See, for many people struggling with change, this is the prison we have locked ourselves into: the desire to stay psychologically connected to these important people in our lives. But there’s a consequence. When we do this, we often deny our value and self worth, yet to love ourselves for who we are is to psychologically break free of our past and risk the fear of disconnection, isolation, and loneliness.
In this conflict any relief would be welcome, any illusion that would make us feel connected, included, and valued. And this is where pornography, strip clubs, prostitutes, masturbation and sexual fantasy come into the equation.
All too often, these habits that claim our lives aren’t really “habits” at all: they’re illusions that help us disarm the anxiety we feel inside when it’s too painful to be the person we need to be in order to stay connected. Yet it’s too scary to step away from certain people in order to live the lives we feel called to live. These “habits” provide the illusion of inclusion when we simply do not believe that we can get our needs met in any real way.
To change, to really change, isn’t necessarily to destroy computers, have accountability partners who babysit us, or to distract ourselves. Those are boundaries, but they aren’t change.
To change, to really change, is to recognize this strong pull to be connected to the people who first gave us meaning in life and to do the hard work of starting to live our lives for ourselves instead of for them.
To do this may arouse fear or even horror; your mind may feel as if it’s slipping into nothingness, annihilation even. What makes you so afraid to change? What’s holding you back? It must be something much stronger than a “bad habit.”
But there’s good news! On the other side of your fear is life. It’s true. Fear is as much an illusion as porn (Tweet This!). It keeps us stuck, but it is a creation of our minds. It was useful when we were very young because it kept us connected to the only people who would feed and protect us.
But we are no longer children, and we no longer need these illusions.
Ultimately, to change is to grow up. And that’s why it’s so difficult (Tweet This!).
The Apostle Paul’s alternative to our “habits” is no longer to “conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 12:2). To pivot away from porn use and compulsive masturbation is to become aware of who and what we have relied on to give us a sense of meaning and to trust that Someone, Something greater than ourselves has a destination for us as we stop our self-destructive behavior.
This will be scary. This will feel frightening as what gave us a sense of being no longer will. But we need to experience the loss of how we used to feel grounded in life and begin to experience the richness of God’s love and provision.
What a change that will be.