By Jessica Harris | Guest Blogger | Founder of Beggar’s Daughter
The thing about breaking free from lust is just that, you don’t just break free. It isn’t a wall to be torn down, or a window to be broken. It’s not a bad habit to shake. It can’t be throw in the trash can, or poured out on the ground. Lust becomes a part of you. You don’t break free from lust; you have to get untangled.
I spent eight years of my life battling a pornography addiction. That was just the pornography. It didn’t include the masturbation, lust, or the world of fantasy I had created. I thought when I finally stopped doing it I would be able to live life normally. I waited for that one moment – the moment when it clicked, when my heart, mind, and body all got the memo. I waited for the moment when I could say, This! This is the moment I was finally free.
I set out on a journey for that moment, only to find that there isn’t a moment. Freedom is not a moment. Freedom is, in fact, the journey.
So many women write me sharing their own struggles with pornography, lust, masturbation, and fantasy. They ask me, How can I be free? I hate that I don’t have six simple steps to give them. There just isn’t one. Every woman’s struggle is as unique as her story. Behind her addiction to lust could be the broken-hearted daughter from a torn family, or a frightened victim of sexual assault.
Lust never comes alone, and it doesn’t just affect our bodies. It affects our bodies, minds, and, ultimately, our hearts. Lust twists love, trust, satisfaction, and God. It messes with everything. When a woman is searching for freedom, she isn’t asking, “How can I stop looking at pornography? What she is really asking is, How can I be whole again?
It’s a good thing for us that God is in the business of making women whole again. If we are willing, He will work that same redemptive grace in our lives, but we have to be in it for the long haul. We have to understand that it isn’t just the lust. He won’t stop there. He will dig down into the depths of our broken heart to fix how we view others, life, and ourselves. This is a major overhaul, but certainly worth it! So how do we start?
First, you need to tell someone. I know that can seem like the scariest thing. Many of us would rather swim in a pool of snakes than share this type of struggle with someone. However, it is important for us to tell someone who can offer us specific counsel and help us work through the underlying issues. That may be a Christian counselor, your mom, a woman in your church, a friend. You need to get this sin out into the light.
Second, don’t be afraid of pain. Many women turn to lust, pornography, masturbation, and fantasy in order to cope with pain in their lives. We haven’t learned proper coping mechanisms. Remember that our Saviour experienced human emotion. We live in a fallen world – a world of pain – and it is OK for you to feel disappointed, hurt, frustrated, broken, etc. When you acknowledge that, it can be healed!
Third, know your triggers. Every woman’s struggle is different. Something that triggers your struggle may have no effect on someone else. Perhaps it’s an emotion, a time of day, a certain situation, a certain movie or book, a song, or even a smell. Try and figure out what your triggers are. This helps you avoid them but it can also point to root causes of your struggle.
Last, and most important, take it one step at a time. So often, we can look at a goal and think, Oh, I can never get there, so we never even try. When you are trapped in the depths of pornography or lust, freedom can feel impossible. It can feel like you will never be able to be normal. I promise you, though, God is more than able to free you, heal you, and restore you! It is His desire to conform you to the beautiful, pure image of His Son. Let Him perform that change in you – one step at a time.
P.S. You are enough.