Month: March 2016

Why Men Look at Porn

True Confession: I am not allowed to buy Girl Scout Cookies. Specifically Samoas. I have no self-control when they are around. And in less than a day, the ENTIRE box is gone. One here, two there, a row later…

I have a theory.

I think men think about sex the way women think about food.

About 19 thoughts per day according to recent study. Men and sex that is.

And God created both food and sex to be thoroughly enjoyed right? Within reasonable limits. They were both created to meet a need. That the creator of the Universe instilled in us. By design.

The problem starts when we use sex (or food) to cope.

And what’s even trickier is that the scriptures make it very clear that sexual issues wreak havoc on people’s internal lives. More than other issues. Because of how God designed it. Sex is so much more than an act. It’s a uniting. Of souls. One flesh and all that jazz.

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If you’ve ever eaten a row of Oreo’s after a bad day, you know that it really doesn’t have anything to do with the people around you. Yes. They may be driving you batty. But using food to find comfort probably started a long time ago.

  • Maybe growing up, food was used to celebrate. And comfort. And entertain.

  • Or somewhere along the line, when you made your own money (or allowance) you bought candy. Your siblings bought clothes. You bought sugar. You liked the taste. And how it made you feel.

  • Or perhaps you lived in a house where certain foods were denied, so you learned to sneak them.

Whatever happened, at some point in your journey, food became more than food. It became your friend. A place you could find solace. A moment’s peace in the middle of the storm. Or the crazy.

And now, even though you know it won’t solve your problems-you still go there for a few bites just so you don’t have to think about what’s really going on.

I recently made a new friend at the writers conference who told her teenage son,  “Dude, when you come across a woman eating ice-cream out of the carton, respect that moment. And slowly back away

 EatingIceCream

We laugh. Because we know it’s true.

And that is what it is like for men with porn.

It’s a coping method.

And it started long before he ever met you.

To not have to deal with his feelings. It’s an escape from life. Not from you.

And with it comes a cycle of shame that keeps him embroiled in a love/hate relationship that he knows, when he is radically honest with himself, is destroying him. From the inside out.

And just like a one doughnut escape can easily turn into a three doughnut escape-The longer he uses, the deeper it goes.

And left unchecked, it can go very, very dark.

The good and the bad of it is this.

There is nothing you can do to fix it. The issue.

Because it has nothing to do with you.

There’s no trick you can learn. Amount of weight you can lose. Outfit you can wear. Or scathing comment you can make.

That will make him stop.

Because it’s not your issue, It’s his.

And he is the one who has to see the problem. And he is the one who has to do the work. When he’s ready.

At its core, pornography and sexual addiction is not about sex. It’s about comfort. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s something people use to cope to make it through their life. An escape.

Just like food.

Or shopping. Wine. Netflix. Chocolate. Exercise. Work. Pills. The list goes on and on.

When I told my mom I was writing this post, she asked me what made me an authority on the topic. I told her I’m not. But as someone whose life has been profoundly impacted by pornography, I have asked  a lot of questions. Of the men in my life. And they have been equally honest.

And I want people, who love people who are struggling,  to understand the real issue. Because when you make it about the sex, you miss the point. It’s a broken heart issue. That can only be healed by the Maker of the heart.

And I think when we equate it with food issues, it makes it easier to understand.

BUT Pornography and sexual addiction is  a different kind of animal. According to scripture. Science. Research.

And it’s a HUGE problem in our society-Especially among our children.

It wreaks major life altering havoc on people and those that love them. And yet it’s become common place. In media. In jokes. In homes. On phones.

It’s everywhere.

 

And we are becoming numb to it.

And that is just too dangerous for me to accept.

I will not go quietly.

While the enemy takes out the people I love, one broken heart at a time.

 

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

Next week’s “Let’s Get Real” post: How to Not Eat Your Feelings.

 

Have you seen this? It is possible to break the shame cycle on any issue.

 

And here she is talking about how Shame is Lethal on Oprah of course. 

Click here if you or someone you love needs help with an addiction of any kind.

 

 

 

A Post-Spring Break Prayer

Papa Grande-

I lift tomorrow up to you. Thank you for such an amazing Spring Break. I know that not all my students had such a wonderful time. You know what they have been though this past week and a half. You know what they saw, what they did, what they were exposed to.

Only you know if they had enough to eat.

I pray that you would take away any fears they might have about coming back tomorrow. I pray my classroom would be a safe haven for all my students. A place for kids to catch their breath. Know they are cared about. Seen. And heard.

Lord, I only have one more quarter with them. I pray that you would use me mightily in their lives. What do they need to know? What do they need to hear? I pray that you would make it so clear to me how to love and encourage each of the students you have entrusted to me.

I pray that I would make the most of every single day. Please don’t let me fall into the countdown trap.

Thank you that you love my students more that I can fathom. I pray that they would fall in love with you and grow up to be world changers.

Amen.

 

inner voice

 

 

Holy Saturday. The Day In Between—

WARNING: This post has not been edited by anyone other than myself, it’s my stream of consciousness straight from the worn out pages of my journal and therefore there are surely improper comma usage and such, as is my default. I’ll tell you what, I could not live without a proper editor, but YOLO, am […]

via I Want to Freaking Know. —

True Confessions.

  1. I swallow my gum.

  2. I may or may not have bought new underwear yesterday to avoid doing laundry.

  3. I’m too scared to change the cockroach traps in my cupboards.

  4. Every time I am in my kitchen, I can hear them mocking me.”

  5. I have a special method for eating candy.

  6. Skittles: I eat the orange first. Then red. Then yellow. The rest I share.

  7. My friend Leeann thinks this is weird. She recently watched me eat a Twix with disbelief and slight disgust.

  8. I used to drive a gold Sebring convertible named Blanche, in memory of my grandmother. I miss both of them dearly.

  9. My first car was a navy blue Mustang, aptly named Sally. She died in a car crash.

  10. I name my cars.

  11. I live in Maui but my skin violently rejects the sun therefore I spend very little time at the beach.

  12. I would rather drink soda than alcohol.

  13. Eating wheat makes me sneeze.

  14. I sneeze a lot.

  15. I used to be a professional matchmaker for a dating service.

  16. I  was a Young Life intern in Bermuda with a girl named Anne.

  17. Our best friends during that season were three accountants named  Paul, Paul and Phil. They were Irish, British and Scottish in that order.

  18. Anne married Phil (the Scot) and they have two beautiful children.

  19. I went to a Quaker boarding school my freshman year of high school. It was creative and quirky which I loved.

  20. I failed three classes in college. Art and Architecture of Ancient Greece and Asian Art History (twice).

  21. I now teach 6th graders about ancient art and architecture of  Greece and Asia.

  22. My first real concert was Dave Matthews Band. My Young Leader, Elizabeth, took me to see them outdoors in Newport News. It was a Tuesday night my junior year of high school.  We were front row, crushed in a crowd of college kids. It was magical.

  23. My dream in high school was to see the Grateful Dead live. My mom said I had to wait until I was 18.

  24. Jerry Garcia died 19 days before my 18th birthday.

  25. I just used a calculator to do that math.

  26. 28 is my favorite number.

That’s a little bit about me.

Now, it’s your turn.

Be brave! Tell me three things about yourself.

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

P.S. I really would love to get to know a little bit about those of you reading my blog.

The Day I Drove Away.


I still remember how my body hummed as I shoved the last box into the back of the Jeep. It’s funny what is important to you when you are leaving. Forever. For me it was all the holiday items I had gathered over the years. That’s all I took with me. Not even my KitchenAid.

I shut the hatch and drove away.

After five years of an abusive marriage, I had finally accepted that nothing was going to change with me in his life. I had turned myself inside and out, prayed every prayer, attended every bible study, trying to fix what was broken. So that maybe perhaps he might love me again.

The plan. I would drive from Colorado to my parents house in Tennessee. I would stay there a few weeks and begin my life in Maui. Again. I felt free. Free at last, free at last. The windows were down, the music was mine and there was an open road before me.

To say I was fragile would be an understatement. My body was still humming, something it had been doing constantly for over a year. On it’s own. I can’t quite explain it. I think it was something it had started doing in order to cope. I had finally become numb so that nothing would hurt me anymore.

I stopped at a Cracker Barrel somewhere in Kansas. To pick up a book on CD and indulge in some Southern fare. I was seated next to a lovely older couple enjoying a Sunday afternoon. I remember thinking that our tables were awfully close. Somehow, like in a movie, we started chatting. I don’t recall what we talked about, I don’t recall much from that season of life. I do know that I never said a word about what I was leaving behind.

The conversation came to a close.

They finished their meal and left. I lingered, savoring the sweet tea and freedom of never having to sit through another meal with him. Pretending.

As I went to pay, the cashier informed me that the sweet couple had payed for my meal, just like a movie. And standing in the middle of the Old Country Store, the humming stopped.

Their kindness broke me.

I kept it together as I bumbled from the restaurant. I made it to the car, shut the door and sobbed. Openly. Loudly. For all the years. The lost dreams. What could have been. What should have been. It was not pretty but it was beautiful. I remember saying, “Strangers were kinder to me than my own husband.” Over and Over. And over. Just like Dane Cook talks about in his bit on crying. “They were kinder to me than my husband.”

And as the tears poured down my face, the humming was replaced with hope. Because I knew, once again that I was making the right decision. And that I would be o.k.

You see, when someone is leaving an abusive marriage, no matter how much they know it is the right thing to do, the doubt and fear is debilitating. It’s why so few of us actually leave.

I had become a shell of the girl that I once was. I had learned to exist in the most non-offensive way possible as to not awaken the anger. To keep the peace. And it became my normal. Even though every fiber of my being knew it was not normal. Maybe that is what caused it. The humming. It was the fabric of my being rejecting this way of life.

And God allowed two lovely strangers  in a Cracker Barrel, somewhere in the middle of Kansas, to reset my normal with a simple act.  They reminded me what love and kindness felt like. And to them, I will always be grateful.

This month marks eight years since that road trip. And God has been faithful to me.

During what I call my five years of captivity, I really thought I had ruined my life. That it was over. I had made a huge mistake and now I just had to suffer the consequences. And I was willing to to do it. That is why, when God set me free, it was such a shock.

It was like I was a prisoner of war, jammed into a tiny bamboo cell. Eeeking out an existence. Accepting my fate. And then all of a sudden, a Black Hawk helicopter appeared in the sky. A rope ladder descended. And Jesus was there. To rescue me.

And He did. He rescued me out of a life of bondage. Of captivity. It was unexpected. Undeserving. And it was glorious.

Over the past eight years, he has truly given me a crown of beauty instead of ashes. And a stunning ball gown of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Because she who has been forgiven much, loves much. And she who has been forgiven much cannot keep her mouth shut because of how incredible God is. She wants everyone to know that freedom is available.

I write this blog, not for sympathy, but to give others hope. What might feel raw as you read it, has actually been healed at the Cross. It has taken time. And work. Because as my girl Wanda Beth says, “Time does not heal all wounds. God does. Time will tell.”

My prayer is that you would know, that no matter what you are going through, our God is a God of redemption. He can redeem anything. Nothing is wasted in Him. Not only that,  He can use the most random moments and people to heal you. To remind you that He is actively pursuing you. He loves you. And He is especially fond of you.

It is why he sent Jesus to rescue you. And me. I am living proof that even good girls need to be rescued.

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

P.S. This whole post was inspired by this post. To the Strangers Who Surrounded Me in Whole Foods After News of My Father’s Death. At the bottom, the blog asks for submissions about strangers who showed kindness. And here we are.

P.P.S. If you are in an abusive situation, a website that really made a difference in my journey towards healing is called www.youarenotcrazy.com. I wrote about it here.

P.P.P.S I must say P.S. A LOT because my students ask me all the time what it means.

Why I Started Writing

Living on Maui there are two things you can count on. Rainbows. And sugar cane smoke*. They are both part of the natural rhythm of life here.

smoke and rainbow

Today as I was leaving town, I saw this image and I had one of those those moments.When the thoughts and feelings brewing inside me suddenly make sense.

This picture encapsulates how I feel about this blog.

I have been feeling a little uncertain about this whole shtick. I love writing and have been overwhelmed by everyone’s encouragement to keep going. But blogging about such personal things has left me feeling a little….exposed. Because if I’m honest, I wish my life was all rainbows and sparkles. And I really kinda’ thought it would be. I grew up in the church, fell in love with Jesus when I was small and pretty much played by the rules my whole life. I really thought that meant a good life. An easy life. A blessed life.

But my life has not been easy. It has been filled with struggle, pain and hurt. I have lived through my share of dark and dirty billowing smoke. At one time so dense I thought I would never see the sunshine. But that is the amazing thing about God. And rainbows. He always keeps His promises.

And in life we have a choice.

To focus on the struggle. Or to fixate on the promise.

This is the chain of events that led me to start blogging.

About a year and a half ago, I got a call from my friend Andrea saying that a writer friend of ours had suggested she go to a writers’ conference in California. Andrea is a talented writer and was eight chapters into a fantastic mystery novel.  Yes it involves dinosaurs.(She also writes really fun fan-fiction which you can read here)

Anyway, I totally jumped at the idea. So we made plans to go this March (in just a few days). Well, I started praying for an idea. For a book.  Because as much as I love to read, I’ve never considered myself a writer. Editor, yes. Critic, yes. Predictor of plots and success, yes. Writer, not so much.

Then about a month later,  I was sitting on my friend Alyssa’s couch talking through the desire (once again) to meet a Mr. Wonderful. And she remarked, “I get that Les, but I also feel like you do single really well.”

Fast forward a few days. I’m at the Hawaiian Island Ministries (HIM) conference   on Oahu expecting to get all ginned up on Jesus. I go to a break out seminar by Shauna Niequist called “Storytelling,  Circling the Wagons and Stocking the Pond”. Turns out it is a seminar on writing and creativity. Who knew? Not me.

But as I’m sitting there, ideas start to flow through my mind. I start jotting them down in the margins of my journal.

And one of the biggest take-a ways for me from that session was that if you want to be a writer, in today’s world, publishers want to see your blog. It’s the way of the industry. Content, consistency and a following.

Didn’t really think it applied to me. It didn’t at that point. But duly noted, thank you.

At the end of the seminar was a Q&A, I finally got to ask my haunting question. I tried to be as inoffensive as possible but I really needed to know. I still think I irritated the her.

Um…I love to read blogs. Don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to starting my own, I sometimes worry about it being vanity. Like who am I and why should I write about my life.

Well, Shauna stood a little taller and put on what I would call the mom face.   “Listen. You have decide if you have something to say that is worth sharing. And if you do, be courageous no matter what.

Yes ma’am. Got it. For me that answer laid to rest some major wonderings.

Now mind you, at this point blogging was not on my radar. Not really.

The next day, I went to a seminar called “Two Callings Under One Roof,” by Rebekah and Gabe Lyons. Alyssa recommended them so I went.

Side note: I’m a total nerd at conferences.  I box out on the front row. With my journal and pen, ready to get rocked.  And I did. Get rocked.

So, Gabe and Rebekah are telling their story (which is pretty amazing by the way) and in the middle of Rebekah talking about finding her calling, she says about 80 million profound things.

Readers make writers. I jot that down.

Where what makes your heart sing and what breaks your heart collide that’s your calling. Wait. What?

She says it another way. Think about whatever came naturally to you as a child, like 8 or 9. I write reading and performing in the margin of my notes.

and

What keeps you up at night? What breaks your heart? My heart starts thumping REALLY LOUD in my chest. Lost kids. Emotional healing. Tears start forming. And then in very small letters I write singleness. I hate that it is even on the paper.

And then I realize. If I were going to write about anything real and honest and vulnerable, I would have to talk about singleness. Loneliness. Rejection and disappointment. And how it feels to navigate a life that went way way way different than expected. And how awesome it is. And how in the midst of it all, God is both amazing and faithful. And how He heals the brokenhearted. And frees the captives. And sets people free from darkness.

Where what makes your heart sing and what breaks your heart collide (come together), that’s your calling.

So I came back from the conference and I told a few friends that I think I’m supposed to blog.

I’m not sure where it’s going

and I don’t know why,

but I’m listening to my heart.

Wait. That’s a song lyric.

So that’s a little snapshot of my journey. And why I started blogging. You can definitely see patterns as I have struggled with committing to the process. Or pulled back to get perspective.

But in less than two weeks, I’ll be at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference with Andrea. Who knows what will happen. But you can bet I’ll be on the front row, taking notes:)

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives In My Head