During the month of April, XXXChurch is encouraging people to share their porn story– when their struggle started and how it ended- on social media as a way of inspiring others.
After a brief inner debate, I decided to participate by sharing my story… the 15-second Instagram video version.
I love that XXXChurch recognizes the role of story in the recovery process. Sharing my story has been a part of the healing process, starting with telling a few individuals to feeling bold enough to put it out there for the whole world to see (potentially). But while it’s been therapeutic for me, telling my story is more about other people than myself. Anytime I share the details of my struggle with porn, my prayer is that God will use it in the lives of those listening.
Here are 3 reasons I choose to share my story:
1. The Gospel is real, and my story is proof.
When I tell the long version of my story, I always talk about how many times I tried to fix my addiction problem by myself. I share about the weeks (and sometimes even months) where I was able to refrain from looking at porn. But those good moments always ended in the same place: back in front of my computer with explicit images flashing on the screen.
It wasn’t until I really began to understand the truth of the Gospel that I was able to find freedom. When I realized that Jesus had already accomplished what I couldn’t (by dying on the crossing and rising from the dead), I stopped trying to clean myself up and looked to him for strength instead.
I like to describe it this way: Addiction puts you in a prison cell, hands and feet shackled, door locked, windows barred… there’s no hope of escape. But the Gospel sends Jesus into that cell. And when you look up and recognize him and ask him to set you free, he breaks those chains and blows the door off its hinges. Then he offers you his hand and leads you out of the cell and down the road of freedom, one step at a time.
This is what the Gospel is done in my life. So sharing my story is a way of sharing the Gospel.
2. People need to know that they aren’t alone.
One of the key moments in my recovery was hearing stories of women I admired who struggled with the same things I was struggling with.
While hearing those stories didn’t lead to an immediate and miraculous recovery, it did present me with truth I would need on my journey to freedom. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t a freak because I was a woman struggling with what is usually described as a “male problem.” I needed to know that there was hope, that there were others who had already found freedom.
Hearing their stories was a bit like seeing a lighthouse from the deck of a boat on a foggy night. It’s a reassuring moment. I want to be a lighthouse for other people, to shine a light into the fog so they know they aren’t alone.
3. I need to remember what God has done in me.
The last 4 years haven’t been easy or perfect. I still have times when I give in to temptation. And when that happens, it would be very easy to wallow in shame.
Telling my story keeps me from doing that. When I tell my story, I remind myself of the power of the Gospel at work in my life. I see how far I’ve come in those 4 years of one day at a time. I remember that God has transformed me not only by setting me free from addiction, but also by redeeming the other areas of my life that were affected by my addiction: relationships, dreams, self-worth.
As I tell my story, I get to see myself as God sees me, to continue living out the new identity I have in Christ.
Here’s my encouragement for you:
Find the story God is writing with your life and tell it with boldness.
Have you been set free from addiction? Have you become a less angry person? Have you been healed from the shame of past abuse? Have you learned what it means to love your wife as Christ loves the Church?
No matter what your story is, there’s someone out there who needs to hear it. When the opportunity arises, God will give you the courage and boldness to share. All you have to do is ask.