My senior year, I sat in media class, sharing steamy details of a weekend that never happened. Brent leaned in, ears burning, eavesdropping on my not-so-secret conversation.
“…we were there by ourselves,” I continued, describing a room in a friend’s house. “We got so close, but he chickened out.”
Brent, star of our school wrestling team, and quarterback on the football team was just “that” guy- smart and charming, with piercing blue eyes. At the time, he was dating the captain of the cheerleading team. I had sat and listened as they talked of their sexual adventures rather openly. Now, he was about ready to fall out of his chair.
“What!?” he said, shocked. “I can’t believe that you- Jessica- almost lost your virginity. Are you serious?”
Well, no, I wasn’t.
I’ve written and spoken many times about the lies pornography sells us. Then, there are lies we believe that keep us trapped in it or make us feel like we can never get out. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve realized something.
Maybe I bought the lies of pornography so easily because I was so good at lying myself.
A Love Nest for Sin
I’m not talking little ‘cookie jar’ lies. I told big, bold, extravagant lies.
In third grade, I told everyone my little sister had been abducted. I even asked my classmates to help me make posters for her. My teachers called my mom to straighten that one out. In sixth grade, I told a group of strangers at a conference that I had a recording contract with a record label. During my junior year, I made a fake letter stating that I had won a local talent competition and would be opening at a Christian music festival that summer.
It’s no wonder that I didn’t see all of the lies pornography was throwing at me. They were subtle, and silent. I was so numb to truth. My own habit of weaving lies had just created a little sheltered love nest for my pornography addiction. My own lies protected it.
I had no problem lying to cover it up. I lied about everything else, why not that? Lying had never really bothered me.
Truth? What Truth?
I had no problem going to church- competing in talent competitions, writing Christian poetry, singing for the church, because I had always played church. Playing church with a pornography addiction was no different than playing church before.
Pornography had changed nothing about how I played life. It just added another role. Life was still an act. Now, on top of Jessica: the Christian Girl, Jessica: the Teacher’s Pet, Jessica: the Straight-A student, Jessica: the Big Sister, and all the other roles I played, I simply added Jessica: the Girl Obsessed with Sex (but too afraid to actually have it). Life was a drama, and I was good at drama.
I knew how to manipulate people and situations. I wrote my own moral code. I defined truth, and truth was whatever I said it was for that situation. I was always in control.
My intricate webs of lies began to get tangled, though. When I started to lose that control, my world started to crumble. By my senior year of high school, I was aware of my severe addiction to pornography. It was threatening my status of valedictorian, but was also beginning to weave itself into the lies I told.
My worlds were all colliding and my lies were starting to come full circle. Now, Jessica: the Girl Obsessed with Sex was starting to show up in places where she didn’t belong. That part of my life was starting to control my life, and I realized that I had a huge problem. Pornography was no longer a cute little hobby. I had nurtured it, protected it, and helped it develop into a full-fledged, life-sucking monster that would soon steal the show.
Looking back at who I was mentally just gives me a greater appreciation for all God’s grace had to do in order to change my heart. Healing, for me, wasn’t just walking away from a porn addiction. It was walking away from a life that had been spent without truth. Without truth there really is nothing. Lies just leave us empty, searching, scared, and lonely.
Perhaps, that’s why I had a hard time believing everything that was true about God, His love and His grace. Could God really love me? Could He really forgive me? Could He really restore this? Could I really be fixed? It all sounded too good to be true (and I considered myself an expert on ‘too good to be true.’)
But it was true. Every. Last. Word.
One of the most difficult parts of my ‘reconditioning’ was learning to focus on truth. It took concerted effort. Being genuine and honest was often painful. Being transparent can come at great risk. For some of us, it is easier to lie.
If you are one of those girls, I want to encourage you to focus on truth. This one of the reasons why I encourage accountability so strongly. Accountability is a ‘reality check’ for us. Pornography will be deeply lodged in our hearts and minds as long as we let our lies protect it.