Pornography is often significant in a pastor’s fight with burnout. So overcoming pornography is absolutely vital for burnout recovery.
There are two reasons that pornography is often significant in a pastor’s battle with burnout.
- Pornography is an escape. When we are burned out, we look for ways to make us feel better – escapes. Some of the most common escapes are food, sleep, music, sports, work around the house, spending time alone, spending time with spouse or kids, getting away for a couple days, etc. As you can see, most escapes have nothing wrong with them. The problem comes when they are abused, used as excuses to stay away from work, or used as ways to cover over one’s real pain. But there are also escapes that are completely sinful. The most frequently abused escape is sex. Sex involves lust, adultery, and most frequently, pornography. Overcoming pornography starts by admitting that pornography is a drug that you use to make yourself feel better. It is not something you do simply to improve your sex life. Indulging in pornography is sin (Matthew 5:28). And you do it to escape the pain you feel inside – the pain of burnout.
- Pornography is a cycle that keeps the pastor down. Overcoming pornography also requires you to realize that this sin is a downward cycle. You feel bad because you are burned out. So you indulge in an escape – pornography – to help you feel better. But then you feel guilty because of your sin. So you feel worse than you did before. And so the cycle continues. In light of this, it is difficult to see whether burnout leads to pornography or if pornography leads to burnout.
Use this page in conjunction with
this page on pornography addiction.
The How to of Overcoming Pornography
Christians and pornography is a challenging issue. But when it comes to pastors, it’s the best kept secret.
Overcoming pornography requires more than good intentions. It takes knowledge of your particular situation. Answer the following questions to help you fully understand where you are at.
- What- What are you actually involved in? Is it pornography, or is it more? Are you having an affair? Do you want to have an affair? Is there a woman in the congregation that you especially enjoy her company? Are you visiting bars, explicit stores, etc? Do you rent adult DVD’s or even rated R movies with inappropriate scenes? What exactly are you involved in?
- Where- Where are you when you are most tempted? Are you tempted in your office? Or is the temptation stronger at home when your family is away? Are you out making visits when you face your greatest foe?
- How- In what ways are you most tempted? Do you enjoy the flattery of women in your church? Are you enticed by pictures on entertainment web sites? Do you scan the TV guide looking for the movie most likely to have inappropriate scenes?
- Why- What is going on when you face your deepest temptation? Are you angry, hungry, tired, worried, tense, lonely, or depressed?
- When- Are you tempted when the church is empty or when the house is empty? Are you tempted most on Mondays?
- Who- Who in your congregation is the focus of your lust? Who do you think about when you view pornography? When you are most depressed, who do you want to be with?
Now that you have a composite picture of your life, what conclusions can you come to?
Here are a few thoughts.
- Keep your church office door open.
- Go with your wife, if possible, when she leaves home.
- Have your wife get a list of DVD’s rented from the store once a month.
- Put pictures of your kids next to your computer monitor.
- Deal with your anger. You may want to get professional help with this because anger is usually a symptom of deeper burnout issues.
- Watch the sarcasm. Some people have been sarcastic all their lives. Most though become sarcastic when they have lost hope, when they have become bitter.
- Choose to delegate counseling of women to others in the church – your wife if possible.
- Spend days off with other people. Sleep in a little, but go golfing with your wife, spend extra time with your kids.
- Stay active. They say that idle hands are the devil’s playground. Do yard work, watch a football game with a friend, go shopping with your wife, take one of your kids on a date. Limit your down time. Rest, yes. But rest when you cannot be tempted to fall.
- Draw a line in the sand and never go back. Is your birthday, anniversary or new year coming up? Draw a line on that date and determine by God’s grace that from that point on you will have victory over the temptation. Let a day lead into a week into a month and into a year. You will be excited by the progress you make. It will be overwhelmingly difficult for the first six to eight weeks. Then it will get a little easier.
- Tell your wife about women in your church who seem to be a little too needy. She may need to step in and offer her help to these ladies. Do Not try to handle these women by yourself no matter how good their admiration makes you feel.
- Memorize a favorite scripture passage that you recite whenever you are tempted.
- Exercise – it can give you the same euphoria that other activities do.
- Nurture a passion for your wife. Ask God for an enduring and deep love for her. Tell her every day you love her. Take her special places. Think of imaginative ways to show her your love.
- The partnership of others cannot be overstated. You MUST share your struggle with at least your spouse and preferably with one other friend who will keep things absolutely confidential.
- overcoming pornography requires the use of filter and accountability software that will help you in overcoming pornography.
Overcoming pornography is a challenging task. Pornography has an addictive power that makes it difficult to break free. But by God’s grace you can free yourself from it’s power in your life.