Inner Obsessions, Fantasies, and Thoughts Tell Our Real Stories
Our shock and surprise when a person we thought we knew gets caught doing something we thought they would never do is the first indicator we are prone to measure the wrong things. I have stopped counting the number of men perceived as leaders, role models, and mentors who get served up in the news cycle as sexually untrustworthy, deviant, undisciplined, or a mixture of all three. The curse of the public figure is that he has a swarm of media hyenas salivating over a good public image going morally and sexually south. Think Tiger. Think Weiner. Think Petraeus. Think Clinton. Think post humus Kennedy. All of them had a thought life racing around on the inside while their public personas, popularity, and the paparazzi swirled around their outsides. The dots outlining their “good-bad splits” were never connected and no one was asking them any questions about their inner life. Too much power and pedestal going on to do that. Too much private obsession of our own going on to feel justified in asking. Too many core aspects of a man’s life going unexamined and unchallenged.
The overwhelming evidence suggests that men are like icebergs, only presenting the tip of who we really are to our social networks while the substance of our true selves remains hidden below the waterline. The growing, multi-billion dollar, and ever expanding porn universe should be our first indicator that all is not well behind the public images and behaviors of men. For even the most religiously and spiritually motivated over 70 percent are more than sippers and dabblers of porn (Source: PK Study of men attending conferences). Over half of 5,000 pastors surveyed had consumed pornography within the last 3 months (Source: Pastors.com Study). The domino effect flowing out of the unseen, unexamined, inner obsessions of men eventually and inevitably tsunami their outer lives. The private fantasies will become public, the insides will be acted out on the outsides, and beliefs will always manifest in behaviors. The blast zone is far reaching. The inner obsessions and fantasies of men wind up incinerating marriages, confusing children prematurely, and contributing to overall masculine fatalism in women. When the good guys among us are slugging it out to be mentally clean and spiritually filled get lumped in with the bad guys.
Male relationships have to go the next level of transparency. We have to risk not accepting the come back “It’s all good bro” in response to “How’s it going?” We have to dive below the waterline, to the real pressures and responses to those pressures on the inside. We have to recognize the mental realities and care enough to ask:
- how are you dealing with the pressure you are under?
- how’s the marriage?
- how’s the sex life in your marriage?
- have been mentally unfaithful to your wife?
- have you dabbled or guzzled any porn in the last week?
GUYS: All this private lust, porn, and fantasy represent our inability to give ourselves to others and receive them emotionally, physically, and faithfully. They are an admission of our corporate character—that we simply do not have the capacity to meet the demands of reality in our actual relationships. Sexual obsession and sexual addiction glorifies itself as something deeper in order to have its way with us and after it uses us it discards us. Time to put a stake in the ground and recognize that we need inner strength, purpose, and power. We need God. We need advice from the Sermon on the Mount. We need real friends who prefer frankness over flattery. We need church. We need any and every help that strengthens us inwardly versus props up the image outwardly.
Fantasy and obsession is not fated, it is a choice. It’s not like the law of gravity. You are not an unwilling victim. Obsessive sexual lusting and porn addiction in broken male culture is a dashboard light in our lives that goes off to let us know that there is something very real that needs to be dealt with on the inside. That we need to get to that root issue and let God and other men in our lives help heal it.
Stop accepting the tip. Stop presenting the tip. Take a deeper dive by watching the Fantasy Island Series.
Every Man Ministries, founded by president Kenny Luck, gives men the tools they need to walk with God and navigate the difficulties of life. As the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, Kenny Luck created a program for men to start and lead their own men’s ministries, the Sleeping Giant program. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com.