This is the end of my story from last week. With my story about my first crush and fishing, I want to show that control had become everything in my life. It didn’t matter if it was a girl I wanted to date, pornography, or just a fishing trip; I just wanted control. That need for control of course didn’t end well and I had to choose between holding onto that need and trusting a God I could never control.
A Tidal Wave of Despair
As much as losing my first crush hurt, I still did my best to bottle it up and that’s why this story involves my fishing trips. The first fishing trip had gone so well that it had planted this wonderful idea in my head that I could control some of the joy in my world through fishing. I thought that the rest of my fishing trips would be at least half as successful and that meant I had this incredibly reliable source of joy in my life. Every fisherman knows the foolishness of this idea and the second trip gave me the same knowledge. The second fishing trip also hurt me emotionally because it destroyed this new found and supposedly reliable way of finding joy.
That pain brought all the frustration and hurt from losing my crush to the surface and I fell into the pits of despair. That despair didn’t just come from losing a girl or having a bad day of fishing; it came from the doubt that I may not be able to control my world. Every time I had indulged in porn or co-dependency, I had given over a little part of my heart that had never come back. That loss didn’t stop me from continuing my painful addictions and with each indulgence my heart became a little weaker and smaller. As my heart grew smaller, I placed more and more hope in eventually finding some way of control that would give me the life that my heart desired.
One of the defining characteristics of addicts is that they don’t stop even after they feel painful consequences a hundred or even a thousand times. I had experienced the breaking of my heart a few thousand times and I still pressed on because I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t get the life I wanted on my own. That pride fueled my addiction to control and eventually put me in a place of complete despair. My heart had become so small and it’s sole hope was that I could find a way to control my life and get the satisfaction my heart desires. I had assumed that porn didn’t bring the satisfaction I needed because it was sinful. It didn’t make sense to me why my other attempts at control had failed though.
Instead of questioning whether control was a good idea or not, I started to question whether it was possible to experience the satisfaction that my heart desires. That is when the despair really took center stage for the first time. I had previously felt despair many times in my life, but I had shoved it down with plans of control. In order to combat despair and depression, I told myself that I could figure out a way to control my life and get my heart’s satisfaction. This strategy resulted in bottling up all my despair, sadness, and loneliness with the hope of later drowning it in all the satisfaction I could get my hands on. When I realized that I might not be able to get all that satisfaction, my house of cards crumbled and all that despair hit me like a tidal wave.
That wave threw me around and put me into a very dark place. Thankfully, I opened up about this to a good friend of mine and she gave me some great advice. In a loving and firm way she asked me if I was going to give up? I wasn’t suicidal but I had expressed to them that I wanted to ignore my responsibilities and give up on finding the satisfaction that my heart desires; I was basically throwing a temper tantrum. she kindly called my bluff and asked if I thought my pain was strong enough to make me give up on trying to get the most out of life. Her question brought to light the fact that I had the simple choice between despair and trust. I could resign myself to the assumption that no light could overcome the darkness I felt and subsequently despair or I could trust that God is good and that His light is stronger than any darkness.
That choice sounds much easier on paper than it was in real life and it was one of the hardest choices that I’ve ever had to make. A great deal of the difficulty came from the fact that trusting in God required giving up control. I knew that I couldn’t control God and that I could never predict what He would do in my life. I still made the choice to trust in Him and believe that He had something better in store for me than despair and loneliness. That one act of submission and sacrifice was the first step in a very important journey.
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