What’s under your surface?
Over the years, I’ve seen a number of approaches to recovery. Some are superficial, dealing only with surface-level behaviors or promising a quick cure after ten easy steps. Others take the addict into a deeper engagement with the chemical and emotional drivers leading them into trouble. Yet, few go to the heart of the matter, down to the core of our being, our soul.
Christian counselor Rob Jackson has developed a helpful diagram to show how sexual acting out is just the “tip of the iceberg.” Driving the toxic behaviors are distorted thoughts, damaged emotions and deceitful desires. To find healing, a person must be willing to travel down the iceberg to the deepest parts that are broken, which ultimately reveals a wounded spiritual condition.
Many seeking help for sexual wounds feel distant from God and believe that if they would simply stop acting out with pornography, they will feel close to God again. That may be true, but it also fails to understand that driving the pornography use is a broken relationship with God. It’s a Catch-22. We all have a need for meaning, identity and true relationship, but the addict seeks to fill these needs with counterfeits that ultimately drain their soul. According to Rob and others, the solution isn’t to stop looking at pornography, so much as it is to open oneself completely to the working of the Holy Spirit. If the Bible is clear about one thing, it is this: we cannot save ourselves. We need a savior and we can only approach God because he first approaches us. Sin has closed us around ourselves. A key part of recovery is to begin to open up to the working of the Holy Spirit, whose role is to reveal Christ to us.
As Rob teaches, only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit can our hearts be set right. As we begin to trust in the love of God (rather than cowering from his wrath at our wrongdoing), we will find that our desire is more for God and less for selfishly serving ourselves. We also can heal from the pain of our damaged emotions and begin to correct the poor and confused thinking that led us onto a path of darkness. The fruit of this inner transformation is seen in the godly actions we exhibit. One of the hardest things about recovery is to wait for our actions to change. Most would start, finish and call complete and good the mere ceasing of an acting-out behavior. But, as countless addicts have found, failure to address the underlying issues leads to more acting-out behavior, often in new forms.
The great thing about Rob’s iceberg model is that it isn’t just for addicts. We ALL struggle with distorted thinking, damages emotions and deceitful desires. All of us can benefit from the daily renewing of our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. By seeing that all of us are broken in some way and in need of healing, we can approach those who struggle with the compassion and kindness that comes from the very heart of God. For one who feels utterly alone with his secret sin, this may be the lifeline that leads to lasting recovery.
To learn more about the great services Rob offers and to read more helpful articles, visit his site at: http://overcomesexaddiction.com/
1. toxic behaviors
2. distorted thoughts
3. damaged emotions
4. deceitful desires
5. Ask the Comforter to nurture you
6. divine desires
7. healing emotions
8. renewing thoughts
9. Godly behaviors