In September of 2017, I finally made the jump. I quit my job and went fully into business for myself.
I had figured it would probably take a couple months to really get into the swing of things and replace my income. I was mistaken.
Over half a year later, I still wasn’t doing well. My savings were bleeding out. I wasn’t hitting my goals. I still had time, but I didn’t have any firm indication that I was really on my way to true, gainful self-employment.
The entire time, it felt like there was a mental and emotional barrier stopping me from getting into gear and taking myself seriously. But I couldn’t quantify it or figure it out. I felt like there was just something wrong with me.
One day, it finally hit me. I was carrying an old weight from my childhood. I was still blaming myself for something that I had already walked away from years ago.
If I felt like I was “in the dark”, it was because I was living in a shadow of the past.
In this video, I talk about how greed poisoned me as a child, and how the after-effects of that poison continued to hold me down well into my adulthood.
Then I’ll talk about how I finally confronted my past and forgave myself, allowing me to work more confidently toward the life I’ve wanted to live.
It’s natural to feel a sense of shame when you fail and relapse into sin.
But when this shame stops us from immediately turning to God in repentance, it becomes an enormous problem. When we feel like we can’t return to God until we straighten out our behavior on our own, we become trapped.
That’s because we could never free ourselves. We need God to wash us clean.
In this video, I talk about escaping this shame and running immediately to God, as well as the magnitude of God’s love for us and what Christ really has accomplished.
I don’t know who you are, and I know you’re probably not the only one reading this. But I’m talking to you specifically. You are different from me. Your life is different. Your mind is different. Your desires, weaknesses, strengths, motives, experiences, and knowledge are all different from my own.
There is a theory that language by itself is not very effective at conveying completely new ideas. That the best it can do is direct your attention to something you can perceive yourself, or draw a comparison to something you’re already familiar with.
This is more or less true. It’s why real-life experience is a better teacher than a book, and it’s why analogies are often so much more powerful than raw, factual descriptions. It’s why a blind person can study and learn all about the color red, and still not know it as well as someone who has seen it.
Another example: Last year, as part of December of Discipline (AKA 31 Days To Masculinity), I ran without resting for as long as I could, right up until I collapsed onto the ground.
I could go into great detail describing that experience to you, but you still wouldn’t really know what that’s like unless you’ve done it yourself.
Experience is simply the best teacher out there. You can learn from others, and they can even give vital input by drawing connections or pointing out details you missed. But ultimately, first-hand knowledge is the easiest to understand, apply, and remember. And it is the basis for all further learning.
This rang true during my experience quitting porn. Along the way, I did learn and benefit from the insights of others. But the major breakthroughs occurred while taking time by myself and doing some real thinking.
After a failure, I had to sit down and figure out what went wrong. I had to personally and honestly analyze the thoughts and events that led to relapsing. I had to take time to think about how my own experiences were related to the lessons I had learned elsewhere.
I had to take the second-hand knowledge from others and turn it into first-hand knowledge.
There is no substitute for this. You yourself must learn. While teaching is good, no amount of teaching can make up for a failure to learn.
Take time by yourself. Turn off the music, walk away from the computer, put down your phone. Think. Pray.
Dissect your mind and your behavior. Dismantle your excuses and self-deception and get to the true heart of your thoughts and actions.
This is something that must be done, and nobody else can do it for you 100%.
Other people can help expose the lies you tell yourself and give you shortcuts to finding the truth. They can give you hints and reminders and explain things you haven’t put together yourself.
But you still have to find out how the truth of these lessons manifests in your own life so you can put them to work. Sometimes this is quick an easy. Other times it takes hours of intense introspection. Either way, you have to take the time to feed and train your mind.
I’ll close with an analogy to drive the point home.
You could assemble the best physical trainers in the world and they could tell you what workouts to do, the best nutritional plans, how to exercise with the best form, and give you all the information you would need to reach any fitness goal as quickly as possible.
But they can’t go to the gym for you. You have to do that.
The Biblical story of Jesus being tempted by Satan is very interesting (Matthew 4:1-11). It always seemed odd to me that Satan’s first choice was to tempt Jesus to turn stones into bread. After all, Jesus is known for food-related miracles, and there doesn’t seem to be anything inherently sinful about the act of turning stones into bread. So why would Satan tempt Jesus to do something, if it isn’t even wrong?
As it turns out, the story contains an excellent lesson on how to perceive and handle temptation. In my latest video, I talk about how it applies to quitting porn and how these insights can help you stay clean.
Over the past few years, I’ve been involved with several different communities focused around quitting porn, Christianity, and masculinity. Because these communities are primarily composed of human beings, the subject of relationships tends to come up frequently. Often, these conversations are started by a guy asking how to get a girlfriend, or where he can even find a woman worth dating.
When these questions do come up, I rarely answer them directly. Instead, I tend to respond with some important ideas the asker should consider before pursuing a relationship. They pertain to who you are as a man, where you are in your life, and what your life is about. And from what I’ve seen, they aren’t commonly talked about.
I’m not a relationship expert. But I believe that dating/courtship/marriage should not be taken lightly, and that one should enter that playing field with a certain mindframe and a certain level of preparation.
My latest two videos cover this subject and give a good, clear starting point for men looking to get into a healthy, godly relationship.