Weekly Web (W)roundup

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Each week, I round up the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


Wm. Paul Young: Why Everyone Should Have Their Dark Secrets Exposed

“What you might not know is that sexual abuse was a frequent part of my childhood. In fact I don’t remember life as a little boy without it being the one constant. Everything else was motion, but this reality was present everywhere I was.

Relevant: 5 Ways Porn Ruins Relationships

“The consequences of pornography can be seen in many different areas of life, but here are some of the relational consequences of being addicted to porn.”

xxxChurch: 3 Ways To Love Someone With A Porn Problem

“In this colossal issue of porn addiction in our world, those of us who claim the mantle of ‘Christ Follower’ live in a unique place. We are a people called to love, forgive, and even heal the broken and addicted and ashamed.

Richard Beck: The Church is Dying and I Couldn’t Be More Excited

“I’ve been dipping into this post-Christian world over here in the UK, the place where America is heading, and I wanted to share a few things.”

Trip Lee: Hope and Help for the Porn Addict

You Have Been Personally Chosen by God

Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan (Ephesians 1:11).

Who You are In Christ

I’m pretty sure I started bugging my parents for a dog right about the time I first learned how to talk. It was always made clear to me, however, that it just wasn’t the right time for us to get one. I’d beg and plead to at least go and look at the pet store, they would give in, and then I’d inevitably fall in love with one of the dogs before being carried out sobbing.

After years of pleading though, my parents finally agreed that it was time for us to get a dog. We decided on a breeder, and then drove up to meet the puppies. The breeder pointed out the “perfect” pups and mentioned she would be keeping them for show dogs. We could have our pick of the others. We settled on a little girl with one ear that stuck straight up and one ear that flopped over. This flaw may have rendered her “imperfect,” but we still thought she was perfect for us.

The hardest part, was even though we knew which puppy was ours, we still couldn’t take her home yet. She was too young and needed to remain with her mother a while longer. During those weeks, I knew I had a dog; I just didn’t have her with me yet. I’d resort to daydreaming about all the fun stuff we were going to do together and the tricks I’d teach her, and I kept getting more and more excited about bringing her home. By the time she did come home, I’d built up so much anticipation I could hardly bear it. Even though I’d only met her once and she hadn’t done anything to earn my love, I couldn’t wait for her to be united with our family.

When I think of how God has chosen me to become a part of His family, I’m sometimes tempted to believe there’s no way He would have actually picked me if given the choice. I assume He had to let me in only because He was bound by His word. My logic goes something like this: God promises to receive anyone who trusts Jesus, and I’ve trusted Jesus. So, even though He probably doesn’t like me and surely doesn’t need me, He had no choice but to let me in lest He go back on His promise.

But that’s not what the Bible tells us at all. The Bible makes it clear that God chose each one of us personally. Not just to be His pets, but to be His adopted children, complete with full rights as His sons and daughters, even including an inheritance.

What’s amazing to me though, is that He chose all of us in advance—even before we were united with Christ. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out God was thinking of you much the same way I was thinking of my dog before she was united with our family. I knew she was going to be mine; it was just a matter of time. And the longer I waited, the more excited I got for us to be together. God knew you were going to be His, and the longer He waited, the more excited He got about being with you.

The difference though, is the only thing I could do was wait. God, however, was actively orchestrating the events of your life to lead you straight to Him. He knew how badly He wanted you specifically, so He did whatever it took to bring you home.

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My One Thing: Adam Palmer

“What’s the one piece of advice you would give
to someone struggling with porn addiction?”

Adam Palmer is a pastor and co-author of the book Go Small with Craig Gross.

Connect with Adam:

Website: AdamPalmerAuthor.com

Twitter: @ThatAdamPalmer

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview


Check out all the “One Thing” video interviews here.


Transcript

Steve: Guys, Steve Kuhn here with Belt of Truth Ministries. I’ve got Adam Palmer on the line. Adam is a pastor and co-author of the book GO SMALL with Craig Gross. Adam, thanks for your time. I’ve got a question for you I’ve been asking a bunch of folks out there, and that’s what’s one piece of advice that you would give to somebody struggling with porn addiction?

Adam: One piece of advice to give to somebody struggling with porn addiction, really it’s a 2-part answer because I’m going to cheat, and the answer would be in order to deal with that, you have to give up, but don’t give up. Let me break that down for just a second. What you have to give up is you have to give up this sort of sense that this thing is something that you need in your life, that you can’t get by without it, these voices in your head that tell you “it’s inevitable. You’re going to go looking for it, you might as well give in today.” You have to give that up. You have to give up those feelings because they’re not honest. They’re not true. They’re not real. They feel real in the moment, but in actuality they’re not. So you have to give that stuff up. But then you also don’t give up. What you don’t give up is you don’t give up the daily, day in, day out, checking in, making sure you’re keeping yourself accountable, making sure that you’re taking all the steps that you need every day to continue to walk in health, because really what you’re doing is you’re not trying to get rid of something. Really, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to make healthier choices for yourself, for your faith, for your family. I like to think of it sort of in terms of eating. I’m in this process right now of really trying to change my overall relationship with food. I used to have a very unhealthy relationship with food, where if I had a craving for something, I would go get it and eat it because I wanted to. Generally, I crave stuff that wasn’t good for me – sweets, high fat content, that type of stuff. But what I realized is that I needed to change the way that I thought about it, and I need it to make healthier choices, not because I want to lose weight. That’s a great side benefit, but because I want to have a healthy life. I want to live long enough to see my children grow up and get married and have grand kids. I want to meet my great grand kids. And I know that if I kept making the choices that I was making, that wasn’t going to happen. And so I had to give up those choices. I had to give up listening to those cravings and give up those immediate sort of things felt like gratification but that in actuality were very unhealthy for me. And I have to think long-term now. While I gave up that stuff, what I’m doing is I’m changing my framework and I’m changing my mindset, and I’m saying “now I’m on this track for longevity, I’m on this track for overall long-term health, and so I need to stay on that and not give up.” And it’s the same way when you’re dealing with an addiction to porn. You have to change what’s going on in your mind and you have to start reframing everything and start thinking “what does a healthy sexuality look like to me and what can I do to maintain that?” And then you stay on that track and then you don’t give that up.

Steve: Oh I get it, so give up but don’t give up.

Adam: Exactly.

Steve: I think that’s great advice. Thanks, Adam. Tell people where they can find out more about you online.

Adam: Online, my author website is AdamPalmerAuthor.com. Generally, I spend most of my time though on Twitter, which is where you can find me there as @ThatAdamPalmer. But I did give up Twitter for Lent. So if you want to come find me there, I’m not going to be talking to you until after Easter.

Steve: By the time this video is up, it will be well past Lent. I’m sure. Thanks again for your time and I’ll let you get back to your kids.

Adam: Thanks.

Steve: See you, Adam.

Adam: Take care.

Smart Quote: Michael John Cusick

“A man’s sexual appetite is a barometer for what’s going on inside his heart." —Michael John Cusick

Thoughts on this quote? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

Reader Q/A: Resources for Women who Struggle with Porn

Question: I’m a female who was addicted to porn. Is there any kind of help for the ladies?

Reader Q/A

One of the things that has surprised me the most from starting this ministry is the number of emails I receive just like this one. Clearly, porn is not just an issue for men anymore. 

In fact, some estimates state that 20% of women today struggle with an unwanted porn habit. That’s one out of five women. If you are a woman who struggles with porn, you are not alone.

Belt of Truth Ministries may be geared towards helping men, but thankfully, there are quite a few resources available these days for women. I hope the following links will help you find the freedom and healing that is promised to you through Christ.

Note: Many of these links have been collected from the Covenant Eyes website. If you’re looking for additional resources or help with online accountability, they are a great place to start.

Start Here

Dirty Girls Ministries

Whenever a woman contacts me for help, the first place I suggest they go is Dirty Girls Ministries. Crystal and her team do a wonderful job walking this road with women.

Articles

Touching On The M Word by Craig Gross

“When we started working on the very first version of XXXchurch.com back in 2001, we developed a website aimed specifically at men who struggled with porn. Didn’t even think twice about that focus. Then we launched the site in 2002, and one of the first emails we got said this: ‘What about us girls?’”

How Does It Feel to Be a Woman Addicted to Porn? by Heather Lundy

“While each woman’s experience is unique, there are general themes for the woman addicted to porn and/or sex: shame and guilt, conflicting messages from church and culture, feelings of worthlessness, and a profound sense of being misunderstood.”

6 Reasons Men and Women Are Drawn to Porn by Luke Gilkerson

“What fed my love of porn more than anything was the lie that sex was life. I was single at the time, and I had bought into the lie that sex was a basic, fundamental ‘need’ of which I was deprived. To hear that God wanted me to give up porn sounded like God wanted me to give up life itself.”

Dirty Girls, The New Porn Addicts by Anne Marie Miller

“I frequented erotic chat rooms, watched movies and browsed through hundreds and hundreds of pictures. Soon my porn binges started affecting my performance at work and my relationships.”

Ashamed, Alone, and Addicted: Do Other Women Struggle with Porn? by Lauren Jacobs

“Where my story actually began is still a mystery to me. I don’t have a clear memory of the first time I was exposed to pornography or masturbation or even the idea of sex, but it was probably around the age of 8 or 9.”

Porn and Adultery: A Women’s Perspective by Sarah Markley

“Early in January of 2004 I confessed to an affair, both emotional and physical, that I’d been engaging in for a few years. It was the end of an old way of life for me (and for my husband) and the beginning of something amazing and grace-filled.”

Videos

Women Hooked on Porn: A Free Webinar for Christian Women

“Recently I conducted a webinar with three women who are very open with others about the pornography struggles of their past. The complete recording of the webinar is now available for you to watch.”

Girls Hooked on Porn: Battle Notes from a Weathered Fighter

“Four months ago, when my pastor approached me to film my testimony, my thoughts went something like this: “Share my testimony? You mean, I would be telling the entire church that I have dealt with an addiction to pornography?”

How Many Women are Hooked on Porn?

“Can a woman become addicted to porn? Marnie Ferree, founder of Bethesda Workshops and a specialist in the area of women with sexual addiction, talks about this growing and pressing issue.”

Women struggle with porn too…

“People are often fascinated that I, as a woman, would share so openly about having been addicted to pornography.”

Podcasts

Dirty Girls Come Clean Podcast, featuring Crystal Renaud and Kenny Miller

“The Dirty Girls Come Clean Podcast is a show created to break the silence on women’s struggles with pornography & sexual addiction.”

Porn Addiction Among Women, featuring Jessica Harris and Crystal Renaud

“You are not alone. You are one of the millions of women who are struggling. From the day you were born until the day you die, your sins are forgiven because of the grace of God…”

A Marriage Redeemed from Pornography and Adultery, featuring Chad and Sarah Markley

“I let it be a part of our bedroom life, and then it became a part of my life when I wasn’t in the bedroom…”

His Secret, Her Secret, featuring CJ and Shelley Hitz

“Eventually I started to get into some hardcore pornography, and that’s when I really started to get scared…”

Books

The M Word, a free eBook for women from the guys at BadChristian

Dirty Girls Come Clean, by Crystal Renaud

No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction, by Marnie C. Ferree

The Bondage Breaker, by Neil T. Anderson

Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity, by Lauren F. Winner

Sexual Sanity for Women, by Jessica Harris

Finding Help

x3 Pure 30-Day Workshop for Women

Bethesda Workshops

The National Association for Christian Recovery

Ask me a question
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Weekly Web (W)roundup

weekly_roundup-img-640x290

Each week, I round up the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


Pete Wilson: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

“As Christians, we often think we have to be perfect or we’re going to screw everything up, or something crazy like that. This thinking puts insane pressure on us to be perfect all the time, and it’s just not realistic. That’s why we have a saying around Cross Point – it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to have doubts. It’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to be imperfect. The beautiful thing about Christianity is that it’s based on God’s love and grace for us, rather than our good works. However, that doesn’t give us permission to give up on living the way God intends for us to live.

Fil Anderson: Who I am is Deeply Loved

“For crying out loud, where did we get the idea that we’ll ever become the people we believe we’re supposed to be? The pages of the Bible overflow with stories of brokenness. All of the biblical characters we love and admire were a complex mix of strengths and weaknesses.”

xxxChurch: Can a Christian Ever Really Be Free from Porn?

“Having some sort of control over the sin in our lives may be important in the short-term, but eventually we will simply get burned out and will grow tired of fighting or clinging on simply because we’re not dealing with the deeper issues. This is why Jesus didn’t just tell His listeners not to murder or to commit adultery but not to even be angry or think lustfully about another person.

Micah J. Murray: Should I Rethink My Theology? (a Flowchart)

“Next time you’re talking about God, stop and listen to the words coming out of your mouth. Does the person you’re describing sound like an @$$? If so, consider it an invitation to rethink your theology.”

Matt Chandler: When Your Soul’s Affections are Dead

When Your Soul’s Affections are Dead from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Your Sins Have Been Forgiven

In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace… (Ephesians 1:7)

Who You are In Christ

One of my favorite weekend activities growing up was riding my bike to the local arcade and blowing my heard-earned paper route money on video games.

We had a few different arcades in town, but my favorite was the huge one inside the mall. This arcade was not only the first place to play the latest games, it was the place you went to test your joystick skills against the best players in town.

But as much as I enjoyed losing to the older kids at Street Fighter II, my favorite activity was filling my pockets with prize tickets from the carnival style games. I’d dump quarter after quarter into Skee Ball, the creepy shoot-out-the-clown’s-teeth-with-a-water-gun game, and of course, Whack-a-Mole.

The better you did at these games, the more tickets you earned. And the more tickets you earned, the more stuff you could buy from the prize counter.

These prizes ranged from single-ticket items like stickers and tattoos all the way up to a full-on Sega Genesis console for some ridiculously huge quantity.

But what would have happened if I went to the counter and attempted to redeem real money for the Sega Genesis? I’d probably be told to come back when I had enough tickets—the only currency they accepted there.

In a lot of ways, we do the same thing when we look at the junk in our lives and attempt to overcome it by being a better person. We look at the debt of sin we’ve accrued and hope that by going to church, doing good works, or being a “nice enough person,” we can tilt the balance sheet back in our favor.

But that’s not how forgiveness works in God’s eyes. You may as well be trying to buy your way into Heaven with arcade tickets.

The truth is, the only currency that can pay for your forgiveness is the blood of Jesus. It’s His blood that has the power to redeem you and provides forgiveness for your sins—not your ability to be a good person.

This is great news though, because once you realize your good behavior has nothing to do with you earning forgiveness, you can rest assured that bad behavior can never cause you to lose it.

Thankfully, God doesn’t dole out His forgiveness the way an arcade game distributes tickets—in small batches, and only if you win. He offers it to you solely as a gift of His grace.

Furthermore, He forgave all your sin the moment you put your trust in Christ.

You’ve been fully forgiven. You’ve been fully redeemed. Your debt has been paid.

So now, instead of trying to earn enough tickets to get to Heaven by playing Whack-a-Mole with your sin, you can relax and join Jesus over at the air hockey table—knowing that even if you lose, you will still be loved unconditionally, forgiven completely, and accepted fully.


This has been a repost from the archives.

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My One Thing: Jayson Graves

“What’s the one piece of advice you would give
to someone struggling with porn addiction?”

Jayson Graves is a christian psycho-therapist, pastoral coach, and founder of Healing for the Soul. He is also the author of the new theology school course, Biblical Sexuality in the 21st Century.

Connect with Jayson:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Healing-for-the-Soul-Counseling-Coaching

Twitter: @Healing4TheSoul

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview


Check out all the “One Thing” video interviews here.


Transcript

Steve: Hey guys! Steve here with Belt of Truth Ministries. I’ve got Jayson Graves on the line. Jayson is a Christian psychotherapist, pastoral coach, and founder of Healing for the Soul. He’s also the author of the new theology school course Biblical Sexuality in the 21st Century. Jayson, thanks for joining us.

Jayson: Hey Stephen, thanks for having me.

Steve: Yeah. So what’s the one piece of advice that you would give to somebody struggling with porn addiction?

Jayson: The one piece of advice I would give to somebody struggling with porn addiction is actually a 3-in-1, so I’m kind of cheating a little bit. But if we had a theme verse for healing for the soul, counseling and coaching, it would be 1 Thessalonians 5:23, which says “be sanctified body, mind, and spirit.” Really, when it comes to growing through the things that are the roots of sexual integrity issues like pornography or even things like compulsive masturbation or acting outside of marriage sexually, all of those that just aren’t really consistent with God’s model of sexuality, there’s really three ways, if you will, we need to go about that in the sanctification process or the process of getting cleaned up and growing as believers, and it’s body, mind, and spirit. So body, alright we have a physical body. That means there’s physical implications for the recovery or the sanctification process. There’s physiological implications for that. So physically, we need to do things to keep our body in shape. One of the real simple ones is obviously exercise. Exercise doesn’t just keep us in good physical shape, but we emotionally feel good about the way we look. Plus, it gives us a physiological benefit in our brain, the brain is part of our body, obviously, because it gives us endorphins. We get feel-good neurochemicals where we need them and in ways we need them, which diminish the perceived need to get those same endorphins through acting out kinds of behaviors. So physical and physiological implications. Sometimes it’s things like we need supplements. Nobody has the perfect brain, and that the five main mood centers of our brain, if we have under-functioning issues or over-functioning issues, we need help to get stabilized so that we can function optimally. Beyond the body, there’s also the mind, or technically in the scripture it’s really the soul. So the mind or the soul is really more than just our thoughts. It’s our emotions, our feelings, what makes us unique in our temperament. So it has implications for not just emotionally but also relationally by extension. So in the sanctification process, we also have to do things that help us look at our emotional functioning. Sometimes, we do that through mental approaches or intellectual approaches like reading. A really great book is from a great mentor of mine named Gordon Dalbey. He wrote Healing the Masculine Soul. I highly recommend it. Another one is This Is Your Brain on Joy by another awesome man of God and mentor, Dr. Earl Henslin. Those are important, but also just checking in on a regular basis with our recovery partners on how we’re actually feeling, what feelings are going on in our hearts so we can keep those in the light, be real, be connected relationally because feelings and emotions are the stuff of connection in relationships that help us to go deeper and have viable, lasting, real, authentic connection with other believers. That’s when we can be known, when we can feel supported, when we can have space to just be messy and be real about both good or favorable feelings and not so good feelings. And then of course there’s the spiritual. The trick about spiritual part of sanctification is that it’s not just vertical spirituality, the things that are kind of the transcendent part of our faith or spiritual experience like the stuff that we call our relationship with God or the stuff that we experience between him and us on an individual basis like of our devotional nature, so reading the scripture, meditating, prayer. Those are all very important. We need to be just as engaged in the horizontal things of our spirit, the communal as opposed to the devotional. We tend to way over-emphasize the devotional. We tend to way over-emphasize the vertical. And sometimes that actually leads to something that’s a bit counterintuitive but it’s true – it’s isolation. So we need to emphasize and invest in the communal and the body of Christ connection of spirituality, just as much as the vertical or the devotional, and that means centering around Jesus together, taking time to actually be in his presence together, listen to his voice together quietly, use what he says in each other’s lives, to build each other up according to the way that he’s not only spoken to us but the way that he’s gifted us, whether that’s sharing the scripture that he gives us in that quiet moment, or a song. It might be a prayer. It could be a word that he’s gifted you with. It could be a dance. Who knows? Whatever. The Lord wants us to be each other’s mutual edifiers. And if we are plugged in at that level, oh my gosh, I mean think about how transforming that would be in our own lives but also to the body of Christ. So again, really the one piece of advice in all of that is be sanctified – body, mind, and spirit.

Steve: Right on. That’s a lot of great info crammed into one thing.

Jayson: Also, it’s not drinking from a fire hose but there you go.

Steve: That’s also why we transcribe this, so people can kind of go through point by point and all that. That’s a ton of great info. Thanks for sharing that with us, Jayson.

Jayson: My pleasure.

Steve: Tell people where they can find out about you and your ministry online.

Jayson: Sure. Healing For The Soul counseling and coaching is at healingforthesoul.org and we have both counseling and coaching, just like this over Skype all over the world or by telephone, and we even do professionally-facilitated recovery groups on a private teleconference system as well. So there you go, healingforthesoul.org.

Steve: Right on. Thanks again for your time and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Thank Jayson.

Jayson: Yeah, thanks. God bless.

Smart Quote: Richard Rohr

“In the Gospels, we don’t see Jesus getting upset with the sinners. We see Him getting upset only with those who do not think they are sinners.” —Richard Rohr

Thoughts on this quote? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

5 Things Pixar’s “Inside Out” Taught Me about Addiction

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NOTE: This article includes spoilers. Let’s be honest though, you’ve probably already seen the movie anyway.

Last weekend my wife, my daughter, and I went to see Pixar’s new movie “Inside Out.” Needless to say, it lived up to the standard Pixar hype and has instantly become one of my favorite movies.

For the two or three of you who may not be familiar with the premise of the movie, it follows the adventures of a young girl, Riley, as well as her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—who are personified characters living inside of her brain. Their job is to run her control panel, help retrieve and archive memories, and deliver ideas into her mind.

There’s something different about “Inside Out” that sets it apart from other kids movies though. Yes, it is a cute story about imaginary creatures living in a world of daydreams, but it’s also a powerful illustration that I believe will help an entire generation of kids (and the parents who watch the movie with them) learn how to identify their different emotions and better understand the role each of those emotions play in their lives.

As one whose calling involves helping others uncover what’s going on in their hearts and minds in order to find freedom from addiction, I couldn’t help but notice the following five truths that “Inside Out” illustrates wonderfully:

1. If you ignore your emotions, you will eventually lose touch with all of them.

7a8f302d0e85d196aa135587064dad93Early in the movie, Joy discovers that Sadness keeps “infecting” Riley’s happy memories (the yellow ones) and turning them blue (sad memories). Joy has never understood why Sadness is even around, so she believes the best solution is to keep Sadness occupied elsewhere so she can’t interfere. Joy draws a circle on the ground, proclaims it the “Circle of Sadness,” and instructs Sadness not to leave the circle.

During my addiction, I attempted to handle my emotions in the same way. Any time I began to feel what I would call a “risky” emotion (sadness, fear, compassion, empathy), I would draw a circle in the back of my mind and force it to stay there. I was afraid that if I allowed those emotions to effect me, it could expose the true pain in my heart and my cover would be blown.

The longer I lived this way though, the more my true emotions atrophied. As much as it pains me to admit, I eventually reached a point where I could watch my wife cry herself to sleep each night—knowing that it was my sin causing her pain—yet feel zero emotional response to her pain. In the same way the emotional control panel in Riley’s brain had shut down, my emotions shut down as well.

This is the sad truth of what can happen if you hide, ignore, or force your emotions away in order to protect your outward appearance of having your life “together.”

2. Core memories are powerful…and vitally important to who you are.

Whenever something important or monumental happened in Riley’s life, that memory would go to a special area of “Core Memories.” These were the memories that powered the different aspects of her personality.

Inside Out Pixar Post 2One thing the movie didn’t address directly though, is what happens to you if you develop a core memory that isn’t happy? What if you have a core memory that involves abuse, abandonment, or rejection? Unfortunately, those core memories will have an equally powerful effect on your personality as the happy ones.

One of my core memories growing up was not a happy one, but one filled with shame, embarrassment, and rejection. There was a girl whom I really liked in the 5th grade, but she was clearly out of my league. Somehow though, word got around that I had a crush on her. One day during recess, one of the popular kids tied me to a tether ball pole with my sweatshirt and pantsed me right in front of her. To make matters worse, one of her friends then came up and loudly informed me that this girl would never date a loser such as me.

That experience was immediately filed away as a “core memory” for me, and I allowed it to define me for years. That memory told me that I was a loser, girls would always reject me, and I would never be man enough to protect myself. All of these beliefs helped push me deeper and deeper into my addiction with pornography.

My situation is not unique though, as we all have painful memories that can push us into destructive behaviors if we don’t learn how to handle them in healthy ways.

Luckily, the third point offers us a solution of how to move forward.

3. Shedding new light on an old memory can lead to tremendous healing.

Inside-Out-MemoryOne of Riley’s core memories was of the time her entire hockey team hoisted her on their shoulders to cheer for her. She had always remembered that moment as a joyous time in her life—and it was—but it wasn’t until she looked back at it years later that she remembered it correctly.

Immediately before that moment, she had been sitting alone and crying because she missed what would have been the game-winning goal in the championship hockey game. She believed the team lost because of her mistake. When the team came to let her know they still loved her, it became one of her happiest core memories.

In the same way, looking back at the context of your core memories—especially the painful ones—can help you gain a perspective that will lead to tremendous healing. It’s important though, to make sure you invite the Healer to look back with you if you wish to gain a true perspective.

When I finally looked back at that traumatic day on the playground and invited Jesus into the memory with me, I was amazed at how it my memory of the event. I saw Jesus standing there in front of me, shielding me from the jeering looks and taunts of the other kids. He was looking me in the eyes telling me what my heart needed to hear: “You are loved. I will never reject you. I have made you in my image. I am man enough, so you are man enough.”

In that time of reflection, my core memory changed from blue to yellow. I no longer look back to that event with shame and sadness, but I see it as one of the earliest moments in my life where Jesus began affirming me.

In the same way, I encourage you to invite Jesus into your most painful core memories to give you His perspective. He won’t change what happened to you in the past, but He can bring your heart tremendous healing by revealing to you how He can heal the scars you received from it.

4. The only way to move forward is to let someone in.

riley-inside-out-trailer-2-pixarBy the end of the movie, it finally becomes clear why Sadness is around. Joy looks back through Riley’s memories and recognizes how Sadness is often what allows others to recognize Riley’s need for help. By trying to force Sadness to stay in her circle and not allowing her to influence Riley’s emotions, Riley had become a wall. She shut down, hid her emotions, and wouldn’t let anyone even know she needed help—let alone help her.

Once Joy allowed Sadness to do what she needed to do though, breakthrough came. Riley broke down and shared with her parents how much she was hurting. She was honest with them about her emotions—even the “bad” ones. And once she did that, they were finally able to help her.

When I look back at my addiction, my main regret is that I didn’t trust anyone to come beside me sooner. I tried for years to fix things on my own—all the while fighting in isolation as I hid my true emotions.

Once I joined a recovery group and began trusting others with the real me, that’s when I first began to see changes take place.

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5. If someone in your life starts acting differently, there’s always a reason why.

Perhaps the most important thing we can learn from “Inside Out” though, is that people don’t change overnight without a legitimate underlying reason.

Riley appeared to go from a sweet, fun-loving girl to an angry, sullen, emotionless shell in a matter of weeks. Her parent’s knew something had changed in her, but they didn’t know what.

As tempting as it is to just “ride it out” or wait for it to blow over when we encounter these types of changes in our loved ones, I encourage you to actively pursue their hearts with love.

As a parent, I’ve seen a few of these seasons in my own daughter. It’s been hard learning how to help her feel comfortable, capable, and willing enough to communicate with me what’s going on in her heart, but I can tell you it’s been worth the effort. Even if she doesn’t open up, she at least knows I’ll be there for her whenever she’s ready.

In the end, that’s all we can do for those in our lives who are hurting—to let them know we’re concerned for them and willing to listen whenever they’re ready to open up. After all, that’s much better than “putting our foot down” and lashing out in anger.

•••

I’m convinced that “Inside Out” is more than just a cartoon—it’s one of the more important movies of our day. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s still worth the few bucks it will cost to get in the door.

I suggest you bring some tissues though, as you will likely discover a few new things about your own emotions before the credits start rolling.