Today, I’m honored to be the featured author over on the (in)courage blog. But my guest post with them has nothing to do with sex, porn, singleness or anything that I am ‘known’ for writing about.
I had every intention of writing about my ‘usual,’ but when I sat down to write on the last day of the submission period, a different message came to my heart. I wrote, instead, about grief and loss, and shared the experience of suddenly losing my cousin three years ago.
It took me a while to be ok with the fact that I hadn’t written about something to do with porn, sex, or the usual topics for me. In some ways, this blog and my position as a forerunner in the discussion of women and pornography has become a vital part of my identity.
But it’s not the entirety of my identity. I’m also a daughter, a friend, an employee, an American, a sister, a writer, and much more.
Working through that process reminded me that sometimes we do this in our own lives. We over-compartmentalize. We break our lives down into rooms and then get stuck in the living room. We clean it, organize it, make it look like a page out of an interior design magazine, but the rest of the house is in shambles. We tell ourselves we can’t deal with the rest of the house until the living room is perfect. Then, we’ll move on to the kitchen.
A struggle with pornography or lust or whatever it might be is not divorced from the other experiences of our lives.
While they may not seem related, they are not separate. A struggle with pornography or lust will affect how you cope with things like grief, disappointment and frustration. Grief and frustration, likewise, will affect your struggle with lust or pornography. If you try to tackle ‘just’ the porn problem without seeing how it’s connected, the next time grief rolls into your life, it will level you.
You have to be willing to be wholly broken.
What does that mean?
It means being aware of brokenness in our entire lives, not just in one particular area. It’s hard. It can make us feel really defective, or even needy. We can feel high-maintenance. “Well, I’ve already got this problem I’m working through. I can’t possibly deal with another one.” Our tendency is to shelve one problem and save it for later.
I realized this in my own life as I was talking with a friend about being single. There are days I don’t like being single, but I can feel guilty about feeling that way. I will tell myself to stuff that desire and that frustration into a closet somewhere and bar the door because I’ve got ‘more important’ things to worry about. And it was aggravating for me, because I felt like I wasn’t being honest.
That’s the same situation I encountered when my cousin died. I felt like I couldn’t question God, because how could I when I, in essence, work for Him? I thought I had to shove it all away and just keep pushing forward. I was miserable. Absolutely miserable.
Because that’s not how we heal.
That’s not how we find healing or freedom. Not by shoving pieces of our brokenness under the rug and hoping they miraculously fix themselves. No! We find healing and freedom when we let grace pour into all of the broken places in our lives whether that’s a struggle with porn or a break up with a boyfriend, or both.
When you open up the entirety of your heart, you experience a fuller picture of God.
If you’re struggling with pornography or lust or any kind of addiction or hangup, you may be acutely aware of certain attributes of God- like His strength, holiness, justice, mercy or grace. But there is more to Him.
In inviting Him into your grief, you experience Him as a comforter. In inviting Him into trauma, you experience Him as healer. In inviting Him into heartbreak, you experience Him as a tender, compassionate lover.
When you’re wholly broken, you find whole healing.
As I’ve waited for my article to go live, my social media feeds have been filled with grief and loss.
Images of children in Syria and fires in Gatlinburg suck the breath right out of us. The sudden passing of family members, friends, leaders, sports teams. It all affects us.
So, it’s my hope, that, regardless of whatever struggle seems to be the ‘main focus’ in your life, you’ll not neglect the rest of who you are. The rest of the ways you need comfort, grace, freedom, and healing. He stands waiting.5