We hear so often about women who find their husbands struggling with pornography. The sorrow is crippling, the uncertainty overwhelming. There are questions: “Why am I not enough?” “How could he do this?” “Does he still love me?”
But when a woman has locked horns in her own battle against lust, those questions become facts. I no longer question if I am enough; I am convinced I am not enough. I know no one could love me. I doubt I even love me.
I was exposed to pornography at the age of 13 and if it had come with a warning label that read: “Danger: Consumption will result in a lowered self-esteem and a lost love for life” I am fairly certain this story would have ended differently. Instead, pornography came wrapped in a shroud of lies about being beautiful, appreciated, accepted, and loved. It did not have a warning label, but it was still poison.
My years in pornography were the lowest of my life.
Daily, I battled guilt and feeling like a hypocrite for saying I love Jesus and that I was ‘waiting for marriage’ when actual intercourse was probably the only thing I was not doing. I locked myself in my room at a Christian college and became pornography for men. I spent years feeling defective, convinced that I was a lost cause. I was convinced I was beyond God’s help, and beyond the reach of His grace. There was this overwhelming feeling that I had to be free first and prove I was worthy of His love.
It is interesting how those feelings we have toward God spill over in how we feel toward others. If God was incapable of loving me for me, flaws and all, then how could people love me? How could I ever have friends? How could I ever be married? Who would love this gross and disgusting person? They say beauty is on the inside, not the outside, but I did not feel beautiful outside or inside.
Even after I confessed and was discipled and walked down a path to freedom, I struggled with real life and relationships with people. I was having major issues with being single at 22, when my master plan had dictated I be married at 21. Life was just- empty.
One night, I found myself face to face with an ugly thought that had been growing in my heart for years, “You don’t deserve love.”
I had never been face to face with that thought before. I behaved like I believed it; I just didn’t know I believed it. Realizing I felt that way about myself was crippling. Women want to be cherished. We want to be loved. It’s part of who we are, and here in the core of who I was, I believed I was unworthy of love. Sure, God died for me, and led me to a life of freedom from addiction, but could I really ask for more? Could I really have a life of joy, and fullness? Could I love and be loved?
The overwhelming answer was, of course, Yes! That’s the whole reason for Calvary, and the whole reason He came, but would you believe I still resisted? Sin had broken me so much that I was even afraid of getting close to God.
Lust is more than just a sin; it is an all out assault against who we are created to be as women.
Read more of this post over on “To Love, Honor and Vacuum“2