access through a skewed filter, it is safe to say we all have bits and pieces which will elude our grasp until we are in glory.

I have fought with the illusion of perfection for a long time. I wonder if we all have to some extent. The idea that since God is holy and perfect He asks that of me as well. Of course the verse which means holy also is defined as mature. Scripture is filled with the declarations of our total failure to achieve holiness and perfection, which is exactly why Jesus came and fulfilled it as only He could. Yet I still held onto my illusion. I sometimes wonder about how much of a spiritual schizophrenia I have had going on, and that lays out there like a cloud waiting for anyone to fall upon it. Calvinist teaching says God determined everything, because He is All-Powerful and ALL-Knowing. He created beings who He knew would reject His plan for them, created them that way knowingly, and created them knowing they would end up in absolute misery for eternity because they did what they were created to do, which was to reject His plan for them. But, they live their entire lives hearing and reading of how God is Love and seeks to lead them back to Himself and experience the intimacy of a love relationship with He who created them. Wait though, this relationship is impossible because they are predetermined to reject Him and His offer and to end up apart from Him and His love for all eternity because He created them that way. DOH!!!!!!

Can you see how that kind of logic would cause a bit of confusion and consternation??? I do not ascribe to that idea but i must say it has messed with my head more than a time or 2 as i have battled my personal demons which wage war as I pursue the upward call amidst my weak fleshly failings. I have alot more in my head somewhere to attempt to say on here regarding the struggles I detailed in the last several posts. Just praying to think it through and be as genuine and concise as possible, touching places that need to be in a way that heals and encourages and that leads me to become free and more free as i journey on. I am very thankful life is not one long line going upward. I have had wayyyyyyyy too many stops and restarts to have any tangible hope if that ever vertical line weree to be the only route. Happy weekend all!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Like A Pinball

I am fighting a really bad cold now, hopefully it will eave soon and i will once again escape the ravages of that monster known as the flu. I have been fortunate for many years to avoid that bugger. Hate being sick.

I hope my sharing lately has been a help to any who came across and needed to hear what i shared. I know it has been a source of hope and healing for me as so many of you have been so loving,kind and supportive and gracious in comments. I do hope a more open dialogue can continue surrounding those areas so stigma and secrecy out of shame will not continue to damage people inside. I have a sunday school class I am coteaching which is a discipleship class but also covering ways in which we become affected by dysfunctions in our families and environments. I felt more free in guiding the group to open up and share and I know it was assisted by the community here in blogland!!!!

I was reading tracy simmons post the other day, tracy is at *the best parts* and i follow her blog daily :) She talked about knowing Him who is from the beginning. Spiritual maturity. Tracy has a wonderful way with words and this was no exception. I feel like a piball alot, bouncing here and there depending upon my feelings and/or situation life throws at me at any given time. Spiritual maturity finds total peace in resting in God. He is in complete control, regardless of what calamities and tribulations are occurring. Of course this takes a very grounded rooting in trusting God is who He says He is. If God is not love and not in complete control well then I see no reason why anyone should have peace because all is chaos. What really struck me is how to mature in regards to pain and trials.

I know in my reaction to losing my father to cancer at age 8 I came up with various defense mechanisms. Alot of those were imaginative ways my mind thought of to protect myself. Ultimately they all fail because they have no foundation, faith and the object of that faith provide the solid foundation. I have tended to put wayyyyyyyyyyyyy to much of an onus on myself and what i was going through as far as dealing with the struggles and difficulties of life. Part of me was able to latch on to Him and His truth, but a large part also has had a hard time just trusting Him no matter what came my way in life. Life is not fair. Pain and suffering happen all the time, even at a moments notice. God is love. God is good. God is in control even though the previous occur. I am wanting to let that truth sink in as deep as possible so i can reach higher levels of spiritual maturity, and also accept Gods grace in regards to my humanness and failings. I have been and still so often am a far harsher and strict judge of myself than He evcr is. Pinballs can have fun!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Are We All Dulcinea??

I love Broadway plays!!!! I was in theater all through high school and acted in several great plays. Luckily my theater teacher had worked as a director on off- Broadway and really knew how to put on a first-rate production. I played Officer Krupke in West Side Story, a crazy person in Cuckoo's Nest, and was also in Man of La Mancha. If you have never seen this play you are missing out. Don Quixote is a man who is a dreamer, some would say a madman. He was a writer during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, his true self was Miguel De Cervantes. He wrote a story of the character Don Quixote however, who experienced all kinds of crazy adventures.

Aldonza was the name of the girl who was basically the town whore. She sings a song about her life and how she resolved herself to a life determined by the circumstances and influences of the people upon her life. Don Quixote comes across her, and he sees someone entirely different. He sees a beautiful innocent angel who can be pure and enjoy life. He sees aldonza as dulcinea, and sings her a song which pours out his vision of who she truly is inside. Aldonza thought he was a kook and out of his mind,and even said he was more cruel than any of the men who used her and abused her in her life because he gave her a hope and vision of becoming someone she felt disqualified from being.

I think of this story when i reflect on how I have let influences,attitudes and treatment of myself from early childhood as well as into teenage years have such a devastating impact upon my inmost feelings about myself. I know i have developed various distortions and delusions which twist and turn who I really am as having been created in the image of God. I can see how at various times and in weird ways I have felt like God was Don Quixote and was extremely cruel for His giving me a picture of who I truly was and could be. My sharing helps to push out that distortion and to fully take in the identity He gives me and sees me as having, especialy via Jesus taking me and making me His own. I hope more and more I will actualize the identity of my own *dulcinea* that Jesus gives me as I experience His love, grace and peace more and more completely.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No Easy Answers

Definitely none here. I thank all who have been so encouraging in comments and emails as well as silently in thoughts and prayers. This battle has been being fought underground for far too long. There are some strong ministries in existence which are geared toward helping heal individuals and families. My hope is to help anyone who may feel to filled with shame and guilt to even attempt to go to one of the ministries for assistance. It can be a very tough thing to feel judged or scorned by others, it really is far worse and nerciless when it is carried out by yourself upon yourself!!!

As I have discussed in many posts along the way on here, I have alot of varied influences and events which helped to form areas of pain and immaturity in my emotional and relational development which combined to create a space of emptiness into which the lure of sexual fantasy took its stranglehold. I think my story in many ways can be shared veryu similarly by many other men and also women with life issues that mirror those which I faced.Sexuality and how it develops is so much of a mixed bag in american culture. Sex is *used* by almost every institution in existence here. Our lives have been molded into such a fast paced frenzy by pressures of career,performance,competition and making a way to just eke out a living. I say this not as a way to make excuses, but to give comprehension as to just how one can ger caught up in the whirlwind that sexual fantasy becomes.

I think by encouraging discussion and open sharing, genuine dialogue of root issues which lie at the core of our selves and why we feel sucked in by the false promises of porn, which I use as an umbrella term for sexual fantasy as a whole. Many who are involved in the *business* of sexual fantasy are simply shrewd moneymakers who see a way to easy riches.Others get involved for personal reasons which may or may not lead to an addictiveness which slowly destroyes self-esteem and relationships. Every one is unique. The catch is also that usually a neurochemical reaction occurs via the lure of the fantasy. Sex in in the mind, and a seduction occurs much like that of one using drugs,alcohol or gambling. Enticement and desire begins as a small fantasy idea deep in the mind and it begins to grow, till it becomes a fullblown ritual which ends in the acting out to fulfill the desired want the mind and body pursue to get that high.

I want to also say that I am NOT seeking to appear above the fray as yet. I still struggle. I am figbting the war daily and I believe i will till God takes me into eternity. I hope that is viewed as encouraging and not as defeatist. I am not in anyway wanting to be a hypocrite, although i have my share of hypocrisy in various ways due to certain actions I take which go against conscience and faith. i admit that fully. I just believe God knows me through and through and His grace will lift me up no matter h0w often i fall, and will continually lead me to become more mature and strong in His love and mercy. The kindness of God leads to repentance, not the wrath and anger which so many of us tend to superimpose upon ourselves when facing our sins we battle. I praise and thank God He has used so many people as His tools to help me stand up and realize my life is not lost in the dungheap due to my fialiures. I thank all of you for reading and sharing here. Anyone who would like to talk privately my email is magicgenie32@yahoo.com. I pray fervently that anyone who needs hope will be helped by my sharing and the love shared by all who comment and pray. Thank You!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Further Down the Highways and Byways

I found a job pretty quickly after arriving back home in huntington beach california with my mom. It was so surreal to be back after almost 2 years in Illinois. I lived my life on both coasts- New Jersey and California. I ALWAYS had mountains and the beach. UNTIL......... central Illinois UGH!!!! I used to stop and tell myself i wasn't dreaming, that I really was living in the middle of nowhere, tiny towns and flatland FLAT!!!! I liked it though.

A few months after being at my job, we were all told the company was in severe financial trouble and in order to stay solvent had to lay off half the company, which included me. I began working as a temp to stay afloat financially. I always checked the paper to scan the want ads for jobs, when i saw one for a dispatcher. I always liked the phone and thought it would be a fairly easy job so i went to apply.Once I got to the place and went in, I knew it was a bit *different* Pictures of semi-naked girls adorned the walls. I tried to avert my eyes and just look at the floor as i awaited the supervisor for my interview. In walked this guy looking like david lee roth and sounding like a sufer valley dude and he said- *well I guess you can tell this place is a lil different* DUH He said, the job is a phone sex dispatcher. *mouth drops to floor* Whaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt???? My mind went a dozen different directions, and soon I was taken into the office and given a *tryout* I sat at a desk in front of a computer and 10 cubicles were on either side of me, with girls taking calls from people wanting to talk to one of the girls. My *job* was to take the caller info, then call a girl at her home whom I would describe the *fantasy* to and tell her to make her call, then call me back when done. It was easy, brainless work.

As an aside, the place i worked had full-page ads in Hustler Penthouse and a bunch of other adult magazines. They had photos of girls who were supposed to be the girls they talked to on the phone. BZZZTTTT Nope. The girls who actually DID the calls were just normal people, not sexy models or strippers. The company was all about money, however they could get it. They used to sell videos and even various articles of lingerie to willing buyers. They also got a lil politically involved, sending out brochures telling their customers to fight for free speech protection. They didnt care about anyones right to free speech, they cared about getting everyones money!!!

I initially took the job out of sheer curiosity and intrigue. So what really went on behind closed doors in this whole deal??? I talked to all the girls who did the calls on the phone, and many of them told me they really liked my voice and wouldnt mind talking to me outside work hours. Well, for a guy who felt unable to connect to women due to insecurities and past rejection for being unattractivem this felt like becoming Romeo or Don Juan!!! These girls actually liked and wanted to hear MY voice??? wow!!!! That was bait that kept me on the hook for awhile in that company.

I was going to seminary again at my old Bible College. Weird thing was, the phone sex company was just a few blocks away from the school!!! Crazy eh??? I did fairly well in my classes, but my heart was heavy. I knew I should not be working there, and i was again digging the hole deeper of what caused my pain and shame which i had left behind in Illinois. Somehow I could not let go and break free from the hold my fantasy desires had on me. I went to the school dean and told him I needed to drop out. He tried to change my mind but I had made up my mind. I had taken my Bible with me to the job, to do homework, and that sparked some interesting convos. I felt like the prodigal who could not get up out of the mud with the pigs. I was stuck in my own quicksand and did not know how to get out. God and Jesus must have had their heads bowed in disgust and dismay. This fool had tried to be a minister??? PLEASE!!!! That truly does sum up the way my imagination filtered how They must have felt. I was fired from there a . lil over a year for unknown reaons, it was a huge relief!!!

Pleasure to escape pain. Hmmmm sure seemed like i had it all twisted. My emotional immaturity never felt so blatant in how the allure of hearing females in ecstatic p;easure were a constant lure, as i felt so unable to manage to carry out a true intimate romantci relationship,apart from any aspect of sexuality involved. This is another deeper area of the shame. I think for men who may be in relationships, even marriages, where they feel unable to give what they believe is needed for their gf or spouse. It rips apart my guts and my manhood to admit this felt inability. I pray it helps others who also may feel this, i pray God continually heals me of this deeply felt hurt and shame. Thanks for listening.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Highways and Biways

Continuing on with my story of my struggle with sex addiction. I drove back to california, it was a long tough lonely drive, all the hurt of what had happened the laat 2 years just slshing around my head. The night before I left to go to seminary, my church youth group gave me a farewell send off. I had been there since 1978, this was now 1986. I had become a youth leader after graduating high school. I worked with every age, jr high, high school and college/career. This was in Huntington Beach california. In the heart of the OC. Talk about trendy and life in the fast lane lol Most of the families in my church were quite well off financially and the kids reflected this in the clothes they wore. I was not and also did not conform to dressing in designer clothes. Somehow those kids still accepted me and i enjoyed a very unique ministry with them in my time there.

Anyhow, they all wrote me letters of encouragement. Giving me a scripture verse they thought i could use, as well as a memory of me they had and a message for me they wanted to share. WOW!!! Those kids really gave me a treasure i kept in my heart. I often read them over and over when i felt lonely at seminary, I had been sent off in a special way to achieve my dream of becoming a counselor/minister and here I was, shamed and full of guilt and feeling like a total disgrace to all those kids, my entire church family, my family, God. I had been ordained in the midst of what happened at the church I was youth minister at. Sometimes I don't know how God held me together, how I had these conflicts happening and maintaining my ability to function. I made it home, attempted to return again to my old church, but i felt to condemned inside myself. I was not able to tell many the real reason I had come back. I told a few very close friends i felt i could trust. I did not go to church or read my Bible much for a long, long time. I always kept praying, but felt a shadow of shame folowing me no matter where i went.

I decided to try and seek to finish my Masters at my Bible College where i went to, in their Seminary. It was very good to be around my old professors and friends I had for my 3 years there. I felt the sting of wondering if the dean or professors from my Seminary in Illinois would make contact with anyone at my place i was at now, and tell of what had happened there. I never felt quite right. Something happened again. I will share in next post.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Secret Shame Continued

Pleasure replacing pain. I cannot emphasize that enough as to what the grip of porno is in all its forms upon those, both men and women, whom it affects deeply. I went on moral probation at seminary and went to a counselor. He was a good man, I have had years of keeping my emotions tightly wrapped when it came to opening up in ways that would cause me to feel and dive into my pain. I did enjoy the time with him though. I was hired at a group home for troubled kids a year later. I found it a challenge,especially since I had to work with a much older lady as my partner and whenever the kids got too agressive, which was often, i had to restrain them, because she could not. These kids had multiple issues they dealt with and we had around 12 to 15 all the time. Needless to say it was often stressful. I felt those old insecurities build inside overtime, of not measuring up to what i should be, and sure enough once again I turned to my drug of choice, the telephone and made those calls again. The phone bill showed up, I had to resign, well actually i was fired.

The main supervisor who told me i was fired came to where i had been living while working there and he had what to me was a very odd demeanor towards me. He asked me if i planned to hurt myself in anyway. I assured hiom I was not. He said he had once struggled with similar issues and it made him feel like nothing mattered anymore. He told me those who needed therapy should not *do* therapy, smiling the whole time he was talking. I had the feeling he really didn't see me as a person but someone he needed to remove as a problem to him and the home. Before i left i went around to say my goodbyes to the other staff members. They all treated me like i was a black sheep and just pretty much kept their head down, obviously showing great disappointment at what i had done.

I was paid very well there and had few options now as to finding work. I was in cental illinois in 1988 and the job market was slim there. I decided to leave school and move ack home with my mom. I had to face the shame of calling my mom and telling her what had happened. I didnt tell many of my fellow semiarians why i was leaving, I was scared of the response I would get, seeing what had happened with the faculty and the people at the group home. My dream of becoming a pastor/counselor had basically gone up in smoke, and I did all to myself.

Sex is far more than the coming together of bodies and exchanging fluids. Real sex takes place in the mind, way before bodies get involved. Sex is a huge aspect of our beings. No wonder God seeks to protect us as much as He does with His boundaries He places around us where it is concerned. Sex involves a whole lot more than just procreating. It is the purest expression of our giving our self to another person with all our emotions and thoughts, a genuine expression of love. Genuine intimacy gets very distorted so often in our lives for many reasons. Emotional longing can become like a deep black hole that does not get filled, even when we have real loving relationships, if we have had wounds that were not dealt with and allowed to fester.

For me, because of my feelings of being unattractive, rejected by females and lacking emotional wellbeing, I sought to make up the deficit through the fantasy of porn. Porn is way more than a video or magazine in my context. It is the false reality of sex as a playground where you recieve nonstop pleasure and all your needs are met by either willing women or men who accept you without question and cater to your every wish want and desire. The deeper your pain and desire to escape it, the tighter the clutches of porns pull becomes. It becomes worse when possibility of it being uncovered happens, because deep inside is the realization this is not real or right. But it works so well to remove the pain and create the mirage that you want to avoid it being taken away at all costs. Those costs, very sadly, are often close family and friends, spouses, work and careers.

I have decided to hit upon my story here openly as a way to be used to minister to anyone who is caught in a similar struggle or who is battling shame guilt and despondency over what happened in their life. i sometimes sit back and wonder in confusion as to how I got to the place I did concerning all this. I can only say the heart has a way of rationalizing and maneuvering in ways to justify almost anything when deep desire and escape from pain is involved. I hope and pray my sharing is a good thing that will be used by God in anyway He sees fit. I will have more to follow. Thank you everyone who reads, comments, prays and just sends your well wishes!!!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Secret Shame

Just was over at rwk's place, *daily life in a homeless shelter* and read his post on the book *dirty lil secret* dealing with the porn industry and its inroads it has made into the lives of believers. I didn't want to repeat his title so i thought of something close to it. I have touched upon this area a bit on here in sharing my story. No matter what the motivation or intention, sharing on issues of sex seems to be a very tough thing, unless it's being done in a flirtations,amusing or sensual manner. Reading rwk's post made me hope that the book does minister as i'm sure it is meant to.

I have shared about the abuse I experienced at the hands of older guys on my block growing up in new jersey. I hung around them alot and was witness to the usual stories teenage guys talk about, but they have quite a different effect on a wildly vivid 9 year olds imagination, as well as the fact i saw movies at an age when I really shouldn't have. Graphic erotic images DO have a strong impact upon the imagination I know that for sure. Sex in books or in movies can have a resounding wallop upon your mind and emotions,especially if you are one who has deeply unmet emotional longings for acceptance,affection and love from the opposite sex. I know for me, a very shy teenager who had it exacerbated by feeling totally unattractive and repulsive to girls, the escape from that pain which permeated my life every waking second was like a drug that made it all vanish and replaced it with the lure of a fantasy land where pleasure removed pain.

Pleasure replacing pain. THAT i believe is the lie and lure which revs the nonstop engine of the porn industry. Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt and all the others who make a fortune off of sexual imaginations of people don't give a DAMN about the trauma caused in the lives of those who get drawn into the makebelieve world of what they are selling. They just want the profits which make them into millionaires.

I have never been lured by porn per se because i thought it was very badly acted and had cheesy music in it lol Hearing a female voice talking erotcally now that is a whole new ballgame. I had a lot of denial inside as I went through my teen years because of my rejection from girls due to the acne and my shyness which also was a result of that. I kept sex as a fantasy place i visited at night in my own imagination pretty much, for it sure wasn't going to happen in real life. I discovered the mirage of phone sex when I had graduated from Bible College and was removed from an environment surrounded by friends and people who cared about me and were supports. Hearing a sexy voice talking as they did was like getting a shot of heroin and immediately experiencing the high, well that is how it was to me. Just like with a drug though, the high wears off and you want it back again, and you want it quick!!! It became a dirty lil secret i had, for I was a youth worker who had just gotten my Bachelors in youth ministry and was wondering if i was going to go to seminary or what. Not something you tend to bring up as a prayer request in a small group um yea.

As I have shared a lil before, I went to seminary and ended up getting hired at a small church in a lil town in Illinois. I loved the people, loved the kids and the chance to serve. My inner demons of insecurity lurked though and reared their ugly heads. I stayed in a house the church owned when I went down to be there for the weekend from school. It had a phone. I recalled the phone sex lines i knew from back in california. My temptation arose and hung in my mind, I bit and called the line. Over and over and over. (I am not sure how many times. When the church got the phone bill and found out what the numbers was to, i was asked to resign.

I ended up going to counseling as a result of moral probation. I had to go before the dean and some professors to give account of my actions. I tried to explain the addictive nature and how my insecurity led me to seek escape via the calls. They listened but I never recieved any support or encouragement. It was like ok glad you are repentant and will seek counseling lets put it behind us. i don't think they knew how to deal with someone in this situation on a personal level. I don't think alot of people do.

i share this hoping it can touch anyone who may experience a similar struggle right now. I also want to push away the stigma and shame, showing i am a normal, well ok at least semi-normal lol guy who has areas of life which make this a struggle. As rwk said in his post, this is a dirty lil secret which has been snaking along into families and lives for a long time now, and has done so because it is something that most seek to keep secret and have shame about. I have more, but hope to have feedback on what everyone thinks. I thank God He has helped me to reach a place where I feel ok to share like this and even do so with my usual bit of humor. Thanks for listening and caring all !!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Where have You Gone Simon and Garfunkel?

*The Graduate* great movie, helped launch the career of a gifted actor named Dustin Hoffman. Good movie, greater soundtrack. If you heard it, you catch where the title of my post is coming from. *where have you gone joe dimaggio, a lonely world turns its heart to you* well i sure hope the last part is right. lol should have checked the lyrics to be sure first. Anyhow, I LOVE Simon and Garfunkel!!!! They represent more than just music to me, they represent an awareness and attitude towards life and the meaning of it that transcends genres of any kind. Sounds of Silence, I Am A Rock. Those 2 songs speak to my soul at a depth i cannot put in words. I feel the emotions stirred as i type this. Somehow, those 2 knew of inner emotional pain and loneliness that happens, even when you are surrounded by people, even people who love you and cherish you.

I have always been a very easygoing, cheerful and funloving person. I am thankful to have a temperament that is like the waves in the ocean. Just flows and moves, not affected by things in a way that causes me to get really riled up. Usuallly!!!! There are always exceptions lol. I do feel things very deeply though, and plunge various painful emotional memories and hurts into the deep abyss of my inner core. I was actually a cute kid from about 4 to 12. I can look at pictures and slides of myself from that time period and laugh seeing that yes I was a curly blonde-headed, frecklefaced cute kid. i say this because from age 13 on I felt so ugly and actually became ugly for a time, due to severe acne. Somehow, even though i can look at myself and say i was cute and had lots of people tell me so, my *inner voices* said otherwise. *too clumsy*, *chews like a cow*,*runs funny, like a waddling duck*,*squeaky voice*,*cant do math dummy*, *needs a special ed teacher to tell time and do math dummy*, *big baby cant stand up for himself* On and on and on. Those are the messages that rattled around inside my mind ,that still do to a large extent. I share this because i was touched by a friends post at her place on selflove. This sucks right now to be trying to writr and focus and feel the pain of those messages. Still.

I want to have more *self-love* I know i have grown alot over the years. Just a mess to me i could be 47 and look back and see how hard it has been to truly have it in the way its most needed. I was talking to my mom the other day, about how i was tested and found to have the reading comprehension of a 16 year old when i was just 8. I told her i wish i had the emotional comprehnsion instead. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit. I truly hope so!!

Sometimes i wish i were a rock or an island, feeling no pain. Listening to silence my old friend, good to hear her once again. But I care about people and their pain and do not want to be isolated that way. I do, yet i dont. I am quite able to hide my inner pain and be cheerful around others. On here its like reverse, sometimes i think i hide my cheerfulness because i am always revealing my pain I guess because i hope i connect with others who feel and do the same. I truly have and i am grateful to the point of tears for that!!!! We need more Simon and Garfunkels!!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Love Never Fails

The love chapter in 1 corinthians. So well-known,used in weddings,counseling,to give hope. A sentence that is meant to carry huge weight of good news to the ears of those who hear. Such a comfort and source of joy for those who read and hear the words. Unless.

What if its false??? Our senses, sight,smell,hearing,taste and touch. Do they affirm this statement??? Do they deny it??? Does pain,suffering,destruction,distress and dismay wreck the reality of this statement??? Does badness in whatever form it comes in manage to wreak havoc and cause this statement to crumble into dust??

My feelings want to scream YES to this,due to personal and witnessing of others experiencing agony of soul. My mind says NO. I have been engaged in a challenging discussion over at jim palmers blog. Trying to ascertain the ultimacy of faith,absolute truth,metanoia repentance and experiencing the genuine transformation God brings about in ways we cannot grasp rationally. Faith is not absolute certainty,otherwise it would not be faith. As I have written about on here so often over the last 4 years, I battle my own demons of doubt,fear,guilt,shame and unbelief. Very much like the centurion who spoke to Jesus though, I always come to the conclusion- Lord I believe-help my unbelief!!!!

All of us are ultimately in the same boat. We are born, we live,we die. Is there meaning and purpose in our existence at all??? Jesus came and did what puts Him in our boat. He was born, He lived, He died. One lil exception though----------- He came back to life!!!! Jesus makes the difference when every conceivable angle is looked at. Love doesn't mean no pain,no harm, no struggling or no battling questions and doubts. Love ultimately does mean though that love never fails. Love is a Person. Love is our God. Love suffered and died and overcame and is why Love never fails!!!