Obstacles to Intimacy Series
~Exploring God’s Gift of Intimacy~
In the Obstacles to Intimacy Series, we discussed Obstacle #1: Sex Addiction, Tips & Tools to Overcome Obstacle #1, Obstacle #2: Intimacy Anorexia, How We Become Intimacy Anorexics, Reactive Intimacy Anorexia, The Anorexia Cycle, Tips & Tools to Overcome Obstacle #2, and Obstacle #3: The Offended Heart.
The Man at the Pool of Bethesda
Many of you have heard this story in John 5. The Pool of Bethesda was a place where those who needed healing would gather to dip into the water to be healed. There was an invalid who had been there for 39 years. Jesus approached him and asked, “Do you want to get well?” Well, who wouldn’t want to get well? It seems a rather an odd question or is it? But if he wants to get well, why has it taken him 38 years to get into the water? The man replied with an immediate response with a victim mentality, “No one will help me get into the pool when the water is stirred. When I try to get in, someone else goes down before I can get there.” Jesus then responds, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” Instantly, this man is healed. He goes about the town, on the Sabbath, and tells those he encounters what happened. They all recall who he is, because he sat there for 39 years! Later, Jesus saw him again in the temple and said, “See you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
In other words, Jesus is saying, “Stop playing the role the victim. Stop having an offended heart. I have other things for you to do. We can’t waste our time with this.” What have you been wasting your time on when God has other things for you to do? Is an offended heart keeping you from doing what God has called you to do? Is it keeping you from being healthy?
My husband created the victor and victim cycle that we use in therapy to help people discover if they have an offended heart. As you notice on the chart below, victims are scarcity minded. They have a heart of war. Oftentimes, a heart at war will seek another heart at war. They are self-focused. They have a persecution complex and are easily offended. They like to wallow in their hurt and self-pity. They accuse, blame and criticize others. They believe they are right, and everyone else is wrong. Others need to change, they don’t! They wonder why others aren’t changing and why they never experience personal growth or emotional development. They experience a heart of resentment, bitterness and anger. Overall, they have a heart at war.
On the other chart, victors are abundant minded. They have a heart of joy. They are others focused. They understand everyone has flaws, but they are all loveable. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about wise or foolish. I refer to this as my husband’s Wise vs. Foolish Principle. The wise man built his house upon a rock, and the foolish man built it upon the sand. Sometimes, it’s not about right or wrong rather it is about wise or foolish. What is wise for one person may be foolish for the next. Victors are teachable and realize their own need to change to experience personal growth and development. Overall, they experience a heart of love, joy and peace.
Now, as we studied before with the anorexic cycle, both the victim and victor may experience the same painful triggering event; however, each handle it entirely differently. One handles it with a heart at peace – they honor and humble themselves. The other handles it with a heart at war and betrays and denies themselves.
So which category do you find yourself in more often than not? Review the attached Winning at Recovery, and circle which item describes you the majority of the time. If you aren’t sure, have someone else complete the inventory for you.
In my next blog article, I’ll be discussing Living in Offense.
Kerry Schortzman is the Director of Operations at Transformed Hearts Counseling Center as well as an author and speaker. She has traveled the road of recovery alongside her husband through the wildfires of intimacy anorexia. She has a heart and passion to see healing and restoration in relationships and marriages as well as to bring public awareness to eliminate sex and human trafficking. Kerry has been married since 1998 and lives in Colorado with her husband and four daughters. She and Cory have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.