Donny's Ramblings

When Does It Start Sounding Like Whining?

8 Comments

I have a secret to tell you. But I don’t want you to tell anyone else, okay? Let’s just keep this between me and you.

I feel like a “typical Christian” in many ways lately. Wanna know why? I’ve been playing the hiding game. I promised myself I’d never do that, yet I’ve been doing it anyway.

What am I talking about? The feeling that I need to hide my “sins” so that others don’t think poorly of me. The thought that being open about them will result in negative effects on my life. Like less churches asking me to speak for them, for example. Or not being allowed to complete seminary. Or losing a book deal. Or… whatever.

The thing is, some of my “sins” are repetitive. Because of that, I feel that I should be past them by now. I should have “grown up” spiritually. After all, it’s been almost a year, right? That must be 20 in Christian years. I should be an “adult”.

I remember as a child growing up in church I’d hear the beloved Saints ripping other Saints to shreds for their sins. It made me angry inside. Usually angry at those who were being ripped to shreds, to be honest. “How could they be such sinners?” I’d think. I was young and impressionable and it seemed to me that if the people who were doing the talking felt that those being talked about needed to change then, by God, they needed to change!

As I became a teenager I looked at the situation in a different light, and the feelings of anger I harbored were now directed towards the “talkers”. Two words described my opinion of those who were ripping down their fellow Christians: hypocritical gossips.

But their words were painful.

And it’s because of experiences like that, which I know all of you can relate to, that I’m often afraid to reach out for help when I fail now. I look back through this blog and am proud that I used to rip myself open and talk about whatever my issues happened to be. But I’ve noticed a trend toward secrecy. I have more to lose now.

I didn’t tell any of my accountability partners that I was drinking a lot.

I didn’t tell any of my accountability partners that I was still raising hell on the same adult internet message boards I used to frequently post on when I was a porn producer.

I should have gone to them, but I didn’t. I was afraid. At what point does it sound like whining to admit that you’re still stuck in the same cycle? At what point do they simply kick your ass and tell you to just “get over it already”?!?

When my issues were finally revealed, they were gracious. And I was amazed at how much the exposure of said issues (“issues” being more PC than the word “sins”) brought relief. And help. With accountability partners on my side, it’s been easy to keep away from the alcohol. It’s been easy to stay off the discussion forums.

Perhaps there’s something to that Biblical idea of “confessing our sins to each other” after all.

8 thoughts on “When Does It Start Sounding Like Whining?

  1. I recall a conversation I had with some friends a year and a half ago. These were folks I used to hang with before I left town, and we were at a convention for recovering folks, where one of them was scheduled to speak the next day. I asked the question why were we all still around and in relatively good shape, when some of the people we used to hang with were dead? I still haven’t figured this one out entirely. OTOH, recovery from any self-destructive behavior is a gift from God. I am pretty sure God is not some arbitrary bastard bestowing this gift on some people and denying the rest. So surely what actions we take has something to do with whether or not this gift actually works.

    OTOH, I do not know what goes through someone else’s mind, or what crosses someone else has to bear, so I cannot judge how well somebody else has acted. The whole question of how much of this is our doing and how much is God’s doing remains a mystery to me. It is the old Faith vs. Works argument all over again.

    But as we talked about the days when we were all newcomers, and laughed at some of the really crazy things we did, and the far from perfect ways we tried to head in the right direction, one person pointed out one of the reasons we were still around.

    “You remember what the rule was back then? No secrets, no lies.”

    Pretty simple formula. I wish I followed it. I don’t. It is a goal, rather than a fact, and I have start over again and again. But I have found that when I follow that rule, things tend to get better. Now, how much of the ability to recognize that, and the ability to follow it up, is my doing, and how much is the grace of God? Ah, the old faith vs. works argument again!

  2. I recall a conversation I had with some friends a year and a half ago. These were folks I used to hang with before I left town, and we were at a convention for recovering folks, where one of them was scheduled to speak the next day. I asked the question why were we all still around and in relatively good shape, when some of the people we used to hang with were dead? I still haven’t figured this one out entirely. OTOH, recovery from any self-destructive behavior is a gift from God. I am pretty sure God is not some arbitrary bastard bestowing this gift on some people and denying the rest. So surely what actions we take has something to do with whether or not this gift actually works.

    OTOH, I do not know what goes through someone else’s mind, or what crosses someone else has to bear, so I cannot judge how well somebody else has acted. The whole question of how much of this is our doing and how much is God’s doing remains a mystery to me. It is the old Faith vs. Works argument all over again.

    But as we talked about the days when we were all newcomers, and laughed at some of the really crazy things we did, and the far from perfect ways we tried to head in the right direction, one person pointed out one of the reasons we were still around.

    “You remember what the rule was back then? No secrets, no lies.”

    Pretty simple formula. I wish I followed it. I don’t. It is a goal, rather than a fact, and I have start over again and again. But I have found that when I follow that rule, things tend to get better. Now, how much of the ability to recognize that, and the ability to follow it up, is my doing, and how much is the grace of God? Ah, the old faith vs. works argument again!

  3. Thanks for the words. So true. And I resonate with what you have to say about how our language tends to soften “bad stuff.” Sins become issues. Adultery becomes “having an affair.” Profanity becomes “colorful language.”

    It’s a little less comfortable when we can tell it like it is, I suppose.

  4. Thanks for the words. So true. And I resonate with what you have to say about how our language tends to soften “bad stuff.” Sins become issues. Adultery becomes “having an affair.” Profanity becomes “colorful language.”

    It’s a little less comfortable when we can tell it like it is, I suppose.

  5. If it wasn’t for my accountability partners, I would be surfing the internet for porn probably this very second. They help keep me clean. And Covenant Eyes keeps me honest, even when I don’t want to be. I’d much rather keep my secrets secret and let them keep their power over me. Even when I expect them to “beat me up” about struggling, they are never anything but gracious and encouraging.

    And just for the record, I like it when you show your true colors–it makes you not only more real, it helps us to know you better. We LIKE you, whatever your struggles. We’ve got them too, you know?!

  6. If it wasn’t for my accountability partners, I would be surfing the internet for porn probably this very second. They help keep me clean. And Covenant Eyes keeps me honest, even when I don’t want to be. I’d much rather keep my secrets secret and let them keep their power over me. Even when I expect them to “beat me up” about struggling, they are never anything but gracious and encouraging.

    And just for the record, I like it when you show your true colors–it makes you not only more real, it helps us to know you better. We LIKE you, whatever your struggles. We’ve got them too, you know?!

  7. FYI RANT

    I’ve found as of late that love is amazing. And with the ability to harbor such great love comes the ability to harbor great hate. (Theology, good class(s)).

    I am very happy that God has allowed me the ability, moreover, the reformation to love without holding back. Until last night, I hadn’t. I had always kept grudges, pains, tallies. It took a song but an unknown band (Edison Glass – Angelic In Heart) for me “be healed”. Funny how God works, don’t you think?

  8. FYI RANT

    I’ve found as of late that love is amazing. And with the ability to harbor such great love comes the ability to harbor great hate. (Theology, good class(s)).

    I am very happy that God has allowed me the ability, moreover, the reformation to love without holding back. Until last night, I hadn’t. I had always kept grudges, pains, tallies. It took a song but an unknown band (Edison Glass – Angelic In Heart) for me “be healed”. Funny how God works, don’t you think?

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