Friday, October 8, 2010

I Was a Two-Faced Pastor

I'm going to be bold. I'm going to be real. I'm going to be honest. I've learned that as I share out of my brokenness, it connects with other people's pain and they can relate and hopefully start to heal. But I want to start with a positive and don't forget this: I am a better husband, father, and minister now more than I've ever been with still lots of room to grow, but the road to today was not easy for me or my wife. Pastors aren't perfect. They're actually human, FALLIBLE beings that sometimes screw up. They struggle with sin issues and temptation, and sometimes they even give in, perhaps a lot. I was in that boat and I didn't know how to get out. From adolescence my fantasy world was an escape from the pain I experienced as an awkward teenager and from the dysfunction of my family. The problem was, my fantasy world came with me into adulthood and even into my marriage. Though I was a virgin when I got married, the guest stars in my mind didn't think I was. Oh, I tried to live a pure life. I had an accountability partner and everything. That's all you need, right? It wasn't enough because I kept returning to the sexual scenarios I came up with in my brain. And when a computer entered our home, pornography eventually did too.
     So there I was, a pastor who would preach about sexual purity but struggled remaining pure himself. I tried. I made promises, I made vows to God, I would have streaks of success whether they were weeks or months, but eventually I always seemed to return to my vomit continuing the cycle of pre-ocupation to temptation, to acting on it to repentance and shame.  And it was in that time of repentance that I would feel I could go on with my ministry because everybody sins, right? And God forgives, right? Finally I couldn't take it any longer...
     Several years ago, circumstances in my ministry and personal life made me come to grips with my hypocrisy. I could not live like this any longer. I confessed everything to my wife that I had been in denial about for years and we began, together, the long hard road of recovery. Coincidentally, Marty had just got a new position at a counseling center in San Jose and started seeing clients dealing with sexual addiction. She soon asked me if I thought I was an addict. Of course I wasn't! Addicts do this and act like that and need this and look like that. Then why couldn't I stop a behavior that was killing my spirit and drying up my marriage? Why was I living in direct contrast to my own morals and ethics?
     After seeing a therapist, joining an SA group and working the 12 steps, I realized I was an addict. That's what my brokenness looks like. We're all broken, and this is my area. As mentioned, its been a long, hard road, one that I'm still on with my wife by my side. We've had to work separately, but most importantly, together on finding healing and restoring our marriage. And we are burdened for those who are still silently struggling with similar issues. Thus, this new chapter of our ministry, "Missionaries to Ministers."
     So I end as I began: Today, I am a better husband, father and minister than I've ever been. Don't think of me as the pastor who's a sex addict, think of me as the guy who's finally walking in freedom.
    

    

4 comments:

Pamela said...

Shane, thank you for your candidness and for continuing on in your journey with Christ. I am sending you and Marty a hug and applaud you two for working on this journey together. May this new phase of your life be blessed and be greater than the former.

susanna said...

Good post, Shane! It always seems to get better when we get honest. Thanks for being brave and real in what you write. Scott and I are so thankful to have you and Marty in our lives. I know this new step in ministry is something that is needed hugely! God bless you guys the most!

Joy said...

You are just about awesome Shane. Thanks for being who you are.

Ted said...

Pastor Shane, you are my hero. Thank you for sharing this. "How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them." - Benjamin Franklin