This question comes from a Porn to Purity reader who wants God to use his story in a more public way.
WHAT DOES “GOING PUBLIC MEAN”?
For the purpose of this blog, “going public” means “sharing your story outside of your normal circle of support.” Consider your wife, family, pastor, counselors, accountability friends and recovery support group as your circle of support.
Going public could mean:
1. Sharing with your church family.
2. Sharing your story in a public setting.
3. Sharing your story on the Internet.
4. Writing a book.
** I’m not talking about sharing matters that are legal issues. You should follow your lawyer’s advice when it comes to these matters.
JEFF’S THOUGHTS ON SHARING PUBLICALLY
1. Have you shared with your closest circles already?
It wouldn’t be good for you to go broad with your story if you haven’t talked with those closest to you first. You don’t need to call every second cousin and share your story, unless that second cousin is deeply involved in your life.
2. Do you have children that might be affected?
Marsha and I have chosen at this time to only share our first names on our site and not to post our pictures. We have some concern for our secular jobs, but mostly concern for our kids (ages 5 & 10). Sex addiction is a very confusing term to many. Misunderstood. I’d rather not have those conversations right now with the parents of my kids, and the assumption that I’m some child molester.
3. Get some wise counsel first.
Make sure you have wiser people in your support circle that you’re talking to. Sharing publicly should be well thought out. It should never be emotional or spur of the moment. Talk with your pastor or counselor first.
4. Partner with your pastor.
If you share with your church family, I think it’s very important that your pastor talk before and after and that you have everything you want to say SCRIPTED out. I’ve seen this done very well at a local church where a leader had to confess his struggles.
I think you and the pastor should talk with the elders of the church as well. It’s important that everyone is on the same page. Wise planning minimizes the confusion.
5. You wife needs to be supportive.
Make sure your wife supports you with ever step. This affects her public life too.
6. Be prepared for backlash and mixed reactions
The news of your sexual struggles will hit people differently. It’s easily misinterpreted. You might be judged. Some friends might be angry with you. Others will be in shock. Still others will be deeply moved or convicted because they struggle with the same issues.
7. We have many adaptations of our story
Not everyone we share our story with needs to know every detail. But those who are closest to us need to know more details. Our counselors, accountability partners, and anyone else in our immediate support team need to know more details. Each share was tweaked a little differently. We probably have 8 variations of our story, depending on who we talk with. We didn’t lie and we didn’t hide essentials, but we tried to be wise with how much we shared.
8. There are many ways to help others with your story
I don’t think you have to get in front of the whole church, start a website, or write a book in order to help others. Be a sponsor in your support group. Build relationships with your guy friends and with your men’s ministry. Don’t force anything. Let God bring it organically and naturally.
9. Look for the needs and the people God brings your way
Starting PorntoPurity.com was not part of a big strategy. We saw several needs and the site, blog and podcast seemed like the natural ways to meet them. “Organic” needs to be the word. Let God develop the public sharing of your story. Don’t feel like you have to “go public” in order to be used by God. God knows where you are. He can bring the people He needs to you.
10. Obey God, no less.
If you feel God is speaking to you and your spouse and wise counselors believe it so, go for it. Sharing our story is a step of faith. It’s a big risk. It’s terrible if it’s not God’s plan, but it’s awesome when it is part of His plan. He wants to display His redemptive work for others to see.
These are my thoughts as I responded to an email. I’m not a seasoned professional, a licensed counselor, or a lawyer. I can’t underscore how important is to get wise counsel when you feel called to share publicly.
Thanks to Jeff and Marsha at Porn To Purity for this blog. You can visit their site by going to www.PorntoPurity.com