I love the following quote from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Pastor Bill Johnson:
“Contentment is not the absence of the desire for more. Contentment is the unwillingness to allow need or present conditions to define your identity or to rob you of your joy.”
I just love that. Why? Because I think there’s an inherent connection between contentment and identity.
Think about it with me: How can you ever truly be content if you don’t know who you are and how valuable you are?
And conversely, if you aren’t really settled in who you were made to be, won’t you continually be searching for the next biggest, greatest, or shiniest thing to fill that empty space inside you?
This was my story for years. Looking back on my addiction to pornography, I think one of the greatest places of brokenness inside of me stemmed from the fact that I didn’t truly know who I was.
So when I discovered pornography at the age of 13, I found something I thought brought me soothing and satisfaction. When in reality, I was being enslaved to something that would negatively influence and shape the next 13 years of my life.
At the risk of sounding “preachy”, I’m going to venture onto the ledge and say this: You were never designed to be your own person. Neither was I.
In our culture we look to so many things and people to help us define who we are. But in the end, every one of those things falls short.
I believe there’s a couple of spiritual connections that we must make in order to cultivate a healthy identity in recovery:
Our identity lies in God alone.
Who we are matters. Not for merely a societal or political purpose, but for an eternal purpose. You are more than the name on your birth certificate or driver’s license.
Your conception was actually planned long before your body was even formed in the womb. Everything about you: Your significance, value, worth, even your gifts and talents come from God.
I love what Psalm 139:13-24 says: “You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”
I’m sure many who read this come from various spiritual and theological differences. That’s an awesome thing! Every single person, no matter their background or belief system, is accepted and welcomed in by Father God. Your doubt or distrust of Him doesn’t somehow disqualify Him from giving you freedom over your addiction.
I was very fortunate early on in recovery to have been handed many tools to use that helped me find deep internal healing. But if it were not through what I believe was the Holy Spirit helping me to see who I was becoming and what I was doing to those around me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My recovery journey over the last 12 years has been more than learning how to quit using porn. I’m convinced it’s been much more a of a realignment or reintroduction of my God-given identity.
We are His sons & daughters.
Once we make the first connection that our identities are in God alone, there is another connection to be made: realizing that our greatest roles exist in living as children of God.
We are His kids. It’s a powerful truth that many Christians gloss over and seem to forget day in and day out.
Think about the roles you play in life: spouse, parent, employee, sibling, CEO, etc., all of these roles carry responsibility and matter. We excel and succeed in these roles.
But there are days we also feel like we fail at them. The amazing thing about being a son or daughter of God is that there’s NEVER a day the Father looks down on you as a failure. Never.
Psalm 103:13 says this: “The same way a loving father feels toward his children — that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us, your beloved children, who live in awe of you. You know all about us, inside and out.”
Our Father is proud of us. Our Father adores us. Our Father will never leave us.
So what does all of this have to do with our recovery from sexual addiction? Absolutely everything.
When you catch a glimpse of who you can be in Christ, you’ll never settle for anything less. Whether it’s porn, alcohol, drugs, or any other substance, nothing we will ever watch, smoke, inject, or consume will satisfy us the way God can.
He promises life to the full, even beyond this world.
No amount of porn will ever satisfy an empty soul that is yearning for the life that only God can give.
Here’s the challenge I’m issuing today: Don’t settle for a life of secrecy, isolation, shame, and fear. Porn isn’t worth your life. As long as you live a life where no one knows the real you, you will continue to struggle.
Find a few safe, healthy people you can share your junk with who will walk alongside you to help you get the resources you need to find freedom.
But even before that, ask yourself honestly:
Do I know who I am?
Do I know my worth?
Do I know my value?
The answers to those questions will determine the long-term trajectory of your recovery journey.