This section of my book is from the chapter on how I gave porn back to God. Porn is one of the two main ways that I tried to take control of my life and giving it up was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I learned some really important lessons along the way though. I hope you enjoy and please leave any thoughts in the comments section. Also if you haven’t liked Wasteland Kings on Facebook please do so. Those likes really help.
The Prison Break
The chains in our minds are easily some of the hardest to break. The walls of that prison were built with my attempt to take control of my life. I thought that I had to keep my problem a secret so I took control of who knew about it and only told a few people. That fueled the creation of my facades and make me think everyone loved me conditionally. That painful false assumption increased my loneliness and helped increase the pull to porn. On top of that, I thought I was only myself when I looked at porn and subsequently thought it shaped a little part of my true identity.
Opening up to the guys was one of the first ways that I started to relent my control. Up till that point, I had closely controlled who knew about my problem and telling six guys all at once was a major change. I also told them how often I dealt with the problem and that meant they knew about the extent of the problem. The incredible thing about that first relent of control was that it brought a rush of freedom; kind of like a wall of my prison suddenly crumbling before me.
Those guys showed me unconditional love and it showed me that I could be loved no matter what people knew about me. That revelation caused me to drastically change how I viewed myself. I went from thinking that my shame and porn problem defined me to thinking that the unconditional love of Jesus defined me. While that change didn’t happen overnight, it still felt sudden and overwhelming. It felt something like wandering through a desert and unexpectedly stumbling across a waterfall. It took a little time for me to trust that the waterfall was real and to actually jump all the way in.
I assumed for a little while that the guys acceptance, compassion, and love was conditioned on the idea that I would quickly stop looking at porn. That wasn’t the case though, they continued to love me even when I didn’t completely break free from my prison. Again that surprised me and this was when it really started to set in that my prison might actually crumble in front of me. Up till that point, I had assumed that I would have to gain the strength of discipline to stop seeking out porn and I never imagined that a power greater than myself wanted to swoop in and save me from my prison instead.
That is exactly what God had in mind though; it just took awhile for me to realize that. I still had the tendency to lean towards control instead of humility and trust, that meant I actually sat in that prison even after that first wall came crumbling down. The unconditional love that the guys reflected to me did feel like finding paradise in the middle of my wasteland, but I didn’t trust the paradise. I still trusted myself more than I trusted God and His provisions.
I continued to seek out porn from time to time and they continued to show me love and compassion as they held me accountable and encouraged me to fight back against my problem. The idea of fighting back was critical because I wasn’t actually struggling against my problem with porn up till that point. Many people talk about how they ‘struggle’ with porn and really they’re talking about how porn is a recurring problem in their life; they don’t actually fight back against it. That’s kind of like complaining about something wrong with your car but never taking your car to the mechanic. You can say that there’s a problem but you can’t actually say that you’re doing anything about it.
I can understand that now but at the time I felt like I was struggling just because I didn’t like the fact that I looked at porn. If you had told me that God had already made a way for me to experience freedom and that He’d even torn down one of the walls, I would have thought you were crazy. My problem at the time was that I still saw myself as a prisoner and I thought my part of the struggle was to do my best to resist the power of pornography itself; almost like it was my job to take over the prison instead of become free from it.
That may sound weird but I was much more interested in somehow gaining the willpower to fight porn instead of taking God’s path to freedom. By the way, willpower is not the way to beat an addiction. You can remain addicted, ashamed, and enslaved to something even if you stop doing it for a period of time. I can’t make this point clear enough. You DO NOT want to become one of those guys who deals with a porn addiction that resurges in the middle of his marriage. I don’t say that because those guys are bad people; I say that because that’s a really hard place to find yourself.
Back to my point, I wanted to break the power of pornography over me but that desire just came from my tendency to take control instead or relenting it to God and trusting Him. I genuinely wanted to be the guy who broke free from pornography on his own and stood proudly above his defeated prison. One of the problems with that approach, there’s quite a few, is that I was still finding my identity in porn; I still assumed that my problem would define me one way or another. I obviously struggled with the whole idea of becoming a new person in Jesus and taking on His righteousness. I still thought of myself as the prisoner and not as the ransomed son of God.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Image Copyright: Steven Depoloby