Your journey of self-discovery begins with the quest to know yourself; who you are and why you do what you do. It can be a frightening trip and a wild ride, but worth every risk inherent in your decision to embark. Admittedly, you cannot fully know yourself, for today you “see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror,” but someday you shall “see everything [including yourself] with perfect clarity… just as God now knows [you] completely” ( 1st Corinthians 13.12 NLT). God knows you better than you know yourself, so you must apply diligence in your pursuit of Him who is able to grant the self-awareness you need for the healing you seek.
You chase after moral purity, then, for yourself and for God, not for others. Healthy sexuality is a personal objective. You are not in recovery to save your marriage, win back your girlfriend, keep your job, or make amends of any kind. It may be too late for that, but have hope. Jesus can fix your personal brokenness and mend the havoc wreaked by sexual addiction. He alone is able to reveal your true self. He will show you the path to the person you were destined to be. Jesus alone can make up for lost time and lost love.
The journey of self-discovery is a big, scary adventure. Learning about yourself and why you behave the way you do can be terrifying because of the self-change such self-knowledge demands. Change takes you out of your comfort zone, leads you to places unknown, and threatens much of what you have grown to believe is true about yourself and the world around you. Yet, without personal change, recovery from addiction cannot occur. The path of healing is the path of change, and the journey is not for the timid or the proud. Recovery takes courage and humility and a lot of work, hard work. You can get there, but not alone. You need others to help you along the way.
Near the end of her life, my wife’s cancerous white blood cells spiked to their highest levels since her initial diagnosis nine months earlier. Our oncologist recommended we stop chemotherapy, explaining it would not halt the advance of the cancer. Our highly competent and kindhearted Dr. Boriboonsomsin gave us the difficult news that Adonica would only survive a few more weeks. I begged her to keep trying. “There must be something we can do. More chemo, radiation, a new diet, clinical trials, something, anything, please… please…” Adonica and Dr. B shook their heads slowly and leaned in close to me. “There’s nothing more we can do, Dave. She’s ready,” whispered Dr. B. Then it was my wife’s turn. “I’m tired, Dave. I can’t go on like this. You have to let me go now.” I became suddenly aware that I, not Adonica, was the reason for this doctor’s appointment. Dr. B. and Adonica shared a common, humane mission to help me accept reality, something I have never been very good at. I learned the decision to die was not mine to make. It was hers. I felt helpless, pushed into a corner of acceptance I wasn’t ready for. I had to let her go. The abruptness of this realization pierced me at heretofore unknown depths of sorrow. Briefly, I was unable to breathe, then I erupted in tears. I was forced to face the moment I had worked so hard to avoid over the previous two hundred and seventy days of caretaking. We all wept, the three of us, together in Dr. B.’s little medical office.
This unhappy prediction prompted our family to help Adonica achieve a few remaining items on her ‘bucket list’ which, not surprisingly, included only final activities which our youngest children wished to experience with her.
Our 13-year old daughter, Rachel, wanted to eat frozen yogurt with Mom at Menchie’s. Done.
Robert, sixteen, had a higher ambition for his mother. He asked for one final hike with Adonica who, of course, was in no condition to walk to the mailbox, much less a 1½ mile slog to Mirror Lake. Cancer and chemo treatments had ravaged her poor little body but, although she had no strength to climb, she would not be dissuaded. Together with Robert and Rachel, plus four grown stepchildren, four grandkids, and me, Adonica made her way up the mountainside. She ambled a bit, rested a lot, and repeated as necessary, until, near the top, she came to the absolute end of her physical capability. Adonica was literally dying, and could not take another step. The older kids begged her to stop. They could not bear to watch Mom suffer. Robert was noticeably disappointed, but supported his older siblings. I held to the minority position and kept pushing Adonica to try harder, until even I caved under the weight of family opinion. Deep lines of sorrow and defeat etched themselves in my wife’s face. It was over, and we all knew it. The moment was incredibly disheartening and felt like a cruel end to our loving gesture.
Then someone suggested, “We could carry Mom.”
The last ascent was steep and, and fortunately for the burden-bearers in our group, Adonica had lost a lot of weight. The boys and I took turns successfully packing her tiny 107-pound frame to our intended destination. With our help, and to Robert’s great joy, Adonica made it to Mirror Lake one last time. We shall cherish this memory for the rest of our lives.
The journey of self-discovery is painful. Prepare to suffer, but remain steadfast. The upward trek on the mountain of purity is worth every hard-earned and tough-fought stride you take along the way. In the words of Churchill, “Never, never, never give up,” even when you stumble and cannot possibly take another step. In your saddest, darkest, most defeated moments, depend on Jesus and your brothers and sisters in recovery. Together, you will reach the summit. They may need to carry you, but you will make it to the top. There you will see yourself as you really are… entirely broken and yet fully loved by your Creator and those He called to walk with you.
You are never alone.