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Posts Tagged ‘feelings’

So what’s up with the Turtle?

I am happy to have returned to the blogospeher, even if not as regularly as I would like.  And I am happy to be praying, even if not as regularly as I’d like.  As a turtle, I move and change slowly.  My best hope is that movement is in the right direction.

Last week we took a roadtrip with my youngest daughter.  She loves elephants, so we drove to Kansas City and saw elephants.  I’ve never spent any time in Kansas City before.  It is a fun town with lots to see (besides elephants).  Lots of fountains and monuments, music and barbecue, shopping and museums.

I really enjoyed spending time with family and I know the time was good for me.

… and yet.

And yet I did act out.  There was some time when my wife and daughter left to do some swimming or shopping and I stayed behind.  And I acted out.  I looked at internet pornography while they were away.  

Very disappointing.  I wonder some times if I am even trying.  Don’t I want to get better?

Still … I am trying.

I am back at the office and trying to work daily prayer back into my life.  I am trying to check-in with accountability partners.  I am trying to be honest when I blog.

Lord Jesus,

Have mercy on me a sinner!  And grant me the grace to want to do what is right and the strength to surrender to what is right.  May my struggles bring you glory.

Amen.

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I accept not in my feelings – but with my will, the Will of God.
I accept His will – not only for time but for eternity.

+ Mother Teresa, Letter dated August 1,1964

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Time for another check-in.

How am I doing: 

PHYSICALLY? 

I am feeling quite good today. The recovery from my knee surgery is going very smoothly. I am able to get up and move about without any serious pain. I have even been up and down the stairs. So I am very grateful for where I am physically today! 

EMOTIONALLY? 

I would have to say that my over-all emotional state is gratefulness. I am experiencing a lot of gratitude right now. I am feeling very happy about the support I am receiving at home and at work. And I am grateful for all the food that people have brought me: pizza, ice cream, chocolate, and subway! 

MENTALLY? 

Mentally I would have to say that I am feeling a bit fatigued. I have been involved in a very large project at work and I have spent a lot of time and effort on making the project a success. I have also pressured myself to get things done knowing that I had this surgery scheduled. 

SPIRITUALLY? 

Better. I was going through a dry spell last month. Then I was confronted last week about acting out. That seems to have woken me up. I have been able to pray more regularly since that time. Still, my spirituality feels more labored to me right now. It’s not just coming to me naturally. 

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Well, it’s time to take what I’ve learned over the past several days and put it into practice. Let’s see if I can figure out my feelings and do a check-in. 

FEELINGS

Sadness, fear, anxiety, hope, gratefulness

ISSUES

Keeping up with work load and re-connecting with Beth

NEEDS

I need to surrender all to Christ and give myself in obedience.

SOBRIETY

I have been sober since November 27th.

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Internally, I made a vow, “Never cry again.” I didn’t realize it at the time but my dad had reached into my soul and taken my cry-box out and stomped on it.

+ Bob Reehm

I read an excellent article by Bob Reehm today over on the Breaking Free blog:  “Tactics to Get Pure and Stay Pure (Part 6)”

I found this article very compelling. I found its focus on the importance of a man’s emotional life to be troubling. I found it troubling not because I think his focus is misplaced, but because I identified with the sentiments in his article so strongly.

My childhood did not (that I can remember) have a singular crisis even such as the one described in Reehm’s article, but I certainly learned the same lessons about emotions. My dad did not show his emotions and when I was young I was discouraged from showing mine. I learned that boys do not show their feelings and they don’t cry. I learned to isolate myself when I was encountering difficulties and I never learned to fully trust others.

Now as an adult, I still don’t understand emotions. One of the issues emphasized in both twelve-step groups and other groups I have attended is to identify feelings. But I have to admit that as soon as I started experiencing success in my Battle for Purity, I stopped thinking about my feelings and emotions.

I realize now that I should not under estimate the importance of my emotions. If I go back to stuffing them, there will be an unmet need in my life. And pornography has been the mistress who has offered to fill this need in the past.

But as Mr. Reehm points out, there is only one who can truly fill my emotional needs: Christ.

And so I pray:

Holy Spirit, I am a broken man and need your help. I want to learn to love God with my whole heart. But my heart is broken and I don’t know how it works. Help me this day to identify my emotions, feelings, and issues. Teach me how to share these burdens with God and to make God my only refuge for my fears and anxieties. Teach me how to pray!

Amen

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It’s time for a check-in on feelings and life:

FEELINGS:

Today I feel lonely, anxious, and grateful.

ISSUES:

Continued pain in my knee, focusing at work, and setting time aside for prayer.

NEEDS:

I am feeling the need for affirmation and I also have a great need to more fully surrender to Christ.

CHECK-IN:

I have been blessed with an extended time of purity. I had a great vacation with my family taking a road trip to Washington, DC. I have also been very engaged in my work since returning from that trip. These blessing have helped to give me a period of sobriety from seeking internet pornography.

But I have also grown lazy. During my vacation I focused completely on my family, somewhat to the exclusion of God. I did not take time for prayer and I did not make my usual phone calls to purity partners. I took for granted the gift that God was giving me.

I have yet to return to my good habits since coming back to the office. I have not been engaged in daily prayer, nor have I made the phone calls I need to be making.

Yesterday was a very slippery day for me. I found myself a it bored and a bit tired in the afternoon. I did not make any phone calls. I started to browse the internet for images. I left the office at the end of the day with the intent to go home and “act out.”

But the Holy Spirit intervened. I prayed as I got into my car to go home. It was a good day for a run. I prayed that God would give me the resolve to use my time when I got home to go for a run rather than getting on the computer. God answered my prayer.

Today I am trying to honor God by getting back into the good habits that help keep me connected. I am making my phone calls and setting aside time for prayer. And here I am doing a check-in.

Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Thank you for the gift of prayer!

Thank you for the gift of friendship!

Thank you for the gift of life!

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FEELINGS:

Today I feel anxious, ambivalent, worried, grateful, lonely.

ISSUES:

Issues for me today are focusing on family and trying not to isolate.

NEEDS:

I need to surrender myself to God (and mean it).

CHECK-IN:

It has been a clean week, but I also feel that I have been just coasting.  I have fallen out of the habit of morning devotionals.  I haven’t been making all of my daily phone calls.  I haven’t been good about taking my meds and supplements.  And I feel like I have been isolating.  Moreover, there hasn’t been any real joy in being clean this week, it’s just something that is.

All of these things are potential danger signs.  I have been fighting this Battle long enough to know that you don’t succeed through coasting.  Success requires prayer, active support from other men, and engagement with work and family.

But what do you do when you’re not engaged?  What do you do when you’re not “feeling it”?

What I’ve learned in the past is that you do the things you are supposed to do anyway and the feelings will come later.  Act as if you are fully engaged in the Battle and the mind will follow.

So I am going to try to start acting the part again today.  I am going to come before God in prayer this morning even though I don’t necessarily “feel” like praying.  I am going to make sure I take my meds this morning.  And I am going to spend time with the family even though I am feeling like I’d rather watch baseball and read a book.

Although I don’t feel it now, I know that God will honor my gift of time and self and when I do feel engaged again later, I will be happy with the choices I made.

So, turtle, go ahead …

Just do it!


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