I’ve told this story before, but never on our blog. About 8 or 9 weeks before the affair began, I knew our marriage was in trouble. I spent an afternoon with a guy who was a part of my accountability group. We were talking about his marriage. He was opening up, he was being real, and he was sharing the brokenness that I desperately needed to share.
In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me: “You can be vulnerable with him. You need to share with him. This is your chance.” But I did what I had always done when faced with an opportunity to confront my own sin, my own brokenness, my own dysfunction. I avoided it.
Avoidance is like a drug. It convinces you that a little bit won’t hurt you, and by trying it you will feel better. But avoidance is addictive and it’s seductive. It makes you feel like the issues and the problems and the sins that you have aren’t as bad or as toxic or as lethal as they really are.
Avoidance is my drug of choice. It is my coping mechanism. Avoidance allows me to believe that if I ignore a problem long enough, if I pretend a sin doesn’t exist long enough, if I disregard my dysfunction long enough it will magically fix itself, or at minimum just go away. Avoidance convinces me that it can buy me more time and allow me to manage my image as I casually pursue repentance. Avoidance helps me be more sorry for the consequences of my actions than my actions themselves.
When you embrace avoidance too long, something dangerous happens. The distinct, clear voice of God that you once heard begins to soften. The promptings from the Holy Spirit that guide you and convict you and give you wisdom and discernment aren’t as frequent. At some point, they disappear all together. Funny thing about avoidance…eventually the jig is up, and you’re face to face with consequences:
Avoiding admitting my marital problems left me separated from my wife and kids
Avoiding honoring God with my finances left me in a pile of debt
Avoiding paying the price to be a good friend left me with fractured relationships
Avoiding confessing sin patterns left me with a mountain of regrets
Here’s what I’ve come to realize about living in avoidance…God never shows up when we pretend we have it more together than we really do. God rarely moves when we ignore His promptings. God seldom blesses our decision to avoid reality and just hope it goes away.
God’s power and his presence are unleashed most when we face the very things we are trying to avoid. God’s forgiveness and grace are experienced at their deepest levels when we stop pretending like we aren’t struggling or sinning or broken, but we confess our brokenness to a God that longs to heal us.