What does it mean to be in community, you ask?
It’s a lifeline.
It’s a game-changer.
It’s the only way I’ve gotten freedom from some of the most difficult unwanted sexual behaviors and thought patterns in my life.
Carl Thomas’ book When Shame Gets Real starts with him wondering how people would receive him and his wife after talking about how Jesus helped him overcome struggles with porn in a public setting – likewise, I wondered how people would receive me when I spoke about my own story.
“Well, honestly, one of the issues I’ve had my entire life is unwanted sexual behavior.”
I stood before a small group of men and women in church years ago, as I shared what led me to the Lord and brought me into that room.
“Jesus healed me from promiscuity over twenty years ago, but there are bits and pieces admittedly, I still struggle with. This is why I’m here in this safe recovery meeting, as part of a community of people who are here to get real healing.”
I remember my hands shaking as I took the stage that day because I had never admitted my issues in front of a mixed group before. And certainly, I felt the discomfort from talking about my darkest secrets and my deepest pain in public because most women are taught not to talk about these things or are shamed if they do.
Yet the most strange phenomenon happened after sharing my story in the crowd that day. People told me that I helped them in their story, both men and women. They were inspired to continue on in their journey.
And my two decades of change showed them the power of Jesus Christ, in what He could do for them in their own story as they walked away from porn addiction, masturbation, affairs, and other unwanted sexual behaviors.
The next time I shared was in a different church, with a different crowd of people. I felt that same surge of healing rise up inside of me, as I bonded with that group of people who were in the audience that day.
My shame fell away, like the scales in Paul’s eyes fell away after his miraculous conversion and he could see clearly. And just like Paul, when his vision cleared, he began to preach, I felt that same calling to tell others that Jesus can set them free of any unwanted sexual behavior, no matter how long it’s been an addiction.
But going deeper still, I know the truest healing I’ve had was in a small group with the same gender, having tough talks and revealing raw wounds in ways I couldn’t even admit to myself in the privacy of my own mind.
Sharing within the context of a small group, and hearing the compassion from the group members as they look me in the eyes, validate what has happened to me as real, and accept me as I am, has restored my soul.
These are the ingredients to bake the healing nutrients of a vibrant community into your soul:
For me, this has only happened in the context of a small group community, like the one found at XXXChurch.
The largest crowd I shared with recently, was on a billboard on the side of the freeway in southern California near Disneyland.
“CAN YOU SEE THE MESSAGE CLEARLY NOW?” I shouted down to the crowd gathered below me.
XXXCHURCH was emblazoned across a giant black and white billboard, and I was setting up the letters, telling the crowd the message the Lord put on my heart:
“A marriage with pornography involved grieves God’s heart, it’s true,” I said loud and clear.
“But grief is healed when the truth is revealed….”
“Jesus can heal any marriage, my own marriage is living proof…!!”
“You can have hope when you stay in community!”
But then… I woke up.
The crowd and billboard weren’t real, but the message was!
I’ve internalized the change in my husband’s porn-free life so much that I’m sharing God’s healing both night and day, during my waking and sleeping hours. The same healing in marriage can be true for you and your marriage.
Join this incredible community of people who learn how to be porn free, under the leadership of amazing people who have learned the path to freedom from porn addiction and want to share that healing road with you! We have groups for men, women, and wives!
In addition, you can always pick up a copy of When Shame Gets Real for further insights and healing.