This past Labor Day weekend, I almost got killed by one. I was in South Bethany Beach, Delaware, and had gone out to the ocean. I was boogie boarding and had just passed my board off to a friend. I have no idea what happened next.
The next thing I remember, I was doing cartwheels underwater, still breathing (which is bad, since I’m not a fish). I was slammed into the ocean floor. I fought to get to the surface. I opened my eyes in time to see the surf of a wave crashing right into my face, and down I went again, without enough opportunity to breathe.
Eventually, I washed up on shore, on my side, like a beached whale, coughing and gasping for air. A lifeguard whistle alerted and a man nearby (who had apparently ridden that same wave in on a boogie board) looked up in a panic asking if I was OK. We both saw another huge wave headed for us.
I struggled to get to my feet. I made it up, just as the water rushed to knee-height. With a sore neck and the salt and sand burning my throat and nose, I stumbled away. “I’m fine. I’m fine.”
I bring up that story because that’s what it feels like for women who fall from freedom. It’s not just a simple fall, like stubbing your toe or whacking your head. It is a series of waves.
It pulls you under and you go under again, and again, and again, until you finally wash up, barely breathing.
So many e-mails I get (and my own personal experience) point to this phenomenon of ‘waves.’ A woman can go months without watching pornography. She can be feeling good, then something will happen, and she’ll fall, but it doesn’t end there. She may fall multiple times in the same day, or for days in a row.
It’s enough to make many women ask, “Am I re-addicted?!”
But this phenomenon of waves is not new, nor is it unique to our struggle. Perhaps you were told growing up that you shouldn’t lie because if you tell one lie, then you have to keep telling lies to protect the lies.
For a Biblical example, let’s think for a moment about the story of David and Bathsheba. David is out on his roof, and sees a woman taking a bath. He thinks she’s pretty nice, so he inquires about her, drags her to his palace, and gets her pregnant.
Problem: she’s married; and not to David. So, to try and cover up that first lapse of judgement, David tries to convince Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband), to sleep with Bathsheba so the baby can pass as his. Well, that doesn’t work. So, David decides to have Uriah killed. It takes a prophet to save David from his own undoing.
From lust, to adultery, to lying, to murder, and all that from a man after God’s own heart.
The nature of sin is perhaps perfectly described by the analogy of waves. In my experience, the devil is all about knocking us off our feet and pummeling us.
But why are we so easily pummeled? I know some of you are asking that question. You want the reason for the waves. You want to know why you can go days, weeks, months, years, without falling and then turn around and indulge for days straight.
I’m no expert. I don’t know the details of your struggle or your life well enough to know why it’s happening, but I have some thoughts. If this story of waves sounds familiar to you, perhaps you should think through a few of these.
Reasons for the Waves
1. You haven’t removed the wave-maker. We’ve talked a few times about the different triggers that might be instigating your struggle. It might be an emotion, a person, a form of entertainment, or even an object. If there is something that is pulling you under, it is in your best interest to get rid of it.
2. You aren’t getting up. When I washed ashore, I could have laid there. The problem with laying there is just that- I’m laying there. The waves can still reach me. They can still pull me back out into the ocean for round 2 (and 3, 4, and 5).
When it comes to pornography and lust many women fall and think, “Oh man, I can’t believe I did that.” Then, they just ‘lie’ there- physically, emotionally, spiritually. They lie there, beating themselves up, kicking themselves thinking things like, “How could I have been so stupid?” “How could I let this happen?” “What am I going to tell my boyfriend/husband/accountability partner?”
[Tweet “Get up!! You have to get back on your feet because those waves are going to keep on coming, and if you’re just moping around, they will get you.”]
3. You aren’t moving. Sometimes, we can’t remove the wave makers. We can’t stop the waves, and if that’s the case, then get out of the ocean. We fall to pornography and we get up but then we just stand there- right there. We don’t really make an effort to get away. In fact, oftentimes, we think of going back in! What we need to be doing is running toward Christ in those times. He is our refuge and our safety. He is our anchor, or as the old hymn says, “a Shelter in the time of storm.
“Waves” are a very real part of this journey. They can be discouraging and even deadly to our walk if we don’t learn how to get out of them.
The next time you find yourself caught in a wave, make an effort to get to the surface and get to Christ.
Do not let the waves frustrate you, and don’t believe the lie that you are re-addicted. Believe the truth- you have been set free, get up and walk in that freedom.