(2012) by Michael John Cusick


p 13

the force that motivated his mission now holds him captive

p 15

if we seek on the physical level what can only be obtained on a spiritual level.. we set ourselves up for never ending cycle that only leads to desperation, despair and bondage

p 16

serpent told woman ‘you don’t die. bod know that the moment you eat form that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on.. you’ll be like god, knowing everything.. from good to evil

what we need to let go of.. thinking we know things

intellect ness, usefully ignorant et al

garden enough ness


oswald chambers claimed that all sin is rooted in the suspicion that god is not really god.. (can’t trust)

unconditional trust – an oxymoron..

p 24

it had never occurred to him that beneath his shame filled compulsions were a hunger and thirst for something legitimate and good

p 29

he could only break free as a result of the restoration of his heart

p 34

when we demand, we leave no room for love because we go from being lovers to consumers.. the problem is not that he’s thirsty.. but that his desire has become a demand..


only when we recognize the deeper rupture in our souls will we feel compelled to seed god w a passion that wells up from deep inside


most of the time we think of integrity as exhibiting good morals, having strong character, and diligently obeying god’s commands.. actually, these are all consequences of integrity.. integrity itself – taken form latin word integer – means to be whole.. just as a whole number is known as an integer, a whole man is known as a man of integrity.. a man who is whole is a moral/obedient man.. each of these flows from integrity



our brokenness is our only requirement for receiving god’s grace


no matter how many acts of obedience we perform, our probes are internal.. if you could somehow stop (whatever addiction)you sill wouldn’t be dealing with the problem below the waterline.. you’ve only clean the outside of the cup ..


understanding ourselves at this level is not about the ‘what’ of our sin (addiction) but the ‘why’

even deeper .. ie: maté addiction law – not why the addiction.. why the pain


what it means to move toward my inadequacy instead of away from it


the problem.. the survival techniques that helped us go on when we were young prevent us from thriving when we are adults.. out solution becomes the problem

cope\ing ness


a man’s soul is wounded in two ways: wounds of presence – hurt from things done; wounds of absence – hurt from things not done


wounds not healed.. pass on unresolved pain to ones we love


greatest barrier to life of freedom.. i s not our brokenness.. it is brokenness unsurrendered..


none of the things i listed are inherently bad, and some of them quite admirable.. what each share in common is their remarkable ability to provide a counterfeit sense of being centered.. counterfeit good always appeals to a legit desire..


we might make a god out of alcohol – turning to it addictively to meet all sorts of inner needs – or maybe we make a god out of not drinking alcohol..


we being journey from slavery to freedom when we expose the counterfeits at root of our brokenness and admit our thirst for the real thing.. at best they (counterfeits) put a band aid on the problem.. at worst, they create more stress thru procrastination, overspending or overconsuming


they give us temporary permission to live in denial; they help us suppress inconvenient or uncomfortable truths.. but the escape is not real.. doesn’t last.. worship is reflexive in all of us.. you worship someone/thing..


we are fooled into thinking an idol is serving us when in reality we are serving it…. tozer suggests that idolatry is asking ‘what is god like’ and getting the wrong answer.. so we take matters into our won hands.. turn to something/one we believe will provide us with what our souls need..


if we’re temped w something from which we can’t seem to break free.. pretty certain it has become an idol in our hearts


they worshipped and served created things rather than the creator – ro 1:21-25

we give up hope of ever satisfying the goor desire in our hearts..

tim keller: ‘idols cannot simply be removed.. must be replaced.. if only uproot them.. they grow back.. by god.. but by god we don’t mean a general belief in his existence.. most people have that, yet their souls are riddle w idols.. need a living encounter


guilt: i have done wrong… shame: i am wrong.. belief we are defective ,flawed, bad, or worthless..unbearable.. springsteen’s better days: ‘it’s a sad man who’s living in his own skin and can’t stand the company’

shame ‘worthiness has no pre reqs.. shame loves pre reqs’ (and so the need for training et al.. red flags)


crucial.. determines how we experience god.. and whether we experience the good news as good news, or sort of good news

shame first appeared in garden.. naked and unashamed before god mean they were both free and able to offer exactly who they were.. w/o holding anything back or hiding their true selves.. they were fully known, just as they were created to be, and they were fully ok w that.. this led to an uninhibited intimacy w god and w each other

garden enough ness


importance of fittingness.. fully known .. rather than knowing knowledge.. (tree)


when adam and eve reached beyond god’s provision.. the consequences were as swift as they were dramatic.. shame’s first words – ‘better go hide’.. because ate of fruit from tree of knowledge of good and evil.. eyes were now opened.. . their newly gained knowledge of good and evil made them keenly aware of their loss of innocence.. went form being naked and unashamed to hiding and covering their true selves


hiddenness became self protective strategy in relationships.. shame became a barrier to mercy, love, care.. andrew comiskey: ‘shame is the raincoat over the soul repelling the living water that would otherwise establish us as the beloved of god’


hiding our true selves goes against god’s design for us. it’s not natural, and it never leads to life


the voice of shame should never be confused w the voice of god.. god never turns away from our brokenness.. when we desperately try to maintain our appearance, we end up delaying our rescue

magis esse quam videri


since garden.. all of us have followed ie .. by attempting to earn love.. we believe in order to be loved, we must perform.. performance: 1\ a treadmill that never stops.. never enough 2\ rooted in pride.. self sufficiency 3\ leads to false self

wilde not us law .. masks and measures.. et al


hiding, performing, pretending prevents us from receiving what our hearts long for.. a false self can not be loved.. doesn’t exist.. we can only be loved for our true selves.. as unlovable as we think we might be


humility.. if properly understood, is the antidote to shame.. (at core of humility is trust.. trusting god and others w who you are)


nothing to hide, nothing to lose, nothing to prove.. a completely new experience of freedom

nothing to prove ness

what do you long to hear.. who can you trust with you


carl jung: all neurosis is caused by the avoidance of necessary pain

maté addiction law


gerald may, the awakening heart: ‘the freedom question then is not whether we can do whatever we want, but whether we can do what we most deeply want

whatever we want ness.. as the thing(s) we can’t not do

our souls crave to do something that matters, hard workthat matters.. what we deeply want..


dallas willard has suggested that much of what passes for the gospel today is a reduced gospel, a gospel that simply involves believing the right things and being forgiven.. led to a focus on life then and not now.. what our lives look like on outside..



in jesus god ushered in a new covenant.. a radical operation that deals w sin at the deepest level – our hearts jer 31:33: ‘i will put my law in them ind and write it on their hearts.. ‘ .. previously laws written on stone tables.. now.. in our hearts/minds.. now resides in us.. heb 12:24

was it ever outside of us..? made in his image et al

on each heart ness


your good heart is what is most true about you


men tell me they struggle.. w (whatever addiction) is because their ‘heart is desperately wicked’.. referring to jeremiah 17:9.. but for the man who has trusted christ.. this is a paralyzing mistake.. god has given him a new heart.. this is no small side issue

or uncovered the one already in him – otherwise.. in image ness?.. otherwise.. we’re deciding that some action has to happen

col 2:11: sinful nature stripped away..



your sinful nature is no longer who you are..

was it ever..?

i think this is no small side issue

so important i need to say it again.. paul was telling us we are not our sin nature.. crippling.. we must not confuse our sinful nature w our new hearts

seems crippling too to think we’re getting new hearts.. (like he gave us damaged goods).. rather than that we were enough when we were born.. in his image..

jer 31: ‘a man will not need to teach his neighbor/friend anymore.. he will not say ‘know the lord’ everyone will know me.. all of them’


yeah.. seems like we’re adding a pre req.. a pre req were people are deficit w/o us.. telling them.. et al.. i think it’s more about creating conditions for people to listen to..uncover.. strip away.. to what’s already there

when it seems all you want is the relief of (whatever addiction) something inside you wants more.. what are you thirsty for


reality of your new heart is that deep down, your inclination now gravitates toward god’s heart ps 37:4: ‘delight yourselves in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart..’

wish he’d quit saying ‘new’ heart


goal is not to turn off facet of (addiction) but to turn on faucet of trust.. trusting that he has restored my heart.. that my heart is good

restored heart.. that resonates more..

trust for me and others.. unconditional.. assume good.. imagine all the energy we’d save

i began to understand just how much energy i had spent on sin management.. trying to repress the cesspool.. as i stopped putting my energy into shutting off the facet from cesspool, my real passions began rising to the surface.. pipes in my soul getting unclogged.. something starting to flow that i didn’t know was there.. john 4:14: ‘spring of water welling up’

(wasn’t going to add.. the saving energy thing above.. but did.. then read next sentence.. huge .. what we need most.. the energy of 8b alive people.. has to be all of us.. not just some of us)

also – ‘didn’t know what was already there’.. not new.. just uncovered.. unclogged.. huge diff

the me who was truly meant to fly


i began to realize that my desire for attention and affection was good.. longing for beauty was good.. thirst to live w freedom and wild abandon was good.. the light and passion inside me was good.. my heart was good.. of course it was.. it was the heart of jesus.. his poem: ‘his light that i’m defined by .. and it’s brighter than it seems’

108 – the invisible battle

john eldredge: ‘the story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it’


purpose of the battle: control of the human heart.. (satan) exists to block you, in whatever way possible, from becoming the man of god you were created to bel.. he hates your soul.. he hates how your life can make god known.. if he can’t kill your soul.. he’ll try to convince you to cover it w shame and get you to hide.. he’ll try to convince you that you can never change..


philip yancey: ‘we are never more godlike than in the act of sex.. we make ourselves vulnerable.. simultaneous.. experiencing for a brief time a unity like no other.. ‘


should it come as no surprise that the evil one would make the destruction/desecration of sex a primary target in his war against all that is good/glorious.. this is so much bigger than being accountable to someone and trying to remain pure.. an intense battle because it s the arena where god desires to demo who he is and what the’s like.. what communion w him is meant to be


he (jesus encounter w satan) was unshakably solid in his id.. he neither caved in from insecurity nor acted out in self defense.. he knew who he was.. the beloved son of god

how many have gotten caught in the snare .. because they had something to prove..


addictions give the powers of darkness the right to act as squatters in our hearts.. addiction acts as permission.. as vacancy-sign..

(then 2 page prayer.. pray everyday until you are totally and completely free)

yeah.. i don’t think prayer works that way.. reciting other people’s words..?


when empty.. being alone is almost always a scary thing.. when full.. almost always a joy.. it wasn’t being alone i was afraid of; it was emptiness.


loneliness to solitude.. restless senses to restful spirit.. fearful clinging to fearless play.. – henri nouwen


our souls require solitude and silence in order to survive..


you may get disoriented and lose your way, but you can always return to the highway.. it’s right there in your heart.. attentive.. alert.. about the life within..


psalm 42 ‘as the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you’.. is a song of lament that reflects his grief over the loss of his community ‘why are you downcast oh my soul’.. the psalmist is engage in a convo w god.. but he is also engaged in a convo w himself as the basis for his dialogue w god.. it’s a beautiful pic of a man being attentive to his soul

self-talk ness

i often wonder how my life would have been diff if i’d had a language at my disposal to help me understand what was going on in my soul.. a soul language

idio-jargon ness

four actions will help you develop your soul language: 1\ id your triggers 2\ interrogate cravings (what is deeper craving) 3\ surf urges (ride them out till they pass.. instead of running into it) 4\ carry your tension (carrying pain rather than using addiction to release it)


what does my soul really need right now


sexual compulsions are disorders of intimacy.. they lead to isolation and loneliness.. even if a man is addicted to relationships..


we should never measure transformation by the absence of sin, only be the presence of love..


we are loved beyond imagination.. we discover that this alone defines our true id’s.. we are the beloved.. because of this,we are free from the compulsion to be someone we are not – to impress, manipulate, or attempt in our own unique way to earn love.. we are free to be who we are

brown belonging lawthe opposite of belonging.. is fitting in.. true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are.. it requires you to be who you are.. and that’s vulnerable.. –Brené Brown


(on what is freedom).. at conclusion of civil are in 1865.. all slaves in south were emancipated

yeah.. i don’t think so

freedom is not just from something.. also toward something.. the ability to do what you most deeply want to, and to become who you most deeply are


free\dom et al


god is concerned w so much more than giving you the energy to keep you from (whatever addiction).. he wants to free you from any encumbrances.. that prevent you from living the life he intended..


each time you surf (fill in addiction) i knew you were really surfing for me



(another 2 page prayer to recite)


beneath your brokenness.. your heat remains intact..

god longs to transform your (addiction) into strength.. it ons’t happen, however, thru more religious effort.. by recruiting one more accountability partner.. by deciding that this time you’re going to be more serious .. you can continue trying harder to do better until you give up form exhaustion.. or.. you can choose life.. means believing you were created to fly and sing the song in your heart..


from study guide questions link []:

ch 2 –  p4 – #6: In this process of finding freedom and wholeness, you must find your good heart and we will get to this more in chapter 6, but shame will not take you there.

ch 3 – p5 – #2: “If Thomas Aquinas’s words are true – that every sinful behavior is rooted in a legitimate God-given appetite – then identifying those God-given longings must be our first order of business.” 

ch4 – p6 – #7 – He cannot heal what you will not let go of.

ch 8 – p10 – #1: Gerald May writes, “The freedom question, then, is not whether we can do whatever we want, but whether we can do what we most deeply want.” Where have you seen “freedom” abused in the church or culture at large as it has been defined as doing “whatever we want” as in the first part of this quote.

#5: Michael writes, “for the man who has trusted Christ, this (the struggle with porn = their heart is desperately wicked – referring to Jeremiah 17:9) is a paralyzing mistake. God has given him a new heart. His heart is no longer desperately wicked. This is no small theological side issue.” Do you understand the gravity of a person’s understanding of the gospel message and the implications this has on the way that a person lives?

ch 11 – p13 – #2: In an age of near constant distraction – a “hyper-connected world” – computers, iPhones, iPads, etc., being still, practicing solitude and silence is SUCH a discipline. “We have become, as Kierkegaard said, tranquilized by the trivial.” 

#3: Re-read the quote from Henri Nouwen, p. 141. “To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.” 

#5: As you sit by yourself in silence ask yourself the question, “as I listen to my soul, what is it saying to me”?

#6: “We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4:19. What do you imagine it might be like to sit in the presence of God with no other goal except to be delighted in?

ch 12 – p 14 – #1: Michael writes, “Knowing that you have a highway in your heart should be very comforting. You may get disoriented and lose your way, but you can always return to the highway. It’s right there in your heart

ch 13 – p 15 – #1: What are the ways that you typically try to impress, manipulate, or attempt in your own unique way to earn love? Can you think of one time/experience where this compulsion to be someone that you are not subsided where you experienced God’s free and abundant love? What was this like?

ch 14 – p16 – #1: As Michael tells the story of his father giving up alcohol, do you believe that you have it within you to decide to “grow up” and “learn to live as God’s free and chosen (man)”

??? grow up..and learn..???? or space/time to uncover what is already there

#2: What do you want to be said of you when you lie flat on your back and your days have come to an end

???? is that a good question/focus????

#3: Can you relate to having cop accountability? How about coach accountability? Have you ever experienced cardiologist accountability? Do you have this now? If so – fantastic! If not, can you think of a man who could provide this for you? Will you have the courage to ask for this

????? ugh.. accountability is anti love