Jul 16, 2014

Peculiarity and Porn

[first appeared on urbanimaginations.wordpress.com — yes, I've been to Wordpress too, haha.]
Once upon a time, there was a girl who discovered pornography.
And that girl was me.
Pornography gripped and damaged me. For a long time, I could not break the cycle of falling into sin, looking longer than I should have, condemning myself, and then getting back on track only to be knocked off my high horse of religion. But God is my great redeemer; He redeemed me not only from my lustful sins but from death resulting from all of my sins and disobedience. 

He knew that saying "no" won't cut it when He knew how unyielding I was inwardly. He had to captivate my heart anew.

I shared my testimony on my Tumblr blog some time ago as a “litmus test” for Carlo when we were just getting to know each other. I told him my story in this manner because I was too afraid to tell him personally. But we've been together two years now and he knows what he deserves to know. Our friendship has reached new heights since then. He has been nothing but accepting and loving towards me throughout our relationship.
I felt the need to revisit my story—a story that God has already rewritten— after I chanced upon Aubrey Jakob’s post Not Every Girl’s Girl.
It’s a refreshing read. In my testimony, I didn’t get into much detail thinking it would be too sordid for people to read. But this kind of struggle – females who wrestle with sexual sin – merits more attention. I echo Aubrey when she wrote:
I can’t be the only girl who has struggled with sex, raging lust, and the entire world of porn that anyone growing up with the Internet is familiar with. I can’t be the only one.
Either I’m barely worthy of being called Christian woman because these struggles are not normal for females who call themselves Christians, or a lot of girls aren’t talking about it. If they’re not talking about it, it’s probably because they’re afraid of feeling like an outsider in the community that is supposed to embrace them and help them.
I feel like so many Christian girls are trapped in a vicious cycle. There’s some strange chaste or innocent ideal that’s idolized to the point where girls who fall short feel abnormal. And it’s so idolized that we’re willing to lie about our struggles. Why do we feel like we have to lie in a community that’s supposed to be honest, loving, and supportive? Because, often times, the community isn’t honest, loving, or supportive. And the cycle begins anew.
I’m one of those girls who had to deal with raging lust. I don’t remember when I discovered porn but I was old enough to know that it could get addicting. As some people are wont to say, the struggle is real. I was hooked on porn to the point that I wanted what I was seeing. It was a confusing and terrifying time for me. I ended up giving myself away to someone I barely knew. But although I had the chance to do it again, once was enough to scare me and alter my life in the years that followed. What my parents didn’t know won’t hurt them, right? Maybe. But it certainly hurt me in ways I didn’t expect. I feared going to the church like the plague because I felt like I was going to be stoned if I brought this up with anyone.
In my case, was it that no one knew because no one really cared about girls who are enslaved by lust? Or no one cared because no one knew? It didn’t cross my mind to look for resources that deal with lust in females because I figured I won’t find anything. I thought it was shameful to even assume that other girls go through this. I had zero accountability and I was just trapped for years. Like what Aubrey wrote, I tried to lessen the blow of my sin by denying what my real struggle was. I didn’t know why I was so afraid of opening up to anyone from the Body of Christ.
The healing didn’t come overnight but it happened. Confessing to a godly woman was an important step. There’s something about sharing our struggles with a trustworthy person that ushers in the process of healing. I had to encounter the love and forgiveness of Christ afresh. Only then was I able to move on and consider what measures I need to take. Some practical things I did was to make decisions in moments of strength to guard me in moments of weakness. A few examples:
1. I did not know the weight of God's glory. I was looking to my own strength to overcome...too afraid, too ashamed to be vulnerable before God. It begins with the Gospel, with Christ on the Cross, with Christ victorious in his resurrection. Reading it, preaching to myself, exposing myself to it like I was hearing it again for the first time.  
2. Understanding why I want to look at porn in the first place. Often it’s because I’m bored, I have an intense feeling of undesirability, or I crave intimacy with others. I’ve found that having a strong support group answers both the intimacy and boredom issue.
3. In connection with the first, finding accountability. I have a small group of ladies whom I can text to ask for prayers or to confess that I’m having inappropriate thoughts. I have accountability for my thought life.
4. Because porn is accessible in nearly every device with Internet, I use filters on my computer and tablet to block explicit content. I have also rediscovered my love for reading so I don’t go online as much as I used to. In other words, I diverted my attention with other things that are wholesome and fulfilling.
These are some of the things I’ve done that have been of huge help to me. But it began with Jesus' victory and not my own strength. It was his mercy, not my own will power. It was encountering his holiness and being overwhelmed by his glory that made everything else lose their allure. Jesus' life lived in purity and obedience, his death that paid for the penalty of my sin, and his resurrection that makes new life and reconciliation with the Father possible, and anchoring my life in those truths...that's what healed and changed me. That's what enables me to say no. That's where my boast is.
If you are going through something similar to what I’ve experienced, please know that you are not alone. I won’t pretend to have everything figured out and that I’ll be able to give you clear cut solutions, but I’m here to listen. Feel free to send me an email (gentilenextdoorblog@gmail.com) . Pornography creates illusions of what intimacy is supposed to look like. Let me tell you that this isn’t just “a guy thing.” Please don’t let the false notion that this happens only to guys stop you from seeking help and accountability.
Blessings,
Patricia

8 comments:

  1. Wow, such an amazing testimony of redemption!! I hate how the enemy tries to isolate us from fellow believers, but I think al lot of the isolation come from the double standard we have- like you said- it's an acceptable thing for guys to struggle with this, but somehow it's if you flip the gender?! I think not.

    You hit the nail on the head. Praise God that you can now lift the isolation off other girls and bring them into the freedom Christ set us free for :)

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    1. Praise God indeed. It was a crazy cycle but there is no more condemnation in Christ :)

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  2. Thanks for being so open about this Patricia. I praise Jesus that although I had experimented with porn, it never pulled me in. Now I am part of a small group where so many of those involved have this same struggle. I seriously appreciate your openness on this topic. It rules. You are in my prayers, sister!

    (ps. found you through the peony project and I would love to add a button to my sidebar, but my sizes are 300x150 and 300x200)

    Jordyn
    www.shewhofears.com

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    1. Hi, Jordyn! Thanks for dropping by and for praying. That means a lot :) Please feel free to let me know if you have specific prayer requests too.

      I feel like so many girls couldn't move on simply because they don't have an open (but protected) space to share their struggle. We need more groups like yours in churches! :)

      I have a 300x150 button stowed away in my folders! I actually sent you an email the other day and I've placed your button here (as you may have already seen). I do this automatically for beautifully raw blogs I feel drawn to :)

      I should really adjust my sidebar to make wider buttons fit, haha. I'll email you my code for my 300x150 :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing your struggle and testimony! God is so good, to love us all through our temptations and struggles. We serve a great God, don't we? Praying for you and that your testimony is used to help many girls that struggle with the same issue or similar ones. xoxo

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    1. Hey Natalie! He IS a great God and I thank him because he doesn't love us more based on our performance, nor does he love us less when we slip. God can truly make beautiful things out of the dust :)

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  4. Wow. Thank you for honestly sharing your struggle and the goodness of God. Sexual temptation is definitely not reserved for guys...and there's such a lack of women talking about the struggle, too. I think it's awesome that you're bravely writing about it, Patricia!

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    1. Hi Rachel! Yeah...we also have drives and are therefore prone to sexual temptation like the guys. I'm not proud of what I did but I certainly can't keep quiet about God's goodness.

      Thanks for dropping by! <3

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