Women & Pornography

Making it Through the Holidays with Hope for Freedom

If you’re a woman who struggles with porn, this time of year can be especially hard for you. You’re not alone, actually.  Research has shown that porn use spikes around Christmas time.  Coincidentally (or perhaps not) so do dating and relationship searches.

Maybe you’re a high school student on winter break.  You have all kinds of unsupervised downtime and no real way to connect with friends.  You’ll spend way too much time online, just because you’re bored.  It’ll start with harmless YouTube videos. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the porn.

Perhaps you’re a college student.  You’ve just finished exams and endured all the stress that comes with it.  Now, you’re back home with your family (and all the stress that comes with that).  After catching up on much-needed sleep and eating way too many helpings of home cooking, you’ll find yourself in that same place.

Bored. Alone. Online.

It’s a wretched combination, honestly.  To make matters worse, you might be exhausted from school, family functions, or way too many parties.  You might be frustrated because you’re not in a relationship, or moody just because it gets dark earlier.  You may be mourning what you don’t have this Christmas- relationships lost, loved ones who have passed away.

Your friends will show up with their significant others.  Your family will ask you where yours .  Everyday, you get perfectly scripted Christmas letters that somehow boil down 365 days into six perfect paragraphs.  Everyone else’s life seems like a Hallmark Christmas movie.

As you gear up for New Years, you might reflect on a year of failed attempts at freedom. You lost count of the number of times you said “never again.”

So, you’ll use porn to medicate and escape, to try to feel better. You’ll use it to feel some sort of satisfaction or to ease some of the tension of singleness. When it’s over, you’ll end up feeling worse than when you started.

You may wonder, “Can I ever be free?”

The last year may seem like a waste, and the holiday season may feel empty.  You question if it’s even worth trying anymore.  Why do you even bother?

In a way, celebrating Christmas can seem… messed up.  Here you are celebrating a Savior’s birth and singing “Joy to the World” but it feels fake.  You feel you’re never going to get out of this.  How do you have hope, never mind celebrate it, when you feel hopeless?

If you think about it, the tension between hope and despair is really the story of Christmas.

We sometimes lose sight of that in the middle of the silent nights.  We tell ourselves that God is waiting for us to have our acts together before He’ll help us.  The opposite is true- He comes into our brokenness to help us get our acts together.

It may seem scandalous, but Christmas exists for the moment you get home from church and watch another porn video.

That captivity, that feeling of hopelessness and despair is exactly the reason for God becoming Emmanuel (God with us).  Yet, it is our tendency to push away in that moment.  We get swallowed up in shame, crushed by a burden of hypocrisy.

“God wouldn’t want to be with me.”

But He would, He did, and He does.  He longs to forgive and see you walk in the freedom He has already granted you. That is  the Christmas story.  He willingly comes into our broken, messed up, captive, dark world to identify with us.

Christmas should be filled with hope for you.  Not hope that you’ll finally get the man, kids, toys, or dream that you’ve always wanted, but a hope firmly rooted in the fact that God is with you as you fight the battle you’re in.

He’s with you as you feel crushed by stress.  He is with you as you feel weighed down by expectations.  He is with you as you feel trapped in the depths of pornography or tangled up in lust and fantasy.

There is hope because He’s already given you freedom.  He is freedom.

Instead of spending time reflecting on how far you haven’t gotten or on how much you have failed, take a moment to bask in that truth. Christmas is a celebration of freedom, hope, and healing.

Practically, this season, there are some steps you can take to make it through without falling.

Limit your screen time. Phone, computer, tablet- whatever it is, find another way to fill your downtime that doesn’t involve mindlessly searching the web, even if you start out with funny cat videos.  Leave your smartphone off or at home.

Make it a point to connect with family and friends.  This is the perfect time of year to make time for other people.  Write cards, go out for coffee, or give your great Gramma Sue a Merry Christmas call.  Relationships are what you invest in them.

Get accountability.  Even if you haven’t struggled in a while, if this season is hard for you, let someone know.  Check in with them periodically.  Consider installing a filter like Covenant Eyes, just so you know someone is keeping an eye on you.

Stay close to the manger.  Christmas is on a Sunday and it could be tempting to let fatigue, holiday craziness, or feelings of failure keep you from church and anything related to God.  That begins an ugly spiral that could ultimately end in falling headlong into porn.

Christmas is when we celebrating God coming near us – as imperfect, broken and messed up as we are.  He is with us. Freedom is here, and there is hope in that.

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