Archives For counseling

Hello wonderful friends! My book has just dropped in price to 8.99 on Amazon!

It’s called, What The Church Won’t Talk About: Real Questions From Real People About Raw, Gritty, Everyday Faith.

The Foreword is by the amazing T.B. LaBerge of tblaberge and the cover art is by my most excellent friend Rob Connelly.

I talk about a ton of things, including doubts, dry seasons, depression, relationships, porn addiction, trials, abortion, sexuality, social reform, family conflicts, and apologetics. If you’re blessed by the book, please consider writing a review on Amazon!

Love y’all and be blessed, dear friends!
– J.S.

Two anons asked:

– Hi! I enjoy reading your blog and I know you have battled a porn addiction. I have a few questions. How do you feel about people who are battling against a porn addiction while dating? Do you think that person could have a genuinely Christ-centered, Godly and healthy relationship? Or is it bound to fail? Would it be okay for the guy to take a break so he figures things out for himself? What is the role of the girl in this? Is she able to do anything at all?

– I’m engaged to someone who claims to be Christian but I’m starting to feel as though he is not. We agree on almost everything except for the issue on whether watching porn is okay … He just wants me to be okay with it, that way he doesn’t feel guilty. So my question is, is watching porn wrong? …What biblical evidence is there that I can give him? I really pray that he would want to change but if not I don’t think I can marry someone with this problem.


If you would’ve asked me this question a few years ago, I would’ve said:

“What are you thinking, ladies? Dump that dude right now! Any man who can’t give up something for you ain’t no man at all.”

To some degree, I still agree with this. If it’s not serious or you just started dating, then please do NOT feel obligated to stay.  You deserve better. If you’re looking for an excuse to stay with this guy because he’s cute in the face or you’re afraid to be alone: then you already know that won’t be enough down the line. 

But in my growing compassion for people, I know how difficult it is to defeat porn in an over-sexualized culture.  I know how screwed up we are to think that “porn is the norm.” 

As much as I sound like a cranky old man, today sex is like shaking hands and human trafficking is barely blinked at.  This is our world now: a culture of deep apathy that is unavoidably ingrained.

While this doesn’t absolve any man’s destructive behavior, it does give me more of a heart to work with them and resolve the root issues.  It helps explain why men shrug it off.


Maybe you’ve been told to dump the guy on the spot, and that could be good advice — but battling porn is a lifelong struggle for all men today.  It’s unrealistic to think you’ll meet some guy who has never struggled with it. 

I also know how hard it is to just break up with someone if you’re engaged or it’s very serious.  Certainly we should never be afraid to break off a relationship that is abusive or a deadbeat, but porn is something you both could overcome together with patience and persistence.  It’s not always a deal-breaker.

While you might find the perfect porn-less guy, I think we can realistically say: Every woman will now have to openly, honestly, aggressively talk about lust with their future husbands in an era where porn is so freely available.  This has to be a daily truthful dialogue where the man must be able to freely express himself without shame or a fear of retaliation.

But first, let’s talk about what will happen if the guy says, “I just want you to be okay with my porn.”

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Sometimes I sit through these counseling sessions where the girl goes on and on about her idiot moron unprincipled boyfriend: he doesn’t listen, he clips his nails in bed, he showers every three days, he forgets to call, how do I get him to hear me, I try so hard to express my feelings and it’s like he does not care, and —

I want to say the same thing, you know. I do not care, either.

If God were at that moment to tear the roof off over our heads and take a peek, I wonder how much she would care.

Even for five seconds, to see the glorious holy wrathful infinite epic universe-exploding face of God. Does anything else really matter then? We’d both burst into flames. So no, nothing else matters then.

Every selfish desire is predicated on a tangible, earthly treasure, and it always turns out to be garbage. William Law said so simply, “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” A hard truth, but standing before the face-melting presence of God, it’s the only truth.

At judgment you’ll only have one problem: and only one solution.

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Happy There

December 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

I meet with my counselor. He’s the pastor of a four-hundred-plus college ministry and one of the most Spirit-led men I know. For him to even make time for me is ridiculous.

I walk in and he’s on hold with an airline over the office speaker phone. He’s on his cell phone too, an urgent call. There’s a roll of one-hundred dollar bills on his desk. I don’t ask. He’s looking through his drawers for something. He tells me he’s so sorry to be distracted. As a pastor who just suffered a breakdown from anxiety, I totally understand.

I needed his counsel because soon I’d be in a meeting to re-negotiate how I do the ministry. But I was nervous: I wanted to be humble with them while authoritative, demanding yet firm. I was also afraid that I’d be rejected, shot down, or fired.

While my counselor rummaged through his drawers, I shared my fears. The airline music was playing in the background. I must have said “What if” a dozen times. Suddenly he stopped, slammed the drawer shut, smiled, and looked right at me.

“You know, Joon, do me a favor. Will you stop being such a sh_tless wonder? I’ve been dealing with death all morning in and out of hospitals and funerals and I can’t find my wallet which has everything in it and you’re scared to be yourself. If you can’t say what you want to them, maybe that’s not the right place for you. Shouldn’t you just be happy there?”

He apologized for being so short with me. The airline person came on. He took the call and went right back to looking for his wallet.

We talked some more. He walked me out and hugged me and told me he loved me. He asked me to pray about his wallet. I got in my car and prayed.

“I’ve been dealing with death all morning . . . Shouldn’t you just be happy there?”

Of course, he was right.

Facingfugue asked:
Hello! Your posts are a blessing. I see that you come from an area of knowledge in the psychology area as well spirituality . I have been struggling with anxiety attacks for the past two years. Do you have any advice coming from a perspective of a Christian as well? I have been doing C.B therapy but it really is not helping a lot. I used to be very depressed because it made me feel helpless, but Christ has been my refuge and HE has been my joy. The anxiety has been much harder to work out though

Thank you for your kind words!  I’m not sure I’m too knowledgeable about psychology but it does interest me a lot.

I’ve also suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. There was a suicide attempt in 2004 and I have cut myself before. CB therapy (Cognitive Behavioral) can be good for pointing out certain patterns and schemas, but may not be as helpful for treatment as you already know. 

Both therapy and the church can be really bad at handling depression.  Some people stuff it with drugs and others will say it’s “all in your head, get over it.”  Those who do not go through depression have no idea how debilitating it really is. 

There’s probably no formula/advice/plan I could give that’s 100% effective, but I can try to help from experience.  I’m also assuming that you already highly value prayer, reading the Bible, relying on the Holy Spirit, and attending church.  Medicine is also totally appropriate. That’s all the air warfare; here’s the ground war.

1) Be as honest as possible. Without being a victim about it, let people know what’s going on. Tell somebody. I made the mistake of hiding it too often.  Not that you want to announce it with trumpets, but even one or two close friends or your pastor should know when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. Some people will definitely be uncomfortable and ungracious, but then those people aren’t the ones who get you anyway.

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