I chose this book because I struggle with temptation. I struggle with anxiety. I struggle with women' struggles. I struggled with sex addiction. When I saw the book review list for Bethany House, I had to have this book. I had to have a print edition. When it comes to celibacy, abstinence, sex addiction, etc, there is a lot of information out there. There are plenty of books written, but not too many is written from a Christian perspective. I wanted practical, spiritual knowledge, and this book does that. I am glad I got chosen for this book. I did not read this book from start to finish. I started the book at the beginning, then moved to the sections on sex addiction and shame. A lot of good passages stood out and I marked them big time. The book also takes about alcohol, anxiety, shame, temptation, men struggles, women struggles, releasing the past, and unmasking the real you. for this review, I am choosing to focus on the things, which affected me personally.
Chapter 8 discusses the story of Mark and how he struggled with sexual sin (pornography). Porn helped Mark cope with stress. But over time, his heart became darker and more hardened (p. 167). He was pretending everything was ok, when everything was not. He was addicted. His wife called in an intervention with their pastor because she suspected something was wrong. One line, which stood out wasPorn is a counterfeit that can ruin our ability to experience the real thing (p. 171). Pornography can also be an idol and the Lord does not allow us to put idols before him. The chapter also discussed accountability. People need an accountability partner when they are struggling with addiction. The book also discussed ways to move forward past porn and sex addiction(. I wrote the steps on my other blog Celibacy Diaries). The book also does nudges after each chapter, with spaces to write down thoughts and concerns.
Then, the book moves into toxic shame. First, the book discusses the difference between shame and guilt. "Guilt has to do with our behavior, what we do; shame, has to do with our identity, who we are" (p. 180). "Toxic shame causes us to expect the worst from ourselves because we believe that's who we are inside"(p. 180). We must let go of those thoughts, which say we are a loser, a failure, a disappointment, no use to God, etc (p. 181). This is something I definitely struggle with. There is also an amazing chart on the characteristics of shame, with space to list specific examples and emotions (p. 184). P. 185 also has a spiritual life rating scale. I am a level 3 believer. The scale starts at skeptic, seeker, believer, grace-filled, and servant-minded. You look at the characteristics of each row and determine where you fall in. a worksheet follows immediately after to note your results. You will need access to a bible to complete some of the notes.
Chapter 9 focuses on Danielle's story. Danielle discussed how even when she knew the right thing to do, she did the wrong thing anyway. I knew having a lot of sex with random men was wrong, but i did it anyway. suffered the consequences too. A few passages, which stood out:
Temptation is big and it's sneaky, and it knows my weak spots. It can tell when I'm wavering and slip in a zinger at just the perfect moment--sending me right back to square one. It doesn't have to be that way. More and more, I realize, there is a way out. (p. 197)
- No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (p. 198).
- Your sin is not unbeatable. Your temptation isn't too big for God. You aren't even close to being the only one tempted in that way (p. 200).
Finally, I will focus on the four stages of Temptation (Chapter 2) p. 54)
- Enticement: starts with a pang of desire. a thought, a fantasy. what ifs. then eventually the decision to commit. go through the stages of intimacy: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.
- Conception: desire becomes strong. wants to conceive the real thing, whether it's sex, or drugs, or alcohol, whatever it is. we continue to engage with our temptor and ignore God more.
- Gestation and growth: sin continues to grow. it affects us mentally, spiritually, and physically. we know the sin intimately. we are enjoying our secret lives. the temptation begins to define us: thoughts, identity, purpose. we don't consider the long-term effects of the sin. we continue to live in darkness and the light can not penetrate us.
- Delivery: the sin matures. it gives birth to death inside of us.