We met Bek Curtis last week and she has kindly agreed to let me post her follow-up to the post she shared with us on her struggles with and victory over Pornography. So here is a repost of her unplanned part II, titled ‘The ‘How’ of Freedom’:
I find myself writing once again on the topic of pornography, and once again writing with reluctance, fueled this time by different motivators.
I had a few people express frustration with the original article I wrote, due to the fact I didn’t expand on the ‘how’ of gaining my freedom, a frustration I can empathise with.
I am more than happy to share how God intervened, as the glory belongs solely to Him.
My reluctance however, centers around individuals who are struggling with porn addiction and looking at my ‘how ‘ and trying to emulate it to become their ‘how ‘, without checking with God to discover His perfect plan for individual freedom.
We are all unique, any addictions or self-control struggles we face are fed by a multitude of factors that vary from person to person. What drove me, may not be what drives you, and so the process of, and journey toward your freedom may look different to mine.
There are things I won’t write about, things I didn’t do in my journey, but things that may work for you. Tools such as mentoring, household/mobile internet filtering, counselling, accountability partnerships, and countless online support groups and resources.
Our God is a unique God. He is a God of relationship, not religion.
A formula created to unlock freedom is not what He is requiring of you. Instead He extends an invitation for you to have intimacy with Him.
When Jesus healed, He did not use the same ‘method’ each time. Some received healing through prayer, for another it came via a physical anointing of saliva mud, and for one courageous woman, an act of faith, just a touch of His robe was enough to bring about her healing.
When we rely on formulaic prayers and procedures, focusing only on our desired outcome, we miss the relationship, we miss the very key that unlocks our chains.
My freedom journey began with a distinct moment when watching a particular porn video (this is not a reason to keep watching until you have an ‘Ah HA’ moment!) there was a girl positioned in front of the camera, lying on a couch and whilst I truly cannot remember the sexual acts she was engaged in, I do remember her eyes.
Everything else in that moment faded away as I looked into this young woman’s eyes, into the eyes of a women who was clearly under the influence of heavy drugs.
I saw within those eyes a lifetime of pain, a lifetime of abuse and rejection. Her eyes held the burden of a lifetime’s striving for approval, acceptance, attention, love.
The eyes are the window to the soul, and hers was broken, crushed.
I wish that I could say that was it, the glimpse of this woman’s troubled life had changed me so profoundly that I never struggled again, but to say so would be a lie.
What did occur, was a shift in my thinking toward these women, a recognition that beneath the bravado were young women who longed to be loved.
I wanted to help these women.
I suddenly saw in front of me a harvest of souls waiting to be shown the love of Jesus. But how could I ever hope to make a difference, to reach them if I was sowing into their pain?
Each minute I viewed their outward cries for approval, I tightened the chains that bound them, that bound me.
I began to desire to be part of a solution.
I began to desire God and His will in my life above all else.
When I wrote the words: ‘My God is the God of freedom, for those who truly desire it’, in my initial article, I was sharing with you my ‘secret’ my ‘how’.
I desired God above ALL else. Above porn.
1. EMBRACE THYSELF
I resolved to stop making excuses and justifications for why I was drawn to viewing porn.
We humans are experts in defending our poor behaviour. We can make impassioned pleas and excuses for all manner of dodgy deeds.
I’ve raised three children through toddler-hood, I have witnessed my fair share of self-justification-tantrums!
Sometimes we don’t grow out of these tantrums, we just change the way we allow them to manifest.
But in order to face addiction head on you have to coach yourself to an excuse-free place. A place where self-awareness, self-examination, and recognition of self-responsibility is not only embraced, but practiced.
Whilst ever you are seeking to blame all or part of your behaviour on someone else’s actions or lack of actions as the case may be, you make a marked choice; to remain in addiction.
You may have a partner who doesn’t fulfill your sexual desires or appetite, you may be genuinely frustrated, angry, hurt or lonely, but while you allow resentment or rejection to dictate your behaviour you are choosing to give away much needed power that could instead be harnessed and used for self-responsibility and self-control.
I set about putting restrictions on my phone, as that was where I had easiest access to porn.
This made it a very conscious and rebellious decision if I chose to go in search of content I shouldn’t.
I embraced God’s invitation into intimacy, and I started talking openly with Him.
When I felt temptation coming on, I would tell Him. I would explain what was happening, and I would focus on Him, begin to thank Him, begin to worship Him.
Let me tell you, it’s hard to maintain sexual arousal, and a desire to view pornography when you are speaking, or in my case singing to the Creator of the universe!
Condemnation is an insidious thing and I believe it’s one of Satan’s greatest tools.
How many times have you felt as though you’re trapped aboard the ‘I’m sorry God, I did it again. Help me’, carousel?
Condemnation says, ‘Okay, you can’t keep saying sorry, this is a joke, just stop talking to Him’.
But God says: ‘It’s okay, come to me, I want to help you, let’s walk through this again, I’m here for as long as it takes.’
Brutally honest discussion with God is the key.
What’s stopping you? It’s not like He’s going to be shocked, He knows what you’re thinking anyway! But He is the perfect gentlemen, He will not force you to open up, He allows you to exercise free will and bring your thoughts to Him.
4. TAKE HOSTAGES!
My experience with addiction (and trust me, ’tis plentiful, as addiction and I have been buddies in various forms for many years), is that it is not so much a case of trying to talk oneself out of addiction, but rather into it!
There was always a voice that started out as a suggestion, a mere offering of an idea to view porn or whatever current addiction I was flirting with. *Cue the internal to and fro dialogue:
‘No, that’s not a great idea, I don’t really want to do that. Sure you do, it’s fine, it’s just this once. No it’s not just once, I won’t stop. Sure you’ll stop! This is the perfect way to prove it, just do it today and you won’t have to do it tomorrow. Hmmmm. You can stop whenever you want, you’re not addicted to this, you’re just choosing to do it. This isn’t addiction anyway, it’s just a habit, you can break a habit whenever you want’.
So my next step was learning to take every thought captive.
There is a reason these verses are in the bible (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
When you stop a thought in its track and acknowledge it, instead of allowing it to run with reckless abandon through your mind, you take it captive. That means it not longer masters you, but you master it.
Yes, it takes practice, this is a discipline that can feel like a full-time job. But it is a job that pays well! It even comes with a dental plan… (I may have just made that bit up. But you never know?).
When you take thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, you are commanding them to fall into submission under the Lordship of Christ! That is no small deal!
It is here that Jesus takes over. It is in this moment that you are choosing to give Him control, to work and weave and mend and heal.
I found it really helpful to read through the New Testament when I was struggling. And not just reading for reading’s sake, but asking The Holy Spirit to allow the words to come alive in my heart and mind as I read them.
Again, it becomes very difficult to choose poor behaviours when you have chapter after chapter, verse after verse challenging you, giving you step by step encouragement and promptings on how to live well, abundantly.
6. DITCH THE GUILT
I don’t believe that shame and guilt are good motivators toward effective change. I believe instead that they lead to condemnation.
But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, turn them toward Him, just like the old hymn says, the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace!
Glory and Grace, not condemnation and disapproval.
“….there’s a generation that is experiencing more options than any generation in all of history.
So the tendency to materialism or distraction, is so available….ability, instant access to entertainment and social networks and internet and travel. There are so many options and choices in this generation. generation.
What excites me is that choices are powerful in the midst of options, not in the midst of no options.
And I think we’re going to see the most powerful generation the world has ever seen, come out of an environment that gives them options, and a generation’s going to rise that their “Yes” in their spirit will be so loud, it will drown out everything else.”
His words immediately resonated in my spirit, they told my story.
For me, Banning’s words were more than a prophetic declaration, they were a testimony of what was and is already taking place, for this is exactly what had happened to me during my journey. The ‘YES‘ to God in my spirit, became louder than any ‘NO‘ I would ever have to speak to the world.
That had been my revelation. That “YES” had been my key.
Let me finish by saying, there is hope. There is freedom. There is a light that shines bright in the darkest of places.
There is love, one who is love itself, waiting to enrapture you and lead you in grace.
He who is love, is able to transform you by the renewing of you mind.
Did you catch that? He is not just able, but willing to clear away the garbage in your mind, erasing the memory of all destructive and tempting images, and renew it to it’s created design! Ponder that!
May this be your testimony, because what He has done for one, He will surely do for another.