My friend Anne Jackson’s second book, Permission to Speak Freely – Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace releases today. I’ve asked her to share one of the essays from her book with you. Anne decided to share seven essays on seven different blogs, this being the 5th. To read the rest of the essays, check out the links at the end.

Anne is also giving away a copy of her book to two commenters, chosen
at random, on Friday. So check out the question at the end and leave a
comment to be entered to win.

You can pick up a copy of the book here. It is a great read. We shot a video with Anne a few months back. I posted it below in case you have not seen it.

To read the First Essay CLICK HERE – Donald Miller’s Blog

Essay #5 – Shattered Pixels

As you saw from my playground experience earlier, I run when hurt
hunts me down.

I put the blame for the pain I was experiencing from the
“relationship” with this youth pastor on God and began to run from my
faith again. God and I were through. He obviously didn’t care about
me, so I didn’t care about Him anymore either.

To help numb the pain, I began experimenting with a lot of things that
weren’t healthy for me.

A little alcohol.

Some pills.

And pornography.

I know, I know. Porn is a guy’s problem. Girls—especially teenage
girls—don’t look at porn.

And the last place you would expect to see porn is the living room of
a former pastor, right?

But during these “dark years,” between a portrait of my family taken
at Christmastime and an old, broken, dot matrix printer sat a computer
screen. The place where I typed book reports and instant-messaged my
friends became the doorway to an endless amount of forbidden fruit—and
even more amounts of guilt.

Still in culture shock from our move to Dallas, and now with an
awakened sense of myself sexually, I began to notice the provocatively
lit neon signs loudly proclaiming XXX and FULL NUDITY. On the way home
from school on my bus, I overheard two boys talking about looking up
images of people having sex online. Ignited teenage hormones combined
with the new technology of the Internet proved to be a dangerous

Late one night, after my parents and younger brother had gone to bed,
I logged on and did an online search for “sex.” I had no idea that
typing that one word into a computer would lead me to an addiction I’d
fight for years.

And it wasn’t just a physical addiction either. Viewing these
outwardly flawless women fed the huge emotional need that was left by
my dad’s withdrawal and the youth pastor’s rejection. Through the
fantasies I would have by looking at that computer screen, I would
find love and affirmation.

I graduated as planned my junior year and moved out a few months after
my seventeenth birthday. Now I had my own apartment with my own
computer, and all the freedom in the world.

I would go to work (now the manager of the Christian bookstore), come
home, and look at porn almost every night. Soon my porn binges started
affecting my performance at work and my relationships because I
wouldn’t get any sleep, and when I was with friends, I would secretly
obsess about how soon I could be home and when I could get my next

What’s a girl to do?

Of course, I never mentioned my struggle to anyone. Looking at porn
was typical, even expected, for men . . . but a girl? A girl who likes
porn? I often questioned my sexual orientation.

If I was straight, why did I like looking at naked women? So was I
gay? Or bisexual?

Or was I just perverted?

I hated the pattern I had fallen into. I think I knew it was wrong. At
least I realized
anything that caused this much obsession couldn’t be right.

But I couldn’t stop.

The addiction went from online to offline. When something as dark and lonely and
shameful as a sexually oriented addiction has a grasp on you, you do a
lot of things you’d never in a million, billion years dream you’d ever

My boundaries crumbled and I began sexually experimenting, at times
with men I barely knew. One night when I was almost eighteen, I
remember going to a cute guy’s house. He was a junior in college, and
I had met him only a few days before at a local Waffle House. Aside
from a few mental snapshots, I don’t remember anything from that night
except having a drink and waking up fuzzy, alone, half dressed on his
couch. He was nowhere to be found; I dressed and went home. I never
saw him or heard from him again.

I don’t even remember his name.

By the time I was twenty, I settled down a little bit and was engaged
to someone I had been dating for over a year. But during the months
leading up to the wedding, my old habits came back with a vengeance
and I began seeing another man behind my fiancé’s back—and I got
caught. After the wedding was called off, I rebounded by becoming a
serial dater. I always needed to have a man in my life in order to
feel worthy.

According to everything I had seen, to be accepted and loved meant to
have a sexual
relationship, and what girl doesn’t need to be accepted and loved?

For years this addiction held me tightly in a dark embrace, and
somewhere inside me I knew it wasn’t the life I was intended to have.
I knew it was wrong. And as I got older and began to rediscover my
faith and my purpose and identity in Christ, I knew I had to break
away from the safety I found in my morphed perspective of sex.

As twisted as it was, it was familiar. And that familiarity brought me comfort.

But I knew I needed to let it go.

I confessed everything I could remember to God, even asking Him to
cover the things I had forgotten or didn’t want to bring up because I
was so ashamed of them.

I took my computer out and placed it in the Dumpster by my apartment
and refused to have Internet at home for the next several years. It
helped me break that cycle.

That confession and resulting penance seemed like it was good enough.
For the time being, anyway.

People are still surprised that women struggle with pornography and other sex related addictions. Does it surprise you?

To read essay #6 on Catalyst Website CLICK HERE