I was reading through Luke 21 the other day and was really been taken by one of Jesus warnings. Now, I should admit that passages warning of the end times remind me of the bad comics I’ve seen in Chick Tracts so I tend to gloss over them. Awful, I know. But as I spent some time reading this section I was drawn to verse 34; “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighted down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Have you ever had an anxiety attack? I have. It feels like trying to breathe under water. The air is thick and heavy and your pulse races like you are running up hill in the rain. It’s miserable. And it’s powerful. In all the years that my husband was engaging in his addiction to pornography I had many of these anxiety filled moments. I had them if something showed up on the internet, if I found a strange number on his phone, I even had them when I got tired and went to bed before he did leaving him alone with the television or the computer – items which had become as dangerous and deadly as poison in my eyes. According to this verse these anxieties of life are powerful enough to distract you from things that are going on in the world. Big things, things like wars, persecution, and natural disasters. Judging from my past experiences I believe it. In verse 34 Jesus lists anxiety as one of three things with enough strength to pull our attention away from His signs if we aren’t careful.
My husband and I have experienced many ups and downs with his addiction and recovery. I’ve learned that the things that fuel the addictive cycle are the things listed in verse 34; dissipation (or self indulgence), drunkenness (or gluttony), and anxieties (or life stresses). We’ve seen these things have so much power and influence in our family that they have distracted us from all of the important things that are happening in our world right now like family, work, and friendships. This addiction to pornography has cost us financial security, trust, friendships, family relationships, respect, and at times I had wondered if it might be costing me my sanity.
As we’ve moved through this journey of recover it has been unbelievable to me to think that these catalysts could be strong enough to pull someone’s attention away from what is important in this life. I couldn’t believe some of the things that my husband has sacrificed or jeopardized in order to feed this raging desire. I just didn’t get it. I have spent many, many sleepless nights wondering how this could happen. How could someone risk it all for amounts to absolutely nothing.
It’s a comfort for me to see that Jesus isn’t surprised. He knows how powerful these things are (powerful enough that they can pull your attention away from everything that is important) and gives us a cautious warning about it, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighted down”. As we have experienced recovery we have learned to be careful and to be watchful. We have learned ways to spot the signs of this addiction before the cycle starts. We have found good people, good groups, and good resources (like X3 Watch) to help up guard our hearts when we begin to feel them getting weighted down.
It’s been a while since the last time I’ve felt the painful truth of my husband’s porn addiction close on me unexpectedly like a trap. Thankfully, a good deal of time has passed since the last time my heart was broken by the truth of my husband’s betrayal. But, we are always careful, always watching. We know that the things that lead to temptation are always around us and we are always connected to good people who help us guard out hearts from being weighted down.