He caught me when I was driving down the road, thinking about my talk for an upcoming retreat.
“Tell them Craig struggles with porn,” God whispered to me.
“Oh, no, God. No way. Absolutely not,” I responded.
There are few times I have ever directly told God “no.” I’m the obedient type, not a rebel. But this? I could not do this. Craig hadn’t overcome this addiction yet. We were not only battling porn, but each other also. My tendencies to control and belittle still resurfaced just as his desire to escape into a world of fantasy did. Bad habits are hard to break and we both struggled to break free.
When I got home, I told Craig what God had said. What he said shocked me.
“Maybe you should tell them. God must have a reason.”
My husband was willing to risk his reputation and admit his problem. I was not. Too much shame still lingered for me. I hadn’t fully surrendered to the belief that his porn addiction didn’t have anything to do with sex or my physical body.
“They’ll think I’m not a good wife.”
“What if people look at us differently?”
“Are you crazy?” I asked him.
I finished planning my talk. There was no mention of porn. No way to even fit it in, I thought.
A few days later, I’m standing in front of 50 women. I’m teaching God’s Word. I’m following my outline and then I pause. The Holy Spirit whispered: “Now. Tell them about the porn.”
And what could I do but tell them? Because somehow in that moment, God had perfectly inserted Himself within the confines of my outline. In that moment, He made me brave. In that moment, I saw what Craig saw those nights before: God was up to something.
God challenged me that day – I don’t need to wait until I’m perfectly healed before I share my story. I don’t need to have my problems tied off with a shiny bow before I present them to someone else. Part of my healing takes place within the telling. God wastes nothing. God can use everything. But I must allow Him to do so. And if He is calling me, He will see me through the call. He will help me to share in a way that does not uncover my husband or heap more shame upon him or myself.
This is the truth: We have a choice to give power to our shame or allow God to give power to our lives. Shame thrives in darkness. Satan wants you to keep your struggles all to yourself because that is there where they breed, fester, gain traction, and bring devastation. But when we confess, when we share, no matter how dark and gross we think our sin is, we expose it to light just by nature of our words and thoughts coming out from within us. And there in the light, is Jesus. He is the light and in Him? There is no darkness.
Our words have power. Our stories have power, even if we haven’t discovered the full extent of resolution or healing. Our stories are like boots on the ground, making a well-worn path for others to come behind us and beside us and share their stories, too. And all of us walking together? That’s community. That is how God designed us to live here on this earth.
Have you experienced freedom in sharing about your sin? Would you be willing to take a risk and see what God does?