The Thinnest Thread Across a Chasm: I Survived.

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I did this photo shoot a few years ago with a ton of smiles and silly faces—but this picture was a bit closer to how I was really feeling. It was during one of the most miserable seasons of life, when depression had hit full force and I was contemplating The End every waking moment. I had gained over twenty lbs from binging and I randomly fell asleep in my office and I kept letting go of the steering wheel, daring myself to crash. No one knew what was happening; I tried to tell someone but he laughed it off: “Look at you, how could you be so stressed when you so blessed?” So I kept up the smiles and silliness, all while my insides were wax dipped in acid, melted to the thinnest thread, stretched between bones across a chasm. I was Zeno’s paradox, motionless in motion. I was begging God to kill me.

I wanted to give up: but no. God said no. He was stubborn, and so I was, too. I hustled. I fought the dark with everything, both fists swinging, screaming and laughing at the same time, crawling by my bare fingernails to the lip of the well I had been cast down. Slowly, painfully, somehow, I made it through, mostly because I kept waking up and I was astounded to find myself still breathing, and because I gained ground by inches. Colors returned; the fog lifted over time; I found people I could tell; I got a dog and I lost the weight and I survived. It’s not as romantic as it sounds, and I don’t know if the next one will win. But that time, at least, I did. He did. God didn’t answer my prayer then, and it was the best “no” that I’ve ever gotten. I’m here, just barely. So is He, completely.
J.S.

“3 Ways Accountability Will Change Your Life”


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:

“3 Ways Accountability Will Change Your Life.”

It’s about the uncomfortable, brutally surgical confrontation of accountability and its necessary benefits for growth and life.

Here’s an excerpt:

You’re ready to quit your addiction.

You’re ready to be teachable, to be under leadership and mentoring.

You’re ready to own your problem and get the help you need.

You’re ready for accountability.

All this sounds romantic, but accountability is a deliberate confrontation with yourself through another person—and confrontation is hard. It’s even harder when you begin to see the depth of your own issues and all the ugliness inside, the things you were happy to ignore before you decided to recover. We’re so much more entrenched in our habits than we think, so accustomed to “the way things were” that our bodies will desperately claw back to our old destructive ways.

Recovery is a street-fight, and our darker side will never fight fair.

Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.
J.S.

Blame, Accountability, and Addiction


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:

“3 Ways to Stop Blaming Others and Finally Own Your Porn Problem.”

It’s about letting go of blame and receiving accountability for destructive habits, including porn and other addictions. It’s also centered around a talk by author and researcher Brené Brown.

Here’s an excerpt:

Our instant defense mechanism when something goes wrong is to say, “Tag, you’re it.” Our egos are constantly trying to protect us from feeling wrong, because we associate this with being unloved or unaccepted. All this makes a logical sort of sense, but it’s dangerous, because our initial instinct is to drag others down with us. This in turn only justifies and reinforces our cycle of destruction.

We feed our bad habits with blame. This loop can go on forever. Yet if we struck down this Hydra of Blame like a whack-a-mole before it got to others or ourselves, the inner monologue might change.

Thinking this way, as Brené Brown implies, suddenly lets go of control and creates a scary uncertainty. But it also exposes our blame-game for what it is: an excuse to use, stay mad, or stay withdrawn. When blame is named, it shrivels up and loses power.


Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.
J.S.


“4 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Quit Porn”


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:

“4 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Quit Porn.”

It’s about four ultimately great outcomes of healing that happen when you quit porn addiction. Here’s an excerpt:

When someone tells me that pornography doesn’t do any harm to the body, I can only reply, “Try to quit porn for a month. See how much better you feel.”

Really. Try to quit porn for just a month.

… Many people are too scared to leave behind porn, because quitting any supposed “pleasure” in our culture feels like an amputation, or some kind of offense against our autonomy. “You can’t tell me what to do” is the leading logic.

But the people who do take up my challenge to quit porn always thank me later. Why? It’s because porn has such an insidious, destructive grip on the brain and body that you can always feel the healing when you quit.

Here are four things that happen when you begin to quit porn.


Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.
J.S.

“3 Reasons a Journey Is Never Better Alone”


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:

3 Reasons a Journey Is Never Better Alone.”

It’s about our need for tough accountability and joy-driven community so we can become the people we were meant to be, and how we live that journey together.

Here’s an excerpt:


“I can do it myself” is one the of the biggest lies we’ve perpetuated today.

It’s easy to get why: because we love independence. We’re threatened by losing our autonomy. The most triumphant modern narrative is, “I’m my own person and I call my own shots.” And certainly there’s great truth in valuing individuality.

But just as much as complete dependence on others is a dangerous trap: so complete independence is a romanticized fairy-tale.

No one is meant to do life alone.
Life alone isn’t life, but merely survival.
Life together is thriving, to truly be alive.


Read the full post here.

J.S.

“4 Ways To Prevent Porn in Your Home”

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Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church.

It’s called 4 Ways To Prevent Porn In Your Home.

These are the first steps we can take in our homes to recover from porn addiction. Here’s an excerpt:


The very act of taking a first step to prevent porn can lead to momentum, which can lead to total, lasting freedom. Those first steps matter.

If you can do what you ought for a while, it can become what you want for life. Once you’re in the stream of recovery, it builds on itself until you’ve hit a sweet spot of small victories that link to big ones.

It’s the initial smaller victories that require an uncomfortable re-structuring of your habits and your home.


Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.

— J.S.


“3 Quick Tips to Handle the Truth About Yourself”

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Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:
“3 Quick Tips to Handle the Truth About Yourself.”

It’s about three ways to handle the hard truth about yourself from a friend’s honest intervention. No one handles “rebuke” very well because accountability is painful and messy: but it’s necessary for growth and progress.

Here’s an excerpt:


When you hear the truth about yourself, the person who tells you the truth isn’t perfect and probably won’t say it perfectly, but that’s no excuse not to consider their words.

The temptation when we hear criticism is to use the Mirror Defense, which is saying, “Well, what about you?”

We want to discredit the source of the truth, so we drag up old history and the other person’s weaknesses for self-preservation. Or we say, “I don’t like your tone” and use their voice against them.

The problem is, two wrongs can never make a right. In other words, someone else’s bad thing doesn’t cancel my bad thing. Even if the other person is a hypocrite, it doesn’t magically erase my own hypocrisy. And no one in the history of accountability has ever used perfect intonation and the perfect wording to tell the hard truth. If you find yourself saying, “If only she had said it like this” or “If only he had not said this” — then chances are that you’re trying to wiggle your way out of truth by a technicality.


Read the full post here.

— J.S.


Through Fire, By Faith: A Testimony.

I got an incredibly humbling email from a wonderful therapist who read my book on persevering through pain and used it for a book club with other therapists. She also shared her journey through some very hard times. I wept reading her email, both tears of sorrow and joy. With her permission, I now share her testimony with you.

Continue reading “Through Fire, By Faith: A Testimony.”

Breaking Porn Addiction and How to Quit For Good

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My book on breaking porn addiction has a brand new cover! It’s available in both paperback and e-book. It’s been recently endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church.

This is a very short book about how I overcame a fifteen year porn addiction. I’ve now been sober for over three.  I talk about what porn does to your brain, specific steps to quit, and how you can quit for good.

I know how embarrassing it can be to talk about porn, but this book is designed for both you and to help your friend, regardless of gender or beliefs.

The paperback is only $6.99 and the e-book is 2.99! And you won’t need a Kindle, it works on everything. Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

Breaking Porn Addiction: A Conversation With Yumi About Faith, Sex, & Church (Unedited)


Here’s the full length interview by theyumigirl on breaking porn addiction. We talk about faith, sex, and church for 40 minutes.

The shorter version is on her channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adw2GVd9sEQ

My book on quitting porn is here.

Be blessed and love y’all!

– J.S.

Encouragement For Your Hurt.


Writing this one meant a lot to me as it contains real stories from real people with heartache, loss, and (not-so-easy) redemption. I often recounted these stories with tears and prayers. Life doesn’t always wrap up in a bow-tie with a neat little lesson at the end, but people still choose to endure despite all that has happened. Even brokenly, they crawled forward and went on.

I hope you’ll consider picking up the book. It’s on sale for 8.99 in paperback and 3.99 in ebook. It’s meant for you if you’re hurting right now, and meant for your friend if they’re hurting too.
Be blessed and love y’all.  — J.S.

http://www.amazon.com/Mad-About-God/dp/0692390472/


“3 Ways To Move Past Sexual Regret”


Here’s an article I wrote for XXXCHURCH, called “3 Ways to Move Past Sexual Regret.”

It’s about how to overcome sexual regrets, especially in a viral culture of public shaming and hyper social media. I go over some heavy stuff, from suicides caused by leaking photos to Monica Lewinsky’s recent confession. I also go over three ways that we as a community can help each other move forward from our past.

Here’s an excerpt:

We each need a safe place to talk about our regrets, no matter how sordid they may be. A person who regrets their past has already been shamed by their own guilt for long enough. They already walk into their home and their church and their workplace with a storm-cloud of remorse chasing after them. We can either be a voice that someone must overcome, or a voice that helps someone overcome.

The post is here!

– J.S.

“Unlocking Addiction: A Secret Hidden in Plain Sight”

 


This is a two-parter I wrote for XXXChurch about the “secret” to unlocking addiction. The secret is something you knew all along: the first crucial step to recovery.

Part One is here. Part Two is here.

Here’s an excerpt:

When we talk about addiction, we usually narrow it down to one of two categories, which we can examine in one question:

Is addiction a disease or is it a choice?

In most conservative circles, addiction is viewed on a moral axis of increasingly bad decisions, as if we only need to stop being so stubborn and just choose our way out, while in most liberal circles, addiction is viewed as a biological propensity of wiring, as if we cannot help ourselves.

Of course, these binary categories presume we can tag one another with simple labels, but in reality, addiction doesn’t work that way. It’s a complex mess of factors that requires our attention in every direction. It’s an unpredictable monster that refuses to yield to our generalizations, and as long as it remains in a box, so will we. Addiction is complicated because we are complicated.

Keep reading here and here.

— J.S.

Now Part of the X3Church Team!

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I’m super excited to be a part of the blogging contributor team for XXXChurch!

For all my posts, check here.

If you don’t know, XXXChurch is led by Craig Gross, who has led the frontlines on awareness for porn addiction and founded X3Watch, the leading accountability software.  He also nationally debates former porn-actor Ron Jeremy about the dangers of porn.

Craig and I made contact after I shared my book on quitting porn, which he found highly practical and different than the current resources on the market.  I was a bit star-struck since I consider Craig’s books to be one of the primary helps in quitting my own porn addiction (I’ve been sober for over three years!). I’m looking forward to teaming up with him!

My first blog post for XXXChurch is here!

— J.S.


Thank you dear friends!

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Thank you dear friends for picking up the book and praying it totally rocks you with His wonderful grace!

My books are here:

– What The Church Won’t Talk About

– The Christianese Dating Culture

– Cutting If Off: Breaking Porn Addiction

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.


My New E-Book on Quitting Porn

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Here’s my newest e-book on breaking porn addiction.

This is a very short e-book about how I overcame a fifteen year porn addiction. I’ve now been sober for over three.  I talk about what porn does to your brain, specific steps to quit, and how you can quit permanently, not just for a few weeks at a time but for good.

I know how embarrassing it can be to talk about porn, but this book is designed for both you and to help your friend, regardless of gender or beliefs.  This is not a Christian book disguised as self-help — the book is first and foremost a guide to quitting porn, with elements of Christian faith deeply rooted.

It’s only $2.99! And you won’t need a Kindle, it works on everything.
Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.


New E-Book on Quitting Porn

Cutting It Off


Here’s my newest book on breaking porn addiction!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QE2M6N2

This is a very short e-book about how I overcame a fifteen year porn addiction. I’ve now been sober for over three. Whether you’re helping a friend or struggling yourself, regardless of gender or faith, this is how to quit porn: not just for weeks at a time, but for good.

Only $2.99! And you won’t need a Kindle, it works on everything.
Be blessed and love y’all!
— J.S.


About Porn Addiction.


Hey dear friends, one of the most frequent questions I get is about breaking porn addiction. I was addicted for fifteen years and have now been sober for over three, by the grace of God (and a lot of vigilant work).

So I’m going to compile a very short booklet with every resource I have and every question from this blog about recovery from porn, including my own testimony. It’ll be an e-book coming out in December or so.

My heart is for both men and women to be free from the enslaving grip of objectification and from contributing to a pain-filled industry. This is also to help your friend through sobriety. It will be written for both Christians and non. I want you and your friend to experience freedom, and perhaps even encounter Christ.

If a guy like me can recover, so can you: and not for a few weeks at a time, but permanently. Love y’all.

— J.S.


Purchase my book on taboo topics in the church here.

Purchase my new book on love, sex, and dating here.


When You Mess It Up Again.


God totally has grace for you when you mess it up. He loves you no matter what. He wants you to cast off guilt and shame, because it doesn’t work and it’s not who you are and it’s what Jesus came to die for.

On the other hand: God does want you to recover. He wants you not only to experience the cover of grace, but also His grace-empowered Spirit for a fruitful, passionate, purposeful, mission-driven life.

I believe God will restore you every time you fail for the rest of your life, so when you relapse and go down a porn-binge, God is still going to love you afterward, every time. But my question is: Do you really want to keep living this way?

I’m not asking this to guilt-trip you. I’m only saying that once the old self is dead, it’s not worth it to go back there anymore. I don’t think Lazarus missed his tomb and climbed into his coffin sometimes. I don’t think the healed blind man Bartimaeus wore a blindfold to reminisce on his days tripping over things.

You’ll be forgiven by God every single time, but God wants you to experience the fully forgiven life too.

So if you break a “clean streak,” please don’t wallow in self-pity. When you mess it up, it’s okay. But what’s even better is getting to the place where going back is no longer an option, and you’re so in love with God that turning around is unthinkable. I believe we can get there. I believe our God is that powerful. I believe we are not merely works in progress, but we are empowered by It Is Finished.


J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About


Question: Fell Again To Porn And Can’t Break Free

Anonymous asked:

Hi pastor, I went 11 days without pornography/masturbation. I faltered last night and gave in. The temptation was too strong not only emotionally but very physically.  I could not help it. I prayed for it to go away because I really do want to stop but … I’m stuck and starting to think God isn’t going to help me out. So all I’ve been doing is praying for forgiveness. But since I’ve done this vicious cycle so many times I don’t know if I’m actually forgiven, because I don’t actually know if I’m truly sorry because I’ve been through this so many times … I’m just stumped and don’t know where to go from here, I just want all temptation to go away.

Hey there dear friend.  Thank you so much for your honesty and for even trusting me with such a huge issue.

Please first allow me the grace to link a post that contains every other post I’ve written on porn:

– Mega-Post: Struggling With Porn (Again)

I have to say upfront that you are still just as loved by God as you were yesterday, a billion years ago, and a billion years from now.  I know I’m probably not supposed to say that because it can accidentally make Christians “lazy,” but it’s true.  Whether you decide to receive His grace for good or for bad, either way He still loves you.  That’s the most important thing I could say, and it’s the only motivation strong enough to keep us moving forward from sin towards Him.

You also need to know that fighting sin is a process.  Sometimes it is lifelong.  It’s not something that we can just “pray away” or will disappear one day.  It gets easier to handle, but we will be in battle with our flesh until glory.

After we mess up, we often only look at the tiny microscopic moment of what just happened.  But God sees us over a lifetime.  He knows if you really want to quit, if you are truly repenting, if you are really pursuing Him.  And the crazy thing is: even if you never regretted it, He will still love you.  If you can know His heart this way, then suddenly it’s not about quitting anymore.  Instead, it’s about knowing Him. 

Continue reading “Question: Fell Again To Porn And Can’t Break Free”