A Cause for Gratitude




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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

We talk a lot about gratitude in the Live Free Community.

And given the time of year, it seems proper that I share with you a testimony from one of our members that’s a cause for gratefulness.

This was what he posted:

“Hello everyone. I have to confess something to this community. I am so sorry for this, and I hope you all can forgive me. I have not been following the counsel of Psalms 26 4. I have been hiding who I am. I used to think it was because I did not want to dishonor my family and my faith. However, I have come to realize it was because of a lack of trust, fear of losing respect, and a need to maintain my pride. 

I have realized that I do not need to hide behind this fake name and fake person. I may be broken, I may make mistakes, but I will only make it worse by hiding from now on. I am willing to accept the consequences, good or bad. To be truly free, I must not hide. So I am no longer the person known as J*** E*****. My real name is M*** C*******. I have posted my picture on my profile and I will no longer be dishonest with you, my brothers. I ask your forgiveness, please.” 

I have to be honest. When I read this member’s post I was so pumped because this is exactly the type of growth and progress I envisioned guys in the Live Free Community experiencing by having a place where they can authentically share and connect. 

This is a perfect example of how every man has to walk out his own unique journey to freedom.


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Understand, we all come into recovery with different challenges and things we have to overcome in our quest. 

Some guys come into our community ready to learn and fully engage. 

Some come in eager to grow and share, but hesitant about their own level of transparency because of the fear of shame and rejection. So they may use a fake name or a picture at first. 

Some just come in and stay off to the sidelines learning and observing from a distance because the idea of being open about their struggles is so foreign, strange, and scary that they can’t possibly imagine talking to other men about this stuff, even in a safe place like Live Free.

And that’s OK.

But guys like M*** reaffirm that what we are doing in live Free matters and is helping guys not only find freedom from their pornography use, but more importantly find freedom from the shame that keeps them trapped, often for years. And that’s a reason for gratitude!

I also wanted to share this for two other reasons. 

First, there is a significant difference between an attitude of gratitude and an attitude of negativity. The difference is a matter of perspective. And in this example, with what M*** shared, someone could read his post one of two ways. 

They could read what M*** posted and say, “Hey, this guy was dishonest with us. I thought this community was about being authentic and transparent. Man, what a farce. I’m out.” 

Or they could read what this member posted and get excited and say, “Man, this was awesome. Look at the growth here. How great is it that this guy is learning to live without shame and is ready to take his transparency to a new level? I am so stoked for him and other guys like him and I can learn from their example.”

It’s all about perspective. You can focus on the negative or see the positive and a reason for gratefulness.

Second, regardless of where you are on your journey, know that it’s okay if you are not where someone else is right now. 

If you are still kind of feeling the whole recovery thing out, that’s fine. Just hang in there and keep pushing those comfort zones a little at a time. But if you are out there, being open and transparent about your struggles without the fear of judgment and condemnation, then awesome. 

Keep setting the example for everyone else. Your leadership in doing so really matters.

Remember, recovery is a journey. It’s about progress and not perfection. 

Yes, the goal is complete freedom.

Freedom from our behaviors.
Freedom from our poor choices.
Freedom from shame. 

But it takes time to get there. 

So don’t be impatient and don’t get discouraged. Just focus on your progress and stay grateful because you will get there someday. It’s just a matter of time and growth.

By the way, if you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter to get content like this sent directly to your inbox once per week with no strings attached.


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