Several years ago, I heard Patsy Clairmont speak. Her humor, liveliness, and unique storytelling immediately captured my attention. As soon as possible, I purchased several of her books. Each one felt like having lunch with Patsy. I laughed, cried, and learned.
Normal Is Just A Setting On Your Dryer, one of Clairmont’s books particularly captivated my attention.
For years, I worked to develop a “normal” life and schedule. Working tirelessly not to waste time, being efficient, and accomplishing more each day than the previous day, I wanted to “redeem the time” as I heard so many admonish. Claremont’s deep faith in God and her sense of humor challenged me to rethink my idea of normal and even redeeming the time.
When you face sudden trauma of any kind, often your first thought is, “I just want to go back to the way things were.”
Of course you do because your God-created fight-and-flight mechanisms are there to protect you from harm. Trauma causes harm. But the way things were (your normal) got you here. If you and your spouse are struggling with betrayal trauma, going back to the patterns of the past only perpetuates the problem. Yet your fight-and-flight brain seeks protection first of all. At this juncture, you face a choice.
Here are three truths you need to know about embracing change after discovering his porn struggle.
1. Comfort doesn’t equal growth.
I like to be comfortable. In my clothes, my home, my work, my environment, my relationships. I work hard to maintain a comfortable home for Dave and my family. I want our home to be a safe haven. Nothing thrills me more than when someone spends time in our home and tells me they feel a sense of peace.
You have certain foods you enjoy that you dub “comfort food.” 😀 I made a comfort food dinner last night and enjoyed every bite. So did Dave. What are your comfort foods?
Enjoying comfort isn’t bad unless it keeps you from growing and maturing.
- 🤔 Do you shy away from visiting a store because you’ve never been there before and don’t know your way around?
- 🤔 Have you ever skipped attending an event because you didn’t know anyone? (I have. Then used being an introvert to justify my behavior 👎)
- 🤔 What excuses do you use to avoid uncomfortable situations and relationships?
Before you tune out, understand I’m not talking about unsafe situations.
Growth causes discomfort. Think about learning a new language. I marvel at people who are fluent in multiple languages. They’ve spent the time, sweat, and frustration to grow, understand, and apply that knowledge to communicate with others in their native language.
2. Change will happen.
If you are alive, you are changing. That’s part of life. Nothing remains the same.
My life verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says,
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. (Emphasis mine.)
In this verse, and in Romans 12:2, God talks about transformation. God’s work in your life changes your beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. I love that God does the work in you as you learn from, listen to, and act upon what you learn. He does this for your benefit.
Transformation is change. You will change every day you remain alive. You can’t avoid it because you cannot remain stagnant. Your body ages from the moment you are born. If you read something, your brain adds knowledge to its stores. Whatever nourishment you take in or don’t take in causes change in your body.
Change can be positive or negative. You get to choose.
3. Eliminate the good to make room for the important.
I didn’t understand this aspect of change for many years. But as God and I journey together, I’ve learned that sometimes letting go of something I consider good creates space for a new adventure with God.
My business coach challenged me to look at everything in business at the end of the year and evaluate 15% to eliminate in the coming year. Crazy! Just because I’ve always done something doesn’t mean it needs to continue.
It’s the concept of pruning. Every spring, I pruned my rose bushes to allow the healthiest vines to get more nutrients. Each snip brought tears as I eliminated the weakest parts of the bush to encourage strong growth.
God prunes you when he encourages you to leave behind destructive thought patterns and replace them with his truth from the Bible. Philippians 2 encourages you to adopt Christ’s mindset. What is that mindset, and how can you adopt it? You need to invest time and energy into studying the life of Christ so you can apply and grow.
When I was in the first years of recovery from discovering Dave’s porn struggles, stepping away from volunteer activities I enjoyed (good) created space for me to get counseling and coaching to heal (important). I needed time to work through my pain, attend counseling appointments with Dave and my own, read the Bible, pray, and journal. Through that newly created space, God revealed many false expectations and unhealthy beliefs that needed to go away. I had to grow (change) to find a new, healthy way to live. Had I continued to do what I’d been doing (my normal), I would not have had the capacity to grow.
What do you believe about embracing change and how it affects your growth?
Carol Dweck’s landmark book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, challenges the fixed mindset approach to life. Dweck’s premise is that we all change and grow. The more I study the Bible, the more I see that Dweck’s research and conclusion line up with God’s heart. He created you and me to mature, to become more like Jesus. God didn’t create you as an automaton. He gave you a mind, heart, and will to use for his glory or for evil. It’s your choice.
These days, whenever I whine about life “getting back to normal,” I remember that Normal Is A Setting On Your Dryer, and perhaps normal is abnormal and unattainable. It isn’t God’s way.
You can embrace change and grow.
You can change. Your husband can leave porn behind. You and he have choices. Don’t condemn yourself or him to the common fallacy that addicts can’t recover.
If you don’t know where to start, or if you struggle to believe change is possible, please reach out. I promise to hear your heart, listen to your story, and point you to God’s redeeming grace and healing. Embracing change that leads to growth brings an exciting adventure.