An expansion on my previous post: Walking the Path
Comprehending the fullness of mercy and grace is one of the hardest difficulties we will face in our walk of freedom. Would you like to know the primary difference?
Mercy frees us
Grace restores us
Imagine for a moment that God simply saved you from pornography. He simply just swooped in one day and zapped your sex drive making it of no effect any more. Life would not be normal.
So many of us think it’s freedom that we are searching for, when, really it is healing. You already have freedom, what you lack is the power to get up and walk in that freedom. Your legs– they’ve been broken by sin, rendered useless. Your mind has been scarred and seared, disconnected from your heart. Your heart– well, your heart, has been broken, crushed, and beaten.
You don’t need freedom; you need fixed. That’s where grace comes in.
Sin damages us. Some of us get tangled up in lust because we are really damaged. Others of us get tangled up in lust and become really damaged. Either way, we hit Calvary really damaged, and Calvary exists both to stop further damage and to fix what damage has already been caused.
That healing process is a long one, full of layers and cycles. We know we have freedom, but this whole freedom thing may seem to be making life worse. As one thing heals, He is faithful to show us another, and as long as we are willing, the Divine Physician will heal. It’s what He does best. He never expects us to heal ourselves, but so often we try to, especially when it comes to our heart.
For many of us, especially women, porn isn’t just porn. It’s not like an annoying thread that you can just rip off and move on. Picture porn as a black thread that has been woven through a white cloth. Sure, you can clip off the end that’s dangling down, but what about the rest of it? Pull it out and realize that so much of your identity has centered around porn. Little did you know, while you were struggling with pornography and lust, you also grew to struggle with:
Fear– living in a constant paranoia that people would find out. You trust no one.
Low Self-Esteem– you are finding worth and value in watching other women be treated like they are worthless. That’s as low on the food chain as it gets.
Deception– you know how to cover your trail, and will do what it takes to not be honest. You may even dress it up with the Christian thought, “God is enough.”
Hopelessness- for so long you have felt trapped, unable to get out. Your heart has given up on freedom, and probably on love. Do you realize you are worth love?
Bitterness– the Christian women all around you disgust you. They’re so perfect. Nobody’s that perfect.
Anger– somebody should be able to help you get out. Where are all those people who promised they would help you if you needed it? Where are they, huh? Bunch of good-for-nothing, holier-than-thou liars.
Guilt– in case you were wondering, no, you can’t do anything right. Yes, it is always your fault.
Defensiveness– Why are you talking to me? What do you want? What are you trying to figure out? Who do you think you are? Go Away! Stay back. They say keep them at arm’s length and no one can ever hurt your heart.
Shame– what is your problem? How screwed up do you have to be to get wrapped up in this stuff? Loser.
Callousedness– shut up. I don’t care about your problems. You have no idea what I am going through.
Isolation– I can’t trust anyone. No one could possibly like me for me. If they really knew who I was, they would leave, so I will just save them the trouble.
Need I go on?
If you want it all boiled down, your heart is, essentially, dead. Pornography and lust have killed it. Obviously it isn’t dead dead, because God is all about reviving dead hearts. Here’s the deal: Old habits don’t die easy, and old thought patterns are not corrected overnight. If you’ve spent years beating yourself up over porn, you can remove porn from the equation and you are still going to beat yourself up because that’s what you have always done.
This is where God’s healing comes in, and while God is healing, you are going to feel bipolar. No joke. Why?
Because you’ve been living a double, triple, quadruple life up until now. Now you are trying to connect who you are on the outside with who you are on the inside. Here’s the problem (and stay with me) who you are on the inside right now, is not pretty, so you will try to cover it by acting like who you eventually want to be. Did you catch that?
Freedom is not overnight. You will not go from addicted to porn one day to being completely joyful and in love with life the next day with a fully intact self-esteem and no fear of intimacy. There’s stuff that has to be fixed first, stop trying to use superglue when God offers a completely new creation! We still have masks, and God doesn’t want us to have those, and some moments we will take them off and it will feel great. Then we will freak out (fear) and put the mask back on and feel horrible, like we are never going to get better and that there’s no point.
We try to rush our healing. We don’t want the process. Our legs are in casts and we don’t like the time this process is taking, so we just pop the casts off and attempt to run a 5K. It does not work that way.
You have to be patient with the healing process, and the healing heart, for me, has been the hardest part. Just when I think, “Woohoo! I’m all better! My heart is healed!” God touches something else and it hurts and I think, “Really!?”
Stay tuned, because on Friday we are going to talk about steps for healing a hurting heart. For now, just rest at His feet and let Him take off your mask and peel back those layers. Is it going to hurt? Oh yes, but it is the only way to genuinely become who you want to become in Him.