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Why Is Willpower Not Working?

Why is willpower not working?

I’m reminded of a patient I’ll call Jenny. She wanted out of her sexual addiction involving multiple casual partners. Even with married men and co-addicts.

She’s big in willpower. At the start of her psychotherapy work.

“I can do it. Stop this shit in my life!” she’d say during one of her Google Meet virtual sessions. “Even face to face meeting with sexy men, I will stop!” 

After a few weeks of initial therapy sessions, she relapsed.  She waned. 
Her resolve was weakened by the presence and push of a married man during a brief visit. He lured her to his hotel room. Then it happened again.

Why is willpower not working in Jenny’s case?

Willpower failed to serve her. It did work for awhile during her first few weeks of abstinence. But then, she slipped again. She’s missing something, big time.

“I’m ashamed, doc. I will it. I know. But it still happened,” reflected Jenny.

There it goes. Her familiar old cycle of shame and guilt haunting her. And making her stuck as a continual victim.

This morning, as I write this, I heard a podcast of Craig Groeschel, saying …

“The key to change is identity, not behavioral modification. When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do. It’s not something you’re missing. It’s Someone.”

Groeschel spoke of the life-changing principle of confidence by “God-power, not by will-power,” quoting passages of Scripture in the book of Romans where the apostle Paul writes ….

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do …. no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me … Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Verses 15-17, 24-25)

why is willpower not wworking

This piece balances and completes the other post I wrote, “Will You Want To Get Well?” 

Your identity is linked to your willpower. Your right identity creates right actions, which in turn creates right results for you.


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