How can we deal with unchecked sin in the church? And how do we ensure that we have safe people to confess to and receive accountability from? What happens when leaders do not create this structure in their lives?
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In this episode, Holly and I talk with wife, mom, author, and Facebook ads consultant Beth Nyhart. Beth shares her story of pornography addiction and how this has been redeemed in her life and work.
She walks us through why it’s important to be accountable to others in the context of the church and how the church can encourage and equip those struggling with chronic sin.
Beth’s Leadership Journey:
Growing up in a Christian home, Beth was very engaged with her church and youth group. She had a reputation as one of the “good kids.” As a student, she led the youth drama team, started the first live worship band, and was a student representative on the church board. Beth believes people felt that she was a leader because she was available and responsible.
Behind-the-scenes, though, Beth was struggling with a pornography addiction, something she’d been battling for years.
In college, she tried all different majors, but didn’t find the right fit. Then she got married, had a baby, and “dropped off the map.”
She didn’t hold a leadership position for a while, which was hard for her extroverted, productive personality type. Recently, God has been slowly putting her back into leadership. She first found “her people” online when she started a mastermind, which encouraged her to write a book of her story.
Because of her consulting work and her mastermind group, she knows that being a leader has done a lot for her confidence. Through the book-writing process, Beth has wanted to share how she lives out what she preaches by posting on Facebook and her website.
Why We Need Accountability As Leaders:
Throughout her life, Beth has had many different mentors hold her accountable, and she’s always seeking out who can disciple her. Currently, her mastermind group, accountability partner, and therapist mentor her.
Beth believes strongly that leaders need to have accountability in order to stay healthy and avoid falling into sin. As we have seen recently, more and more leaders’ “secret lives” are being exposed, and it shows us the need for having a structure in place for this.“As leaders, we need to be very intentional about saying, ‘I need people to keep me in check.’”Click To Tweet
It’s valuable to have several people holding you accountable so that you are not relying on just one person to keep you on track.
How Beth Embraced her Wiring as a Leader:
Beth hasn’t found personality tests to be practical to her, but her mastermind group has taught her so much about herself. With a group that holds her accountable to change and is committed to communication, she knows they will call her out when necessary. Her mastermind makes space for her and she makes space for them.
Beth’s Advice for Younger Leaders:
- Most importantly, let go of your expectations of what life and leadership will look like.
- Give God access to everything in your life.
- Remember that effective leadership may look like being vulnerable.
- Obey what God is calling you to do or share. If you’re unsure, sit on your idea for a few months.
Beth’s Struggle with Pornography Addiction:
Beth was introduced to pornography by age eight and this introduction became a full-blown addiction when her family got the internet at home. Because she was viewed so highly both those in her church youth group, she didn’t feel like she could talk to anyone about her struggle because they had a different perception of her.
Her struggle went unchecked from ages eight to 18.
Beth attended a small discipleship school with the purpose of dealing with her pornography addiction. Her advisors there helped rebuild her understanding Christianity, who God was, who she was, and how she needed to interact with the truths of the Bible as well as the Holy Spirit’s prompting. This process took another 10 years.
It took time for her to feel comfortable talking about her long struggle, but she felt God’s prompting to write about it. This idea annoyed Beth, but God impressed on her that He’d redeem the worst of her story.
Beth explains that when we come into relationships with our strengths, we neglect what unites all of our: our sin nature.“We all need to be able to deal with our sin nature effectively so we can be in right relationship with God.”Click To Tweet
Beth encourages us to get to a place where we can share our struggle so we can actively deal with our sin.
How the church can help those struggling with pornography
- If your church offers resources, make sure that people know about them through testimonials and sharing what’s available.
- If your church feels unequipped or too busy to help those struggling, consider these steps:
- Remember to open up conversations so that shame doesn’t prevent people from getting help.
Beth’s Everyday Life:
Beth works from home, has a four year-old, and is in the midst of launching a book so her life feels really full. Here are two habits that are helping her right now:
- Develop a daily routine.
- Swap kid-watching time. When a fellow work-at-home mom needs to work, Beth watches her kids and the friend returns the favor. For Beth, it’s a great way to get work done and get personal interaction.
Beth’s book recommendation:
As leaders, I believe that we need to be willing to have tough conversations and deal with challenging topics. I want to thank Beth for being brave and sharing her story on the podcast. It’s clear that none of us are immune from sin or addiction, and that we need to set up systems of accountability in our lives to help us guard against it.
If Beth’s story impacted you, please reach out to her and let her know. If you know someone who could benefit from hearing this story, please share it with them.
Connect with Beth Nyhart
Beth is a wife, a mother, and a business owner, passionate about obeying God’s leading in both the big things and the mundane. God is redeeming her story of pornography addiction as she uses it to teach churches about how to confront sin in their congregations, their families, and their own hearts.
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