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Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

I’m Bored at Work and Look at Porn, Please Help

 

About This Episode

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So this week the question is, “I love my wife, but due to the nature of my job, I’m on my computer. I’m bored at my job so I find myself ending up on sites and looking at things I shouldn’t. What should I do?”

Well, I don’t have to say, “It’s bad.” You know, you get it. You know it’s bad but you’re bored. It’s like, “I’m hungry. I know McDonald’s isn’t good for me, but it’s on every corner.”

I guess I’ll start with, well why not look for another job? If you know that job isn’t good for you―for your health, for your marriage, for your family, for your lifestyle―then it’s time for you to find a different job.

Second thing is if you’re looking at porn on a work computer, you’re probably not gonna have that job very long. So if you love the job, you’re putting your job in jeopardy.

If you love the job, then kick ass at it. If you’re looking at porn because you’re bored, then take on a few more things so you’re not bored because your current job is not inspiring you and it’s not pushing you.

And thirdly, you could easily put something on your computer to prevent you from doing that. Get someone at your work to be your accountability partner. Be vocal with somebody who goes, “Hey, I’m going to check on you.”

You’re too lax. You’re thinking, “Oh, well, it doesn’t really matter.” Make it matter.

There’s a lot you can do. It’s just what are you willing to do? It’s up to you.

 Our Favorite Quotes From This Podcast Episode

  • I don’t have to say, “It’s bad.” You know, you get it. You know it’s bad but you’re bored. It’s like, “I’m hungry. I know McDonald’s isn’t good, but it’s on every corner.”
  • Some people will go, “That job’s awesome. You get to look at porn!” But you’re like, “Hey, I know the temptation is getting the worst of me and this job is not getting the best of me.” So think about quitting your job. Don’t rule it out.
  • The older I get, the more I’m into just learning about myself and learn about others.
  • If you’re looking at porn on a work computer, you’re probably not gonna have that job that long. So if you love the job, your putting your job in jeopardy.
  • If you’re looking at porn on the company dime, you’re jeopardizing the job. So if you hate the job, leave it. If you love the job, you gotta lose the porn because you’re not going to have a job.
  • I feel like a lot of people end up at porn when they’re bored and have nothing do.
  • I’m not going to sugarcoat this. You’re a grown ass man. Like, dude, you got a job and you’ve got a family and you got a wife. And if you continue to do this, you’re not going to have a job and that’s going to put stress on your marriage. It’s going to be stress on your family and then to find out it’s because of porn, that’s stupid.
  • If nothing changes, make some changes in your life.
  • There’s a lot you can do. It’s just what are you willing to do is the question. It’s up to you.

 

 

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

I Keep Trying Harder but Keep Failing

 

About This Episode

I’ve been helping men and women overcome porn addiction for 18 years so I’ve seen a lot of people try to quit pornography. The problem is so many people think they just have to try harder. They white knuckle it and then feel incredibly frustrated and defeated when they keep trying harder but keep failing.

There’s white-knuckled change versus real change. I think one is “just try harder” and one is like, “Hey, what’s the root of this? Where’s this coming from?” That’s what we really went after in My Pilgrimage.

You’re medicating something with porn. Instead of treating the issue with medication, we want to get to the root. We want to ask the hard questions to find out why you turn to porn when you’re stressed or when you’ve just had a fight with your wife or when things are great or when you just got a raise.

You don’t have a porn problem at all. It’s just the drug of choice. What you need to do is get to the root of the problem. Find someone who you can talk to honestly, not about porn but about the reason you look at porn.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • People are just try harder hoping the next thing will work and I just think that’s exhausting.
  • There’s white-knuckled change versus real change. I think one is “just try harder” and one is like, “hey, where’s the root of this?”
  • You need to ask yourself, what are the triggers? Where’s the pain?
  • You’re medicating something with porn and we keep going after the medicine instead of going after the root.
  • Who in your life can you talk to? Not about porn. I think porn is scary and what’s scarier though for men is like what’s underneath.
  • I see people keep fighting it and keep struggling and it’s like, just shift your thinking to this isn’t a porn problem at all.
  • Porn is easy. It’s the drug of choice. It’s easy. It’s cheap, it’s available and it’s everywhere.
  • What you got to look at is what are you running from. And if you can answer that question, I think you can get a great handle on things and just be.
  • When you look at porn, what are you running from? Just ask yourself that question and see what happens.
  • If you don’t have somebody honestly there that you could talk to, I recommend it. I think the more we can get around people that are discovering the same things, I think the better we’ll be together.

 

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

What Is Wrong with Pornography Anyways?

 

About This Episode

When I go to speak at events, I get this question during the Q&A just about every time. Basically the question is always some form of, “why are you picking on porn? What’s the big deal?” And I’ll usually laugh and say, “I wouldn’t have the job I have of helping people if porn really wasn’t a big deal.”

If pornography was just fun and games, just harmless entertainment, and it benefited people, then I would have moved on like 17 years ago. It is not just harmless entertainment. You watch pornography and you get ideas for sex.

My son’s not going to come home from a Spider-Man movie and think he’s going to climb walls. You know why? Because he knows that’s fake. When you watch porn you think it’s real because those are things you could do.

But what I’m saying is the sex that they’re portraying is not setting you up for success with sex down the road now. And that doesn’t have anything to do with the Bible, that’s just common knowledge. When men and women, and especially younger kids who are just figuring out what sex is, see those sex scenes they think, “Oh, that’s what sex is and I need to do it that way.”

Porn shows so many other options that now you’re not satisfied with your missionary position. It doesn’t live up to what you’ve just watched in that video.

The problem with porn is you’re watching something and you assume because they’re doing an act that we’re going to do now or we’re going to do one day that this is what people like.

Religious or not religious, I think when you start watching porn, you’re gonna be disappointed with real sex and you would rather have porn than sex. Porn is selling you a cheap substitute for real sex and real intimacy. And that’s a disservice to you and your spouse.

Be careful, especially if you’re a kid or you’re not married yet and you start viewing porn. The lie is that one day you will stop when you get married. You’re going to keep going back to something because it’s easy, it’s a habit and you’re used to it. And then the other thing is going to disappoint you.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • I wouldn’t have the job I have of helping people if porn really wasn’t a big deal.
  • If pornography was just fun and games and it was just harmless entertainment and it benefited people, then I would have moved on like 17 years ago.
  • Porn is not just entertainment.
  • Porn is not setting you up for success with sex down the road.
  • You want sex. Porn is going to give it to you with butter, with peanut butter and with syrup, like all those things. And you’re going back to your bedroom with your one light on in your missionary position sex and it doesn’t live up to what you just watched in that video.
  • My kids don’t think they’re superheroes. They know what they’re watching isn’t real. The problem with porn is you assume you’re going to do it and that that’s what people like.
  • I think when you start watching porn, you’re gonna be disappointed with real sex and you would rather have porn than sex and that’s a disservice.
  • Porn is like saying you’d rather go to McDonald’s than Ruth’s Chris. Yeah, McDonald’s is faster and it’s cheaper, but it’s nowhere near the same quality that you’re going to get at a steakhouse. Porn is like fast food. It’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s niche, it’s what you want. It’s a cheap substitute.
  • The other lie is that one day you will stop when you get married. That you’ll stop going to McDonald’s just because you can eat at Ruth’s Chris. But you’re going to keep going back to something because it’s a habit and it’s easy.
  • If you believe the Bible, the Bible says to not even look at a woman with lust in your eyes. I don’t see how you’re able to do that with you’re looking at porn. You’re taking your eyes off of your wife and onto somebody else. I don’t see how that’s a good thing.
  • Porn is going to disappoint you. If I had grown up in this porn generation where I’ve finally have sex with somebody and if I’m disappointed because it doesn’t match what I thought based on these videos, that’s just got to suck. And I know that’s happening for so many people. Man, remove it out of your life, get rid of it.

 

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Posted by on Oct 1, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

What Is Behind My Compulsive Behavior?

 

About This Episode

In today’s Whiteboard Session, Steven Luff, a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of CA, co-author of Pure Eyes: a Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and creator of the X3Pure on-line recovery program, answers a question we get a lot: what’s behind my compulsive behavior and how do I stop it?

Steve uses the whiteboard to share a new and very useful framework in how to approach these two questions about the human condition. He says that when we don’t feel loved and accepted, the human response is usually a roller coaster of anxiety and depression, which can cause us to turn to resources that confirm our worthlessness (porn or lies or viewing your spouse and God as a jailer) or resources that confirm our worth (telling the truth, viewing your spouse and God as a loving friend, and unconditional community).

Ultimately the goal is to be okay with yourself and without the need to turn to substances of abuse to escape this dynamic.

Steve then shows how you can map out your own tools that will confirm your worth, help you manage your emotions, and help break the addiction cycle of compulsion.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • We are biologically designed to be in community. We’re biologically designed to be a part of a family. It’s survival.
  • When we feel anxious, it’s because we don’t have control over the given circumstances. But we often become less anxious about life when we can trust that the other person is going to be there for us.
  • If depression is about hopelessness, then we are constantly, as human beings, responsible for our own ability to build a bridge to the future.
  • Anxiety and excitement are very closely tied together. Anxiety isn’t necessarily bad, but when you feel anxious, you have to be mindful of what am I trying to control.
  • If you’re living on the truth side, then you’re not going to turn to porn anyway because you don’t like the consequences of having to tell people the things that you do.
  • The fundamental truth of Christianity is that we are free and that Christ died for our sins and we are free to live our own lives and grow in our own ways.
  • Figure out who the hell you want to be and live that life.
  • Porn is trying to hide from this dynamic of really being alive and being an adult.
  • I would say it is any adult’s responsibility to find unconditional, loving community.
  • Anxiety isn’t necessarily bad. A little bit of anxiety means you’re living your life. It means that you are setting sail for your own individuated life with Jesus with you and you’re going out and you’re becoming your own fricken person.
  • No one’s your jailer. This is your life and whether you recognize it or not, you’re living your own life. So do you want it to be in this addiction cycle or do you want to gain the tools of becoming more individuated?
  • Isolation is you’re just going to stew in your own juices and end up jacking off to porn. Pretty much a guarantee. You need to be connected to people and you need to be talking about things to make sense out of how you’re feeling and what it means.

 

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

2 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Want Your Marriage to Thrive

When a couple gets married, they know a lot about one another. But their relationship winds up being built as much upon their lack of knowledge about one another as it is upon that existing knowledge.

Couples walk into every marriage with a set of assumptions and expectations about their spouse that will inevitably bring the relationship to a fork in the road with several paths to take. How can you know which path is the right one?

Ask yourself these two questions:

1. What are you protecting?

If I may speak for husbands a bit (seeing that I am one), the road we most often take is the one where we begin to divide ourselves into pieces. Some pieces we share with our spouse, and some we hold in secret for the sake of avoiding the destruction of a façade we’ve built.

We take this road because in some unconscious way, the fear of what might happen were we to be truly vulnerable feels far worse than a life lived half in the dark, which is akin to death by paper-cuts or some sort of time-release suicide.

The road less taken – the one that makes all of the difference – is what some call “The Way of the Cross.” In my life, I started by asking myself what I was trying to protect or save by holding back the truth about who I am, what I desire, what I struggle with, or what I believe to be beautiful, sexy, powerful, hideous, moving, repulsive, hurtful, or confusing. I realized I was trying to preserve something that actually needed to die.

If my marriage couldn’t survive the truth about me – the whole truth – then I didn’t want it anymore. I realized that time-release suicide wasn’t the life I desired.

2. Is your life worth dying for?

And so, after some careful thought and prayer, one day, I told my wife, “We need to talk.” I planned what I was going to say carefully and prepared myself for destruction. I focused on not letting my ego get in the way to stop the honesty, either by holding back or by trying to steal away my wife’s right to experience whatever she was about to experience. She was going to have questions about my porn use. They wouldn’t be fun to answer. But I was going to answer them. All of them if need be.

I wasn’t even sure if this was the healthiest way to approach it, but at the time, I needed to let it all hit the ground and break. And if we were able to get through the conversation alive, I was ready to face the next day and move forward. It wasn’t my job to decide for my wife whether she was ready to move forward. I knew I would have to wait for her, allow her to hurt, and allow her to face her own demons, just like I was determined to do.

That was six years ago. I now live in a marriage that can best be described as home. There is nothing in the shadows – and it turns out that letting all of my crap hit the floor and shatter into a million pieces – and allowing her to see that – was the beginning of the birthing of something new in my life and in our marriage. It turns out my wife was stronger than I thought she was. And so was I.

Courage to all of those who are ready to die for the sake of living. May your bruises be blessed. Now tell your wife: “We gotta talk.”

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Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

4 Ways to Deal with Loneliness

Loneliness sucks.

It’s a feeling of isolation that can feel as debilitating as physical illness.

There are many ways loneliness can manifest, and even more reasons why, but let’s talk about romantic loneliness: a lack of that special kind of intimacy that comes from a partner we all crave so deeply.

Most people seek to ease the pain of loneliness by pouring all their energy into finding ‘The One.’ In lieu of this, the intense desire for intimacy can drive some into the arms of porn. No space for loneliness there, right? Porn promises all this and more; you don’t have to give anything back.

But what do you do when you can’t find that special someone? Or when you realize the struggle of loneliness is much more than a gap to be filled by a willing lover? When you realize porn does more harm than good?

The antidote to loneliness is real intimacy. Romance and sex aren’t the only way to experience this.

Here are four ways to experience intimacy and deal with loneliness:

1. Learn to Sit with Loneliness

Humans were created for healthy relationship. Even in the Garden of Eden, where Adam walked with God in perfection, the Lord said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’ Thus Eve was created as the perfect partner and confidant. It is natural to crave closeness and intimacy with other humans, not only God and yourself.

If relationships were vital in paradise, how much more will humans desire the closeness and support of another human in today’s world? In a world of ruptured intimacy, heartache, unmet expectations, and downright cruelty, humans genuinely need the solidarity and connection that began in Eden.

It is natural that we crave closeness with others. It is part of our identity as people made in the image of God. It is a desire placed within us to draw us close to one another and form loving communities and relationships.

Don’t let loneliness become the enemy. It’s okay to acknowledge what you’re feeling and hoping for, to sit with that emotion and honor it for what it is. It is human nature.

2. Cultivate Friendships

Don’t become so obsessed with finding the perfect romantic partner, or with the despair of not having one, that you forget about friends and family. This is a common error of the lonely heart, but only serves to compound your loneliness and push valuable friendships aside.

Take your focus off what you do not have and focus on what you do have. Chances are you have at least one friend who genuinely cares for you, if not more!

These friends are amazing sources of untapped intimacy. Don’t worry, intimacy in friendship doesn’t mean you have to start cuddling up and buying each other roses, it just means investing in each other, being vulnerable, and sharing life. These can be the most satisfying and genuine relationships.

Friends can make you feel truly known and loved. Sharing your struggles, joys, or a few jokes with some good blokes or your closest girlfriends can give a sense of belonging that overshadows a sense of loneliness.

Desiring a romantic relationship and being intentional in dating is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a great thing! Just make sure you’re also cultivating friendships and making time for non-romantic adventures.

This is an antidote to loneliness. Isolation and negativity will only lead you into dark places.

3. Learn to Date Yourself

Okay, if you’re not into corny lines, you don’t have to call it ‘dating yourself.’ This step is just about learning to be at ease in your own company.

Being alone doesn’t have to mean loneliness. Making peace with solitude can really take the edge off your discomfort and open a whole new world of possibility and adventure.

You might feel awkward as you learn to enjoy your own company. That’s perfectly normal, keep at it. Try wandering around a mall on your own, take yourself out to dinner, or even enjoy the freedom of a solo holiday or outdoor adventure. Many people start this journey by simply seeing a movie on their own. These activities can be genuinely relaxing and rejuvenating if done with the right mindset.

Chances are you’re going to experience pervasive thoughts and feelings of awkwardness at first. We’re not used to being on our own, let alone enjoying the experience! It is vital you acknowledge what you’re feeling, but then intentionally rephrase those thoughts in a more positive light. Instead of allowing your mind to play the ‘everyone’s-looking-at-me-pitifully’ soundtrack on repeat, turn it around and celebrate your independence.

Remind yourself of the freedom of choice you’re experiencing, and instead of focusing on what other people may be doing or thinking, set your energy and attention upon what you’re doing in the moment. Be mindful.

There are no limits to the adventures you can have when you learn to be joyful in solitude.

Changing your perception and taking part in some alone time (we’re talking the mindful type, not the naughty kind!) can go a long way in healing your lonely heart.

Again, balance is key. It is important to have a balance of community and comfortable solitude.

4. Restore Intimacy with Jesus

Now you’re a pro at dating yourself, it’s time to date the Lord Jesus himself! Throw on your best robes, brush your hair, and hope J.C. is in the mood to turn some water into wine!

Okay, not really.

Jesus is the ultimate healer of your lonely heart, though.

It can feel impossible to connect with him, being invisible and all. But he is the one near to the broken-hearted. He knew you before the womb, he will know you after the grave, and he lovingly walks by your side each day as you suffer or celebrate. There is no one who is closer or knows you more intimately.

Trust that God in his sovereignty has you exactly where he wants you to be and has your future in his hands. When you feel the familiar rush of loneliness setting in, fight back by being proactive. Look for ways in which you can serve God in your current context. Do your best to listen to his voice and determine where he may have you serve. This is a great way to forget about loneliness and use your unique position for good. Plus, this will more than likely bring you into contact with fellow Christians or some kind of community.

Pursue intimacy with God with your whole heart and chase satisfaction in him. Seek his calling on your life and utilize your season of singleness for good. Let’s be honest: all this may not come easily, but the Bible promises answers to those who seek.

Intentionally seeking a romantic partner is a perfectly honorable endeavor, but ensure you’re also engaging your need for intimacy in the ways mentioned in this article. Without this balance, you may become consumed by your longing, and end up seeking the embrace of pornography or uncommitted lovers.

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