As promised, I wanted to share a very straightforward look into what I experienced in my struggle with sexual purity. For me, the fight was mental more than physical. I share this in hopes that someone will be able to identify with it and/or have a better understanding of those who struggle as I did/do.
As I look back, these are the most prominent ways I’ve been affected:
- Porn isolated me. Being around loved ones began to feel very restrictive because I had to try so hard to keep everything locked up tight. I’m not even sure it was the specific sin itself, just the thought that someone could look at me and immediately see that I wasn’t as okay as I said I was was terrifying. The only way to keep my reputation intact was to keep others at a distance. So many of my relationships faded and as I saw the people I once led growing and surpassing me, I felt like there was no longer a relationship to be had. I’d been left behind. I also saw my struggle as a man’s sin so I felt even more alone and lost because I couldn’t even sin like a woman. Every message and sermon that engaged the issue was geared toward men and every once in awhile the fact that a few women battle with it as well was thrown in, but ultimately hearing what was intended to be encouraging was alienating.
- I objectified MYSELF. This was a big one for me. Of course seeing images of these “perfect” people distorted what I thought was expected of me. It was poisonous from every angle. Either I measured up to the girls and started seeing myself as a sex object or I didn’t quite hit the mark and I didn’t think I was attractive. I subscribed to both lies depending on my mood and it hurt me every time. I was only worth what I could do for a man and I wanted to be desired more than I wanted to be known. I’m not an unattractive person (there’s nothing wrong with knowing that) but in a worldly sense, my looks were more commonly linked with a video vixen more than a respectable woman of God. I really resented God for my looks when I would try to walk with Him. I felt that the way God created me to look made it impossible for a godly man to ever see past my body and that I was specifically designed to inspire lust, not love. Depending on which lie I gave into that day, I’d either accept my fate and acted the part of the seductress or I’d hate God for expecting me to be something He clearly hadn’t constructed me to be.
- I started seeking out things that used to disgust me. This was really odd for me. I’d heard this before, but I never really understood it until it was knocking on my own front door. Even in my cycle of sin I could see how I was getting pulled further and further into things I’d never even had an inkling of being interested in. The things that worked for me before were soon too tame and the things that were way too explicit were now just right. My sin had no bottom floor. It repeatedly pushed me to my current limit and then shattered it. What was once a ‘never’ became a ‘not good enough’.
- It became a way to numb myself rather than satisfy. Over time, my sexual impurity was no longer a way to feel good; it became a way to feel nothing and when you’re hurting we all know that a paralyzing distraction is more tempting than a painful cure. It wasn’t even a desire anymore, it was a habit. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t not want to do it. I just did it because that’s what I’d always done. It was an escape. That numbing spread into so many other areas of my life. I became apathetic about many things: my friends, my faith, my future, my calling, my God. What was once just thoughts when I was bored became thoughts when anything that wasn’t perfect was introduced. Then it became my only thoughts and I’d be frustrated with reality for interrupting my fantasy.
- My pride swelled as my self-worth diminished. This kind of goes along with objectifying myself. As I started to identify myself as being desirable, who I was as a person didn’t matter. In that moment, I saw myself as powerful and my respect for men took a big hit. On the flip side, when I didn’t perceive myself as desirable, who I was as a person still didn’t matter. Odd how that worked out: as long as I was trying to find value in how others saw me, I ceased to be a person even in my own eyes. Indirectly, I also hardened my heart and subconsciously convinced myself that no man of value would ever want me. I didn’t want marriage or a relationship because I knew that a marriage without God wasn’t worth it and I figured that God would never subject a man after His own heart to go after mine.
All of these things I still struggle with but do so to a different degree and on a different playing field. My mind and my perspective are being renewed every day. The damage that I caused myself will be healed in time, but as of now it’s my baggage and if I’ve got to lug all this junk around I might as well use the extra weight to smack the enemy upside the head a few times.
That’s what this is. It’s my contribution to strike a blow to any lie keeping anyone tangled up in the reputation of trying to be a good Christian. Here’s where I am and where God is taking me:
I am no longer in isolation. In fact, exposing this has only strengthened my relationships. For the sake of the privacy of others I can’t really give away too many details, but I can tell you in the few times I’ve shared this, God has made BIG changes in my life and the lives of those I talked with.
I am not an object. I am a woman of God and I am so very very valuable to Him, to myself, and to others. I am not too high or too low for any man. I will no longer see my physical attributes as a curse or a tool to lead men to their doom. I thank God for my looks because they’re beautiful and I’m sure my future husband will think so too.
I have a better grip on seeing sin as it is and not classifying it in the “okay” “not okay” and “worst thing ever” categories. Lord knows and I know that it’s all in one big bin and trying to organize it any other way is asking for trouble.
I am confronting my discomfort and unfulfilled desires. Honestly, I wish I could say that as soon as you give it all to God that everything miraculously improves and all you want will given, but nooooo. It’s going to take time and a lot of surrendering to get my spiritual and emotional sensitivity back, but I see the value in the fight. I’m trying to stick with it and God is rewarding me greatly for it.
I love myself and I’m starting to get the hang of doing so through God’s eyes. Not loving my sense of perfection or even my imperfections. Just loving me. I once saw my singleness as a way of God quarantining me to protect those who might “catch” my flaws and deficiencies. No, no, no being single is a blessing. I have so much freedom in living my life right now and once I’m married I hope to never be single again so I’m going to milk this wonderful season for all it’s worth. I praise God that He didn’t let me have my way in bringing someone into my life that I would have potentially hurt deeply through my cycle of sin and distorted view of intimacy.
I always felt forsaken and that sharing the details of this fight would only isolate me further because I thought no one would understand. I’m hoping that maybe shining light on that lie will be the beginning of the end for someone. If you identify with this at all and/or just want to talk it out, you can email me at email@example.com. No matter what, we are not alone.