I’ve got problems.
I struggled with an addiction to pornography for years. I found freedom from that struggle but I still label myself a recovering addict. These days, I struggle with co-dependency and people pleasing. I’ve made some great strides in those fights, but they remain a daily part of my life.
I don’t really have it all together.
Thankfully, being perfect and having it all together isn’t my job. Not because I don’t want the job, but because Christ already took care of that for me. My flesh constantly pulls me to take control of my life in order to make things work the way I want them to..
At times control feels like the thing that I need most, but in reality it poisons me.
Control poisons me because it requires me to lean on my understanding and not God’s. That usually seems like a good idea because my understanding seems reliable. In truth, my understanding is abysmal when compared to the complete and perfect understanding of God.
My understanding of life is kind of like my understanding of talking to girls. I know the basic principles of communication and I understand that they’re different in a few fundamental ways. I still can’t come CLOSE to predicting how a girl will act.
Sometimes, I think that girls use a figure eight ball to decide their reactions just to mix things up. As confusing as they can be, God and His will for my life throw me for an even bigger loop. Many times, my life feels like sitting in the driver’s seat of a car that I can’t control and that I desperately want to slow down.
As the car weaves through traffic and careens through turns, God whispers that I need to let go and stop fighting His control.
This concept of letting go does not come easy to me. Even though I’ve experienced incredible amounts of freedom from giving Christ control over parts of my life, I still struggle EVERY hour of the day to continue giving up control of my life. I don’t think I am the only one of us with this problem.
I know that not everyone deals with the same list of sin struggles that I listed above. I do know that we all struggle when it comes to surrendering control of our lives to God. To put it simply, many of us have trusted Christ with our eternal salvation and very little else.
All of our sin struggles boil down to our problem of trying to take control of our lives instead of giving them to God. Addictions like alcoholism, porn, and co-dependency simply represent different methods of trying to gain a sense of control over our lives. I always went to pornography because I wanted a way to fight back the chaos in my life.
My father passed away in 2005 and my mother passed away in 2011. During the those seasons of loss, it felt like the car was going was going way too fast. The pain from losing my parents threw my heart and life into chaos and it really frustrated me that I had no control over the situation.
I sought out video games and pornography because they gave me a powerful illusion of control. Even though I knew pornography was wrong, I went to it just to feel like I was in control of some part of my life. I thought I was juggling my relationship with Christ and my sin struggle, but I was actually running in the opposite direction from Christ.
I wasn’t running from Christ because just I gave into my lust. I was running from Him because I was trying to gain control over my life and that pursuit never leads towards Christ. That pursuit led me into thinking just a little more control would allow me to fight back the chaos on my own.
The true horror of control is that it teaches us to rely on ourselves. The allure of control draws us in with the possibility of making ourselves safe without needing God’s help. We all know this is wrong, but the chaos of life makes us more and more afraid until we will do anytime to make it stop.
I justified my addiction to porn with the facts that I hurt so much and felt so lonely. I didn’t realize that giving in to my addiction just led me further from the true comfort and healing that I needed. My sin didn’t separate me from God, that’s impossible now that I’ve been redeemed.
My attempt to deal with the pain on my own did lead me away from the only one who could actually help me.
I ran to control and pornography because I didn’t know that God wanted to comfort me and give me peace that surpassed understanding(Phillipians 4:7). I thought the crisis of losing my parents represented a test God needed me to pass. This assumption led me to work really hard for God like an employee instead of a son and run to sinful pleasure whenever I got too tired from working.
In case you didn’t know, this is literally the opposite of the life that God wants for us. He wants to give us healing, peace, and life. I thought He wanted me to run a marathon and take as few pit stops,aka sinful acts, as possible. In reality, I liked my performance perspective because it gave me a false sense of control over my relationship with God.
I thought I needed this control in my life because I didn’t trust God’s plan. You should sit on that sentence for a second. The only reason to seek control comes from not believing God will come through for you.
I thought the death of my parents was God failing to come through for me and that caused to seek out control in case he wouldn’t come through in the future.
I tell people going through hard times that they have a simple choice, we can trust or despair. We trust when we believe that God will come through for us and give us the SUPERNATURAL peace, love and joy that we need. We despair when we worry or believe that He won’t.
In my case, I didn’t understand how a loving God would let my parents die and that caused me to doubt God’s love for me. This doubt caused me despair and to assume that I needed to earn God’s love. My doubts, despair, and assumptions led me to thinking that I needed control over my life.
Control is like a disease because it causes us to lean on our own understanding and run to things that will never give us the peace and joy that we need. We all get scared when life gets hard and the problems of life overwhelm us. In those times, we must acknowledge that we only have the choice between trusting in God and wallowing in our despair.
Image Copyright Daniel Luby