recovery in Christ when life is broken

I Can't Stop Looking at Porn

“Ugh. I can’t believe I just watched that. Okay, that was the last time…for real this time, I’ll stop looking at porn tomorrow. What would my family and friends think if they knew I always do this? I’m a fraud Christian.”

These were just some of the thoughts that would run through my head nearly every time I looked at pornography. I viewed porn for the first time when I was nine years old and was not able to stop looking at it for the next sixteen years. The adrenaline rush of doing something wrong intoxicated me. Every perversion in the world was at my fingertips. Proverbs 26:11 says “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool that returns to his folly.” No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop looking at porn and masturbating.

This Brought Death

My addiction to porn harmed my well-being. I stopped enjoying things that used to bring me joy because all I could think about was watching porn. No matter what I was doing, if I saw a pretty girl, all I wanted to do was find her look-alike on a porn website and fantasize about having sex with her. I wasn't in control of porn, porn controlled me. Finally, a few years into my adult life I realized my problem with porn wasn’t something that I was going to outgrow. My addiction had followed me into adulthood, and it wasn’t planning on going away. I had to search for freedom.

How I Found Freedom In Christ

  • I admitted my problem. For years I was in denial that I was addicted to porn. I thought that addiction was something that only happened to alcoholics or drug addicts. Surely I could never be classified as an “addict.” Many people who use porn on a continual basis refuse to admit that they are addicted. If you are unable to stop, you are addicted. Admitting addiction is necessary. (Romans 7:18)
  • I believed that God could heal me. For sixteen years I tried by my own strength to be free from porn. While depending on my own strength, an occasional few porn-free months was the best that I could do. I needed to believe the truth that God has the ability and desire to free me, and trust His power to change me. (Psalm 103:2-5)
  • I confessed my addiction to a friend and asked him to hold me accountable. It is a daily battle not to look at porn, and because of that, I needed to commit to 24-hour sobriety. Until I was able to find freedom, my friend texted me every night to ask if I had looked at porn that day. (James 5:16)
  • I repented by removing access to porn and relying on God daily. Though I knew what I was doing was wrong, the only action I was taking was to feel bad for myself (which led me to look at more porn). I needed to repent by turning from sin to God, not just feel bad every time I did it again (2 Timothy 2:22, Romans 2:15). In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus says that no measure is too extreme to prevent yourself from sinning. I realized I needed to cut off access to porn. I installed monitoring software on my computer, sold my smart TV, activated parental controls on games, deleted apps from my iPhone, and removed non-monitored web browsers from my phone. I didn't leave easy loopholes for myself (Romans 13:14). Then, every morning I would turn to God by reading my Bible and praying. This practice helped redirect my thoughts to God, reminding myself daily that true life is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, not my sexual desires. I would ask God daily for strength to not look at porn and memorize scripture to help me fight temptation (John 10:10, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Corinthians 10:5).

Today, I can joyfully say that I am free from an addiction to pornography. I was not free from my addiction overnight, just like I did not become addicted overnight. The process took time and was not easy. Sometimes, I am tempted to go back to my old ways, but now that my addiction is gone, I see the danger more clearly. I used to be a slave to pornography. I now walk in the freedom offered by Jesus Christ. Will you join me?  

-Calvin S.

 

For more information, check out the Pornography topic in the Struggles section of our website.

I Matter to the One Who Matters Most

“They’ll like me if I’m a leader.” “They’ll like me if I’m skinny.” “They’ll like me if I have sex.” “They’ll wish they had liked me when I’m gone.”

These thoughts ruled my head and heart for years. So tied up in what others thought of me, I strived for perfection, while hating myself at the same time. I knew that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins so that I could enter Heaven, but I didn’t know that He saw me as beautiful and worth saving. I didn’t realize that I mattered deeply to the One who created the whole universe, to the One whose opinion matters most.

Growing up I was praised for being a good girl, for having good manners, always dressing pretty, for making good grades. But it was a heavy burden to stay so perfect. I was consumed with worry that I would mess up, fearful of people judging me, so I took it out on myself. Holed up in my closet, I would resort to self-harm to overcome the feelings of failure and worthlessness.

Control of my perfect image was lost forever when I was raped. Feeling broken, I tried everything to get people to accept and love me. I even endured an abusive relationship. I wanted desperately to be important to someone, so I focused solely on making others happy and conformed to their standards. The problem wasn’t that I had been hurt, or that others didn’t love me. The problem was that I thought other’s opinions were what mattered most. I bought the lie that my status was defined by what others thought of me.

I had to have the best of the best. I needed a boyfriend. I risked my life to be skinny and the life of the party. Thinking I could work my way to being good, I charmed my way onto leadership teams. I was certain that others’ approval would confirm that I was worthy of praise. But only God is worthy of praise. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1). I needed to realize this truth before I was able to let my guard down, before I was able to let the masks come off.

You see, Christ already thought I was valuable and precious regardless of how broken I had become. So much so, that He gave His life so that I could belong to Him and live. When I began focusing on Christ and who He is, I started to realize that I am not the center of the universe. When I took the time to begin to know Christ and to embrace why He died for me, I began to see myself through His eyes. He showed me who I really am. I am His creation, made for Him to love, and for me to love Him in return. Through Jesus sacrifice, I am pursued, made pure, and secure in His love. I am chosen by God.

Even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will. (Ephesians 1:4-5)

Today, God alone gives me purpose. He saves His best for me. My gifts, talents, and joy are from Him, not the world. His ways and thoughts are higher than the most acclaimed people on earth. When I praise Him, my heart is re-centered, and my thoughts change from fear to awe and wonder. Others can label me however they wish, but my identity is secure in Christ. Whether people judge me, or even dislike me, it’s what God thinks of me that matters most. God is a good, merciful, and sweet Father. He knows my heart and delights in my love for Him. It is easy to let the world creep in and try to ‘redefine’ my worth, but when I refocus on the Lord, I find peace, once again, in who He made me.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Once I began to recognize and accept that God loves me unconditionally, I was able to put aside my worry of what others think of me. I didn’t have to do anything to receive His grace, and I don’t have to do anything to keep it. God loves me because He is love. Because of who I am in Him, I do not fear what others think or fear what the future holds, my hope is complete.

But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

-Amy T.

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.