The path to freedom started with the murder of my pride.
All the years I struggled with pornography, there was this epic battle raging. On one shoulder was this little white angel (common sense) telling me that I needed to just tell somebody I needed help, on the other should was the little red devil (logic and fear- it’s two-headed) telling me that if I told my life would be over.
I can still remember someone saying that “If someone really wants help, they’ll ask for it” and that if a person didn’t ask then they didn’t truly want help. That wasn’t true with me. I wanted help… desperately. I just had no idea where to go to get it! This isn’t something women make a conversation about. This isn’t standard femme material. This is scandalous. This could easily fall into the wrong hands and destroy. It’s like handing a bomb over to the DEA instead of the bomb squad.
Fear is crippling, but even worse, it’s habit forming.
By the time I reached a place of being able to confess, I was so comfortable with hiding that I didn’t want to come out anymore. That day I confessed, I wrestled my pride and all of the selfish things we tell ourselves in fear, “No one will understand,” “they can’t help me,” “they don’t mean it,” “I’m hopeless so what’s the point?” Then it was like God stepped in and said, “Listen, little one, you’ve asked for a way out– a way to ask for help, and I am giving it to you. It’s right here. Please, take it.”
I was weeping by the time I finally surrendered. It was such a beautiful hopeless brokenness. I knew that this was probably the beginning of something great– that I was very possibly on my way to freedom, but there was something so unsettling about laying my sins bare for the world to know. Ok, maybe it wasn’t the world- it was only two people.
Still, I couldn’t help but feel like I had just launched myself off a bridge and if I didn’t start flying soon, this was not going to end well at all. There was no pillow soft enough to break this fall.
Confession was my breaking point, and in many ways, it still is. Confession keeps us humble. It keeps us human. It reminds us that we are in a constant need of grace. But accountability serves its uses too.
I guess I see accountability as a ‘constant confession’ of sorts. It’s allowing someone to usurp my pride by making my weakness their business. Beyond that, though, it’s encouragement when I get weak.
The journey of freedom can be a bit of a tiring one, and for those of us with a history of lust, it can feel like trying to walk while attached to a bungee cord. The moment we get weak, tired, discouraged or start wallowing in self-pity, we find ourselves flying backwards into the arms of lust.
Sometimes we just need someone to grab our hand and say, “Hang in there, come on. Keep walking.”
That’s why I tell women that your accountability partner does not have to be someone who has struggled with pornography. Don’t worry about having someone who ‘understands’ where you have been. You need to worry about someone who knows where you are going. In the coming posts, I’m going to address tips for choosing a good accountability partner.
For now, just know that it is important to have one. It is important that we not allow pride a place to take root and screw up our lives… again. It is important that we maintain an honest and open relationship that celebrates our victories and knows our failures. It’s important that we develop deep human relationships with a real person, not intimate relationships with people on the other end of cyber space.