This weekend we are hosting our first ever Shameless Online Workshop Experience.
Because we want to help people learn how to talk about sex, sexuality, porn and masturbation in a healthy and life-giving way without shame and embarrassment. The truth is we don’t talk about sex nearly enough in church, our small groups, homes, and within our marriages.
Consequently, many people lack a healthy understanding of sex as a whole and therefore feel very ill prepared to tackle conversations about sex, porn, and masturbation. And so when faced with these awkward discussion moments often they avoid them, lacking the ability to engage each other without hurting feelings, starting arguments, inducing shame, or creating tension and judgment.
I know personally that over the course of my life the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had were related to my sexual behavior and choices. And if I had avoided those awkward engagements, my life probably would look very different today.
Here are just 3 life-changing discussions I had and how they impacted me.
Conversation 1: My friend
I remember over 15 years ago deciding to come clean to a friend about my life-long struggle with porn. It was scary and something I wanted to avoid at all costs. But deep down inside I knew if I didn’t, nothing would ever change.
Admittedly that first talk led nowhere meaningful.
I didn’t secure him as a good accountability partner nor did I make any meaningful strides towards sexual integrity afterwards. But it helped me realize I could share that embarrassing part of my life with someone and that doing so didn’t mean my ultimate destruction.
Eventually I did find a friend who also struggled with the same issues. That guy ended up becoming a solid accountability partner for me and together we both found freedom from our sexual demons.
Conversation 2: My wife
I still remember coming to my wife in tears the morning of my first Father’s Day. It was around 2 AM when I woke her up and admitted that I struggled with porn. I had no idea what she would do. After all, flesh or computer screen, it was still infidelity. And then there was the tremendous dishonesty of hiding this struggle from her all through our dating relationship and marriage.
To my surprise she heard me and gave me grace.
She didn’t run for the hills or condemn me.
She didn’t treat me like a child or try to manage every aspect of my life.
She simply loved me and forgave me.
I wish I could tell you that after that night it all got better. That I was completely honest and never looked at porn again.
But that didn’t happen.
Rather that fateful night led to many more years of pain and shame for the both of us. At times our marriage got really tested by my dishonesty and my wife often felt alone lacking a good support system to turn to. But, we continued to work through it, and eventually I did find freedom leading to the complete repair and restoration of our marriage.
That night was terrible, for the both of us – make no mistake. So were the conversations we had along the way afterwards. But they were needed and taught me the value of honesty and transparency when it comes to intimacy and trust.
Conversation 3: My daughter
I talk about this in my book When Shame Gets Real. But several years ago after I founded Live Free Ministries, I took my teen daughter to a baseball game. It was a great summer’s night until a friend started texting me asking for advice about his porn problem. As I was going back and forth texting him, my daughter was looking over my shoulder. She asked me who I was texting and why. I told her it was a guy from church, and he needed help (the type of help I specialize in).
She then asked me if I had ever struggled with porn. Gulp!
I won’t get into the details of our conversation now. You can read the book or join us for this week’s Shameless event. But I will tell you I was honest with her. And that honesty led to a deeper relationship with my daughter than I had ever imagined possible.
Were any of these moments in my life pleasant? No.
Were any of these discussions easy? Hardly.
Were any of these experiences something I’d wish on anyone? Not at all.
But all three of these extremely difficult conversations proved to be life-changing lessons for me and I wouldn’t undo any of them even if I could. Because they all helped me grow, learn, and move forward in my life.
Difficult conversations (especially ones related to sex and sexuality) often suck, but they can lead to true life transformation.
And if you are a man, woman, teen, or church leader who struggles with talking about these topics, join us this Saturday for Shameless. This interactive online experience will challenge and inspire you, leaving you better prepared to handle these sensitive discussions with your friends, churches, spouses, and kids.
For more information about this event or to register yourself and/or your group visit www.shamelessevent.com