There is something about the wilderness.
On one hand, it calls to a deep place in men’s souls — as it has since the beginning of time —and it beckons men to venture in.
On the other, it looms as an immovable force and its silent, steady power warns of danger.
The wilderness simply is, and it waits to see how we will deal with it.
The stories of mountaineers who have summited Mt. Everest all have one thing in common: the climbers insist that anyone who wants to reach top must respect the mountain.
The mountain is indifferent to climbers; climbers dare not be indifferent to the mountain.
It’s not just the epic peaks of the world such as Everest that simultaneously beckon and intimidate. The natural world in all of its beauty, splendor, mystery, and danger draws us. It’s true of formidable mountains as well as the trees in our backyards growing up.
Why did we have to climb them? Why did we long to build tree forts in them?
Regardless of challenges and outright danger, men are compelled to venture into the wilderness. There is something the wilderness has that men need, whether they can articulate it or not.
What it has is wildness. The wilderness is unpredictable and unscripted, and we need that. Desperately.
All wilderness is wild at its core. While that seems more than obvious and unnecessary to say, the truth is that the wildness of wilderness is the reason the wilderness continues to beckon even as it intimidates us.
So what does any of this have to do with compulsive sexual behavior, and more specifically, finding lasting freedom from that behavior?
Here it is: recovering and redeeming the wildness of masculinity is essential if we are ever to find lasting freedom from compulsive sexual behavior. Perhaps it is counterintuitive, but it is nevertheless true that the journey of freedom is wild.
Any attempt to merely be a good boy and lock our wildness away in a box will only backfire.
But simply allowing our wildness to have free reign will lead to disaster. Those of us with compulsive sexual behavior in our stories know exactly how that works — or, actually, doesn’t.
Many of us gravitated toward compulsive sexual behavior because it seemed like it was a manageable form of achieving a thrill along with a hint of risk. The combination was intoxicating. Sexual acting out appeared to consist of real risk-taking adventure within a context we could control.
But true wildness cannot be controlled by man, and the counterfeit adventure of porn and lust can not meet our souls’ need for the genuine article that can only be accessed in legitimate unpredictability inherent in wildness.
The redemption of our masculine wildness is not a controlling of it, it is a surrendering to our vulnerability to wildness as we enter into a life where we bring it under the rule of a good king who made us in His image. Under His rule we learn to honor wildness by not ignoring or suppressing it or abandoning ourselves to it in recklessness.
The masculine experience cries out for wildness, and the wilderness of the natural world surrounds us as a reminder that we must properly value that wildness.
Wildness comes in a million different types and styles. The natural world serves as a constant reminder that we are limited and risk is required, which are invaluable truths about every relationship we will ever have.
Those of us who deal with compulsive sexual behavior know that the journey of freedom is truly wild because it is a journey into learning how to love.
A life lived without the false comforts of sexual acting out is unpredictable and unscripted because it has at its core the replacement of lust with love.
And there is nothing more wild than real love.
When i was living in my compulsive sexual behavior, constantly maneuvering to satisfy my cravings, i was a slave. In order to be free i had to submit to the process of healing my heart and restoring my soul in the same way a climber submits to a mountain.
i was immediately well beyond the realm of my comfort and skill the moment i first surrendered to the process. i was unprepared for what came next because i had no place in my understanding for how wildness was connected to my masculinity.
In fact, i had learned to fear anything unpredictable and unscripted.
Ironically, when we finally come clean about our sexual compulsion and submit to a process of transformation, God awakens our wildness and makes it an indispensable component in our healing journey.
A man with a redeemed, wild soul will not settle for the counterfeit of lust and porn. That man will insist on living the life that is truly life, and he will pursue the abundance of life Jesus promises.
And so we venture into the wild for lasting freedom.