Is it possible for a man to transition from being a consumer of women to a protector of women? Is it possible to shake loose from lust, pornography and sexual addition? Pastor Darrell Brazell says, “Yes!”
One of the things that is critical in transitioning from being a consumer or devourer of women to a protector of women is for a man to learn that his brain is really capable of protecting. Noticing and devouring are two very different things. Devouring is at the core of lust, pornography and sexual addiction. Lust is not noticing and appreciating; it is a consuming.
Devouring happens when men objectify women rather than personalize them and develop relationship with a person. The sensations of pleasure become more important to a man than the relationship with the person. Devouring concentrates on body parts. Concentrating on body parts causes the brain to produce a dopamine pleasure spike but that is a pseudo-joy and does not last. It is like giving your body a bowl of sugar cereal rather than a breakfast with protein. It satisfies briefly but does not last; it will require more and more…and that is the essence of addiction to lust, pornography and other sexual addictions.
Problem—The problem is that men too often go from noticing and appreciating to devouring.
Root of the Problem: Let’s first talk about some things that often get us caught in places of toxic shame. The reality that God created Eve beautiful and He hardwired Adam to notice is foundational! That is our design. God created Adam’s brain to notice Eve’s beauty but instead of going from noticing to appreciation, men go from noticing to shame. Men feel shame over something that is hard wired within them. The male brain has a stronger emphasis on visual things and Eve (women’s beauty) is one of the things his brain is especially wired to notice.
The enemy has come in and twisted men’s noticing and appreciating and pushed them into a place of consuming and devouring. When a man has trained his brain to be in a devouring mode through pornography, lust or sexual fantasy, then he is not able to shift gears. Many men don’t know they are capable of shifting gears.
So what I want to talk about today are some ways for men to deal with that struggle in better ways than they have been taught in the past.
What does NOT work—
Toxic shame will not cure lust. Men hear sermons about the evils of pornography and lust and the message they have heard is: “It is bad. Don’t do it and if you are doing it, you are bad. Yet no matter how much they castigate themselves, no matter what they do to stop the behavior, they find themselves just going back.
One of the reasons for that is that we use any kind of dopamine pleasure addiction to medicate shame that we are not able to deal with. “Your heavenly father will not use toxic shame against you.” Toxic shame is not helpful to solve the problem.
Gender isolation will not cure lust. Gender isolation cuts off a significant avenue for healing, a significant avenue for mother and sister type relationships. It also eliminates 50% of the population from being able to share joy with joy starved men when that is what they need!
Covering your eyes is not a cure for lust. Yes, men must learn the skill and discipline of bouncing their eyes away from sexually stimulating images, improperly dressed women, and improper billboards, etc. However, it is critical to know that you cannot live your life with your eyes covered and bouncing your eyes from every woman you encounter because, 1. It is not feasible! 2. If you are bouncing your eyes from every woman you encounter, then you have eliminated 50% of the people in your world who could pour joy into you.
When women are dressed immodestly and inappropriately a man is going to need to look away. However, in normal, regular interaction looking away adds to the shame and eliminates the ability to share joy. Joy is communicated right brain to right brain through the eyes primarily. So if you are always looking away from every woman, you miss those opportunities to experience joy. Draw a line at the neck. If you look a woman in the eyes, you concentrate on her face and not body parts. You will be much more successful in not going to lust.
What can a man do? Next week I will share just two of the tools a man needs to make this paradigm shift.
A huge disclaimer: Please do not take these ideas and think “okay, if I do this I won’t have any problems with lust or if I can teach my husband this we can solve these problems. It will all go away if I use these two tools.”
You need to understand that dealing with the tangled web of lust, pornography and sexual addiction is an incredibly complicated task. In simplifying it to just a couple tools, three steps or learning to avert your eyes and in 30 days you will be better is absolutely ridiculous. The problems go very deep. These are just two tools in what needs to be a very large tool box for men…but they are powerful tools!
Join us next week for the two tools that Pastor Brazell teaches the men in his recovery groups at New Hope Fellowship in Lawrence, Kansas. If you would like to hear his presentation in full you can find it here. Scroll down to the “Free Viewing” section and click on Oct. 24.
May your joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com
This blog developed from a talk by Darrell Brazell for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 24, 2013.