Pornography, Overeating, Smoking and Drugs… Does it get any better than this?

J year

I’ve been asked this simple question many, many times.  And truthfully, there are many ways I can answer it.  Maybe I’d say…

– It was a decision to eat better.
– It was having a much stronger will today than yesterday.
– It was God doing all the work.

I do have to say that I’ve pondered this question for quite some time.  Maybe you’ve pondered it as well…  So what’s this question anyway?

How did you lose all that weight?

It doesn’t appear to be the type of inquisition that will illicit some deep profound answer.  I mean it’s a pretty simple, straight-forward question.  How did you lose all that weight?

Well, I ate right, exercised, prayed a lot, and through all that hard work I’ve been able to drop 76 pounds.  That certainly is quite an achievement and I thank God for it, but those answers aren’t really ALL that’s behind the success.  Let me explain…

I grew up in a fairly normal household.  Yes, my parents had their issues, and our family dynamic proved to be somewhat dysfunctional at times, but I’ve always thought my childhood was a pretty good one.  However, something was obviously amiss.  As I look back, clearly there were issues bubbling under the surface.  At an early age I wet my bed, I wet my pants, I started delving deeply into pornography and I had an insatiable appetite for food.  Of course this is described as “addictive behavior” in the psychological world.  As I grew older, I took to drugs and cigarettes but the pornography and eating also increased.  I think at my worst, I was just shy of 390 pounds (maybe even peaked over 400), smoked a couple packs of cigarettes a day, puffed on a few joints, snorted a couple lines, looked at pornography daily and was essentially headed off a very deep cliff.

Friends, I had a lot of healing to do because I was one messed up dude!  At one point early on, I realized that my addictions were driven by nothing more than a hurting young boy trying to make all the pain in his life go away.  Did I know why I had all this turmoil inside?  Nope.  But over the years, it began to crystallize.  And I wanted to find out what was driving me into these very destructive behaviors.  Truth be told, I eventually hit a wall and God forced me to begin looking at it, but that’s another very long story.

Since that encounter with God, I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to shed some tears and enter into very deep talks with my parents.  They were able to confess many things they had done wrong that more than likely affected my upbringing.  They asked for forgiveness and I forgave them.  And that’s where the healing and deep changes began…

By the way, my parents ROCK! They’ve been highly instrumental in my healing journey and the irony is that they would be the first to admit that much of my pain came from them!  Go ponder that one for a while… God is gracious!

About 19 years ago, I stopped doing drugs.  Several years after that, the cigarette’s ended.  And another few years later, the pornography and weight began to subside dramatically.  I hadn’t really noticed it, but there was this slow yet steady healing taking place in my life.  20 years ago I would pray that God would take it all away in an instance, but that prayer went unanswered for many years.  I’m sure glad I started praying back then!

So what am I getting at?  Why share all this baggage with you?  Because I love you!  And I know that you might have some things that plague your life as well.  Maybe you struggle in some of these areas, like…

– Smoking
– Sexual Additions
– Drugs or Alcohol
– Shopping (yes, this one is true!)
– Overeating
– Depression & Anxiety
– Workaholic
– Fill in the blank…

There isn’t a person on the planet that doesn’t struggle with something in their life.  But some of us are willing to be real and begin the healing process while others want to bury their head in the sand in hopes that one day it will all just go away. And, unless you’re my dog and love to find buried tennis balls in the sand, it probably won’t do you much good to go there.

We all have an opportunity to heal.  Every one of us! Whatever it is that’s got hold of your life, you truly can heal.  Not only have I experienced it in my own life, but I’ve seen healing in many of my friends lives as well.  Healing is available, but it begs that one question again…

How did you lose all that weight?  Or better put, how do you overcome all these problems and addictions?

It’s a journey that would take quite some time to explain, but let me leave you with a few thoughts that will point you in the right direction.

  1. It’s going to take time.  Healing certainly can come in an instance, but more often than not, it’s a process, not a procedure.  Give yourself the grace to work through your “stuff” knowing that God gives you an unlimited amount of grace to keep walking forward.  He loves you and wants to see you heal as well, so allow yourself some rest.
  2. Put your trust in Jesus.  I know some of you have just read this and want to just shut the page.  I encourage you to read on.  Even if you don’t take this step, just be open to it.  Ask yourself, “If this Jesus guy was real and offered this incredible healing, would I be willing to put my trust in Him?” It’s a very simple question.  You will never find someone that loves you more than He does.
  3. Be real.  It’s so very important to be real with yourself, real with God and real with your friends.  Don’t fake it, admit it.  Confess it.  Let others know about your struggles and ask them to pray for you.  It’s just too easy to try and Lone Ranger the healing process, but it never works.  Allow yourself the grace to be a mess.  That’s what being real looks like.  I love what a pastor friend of mine, David Hickman, said at one of my recovery meetings, “I’m not okay, you’re not okay, but that’s okay.”  YES!  That’s being real…

The road to healing is not an easy one, it can be quite difficult at times.  But is an easy adventure ever worth anything?  Dorothy took the yellow brick road and ran into a nasty wicked witch.  Many a mountaineer have travailed the deadly slopes of Everest just to reach the most incredible peak on the planet.  Building the grandiose Hoover Dam cost many lives but became a national landmark. And you have the opportunity to do something very hard, but achieve something so very great.  I know you can do it!  We can do it together!!!