recovery in Christ when life is broken

Powerless to Control My Eating Disorder

 
POWERLESS

I am a firm believer that the Lord turns our ‘mess into a message,’ magnifying His power to bring Him glory. I witnessed this firsthand back in 2014 when a woman named Lindsey boldly shared her story [at church]. Placing her identity and worth in a previous relationship left her broken and lost once it ended. Her deep-rooted joy was evident as she spoke, and I longed for the freedom she expressed. Christ brought her out of a dark season of depression and hopelessness, and her life was forever changed. Her story reached my heart because it was similar to mine, except I was still in bondage to my relationship. I had placed my identity in everything other than Jesus Christ.

 

FEAR AND CONTROL

My struggle with fear and control began at a young age when my parents divorced. I realized this drastic change of lifestyle was completely out of my control. In an attempt to find my worth, happiness, and satisfaction, I sought the approval of men, resulting in ‘on again, off again’ relationships. My life was driven by fear and self-doubt. I was constantly perfecting my appearance and performance to win the approval of others.

At the cost of my relationship with Jesus, I would go to any length to gain approval of others, sacrificing what I knew was true. I eventually turned to body image and managing food intake as a means of taking control of some aspect of my life. What started out as making minor changes in diet and exercise quickly spiraled into self-obsession and starvation. I was dissatisfied, even as the weight rapidly dropped off. The condition of my health continued to decline, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t controlling anything. Anorexia was controlling me.

I viewed my eating disorder as a way of life, failing to recognize it as evidence that I needed God’s presence. There didn’t seem to be enough room in my heart for both my eating disorder and my Heavenly Father. Lost and ridden by guilt and shame, I was powerless over my addictions. I could only overcome this battle by His strength. My true need was not gaining control but relinquishing it. I didn’t need therapy, recovery steps from a doctor, or a three-month long rehab program. I needed a Savior to save me for eternity. That is exactly what Jesus did for me. (Psalm 116:6)

 

CHRIST HAS WON THE BATTLE

When I visited The Porch (Watermark's young adult ministry) in Fort Worth, I was in a miserable relationship that I knew needed to end, but I was fearful of what life would be like without him. The words I heard Lindsey speak that night let me know that I was not alone. It took me six months, but I finally ended the relationship and reached out to Lindsey for help. I needed truth and that is exactly what she pointed me to. When I think of all God has done in my life since we had that first cup of coffee, I am in awe of the Lord’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and the truth behind Him using others to reach and transform hearts.

I didn’t know anything about biblical community before coming to Watermark. Today Lindsey and I are in the same community group with five girls who continually point each other to truth. The Lord never intended for us to go through life alone. Every time we meet I am reminded that I am not alone in my weaknesses and that confession and accountability aren’t meant to flaunt our sin but to magnify God’s grace. Community is the sweetest gift, and life truly is better together.

I’ve also taken part in re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry – first as a participant and now as a leader. The first year I spent in re:gen was such a healing time for me as I shared my story and processed my life with others. God used it to reflect His goodness and power and put new desires in my heart, allowing me to see myself more like He sees me. Because of Christ, my past no longer defines me. My identity isn’t found in my relationships, body image, or what others think of me. It is found in Christ alone.

I used to fear what I would lose if I repented and left my old ways behind. God changed my life, and I went from being far from Him and enjoying sin to hating it. The Lord wanted so much more for my life than what I was choosing. Life is found in pursuing righteousness. Christ has taught my heart to delight in Him, which is the only place that freedom and joy are found. My life has been transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ.

“The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.” (Psalm 116:6)

 

- Natalie G.

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.

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.