PornographyPurity & Freedom

Porn in the Pew: How Do I Worship God When I’ve Fallen?

Ever felt inadequate?

By its nature, pornography breeds feelings of physical inadequacy.  We will never be pretty enough, tall enough, skinny enough, sexual enough, kinky enough, whatever it is, we will never be enough.  Those feeling, thoughts, and lies can be absolutely crippling to our self-esteem, rendering us incompetent and far-from-confident women who see no value in their own existence.

But there is a far more damaging aspect to pornography for a Christian woman.  Pornography can make you feel spiritually inadequate.

For that matter, sin can make us feel spiritually inadequate.

“But Jessica,” you may say, “It is theologically correct that our sin separates us from God and that we are inadequate without Him.”  That’s why I’m not being theological; I’m being real.  Yes, sin does separate us from God and no, none of us meet His standards, but our spiritual inadequacy can run deeper than simply “all have sinned and fallen short.” 

The spiritual inadequacy felt in the heart of the porn addict is the feeling that I can never approach God again, that my sin has somehow rendered me completely useless for His purpose.  It is the feeling that I have officially fallen too far for grace.

It’s a theme I see so often in the stories of women who contact Beggar’s Daughter:

“I want to be a missionary, but I don’t think God can use me.”

“I’m too dirty for God.”

“I want to work with sex trafficked women but I am afraid that my sin is going to render me completely useless for that task.”

“I wanted to be a preacher’s wife, but I don’t deserve to.”

“I shouldn’t go to the youth rally; I will be such a hypocrite.”

It’s such a painful sense of loneliness- forsaken by all, even God.  I’ve been there and I know that pain.  I’ve sat in service and passed on Communion because I had just fallen.  My family looked on in horror as I handed the plate to them.  My mother even held it by me for a bit longer, just to make sure I was actually not going to participate. 

I’ve stayed home from church, feeling I was damned to be a hypocrite no matter what I did.  I go to church and it doesn’t matter because I spent Saturday night searching for porn.  I stay home from church and I’m a backslider because I missed a service.  It didn’t matter.

I just couldn’t bring my heart to face God.  I just knew He would be disappointed with me, and I was so tired of letting Him down.

Recently, I have changed churches and this whole idea of true worship has really taken on new colors for me.  Before, it was always so black and white, like God stood at the door with a checklist of things that made worship acceptable: You are dressed nicely.  You’ve brushed your teeth.  You are wearing a skirt.  You smiled at the usher.  You have your Bible.  You haven’t fallen to masturbation in the past 24 hours.  You haven’t looked at pornography this week.  You have your tithe.  The list of expectations, in my heart, was endless.

In my heart, I had to earn my way into worship.  I had to earn a place among the body of Christ.  Even in worship, I believed I had to perform to be accepted, but I’ve realized something in this little church-change journey.

Worship is all about imperfect, sinful, wretched people giving praise for the grace and mercy of a loving, perfect, sinless Father.

That is worship.  Worship is not some special country club where you get to meet with God and hang out in the VIP suite.  Look at Christ’s ministry here on earth.  He didn’t hole Himself up in the back room of a synagogue with bouncers at the door and a special list of requirements.  No.  His was an active, searching, and serving love.  He was a friend of sinners.  He didn’t just invite people to come to Him, He sought them out.  He came for the broken, for the ones who know they don’t deserve.  The whole point of grace is to showcase His power in the weak, to shine His light into the darkness, to bring healing to the broken.  That is grace.

So please, let it go.  Stop believing the lies that God is going to reject you at the door.  Stop believing that you have to earn His ear.  Stop believing that you cannot come to Him.  Stop believing that He no longer fights for you, longs for you. 

Stop acting like He didn’t die for you. 

There is no time-limit on His grace.  He never says, “You have to be free of porn on your own for 2 weeks, then come to Me and I’ll help you finish.”  No, He pursues after you.  He longs to help you.  He longs to rescue, protect, restore and heal. 

Stop running.  Stop trying to hide.  Fling your worthless, good-for-nothing flesh, your body wracked with addiction- fling that at His feet and drink in His worth, His love, His forgiveness, His goodness, His victory, and His power.  You can come to Him; He longs for you to come to Him.

He came for people just like you.

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2 comments

  1. “By its nature, pornography breeds feelings of physical inadequacy. We will never be pretty enough, tall enough, skinny enough, sexual enough, kinky enough, whatever it is, we will never be enough. Those feeling, thoughts, and lies can be absolutely crippling to our self-esteem, rendering us incompetent and far-from-confident women who see no value in their own existence.”

    If it’s an encouragement to anyone, please believe me when I say as women you have far more physical beauty than you know–your differences as God created you are beautiful enough. And what’s inside doesn’t have to be perfect–just genuine (FWIW, guys wrestle with some of these issues too).

  2. I totally act like this! Sure, I’ve come a long way from the girl who used to cut herself after every stumble and fall, but I still feel like I have to do penance. Like, god won’t hear my prayers unless I pray for hours to show how truly sorry I am. Or I keep waiting for God to punish me, cos grace shouldn’t be this easy. But it is.