Today, I am happy to feature a guest post written by Christian author and speaker, Shelley Hitz. Shelley has co-authored a book on Christian women and pornography addiction. I have read through the book and I will say that it could be a valuable resource to so many of you who contact me asking what to do next.
I think we are often hardest on ourselves. Don’t you agree? And it usually surfaces in our thoughts, what I call stinkin’ thinkin’, where we beat ourselves up for the regrets and mistakes of our past.
I understand this very well.
You see, as a married Christian woman I struggled with pornography and masturbation.
I knew better. I knew it was wrong and yet I gave in to the temptation anyway. And even after I was free from pornography, I still held on to the shame and regret of my mistakes.
After I confessed my sin to God and was forgiven, I repented and truly changed my ways. It took time and was a process but gradually I changed. Repentance basically means to stop doing what I’m currently doing and start doing something different, like taking a U-turn. In the original Greek language of the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind for the better”. As I truly began to repent, I began to change and people noticed. I was different. My husband, family and closest friends could see a change in me.
And yet I still held on to the shame and regret.
It Was Time to Forgive Myself
What God began to show me is that I needed to forgive myself and let go of the shame and the regret of the past. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39, we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And I didn’t love myself very much at that time. If I would have said the same things I was saying to myself in my mind to my friends, I don’t think I would have had any friends. Sometimes this stinkin’ thinkin’ can surface as self-hate, self-condemnation or unworthiness.
Renewing My Mind
God gently led me through a process of forgiving myself and allowing Him to renew my mind with His truth about myself. There were lies I was believing and I needed to exchange them with God’s truth. I actually wrote out these truths on index cards and carried them around with me. Below is just one example:
Lie: I am ashamed of and regret my decisions and mistakes of the past. I can’t forgive myself for what I have done.
Truth: I am free from condemnation. I am precious and honored in the eyes of my Father. I value God’s opinion of me more than my past or what others think of me. My value comes from being the daughter of a King. (Romans 8:1-2; Isaiah 43:4; Romans 8:15-17)
And I was finally able to let go.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements. Shelley’s openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.
Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S’ambrosia Curtis, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.”