I once prepared a small group facilitators training program. The first attribute of a good facilitator was to feel inadequate. It seems counterintuitive but all sorts of good things happen when we allow ourselves to face our inadequacy: we can lean into God, we don't have to pretend we have all the answers, we can appreciate the wisdom in others and we can be genuine.
In Chapter 4 of Surfing For God, Gathering the Broken Pieces, Michael Cusick begins with two quotes. From Addiction for Dummies, "It's about the hole in your heart," and then John Gaynor Banks, "Your inadequacy is your first qualification." This chapter is about the painful and lifegiving revelation of Michael's sexual addiction to his wife Julianne. He says this,
July 10, 1994, was the worst day of my life. It was the day on which I unleashed a hurricane of destruction and was forced to watch the woman I love crawl in the wreckage. When I was single my actions didn't immediately affect anyone in my circle of family and friends. Now, the consequences of my recklessness could be seen in Julianne's eyes. I had caused my wife's worst nightmare to come true. Like a drunk driver, I was soaring over a steep cliff with my wife in the car, forced to watch her flail helplessly in slow motion without a seat belt before the inevitable crash.
July 10, 1994, was also the best day of my life. What made it so special? It was the day God threw open the door to freedom. Until then I had always been able to jump in the manure and come out smelling like a rose. Even when my addiction was nearly exposed in the newspaper years before, it hadn't broken me. I went to counseling, shared most of my struggle with friends, and read books. I always believed that I was eventually going to conquer the problem through my effort. Yet I never actually came to the end of myself. But that day shattered me. I had reached the end of a deadend road. I didn't understand how i had gotten there or how to find my way home.
Somehow that day, I managed to write these words in my journal:
In has been three months since I've written in this journal. This might be the first honest entry I've ever made. Today has been the darkest day of my life. Julianne and I met with Larry regarding my sexual sin and adultery. Yes, adultery. I've brought destruction to the one I love. She's numb. She's devastated. I've decapitated the limbs of her soul and wounded her in the most vulnerable part of her heart. I've broken her trust and mocked my wedding vows. Today...I am helpless. Powerless. Defenseless. I'm incapable right now of bringing an ounce of joy to her life. I'm utterly incapable of changing, healing, or transforming my own life. Promises are empty. I am empty. I can't fix this. I can't fix me. I need the Gospel. God have mercy on me.
To paraphrase Richard Rohr, it is only through the holes in our soul that we break out and God breaks through. Little did I know that this experience of profound brokenness was precisely what I needed for God to break through and do His most powerful work in me. For that to happen, I needed to come face-to-face with just how broken I was.
That summer I began to realize that my inner world was like the beetle-infested trees on my friend's ranch. Despite choosing to follow Jesus years before, I discovered that the roots of my soul were entangled and diseased, and had only known droughtlike growing conditions. Being that I was so spiritually and emotionally unhealthy, it's no wonder that any spark of God-given desire could cause a forest fire of sexual passion to burn out of control.
He continues the chapter with these sections:
We Are Broken Men Who Must Live From Our Brokenness
Our Behavior Is Just the Tip Of The Iceburg
Our Brokenness Begins With Our Wickedness
Our Brokenness Accentuates Our Weakness
Our Brokenness Encompasses Our Woundedness
In this section he highlights how men have buried their wounds so deeply that they are unaware of the impact the wounds have on their lives. If sexual addiction is anything it is a "disorder of intimacy." Most often "intimacy has proven painful and been a source of wounding."
Michael shares that he gives an inventory to every man that comes to see him for a soul care intensive. In one section he wants to know if in his formative years the man has ever been wounded or abused physically, emotionally, sexually or spiritually. Many many don't put anything or put N/A that this part doesn't apply to them.
"But then, as I listen to their stories, my heart breaks:
- the man who, at the age of thirteen, discovered his father's body just after he committed suicide
- the man who was sexually fondled by his scoutmaster
- the man who, on the first day of kindergarten, learned that both his parents were killed in a car accident on their way to pick him up after school
- the man whose father was a beloved deacon at church but regularly raged at the kids and hit his wife
- the man who was teased and bullied through junior high because he wore orthopedic braces on his legs
- the man whose father told him about sex by handing him a box of condoms and telling him to be sure he didn't get a girl pregnant
All these men initially reported to me that they didn't have any wounds. Not applicable. Not me. I'm good. None of them intentionally lied or tried to be deceitful. They had simply cut off that part of themselves in order to survive. The problem, however, is that the survival techniques that helped us go on when we were young prevent us from thriving when we are adults. Our solution becomes the problem."
Michael goes on to share about Jesus as healer, not just forgiver. But first it is essential that we own our brokenness and our woundedness. If we don't admit we need healing how can we be healed?
Our Brokenness Attracts The Enemy's Warfare
Surrendering Our Brokenness
He closes the chapter with this,
In Jesus, God became broken for us so that we might be made whole: "As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, 'Take it, for this is my body.' And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, 'This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many"' (Mark 14:22-24 NLT).
What are the vulnerabilities, limitations, disadvantages, shortcomings, and imperfections that make up your brokenness? What have you done with the pain you have received and the wounds you bear?
In this journey on Marriages Restored we are talking about sexual intimacy. If, as individuals, a couple will each honestly look at their own brokeness and woundedness and openly seek healing, eventually their intimacy, including sexually will soar. A couple will be able to relax and enjoy one another, in all ways.