fighting for free hearts

Rewriting Our Porn Stories

The And Sons Magazine interview with Dan Allender is a few months old (October 2014), but it is full of great stuff. The kind of stuff that makes you need to read and re-read the interview. The kind of stuff that you have to take in small bites.

What i appreciate about Allender is the way he embraces Story; specifically, the importance of knowing our own Story and the way our Story fits into the greater Story God is writing.

He also says things that force me to think, to grapple.

It is our suffering and struggle with sin and injustice that reveals what Jesus endured for our salvation. It is the rescue of God—the surprising, life-giving wonder and awe of his goodness—that proclaims the glory of the resurrection. And it is our use of the gifts that he has given us to reveal his glory that shouts the blessing of his ascension. If we refuse to suffer—and grieve the depths or our suffering—then we lose power to reveal his death andresurrection. If we don’t name and bless the remarkable gifts he has given us, we cannot celebrate the stories he has written in us to reveal his story.

i don’t think i understand even half of that.  But i think i can begin to grasp the importance of grieving the depths of my suffering.

i think i can also find a way in to what Allender is saying about suffering, struggle and blessing because i get the part about the rescue of God and the glory of the resurrection.

The glory of the resurrection is not simply the beauty and goodness of Jesus’ victory over death and what that means for our ability to — through identification with Him — be set free from bondage to sin. Salvation is great, of course, but it is merely the doorway into a whole new life.

Resurrection makes us alive with Christ (Eph. 2:4-5), and that means we get a life filled with Christ and His kingdom. The theme of His kingdom is restoration; we are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).

And, oh how desperately we need that. The ravages of sin, addiction and struggle are devastating. The promise of being restored and new is beautiful. It’s so beautiful that at times we think it must be too good to be true.

Yet it is true.

When we embrace Story as Allender describes, we come closer to entering into to the very restoration we need.  We see our own Stories in light of something larger and, quite frankly, better:  His Story. Through Story we also get a glimpse of the process of restoration that is unfolding in us and around us through Christ.

In our journey to healing and wholeness from addiction to porn and lust, Story becomes essential. When you have a relapse. When you find an old struggle that you thought you had conquered returns. At those moments, understanding our Stories is crucial.

Where does this relapse fit in the overall Story of my healing journey? What are the themes of my Story right now that are at play in the new strength of the old temptation i thought was finished? What is the overall trajectory of my Story, and how does my Enemy want to take me out with this development in my Story? Or with his interpretation of my Story?

Getting a Story perspective brings hope and clarity to our healing journey. It is vital for our long-term health and freedom.

i also love what Allender says about getting perspective on our Stories.

Hang out with people who are confident of the wild goodness of Jesus and who aren’t apt to offer quick or silly and superficial solutions to life’s struggles. These people are more often than not curious-to-the-bone about the human heart, voracious readers of fiction, lovers of theatre, and absolutely intrigued by the heart of Jesus. If you can find this pearl of a person—a counselor, a sage, or just a compassionate friend—then tell him a single story of some event that deeply shaped who you are. Chose a story that bears heartache in a highly formative period of life. Let your friend listen and feel your story and then let them pursue understanding through conversation. Take it in. Give all the new thoughts to Jesus. Invite him into the heartache with you.

That quote is a treasure all by itself, and it seems to me unfathomably rich.  i could sit with that first sentence alone and consider how doing that very thing will make all the difference in the world regarding how i understand my own heart and connect with God and others.

Allender offers such freedom to think and feel and wrestle and wonder and grow as a redeemed person in the process of being restored by Christ.

Everything Allender talks about in this interview is rich; it is the good stuff of life that we all want, even if we wouldn’t articulate exactly the same way he does. Meaningful relationships. A heart that is alive to God and all that He has for us. A life that is restored and is being restored.

For many of us, pornography and the addictive pattern we developed with it stole from us the truly good things of life.  It promised good things and pleasures too numerous to count. But it failed to deliver. It always fails to deliver.

Our Stories are not over, however. There is restoration and hope and goodness available to us through Christ. Start hanging out with people who are confident of the wild goodness of Jesus and who aren’t apt to offer quick or silly and superficial solutions to life’s struggles, and begin to re-write your story.

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