By Steve Motyl
Along with millions of others around the globe, I suddenly found myself working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020. It was weird for me, because in my 30+ years of working in an office, I had never worked remotely. I’m a very extraverted guy. I love the “incarnational reality” of being in person face to face with others. Fist bumping over Zoom just isn’t the same. So, for the first few days of the madness I thought to myself, “this is never gonna work. I’m gonna lose my mind!”
Well, after about a week I changed my tune to: “I don’t ever wanna work in an office again!” I discovered that I love working from home. I never realized how much time I wasted from commuting to constant interruptions to last minute unplanned meetings. On the positive flip side, as a husband and father of 5, I found that I get to connect with my family throughout the day. And, one of my greatest (new) joys is my wife will shoot me a text during the 3:00 hour with the simple question: “Chaplet?” And when I can break free, I go downstairs to join the family for prayer. How cool is that?!
Like with so many other unexpected changes, life is very much about adapting. Nothing stays the same. It shouldn’t or it’s not growing, right? Same with us. So, for me, while I was adjusting to the new reality of working from home, I decided it was a good time to rethink the trajectory of my life. Why not, right? Will there ever be a better time to make a change than during a global lockdown?
While reflecting on what to do, I remembered that I always had a desire to get a masters in marriage and family counseling. My wife and I do a lot of marriage prep work together, so it seemed a natural extension. I started researching online programs I could do while maintaining my day job. So, I reached out to a dear old friend. He’s a very prominent, well known Catholic marriage and family therapist. We had a great conversation. He surprised me by saying, “Steve, everything I know about you, and everything you’re saying now, tells me you shouldn’t be a counselor, you should be a Life Coach. Have you thought about that?” I said, “not really, what’s that?!” So, he explained what it is, what it isn’t, and how it’s different from counseling and therapy. I was sold! It 100% resonated with me, my personality, my gifts, my professional and personal experience, so I was off to the races. I got certified and was ready to start coaching. It was at this time that I met Steve Pokorny, founder and lead coach of Freedom Coaching, through some fellow Catholic Coaches. My trajectory was about to change again in a way I never expected or even wanted.
Freedom Coaching is an amazingly beautiful and effective program for coaches to lead clients with a porn compulsion to real, authentic freedom, beyond mere coping. I respected it but knew this would be intense and not what I was looking to do. So, naturally (haha) Steve asked me if I’d be interested in being trained in his method, as his clientele was busting beyond what he could handle. (When I started with Steve, he had just added 3 other coaches and is now adding 2 more and counting!).
The training was stellar, for sure, but what started as, “I don’t wanna do that kind of coaching,” has turned into an unbelievable gift. The reality that God has invited me to be an instrument of healing, redemption, and freedom in the lives of men, overwhelms me. He is literally using Freedom Coaching to bring men and women (and by extension their marriages and families) back from the brink of death to ultimate and authentic freedom. And I get to journey with them. To see them start to pick their heads up again. To see the light return to their eyes. To hear them laugh again. To hear their glory stories of how they are being set free and how their marriages are being restored. “Behold, I make ALL things new!” (Revelation 21:5)
Part of my work with Freedom Coaching involves staying up on all the trends regarding pornography. (Not fun). No surprise that use skyrocketed at an alarming rate during the lockdown. People are isolated. Bored. Lonely. Without something outside themselves to turn to (God, family, friends), porn becomes an all too easy go to, which becomes a pattern, then a habit, then a compulsion.
Here’s the thing we all know: porn has become so normalized to the point where it’s not only no longer taboo, it’s expected to be part of every life, every relationship. It’s gotten to the point where surveys are showing that single young adults who regularly engage in porn and masturbation, plan to continue the habit after the lockdown is over rather than go back to dating. What the h-e-double hockey sticks?! If this doesn’t convince you of how “addicting” porn can be, I’m not sure what will. Not to mention all the other harmful ways porn wrecks lives, marriage, families, but that is for another blog.
For now, here’s the honest truth: there is NOTHING normal about porn. It’s possibly the most un-normal, un-healthy, un-natural thing man has ever come up with. (Of course, we know that there is truth and beauty in the authentic gift of human sexuality, but the reason porn is so bad is because it is a complete distortion of the greatest gift God has given man outside of life and salvation – the husband and wife becoming one flesh – the very icon of the Heavenly Marriage!)
But what is truly normal is freedom! And this is what we should be shouting from the rooftops ala William Wallace! (If you don’t get the reference, please stop reading now and go watch Braveheart). Freedom is what we all long for. Some are still too blind to see it, but we know Christ came to set us free.
When we at Freedom Coaching have our very first session with a new client, we always ask them, “why are we meeting?” We want to hear it, but we want them to hear themselves say it and own it. Freedom is mentioned as a desire 100% of the time. These guys know what they’re missing. They say things like, “I want to be rid of porn forever, so I can be free. Free to live my life how God intended. Free to love my wife like she deserves. Free to be the father my kids need me to be. I want to be free.”
We here at Freedom Coaching are about the business of saying no to normalizing porn and yes to normalizing freedom. Sadly, there are far more people in the chains of porn than you may realize. Won’t you help us by being a Freedom Coaching ambassador? Pray God sends those who need it. But also, be not afraid to let your friends, family, co-workers, social circle, church friends, pastor, know we exist. Most folks are ready and willing to accept the normalization of porn. It’s time for us to work together to #NormalizeFreedom.
Steve Motyl is a trained Freedom Coach with Freedom Coaching. He lives in the Amish countryside of southeast Pennsylvania with his wife, children, dog, barn cats, and chickens. You can schedule a session with Steve or learn more or at freedom-coaching.net.