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July 27 • Asking For It

Day 749


Many years ago, long before my first act of acting out, I made a comment to my board of directors that the existing stressors of my job had given me insights into why so many men of faith seem to have moral failures at the peak of their careers. I don't know what I expected them to do about it, and I did not have any plans to go off the rails, but it was an honest comment about feeling like I had few options to ease my pain. I was feeling urges and temptations, unlike any time in my life, and I was scared. I was asking for help and I felt like a kid surrounded by grown-ups that did not know what to do with me.


I do not fault them for not hearing me, but I would like to put this out there for people who have accountability roles over other people in leadership not to take comments like this lightly.


In doing journalistic research on teen suicide back in the 20th century, I learned that the consensus of experts was to confront anyone who speaks of suicide, and not let the moment pass without clarification. If someone says they are going to kill themselves, apparently we are supposed to ask them how they intend to do it, and anything else pertinent to the act; keep them talking until something comes out of the conversation that is actionable.


It sounds simple, but it is not. I know. Had someone questioned me about what I meant by moral failures, I'm sure I would have deflected and tried to end the uncomfortableness of the moment.


That was the first time since I was a kid in church camp that I told anyone about the battle raging in my soul. It was the first time that I admitted to myself that I was in trouble. I want to learn from this, and I want to encourage others to listen and be bold about what they hear. But I am already worried about making someone feel guilty or triggering a conversation that may be premature.


Could anything have curbed the arc of this disease I've been skating across for so many years? I do not know. I would like to think so. I want to believe that my insights could someday help another struggler avoid the sexual abyss into which I fell.


That's all well and good, and if the opportunity comes to help, I hope I'm wise and strong enough to step up and have a positive impact.


For today, I would like to be used by my Higher Power as He wants to use me, and I want to find contentment in that.


–JR

 


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