For the first time in my life, it’s okay to just be me. This has been one of the more pleasant discoveries of my recovery from lust addiction. Early in my recovery process I was introduced to the idea that “acceptance is the answer to all my problems.” Part of accepting this idea is accepting that it’s okay to be me, just the way I am, right now the way I am.
While this concept seems simple on the surface, I have spent most of my life hating and hiding from who I was, pretending to be somebody I wasn’t, and spending enormous amounts of time, energy, and money on image control so that I could get myself to believe that others saw me the way I wanted to be seen. Now I accept that the only person I was likely fooling was myself.
What liberation it is to look at myself, my host of character defects in tow, and accept that it’s okay to be whoever I am. This should not be misunderstood as a declaration of a complete and finished product, but rather acceptance that who I am is exactly who I’m supposed to be right now based on what I have done and the choices I have made. And again, the great news that I never get tired of hearing, that’s OKAY!
“But, Mr. Love Cripple,” you may be thinking, “you are a love cripple, how can THAT be okay? Isn’t that a ‘bad’ thing?” Well yes, I think it is too. It is much better to be someone who is experienced in giving and receiving and feeling love. I’m not there yet. I’ve spent so much time in lust, I am truly a novice at love. But because I can accept who and where I am, I can now open myself to the possibility of God making me the person I could never become on my own. But unless I can see myself as I truly am today. See myself with rigorous honesty, that denial will block progress. I remember my Grandma telling me about work she did with dyslexic students. Unless they were willing to own the dyslexia, there was nothing she could do for them. Unless I can own who I am, may just be impossible for me to become who God intends me to become.
This is why it’s okay to be me, the love cripple. I’m glad God is merciful enough to wait on me to figure out that I can’t serve two masters, and that as long as I choose to serve lust, I will not become who He can make of me. I’ve done the research, and can say firmly to all who feel enticed or drawn by lust that it is not a kind master. God, meanwhile waited patiently, respecting my sacred gift of agency while I was out conducting my sinful studies, and was right there the moment I stopped and called out. He’s the best! Now I see how my agency lies at the center of his plan for me, how it’s the only thing in life that truly belongs to me, and the only thing that I can offer Him.
So, today, as flawed as I am, a major component of me becoming whoever God intends me to become is my acceptance that’s it’s okay for me to be this flawed person. It’s okay that each day I wake up and fall into the habit of taking back the agency that I just yesterday offered Him, having to once again begin the process of daily surrender. “One day at a time” they say. What is critically important is the direction I’m taking right now. And if anyone out there is like me, that line has swerves and curves in it, but as I look back over the last 3 years, I can say with certainty that it is moving in a happy and upward direction! Woohoo! As my friend, the author of rowboatsandmarbles.org (highly recommend for anyone dealing with lust/pornography/addiction, and particularly helpful to Mormon sex addicts) puts it, “recovery is wonderful!”
As I’ve been learning this week, and with the help of friends in recovery and a good therapist, I can even have things like opinions and ideas. That part of me is okay too! And I can share those opinions with others. I don’t have to always be “okay with whatever.” I start to live when I stop and think about what I actually want in a particular situation or circumstance.
I can joke, as bad as my jokes are, and I don’t have to worry about what others think of me. If I’m okay with my decision or my joke, then I really don’t have the time to worry about what everyone else is going to think of it. God bless them, (honestly, bless them, please!) but it’s not my concern.
So, thank God it’s okay to be who we are, and thank God for Jesus Christ, because #heisthegift, the God-given gift that makes it all possible.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)