Friday, June 16, 2017

Sorrow Will Only Bring More Pain

I found a quiet spot along the Jordan River Parkway Trail today where me and Camo (my best friend ever) sat in the shade and started reading a book called "Worthy of Her Trust". The premise of the books is helping spouses with one of the most difficult challenges in life when you want to regain a wife's trust.  As I started to read the introduction, I was just taken in and it immediately gave me a new understanding of what shame does do a person.

I think a lot of men think they will be better off starting over after they have lost the trust of their wife.  It may be an easier road to take but it is not a better or happier life to live.  Those men that do walk away from their families, walk away and take their shame - and the knowledge that they walked away when they most needed to step up.

If you do care and love you wife regardless of your situation or how much sorrow you feel, the best things you can do to help her heal is to build a life of consistency, predictability, compassion, and connection to her heart. Remember, think of her, try to empathize with her, she has gone through a lot. Don't expect her to just simply "get over it."

As a man, you may not realize this but you are not just on this journey for your wife, but you are also rebuilding the core of your manhood. You are starting over, a new life - one that is free from addictions, crooked thinking and false fantasies.  You are building a man, a husband, a father that can be counted on, be one that you can be proud of when you look at yourself in the mirror. Personally, it has been a very long time since I have been able to look into the mirror and be proud of myself, but it's the journey, not the destination.

I have talked about the difference between worldly sorrow vs godly sorrow in a few of my Instagram post. I was amazed by some of the responses I got from followers that talked about what they saw as the difference between the two.

The difference to me is a Mighty Change of Heart! There's something totally incomprehensible, unless if you experience it yourself, that almost shakes every living cell into righteousness. That's what I've seen in my husband. Our life together has been a complete 180. His love is completely unbridled and there's so much patience from him now. Toxic guilt and shame leads to intense anger and anxiety in the home and causes A LOT of
Godly sorrow is the direction from the spirit reminding me that I am doing something wrong. That I have made a mistake and need to repent. It causes me to tell myself things like, "I've done a bad thing." "I've made a mistake." Though I know I've done wrong I know I can repent and be forgiven. Toxic shame comes from Satan. He would have me believe that when I do something wrong especially as severe as sexual sin that I am too far gone for the Atonement to reach me. It causes me to say things like, "I'm a bad person." "I'm a mistake." "I'm not worthy of God's or other's love."

I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what godly sorrow is but until today, I never understood the impact of worldly sorrow or "toxic sorrow" as my counselor puts it.

My oldest son has a disease that is slowly taking away his life.  His brain is creating a layer or a barrier of calcium around it and as this layer grows and thickens, it cuts of signals from the brain to the body.  He is slowly losing the ability walk, he can't run or play sports like a normal 9-year-old, his legs tier and weaken fast which just breaks my heart when I see this amazing boy that wants to keep up with his athletic and strong sister or run around playing with his friends.

Sorrow is similar to my son's disease.  It will over time eat away at your soul.  In fact, sorrow is what kept me away from getting help years ago when I still had a chance to save my marriage.
It was because of the shame that I felt that I kept turning to pornography.  Every time that I felt guilt, or like I was a failure or letting my family down - I turned to porn because with today's high speed "tube" sites I could instantly get gratification without worrying about rejection, or not feeling loved. I learned that when I felt shame, I could turn to porn and for a moment, I would feel better.  In a future blog, I will talk about the science behind pornography and what it does to the brain.  Absolutely fascinating!

From my experience shame is one of the most powerful triggers to bring a man back into his addictions.  Whether it be porn, drugs, infidelity or whatever the case is, feeling shame will not help you.  In fact, when I felt the most shame, I felt unworthy of God's love or even the love of my kids and especially of my wife. Can you imagine the impact this had on my marriage?  When you live your secrete life, live in your pain and isolation, you can damn well expect that you are going to fall right back into the cycle that created all the shame in the first place.

Here is a part of the book that really hit me. I have had conversations with my ex-spouse and my counselor on my behavior doing exactly this.  Have you been here?
I lived as if the worse I made myself feel, the more deserving I would be of God's forgiveness. Of course, I could never do enough, and my shame distorted the man I was and cut me off from others. And it cured nothing. I could not feel enough shame to stop the addiction, So, sadly, I went back to my promiscuous ways...
I have been doing exactly this to myself.  I have purposely not taken my medication so that it wouldn't dull my senses so that any pain, anxiety or depression I felt, I was feeling the full effect. I would tell myself what a terrible person I was and not allow myself to take care of myself. I wouldn’t allow myself to be happy, because if I was happy while I spouse was hurting, what kind of selfish person am I?  But what good was this doing for me? Even more important, what good was it doing my family?  By me indulging in as much pain and sorrow as possible help my spouse or kids heal?

When you are filled with shame, there is no room for healing, and you cannot be a trustworthy person.  You cannot have shame and integrity at the same time, one will cancel out the other. What is it going to be?

I promise you that our Father in Heaven does not want you feeling shame at any point in your life.  Shame will only pull you further away from His presence and from those that you love.  I believe that my ex-spouse may still be my friend today if I had gotten control of my shame a long time ago.  Let my experience be a guide to you. Don't let your shame rip apart your marriage. Focus on godly sorrow, and the change of heart that it will bring to your life.

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