The Worst Day Ever

Three days ago, I did the hardest thing I’d ever done.  Three days ago, I told my girlfriend about my addiction to pornography.

It was a Monday, we were on our way back from Walmart, and I had to tell her.  I had been praying for a good conversation, I had been praying that the Spirit would prepare her heart, and I had been praying that God would give me the courage to tell her.  It was a conversation I had been dreading really for about 4 years, but especially for the past five months that we’ve been dating.

I guess there’s not really a good way to go about it.  There’s no way to tell her that doesn’t suck.  A friend told me that in order to tell her, I had to get to a mindset of knowing that there is a chance the relationship would end right then and there.  So I was.  I was ready to take whatever came with that conversation, knowing that she had every right to be upset, angry, confused, or really any emotion.  I didn’t know what would happen when I told her, but I knew that I had to.  No longer could I hide in shame.  No longer could I be a man of integrity while holding this secret from her.

So three nights ago, I pulled into a parking lot and told her.  There were a lot of tears on my end, and she listened, as she always does.  She didn’t really ask questions or become emotional in any way.  She expressed grace towards me in a really amazing way, and I was not prepared for such a response.  I left that conversation feeling quite well.  I had that off of my chest, and she took it so well. That was wayyy easier than I thought it would be.

So I slept like a baby and went through the next day beaming at how awesome our relationship was despite my issues.

Then yesterday hit.

Yesterday was hell and one of the worst days of my life.  Yesterday, I saw the effects of porn on the people that we love.  Never in a million years would I want to hurt her, but yesterday I couldn’t not see the pain.  From noon till late at night, we struggled with the pain caused by porn and the brokenness left in its wake.  I couldn’t remove myself from the situation, I had to be there and watch.  I had to watch as my baggage of addiction wrecked the girl of my dreams.  There was nothing I could do.  There were no words I could say to fix things, and I felt helpless.  This time she asked questions.  They were questions that I felt inadequate to answer, but questions that needed to be asked.  I learned how my addiction to pornography makes her feel.  I learned that my actions have consequences for other people.  I knew that she would be upset, but this was horrible.

Though it was the worst thing ever, I’m glad it happened.  We didn’t decide to end things, and the future will happen.  I don’t know what that looks like, and I don’t know where things will go, but I know that God is still God.  I also know that God has always been in the business of turning stumblers into track stars.  I have a great girlfriend, and through her I see God’s grace every single day.  Even yesterday.

Written from the midst of the struggle.

Advertisements
The Worst Day Ever

#Day0 – the first time

I remember my first run-in with pornography as if it were yesterday.

I was so curious.  I just wanted to know what the other guys at the lunch table were talking about.  I wanted to laugh.  I wanted to make the jokes.  I wanted to be in on the conversation, not sitting there trying not to embarrass myself.  I knew that I shouldn’t.  I knew that it was wrong.  I knew that if I got caught it would be bad news.

I was a really good kid.  I was also a really curious kid.  I wanted to know.  I had to know.  I had heard that there was videos of people having sex on the internet, and I knew it couldn’t be that hard to find.  Everyone else seemed to have found it.  So one night, curiosity killed the cat.  Finally having a device of my own to search the depths of the internet, it was a no-brainer.

I should have known better.

As I searched the internet, I became physically ill.  Ill almost to the point of vomiting.  I was shaking.  I was sweating.  In that moment, I felt consumed.  Consumed with the lust that had slowly but surely taken me to the point of searching to find the perverted version of one of God’s greatest creations.  And then, I found it.  I found it and so much more that I never should have found.

For a few brief moments, I thought that I had accomplished what I had come for.

Then, it hit me.

I became overcome by guilt and shame.  The guilt and shame that I thought no one could ever understand.  In that moment, I knew Satan to be a liar.  I was never going to do that again.

A couple weeks later, I went looking for it again.  Then again.  Then again.  But it was ok, I could quit any time.  Porn was just a habit that I had.  One that I would be easily able to quit when I went to college.  When I got a girlfriend.  When I became a minister.

Soon enough, those milestones came and past, but porn didn’t go anywhere.  Somehow, though I know it is coming, I still have bought into Satan’s lies time and time again.


Because of porn, I now know:

We are constantly drawn to return to that which Christ has called us out of.

Every morning when we wake up, Jesus is offering more, and Satan is offering us less.

The LORD has all the power to redeem and refine us.


“Father, I need you. Keep my eyes ever on You.”

Written from the midst of the struggle.

#Day0 – the first time

#DAY3 – DATING MY DEMONS

The most frustrating part about my struggle with porn is that is predictable.

Same time. Same location. Everyday.

I know when, and where I will be most tempted to look at porn and masturbate. I am most tempted at the same time, at the same location, every single day. It’s like I have a date night with my sin. But instead of date night only being once a week, it is every single night. Our date is repeating, and it is predictable.

Same time. Same location. Everyday.

Every night when I crawl in bed, I know what is going to happen. I know my demons will meet me in my bed. As I pull the covers over me it is as if I am pulling temptation with it.

I have tried all the remedies to porn that I have heard. But see the problem is that my accountability partners go to sleep before I do. My Wi-Fi filters only work if I am actually on my Wi-Fi network, instead of streaming data from my phone.

So I am stuck with a routine of sin. I know when it is coming and I can’t seem to stop it.

Same time. Same location. Everyday.

So Jesus, here is my prayer to you. Third wheel my date with sin. Meet us there. I can tell you where and when we are meeting; all I ask is that you show up. Show up and hold my hand and keep my attention on you. Because Jesus, without you, I am only failing. My prayer and my invitation are for you to show up, even when I don’t want you to.

Same time. Same location. Everyday.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Written from the midst of the struggle.

#DAY3 – DATING MY DEMONS

#Day2 – The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

After porn, I can no longer read this piece of Psalm 23 the same way as I used to.  Growing up, this verse made me imagine a dark valley, with creepy trees, snakes, and other scary images.  Now… my mind goes to the websites, the emptiness I feel, and the broken relationships caused by the websites and the emptiness.  I know the valley.  I loathe the valley.  But the second part of this text is the part I forget about.

I will fear no evil, for you are with me

I’m constantly afraid.  Afraid that I’ll stumble again.  Afraid that someone could find out.  Afraid that I’m useless to God because of my sin.  And Afraid that it may never stop, that this sick temptation may never go away.  But maybe, just maybe, God’s got me.  Why should I be afraid when the Creator of the heavens, the Being who knit me together in my mother’s womb has me in his hands.  I often pray that God will continue to mold me into the man that He is calling me to be, but its up to me to be soft, moldable clay.  I have the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of all things that are good and holy with me, every step of the way.  Whom shall I fear but the Lord?

your rod and your staff, they comfort me

Wherever I go, whatever I do, The Lord is with me.  He has seen me in the depths of despair.  He has seen me at the height of joy.  The Lord has set things in motion to protect me.  Like the great Father that He is, the Lord of Heaven and Earth will never abandon me and seeks out my heart, instead of merely judging my actions.  My Father in heaven has sat there with me and held me as I have cried silent tears of pain and agony over the thought of my immense baggage.  My Father comforts me in the darkest places of my heart and seeks to purify my heart of the things that darken it.

So today I find myself in the valley of the shadow of death, and if you’re reading this, you likely do as well.  But today, I fear no evil, for my Father is with me.

Written from the midst of the struggle.

#Day2 – The Valley of the Shadow of Death

#Day1 – So What Is My Problem?

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:28

 

I try so hard to stop watching porn and masturbating. I have multiple accountability groups and multiple mentors who check up on me. I listen to sermons on lust. I have tried all of the browser filters and Internet search history monitors. I have tried everything. Yet no matter how hard I try, I am still addicted.

It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I have realized that my porn and masturbation addiction is not my problem.

See my problem is not that I have been hooked since I was 12 years old. My problem is not that I can’t go more than 14 days without watching porn or masturbating. My problem is not that it is nearly impossible for me to not look at a woman lustfully.

Perhaps my problem is how hard I try.

Perhaps my problem is that all of the above sentences only involve me.

Perhaps my problem is that I am so focused on stopping the physical acts of watching porn and masturbating that I ignore my heart.

Perhaps my problem is that I am trying to stop my addiction without help from God and the Spirit.

My problem is I do not pursue God with EVERYTHING I am. My problem is I do not invite Him into my struggle. My problem is that I want to be in the driver’s seat. My problem is my impure heart. My problem is that I do not trust Him enough to surrender every aspect of my life to Him.

But if God is really to be the one in control of my life, as I claim He is, I must surrender my will to Him. I must learn to trust him daily, even hourly.

Breathing is not something I choose to do. It is not something I have to think about. It is something that I naturally do. I don’t have to try to breathe, I just breathe. My body naturally takes in air from my nostrils and uses it to give me life. Thank God I do not have to try to breathe.

I long for the day when I do not have to try to surrender to God. I long for the day that my surrender to God is as natural as breathing. I long for the day that this is a normal rhythm of my life.

I pray that I can be so in tune with the Spirit that my surrender is a routine reaction that happens without constant thought or effort. I want to naturally surrender to God so that I can receive life! I long for the day I do not have to keep track of how many days it has been since I last watched porn.

May my surrender become so natural that I lose track of how many days it has been!

 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.”

Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Written from the midst of the struggle.

#Day1 – So What Is My Problem?

#Day0 – What just happened?

It doesn’t take long for seemingly buried lust to make its way out of its shallow grave.

I had gone a while since my last stumble into the depths of pornography, even reporting late last night to my partners in the struggle that “I can honestly say that, because of the power of the Almighty, I’m cleaner on the porn stuff than I have been in a long time.”  I wasn’t lying. I was beginning to see girls once again in the way that God intended.  And then today I thought, “I haven’t watched porn in two weeks, I am doing really well.”  After that, the Enemy moved quickly.  I can’t even remember this time exactly what it was that set it off.  Maybe it was the girl I watched two nights ago as she walked to her car.  I knew I should look away, but it was just one little thing, right?  Maybe it was scrolling through Instagram today.  The beach pictures.  Anything can set my mind down a dangerous path.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t even close my eyes for fear of images scrolling through my mind.  It all happened so fast.  When it was over, I felt like I always do after porn: cheated, lied to, and ashamed.

But today, I believe the Lord used my experience to push me to write this.

When working to get past porn:

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.   Proverbs 16:18

So you’ve gone a few days, weeks, months, or years without porn?  Give God the glory! God is making you into a new creation, something far greater than what we could ever dream or imagine, but you are not.  The only thing we can do is fully trust and glorify God for dragging us out of the pit of despair, and into the land of the living!

Do not give the devil a foothold.   Ephesians 4:27

No small amount of lust is ok.  We live in a world that wants to make sin look normal.  Pornography and masturbation are common conversations in pop culture.  The joking and the lighthearted nature of the conversation is not ok.  Porn defiles what God has set apart.  Its time we start being offended by the culture.  So whether its the bikini picture on Instagram or the girl at the supermarket, let’s be good stewards of the gift God has given us.

The Enemy is a good liar.  Every day when we wake up, Satan is offering us less, and Jesus is offering us more.  We need to choose Jesus every second of every day.  That’s the only way we can beat this. We are all in this together.

Written from the midst of the struggle.

#Day0 – What just happened?