Many of the people I talk with wish God would just “zap” them from their current state of misery and brokenness to being healed, integrated, and sexually whole. Is that you? Perhaps you’re a mess. You’ve tried harder. You’ve prayed. So why doesn’t God seem to be answering your prayers? Are you hopeless?
What many people struggle to embrace is that becoming healed and whole sexually or in any other area is almost never one moment. God can do wonderful things “suddenly!” But He cares most about us becoming more and more like His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29). And that involves a process of transformation.
Our culture of instant gratification sets us up to resist a process of transformation. But anything of true value takes time to develop; a bank account, physical wellness, a healthy marriage or relationship, or even a beautiful garden. What about the process of growing to become more and more like Jesus especially when it comes to your sex life?
Here are five key elements in the process of becoming sexually whole. Bypassing any one of these elements will leave you vulnerable. Embracing each of these will be like sunshine, rain, and good soil for your soul, allowing you to grow into the person God created you to be. In looking at these elements we will focus on sexual wholeness, but the principles apply to every area of your life.
Invest in Healing from Lies and Wounds
We all come through life with stuff. Things have happened to you, and you’ve also done things that harmed yourself and others. Dealing with the lies, wounds, and empty places accumulated in your soul disrupts the power they hold over you and makes further growth possible.
When it comes to relationships, intimacy, and sexuality, how did you come to where you are now? How did you learn about sex, and about God and sex? How were you sexually discipled? (Was it by porn?) What models did you see growing up about relationships, intimacy, and sexuality?
Many if not most people have experienced deep wounds with intimacy gone wrong; that will require inviting God to deal with the trauma and pain in your soul. Healing doesn’t just drop on you from “on high.” It’s important to uncover the roots of your sexual “stuff” and choose to take healing into your being.
Develop an Escape Plan
Your brand(s) of sexual brokenness might be pornography addiction, sexual aversion, being sexually disconnected from your spouse (if married), going to sex for things sex was never intended to fulfill, or any number of other things. Whatever your “stuff” has been, sobriety – stopping the unhealthy behavior – is important, but it’s only one step. You will be tempted again.
What could you do at the moment of temptation that would shift things in a different direction? You might call or text a friend, clean the house, engage in some deep breathing, recite Scripture out loud, go for a run, read a book that deeply engages you, listen to music you love, walk outside and cry out to God, journal, cook something you love to eat, build a fire in the fireplace, go to a 12-step meeting, watch the birds and look at the flowers, dig in your garden. There are hundreds of possibilities for your escape plan.
Think about your triggers, make an escape plan, write it down, and practice it. You’ll need it.
Connect Authentically with Others
You cannot become whole in the way God intended by yourself. Whenever I talk with people who are struggling to become sexually whole the most frequent place they are stuck is right here. Connecting with others involves accountability (if your brokenness includes acting out), but it’s much more than that.
There are too many examples to list. Consider a grove of aspen tree; the roots of all trees in the grove form a single structure. The roots of the coastal redwood trees in California don’t go that deep, but the roots of neighboring trees become deeply intertwined together so the trees are actually holding each other up. Think of the Fellowship of the Ring, or of Jesus with Peter, James, and John.
Finding your people can be hard, and messy. But it’s vital! You will be stunted and at risk of blowing over until you find your people who can mutually encourage, support, challenge, and pray for you. Just do it – regardless of your relationship status.
Connect Daily with God
Healing and transformation doesn’t come from your own effort in “trying harder.” It only comes from God Himself. We can see that in how Jesus was daily, moment by moment, in connection with His Heavenly Father. You need to do that too. Your most important role is to connect and stay connected with the Source of all goodness and love, so that He can continue to change you from the inside out. You come to daily consecrate your sexuality to Jesus.
For many who have been sexually harmed, God-talk has been part of that harm. Your internal picture of God may need some attention and perhaps change. Or you may have no experience in spending time with God, so you’ll need to develop your own habits of being with Jesus in ways to bring lasting transformation.
This is where the real change takes place. This is you giving God access to the deeper parts of your soul so that you can grow into maturity as a human being and the person God intended you to be in the beginning.
Pass It On
You’ve heard it said that if you really want to understand something, teach it. There’s something about passing on what you’ve received that makes the change more real and permanent in your being.
Telling your story is powerful – for both you and others. You truly need to tell your story to Jesus and to at least one other person for your own healing. But God may also have you tell your story, or at least parts of it, to others who are struggling. How helpful has it been for you when you hear someone’s story and you can say, “Me too”? You can be that for someone else.
Don’t rush this step. But you don’t have to wait until you’re all “fixed” to celebrate and share your story of transformation. Someone else is waiting for the encouragement your story can provide. You’re simply one beggar showing another beggar where to find food.
These steps are not magic, or quick. You are cooperating with God in a beautiful and ongoing process. Enjoy the ride. God’s not anxious about the time it’s taking, and you don’t have to be anxious either. Just keep showing up. And keep saying Yes.
Your turn: If you’ve felt stuck in your process of becoming sexually whole, which of these steps seems the biggest challenge? Which step are you going to invest in next? I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment below.
Want more? On this week’s podcast I talk with Jonathan Daugherty about the process of transformation, especially around sexual brokenness. You can listen or watch here.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- We might like God to “zap” us from here to there in a moment. But in working toward us becoming sexually whole, most of the time He works through a process of transformation. Tweet that.
Struggling with Sexual Issues?
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