If you are just joining our little series on the path of freedom, feel free to catch up:
Walking the Path
In Unstable Victor, I pointed out that a porn (or even lust) addict is dealing with far more than ‘just’ the sin. There are far-reaching effects of the sin that can be debilitating and also sinful. It is important for any woman coming out of this to realize that this is not as simple as flipping a switch. Are there switches that need flipped? Absolutely, but always remember, the more light you let in, the more you can see, and I guarantee you, when first coming out of this darkness, you are not going to like what you see.
So how do we do this? How do we fix our hurting hearts?
The short answer: We don’t. We can’t. It was our attempts to fix it that got many of us into this mess in the first place. God has to fix our hearts because only He knows the depth of the brokenness. We know the feeling of being broken but are often unable to pinpoint what exactly is broken. We may try to fix something only to feel life still isn’t working properly. We are inexperienced in this field of healing, which is why it is not our job.
Our job is to get out of the way and let God do what He has to do to heal. For many of us, the area in which this is most difficult is our hearts. We want God to fix our bodies. We want Him to cleanse our minds, but we really don’t want Him anywhere near our hearts. We have spent days, months, yes, even years protecting, guarding and hiding our hearts.
We don’t realize that the actions of our mind and body stem from our heart. Our hearts have died and started an infection that is spreading. You can treat the symptoms if you would like, but you would agree that it is far better to treat the cause. We have to let God have our hearts and deal with our brokenness.
Step 1: Own your sin.
I know that sounds like a strange first step. This is the first step on the road of freedom, not the first step to freedom, though it could very well be the first step toward freedom for some.
We have to be OK with the fact that we were addicted to pornography. We have to own that part of our lives. I do not mean ‘own’ like polishing it up like some award, putting it in a trophy case and displaying it for all to see. Oh no. I mean own as in acknowledging that yes, we have done this.
For however long you have been involved in this, you have been distancing yourself from the sin. Pornography and lust are both sins of anonymity. No one else in this world has to know you do them! They aren’t really your sins; they’re bad habits; they’re things you do when you’re sick; they’re things that have a grip on you.
No- they are your sins. You sinned them and you sinned them because you are a sinner.
We women, especially, get so burdened under the shame and guilt associated with this sin. We barely even want to look at ourselves. We are disgusted with ourselves. We can’t believe we did this. What’s wrong with us?
That attitude is toxic to a walk with God. You have got to get it to shut up. You have no power to change what you have done—none. No amount of head-banging or guilt-tripping is going to change your past. This sin, as dark as it may be, is a part of your life now. That is an unchangeable fact. You can’t run from it; you can’t hide it, and you will live the rest of your days in skepticism and fear if you even try.
Want it in real life terms? You have to be OK if someone finds out. Your future in freedom will hinge on this point. You cannot be afraid of someone knowing. To clarify: I don’t mean that you should have no problem with broadcasting your sin to the entire world. No, no. I mean that you cannot insist that ‘no one ever has to know.’ Somebody has to know. That somebody does need to be chosen carefully, but someone has to know.
I know. That’s scary, and it may take you a while to get to that point. Why can’t you just put it in a box and walk away and live your life like nothing ever happened? Try it. I know I tried multiple times and got so frustrated when it felt like my spiritual life wasn’t going anywhere. I wanted to grow in Him. I wanted the life lost in Him that so many people had told me about, and this porn thing kept coming up.
God, why do we have to talk about that? It’s over! I’m better. I haven’t looked at it in a few months. It’s not that big of a deal. Can’t we talk about something else?
Looking back it reminds me of a conversation I have had with so many different people about my dad leaving. Throughout my youth, I had used that story as part of my testimony, talking about how my dad leaving had left me hating God and how now I loved God so it was all better.
Yes, my father left, and yes, it made me have an issue with my Creator, and yes, there was a moment when it clicked for me and I accepted my Father’s love, but I had never let God into that part of my past. I was showcasing my wound—bragging about it in an attempt to show everyone how I had moved on.
It wasn’t until about two years ago that someone else realized I wasn’t better. I had started to befriend a couple from church. One night, I sat down on their living room floor giving my typical testimony about how I was in a single parent home and how my dad left and this is how that affected me and this is how I dealt with it, blah blah blah.
When I left that night, the man turned to his wife and said, “She is not over it.”
They embarked on a mission—unbeknownst to me—to facilitate healing in my life. Could they heal me? No, but they began working purposefully to be that safe place where I could break and where God could work.
A couple months later it clicked for me- I wasn’t better at all. They were there and began wasn’t until very recently that I felt like I finally found true healing when it came to what happened with my dad. For so long I had expected someone else to take his place, but that was not the case. Instead this man, who spent many long hours dealing with my defensive bouts of anger and manipulative guarded tears, found his own place in my heart, and manifested the love God has for me. Like pillars, he and God paired together to support the part of my heart that was broken and he stood guard while God did what God does best. The healing and freedom I have known since then is something I would have never imagined I could have had.
You cannot expect God to fix you without allowing Him to fix your past.
We cannot be afraid of our own brokenness and failure. It is nothing to be proud of; but it can also not be ignored. We must own it, and with that ownership comes the strong underlying truth that God knows already and loves us in spite of ourselves.