Book Review: Unburdened

Unburdened-Book-Cover-200x300“The Christian Leader’s Path
to Sexual Integrity.”

If you’ve paid any attention to the media in the past… well… forever, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that pastors (and other Christian leaders) are not immune to the pull of sexual temptation. What can be surprising though, is these men are often at a much higher risk of struggling with lust than the average Joe sitting within their congregations.

There are many reasons why this hard-to-believe statistic is true: isolation, the deep fear of failure, and a lack of non-ministry time with God to name a few.

In his new book, Unburdened, Michael Todd Wilson not only unpacks all these reasons, but he shows the reader how God’s grace will lead them down a clear path to freedom as well.

Michael has taken his multiple years of counseling experience and distilled it into this short, yet surprisingly dense, resource to guide men on the path to healthy sexuality. I was able to read the majority of the book over a single weekend, although I’m sure I will continue to refer back to it on a regular basis.

And while Unburdened is undoubtedly a book written for men in Christian leadership, I believe it can be a helpful book for any guy who has recognized his struggle with sexual integrity—regardless of whether he holds a position of leadership in the Church or not.


Purchase Unburdened on Amazon today!

Highlighting My Highlights:

I’m one of those guys who can’t read a book without a highlighter in my hand, and as far as I’m concerned, it would be a shame to mark up my favorite content and never share it with you. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite quotes from Unburdened:

“Do you struggle with sexual integrity?” seems like a straightforward enough question.

But now consider another question: “How do you struggle with sexual integrity?”

The two sentences only differ by one word. Yet the difference between them represents a significant shift I’d like to see among Christian leadership.

The first question begs us to not tell the truth or, at least, to tell only part of the truth. The second question not only makes the assumption that we struggle in some way, but it also signals it’s okay to talk about it.

The first question tends to trigger our fear-driven fight-or-flight response. Confronted with only two option for answering, the knee-jerk response of many would be, “No, not really.”

But the second question feels safer and invites conversation beyond a simple yes or no answer, causing a shift away from defensiveness toward a freedom to engage in honest dialogue.

These two questions represent the difference between shame and grace, law and love.

When out of fearful pride we isolate and become self-sufficient, we project an image toward others like that of a blowfish—a bigger than life persona as a defensive coping mechanism for survival. Most who see our exterior misinterpret its meaning. Either they are codependently drawn toward our veneer of strength or offensively repelled away from us as self-absorbed egotists.

Yet in reality, most of us are simply little boys who are physically all grown up but who still struggle to internalize a solid, masculine identity.

Just because it may not be appropriate to share intimate details with those who follow us doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for processing private and personal thoughts in some relationship somewhere. There’s a difference between prudence in being publicly guarded and wearing a mask in every setting as a part of our core identity of hiding.

“What’s wrong with you? Get your act together! I can’t believe you screwed up again! You need to get back closer to God so this doesn’t happen again. One more mistake like this and you’ll lose it all!”

Notice how these statements sound like they’re coming from outside of us? They are. They sound like our voice, alright. But it’s another clever parlor trick from the enemy. Our voice, his words. Often we’ve heard these words before, perhaps from a critical parent, teacher, or coach. But ultimately, messages of condemnation come from our enemy.

In marital situations, I can confidently say that more marriages dissolve among my clients due to the mistrust from multiple discoveries than ever dissolve from the actual sexual infidelities themselves. Even in cases where the Christian leader continued to intermittently make poor choices after starting recovery, marital trust was rebuilt more frequently and more quickly when the leader consistently and proactively disclosed those choices moving forward than in cases where the spouse had to confront him time and again—even when the leader was completely truthful after being confronted.

[Overachievers] function a lot like ducks. They look calm on top of the water, moving with proud confidence. But under the surface, there’s a compulsive paddling that nobody ever sees.

The synergy that comes from having a few men who really know us, warts and all, is tremendous. In addition, living openly among these relationships circumvents shame and steals a significant tool the enemy so often uses to torpedo Christian leaders.


Purchase Unburdened on Amazon today!


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