“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'”—Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)
First off, this is a bit of a rant. In my experience, it’s hard to “judge a rant” wouldn’t you say? (LOL) In other words, because I am a *huge supporter* of James 5:16, I am making a confession so that I can continue in my own healing. Healing is a journey.
Don’t you ever forget it.
On January 9, I will have been abstinent for four years. Well, abstinent from everything other than masturbation. I just reached a year of that in October (and yes, unlike you, Ramblin’ Man, I think that is just as sexually counterfeit as fornication/adultery. We’ll just have to “agree to disagree” on that). I believe I shared that milestone with you guys (and gals) already, right? Anyway, I’ve been telling all of my friends that I’m hoping (and praying and praying and hoping) that this four-year hiatus is going to be a lot like a four-year degree. You graduate…onto something else. Hebrews 13:4 would be nice.
And perhaps that’s why this past Saturday night was so HELLACIOUS for me. I mean. HELLACIOUS. I was hormonal. I was crying. I was on edge. I had a bout of insomnia. And to some degree, even today, on Monday, I am still going through all of these things.
I was telling a girlfriend of mine earlier today that I liken it to a form of spiritual schizophrenia. Now, don’t get me wrong. A sistah misses her some sex (well, I guess I do. I haven’t had the godly kind yet and so…maybe I don’t…hmph). But Saturday night wasn’t about horniness. It was more like internal torture. Voices in my head trying to get me, almost to the point of mental force, to “return to my vomit”…well, more like “repeat my folly” because I’m not a dog (LOL-if you go to Proverbs 26:11, you’ll get my point). “Do it…do it NOW” was all that was really playing on repeat in my psyche and to be honest with you, a part of what I had to process was “Do…what…exactly?”
Have (some form of) sex.
And then, in the midst of the torment, my spirit had to attempt to speak rationally to my flesh (Galatians 5:16-17).
Sex: You’ve cut off all of your soul ties. Why would you want to go back?!? Remember those pro-athletes that were flirting with you the other day? You know you don’t want to add more dudes to your list. You know you don’t want to become *that chick*. The for-some-shoes-and-a-bag-we-can-get-down chick.
Porn: Do you even remember your favorite websites? How many hours of your life are you gonna waste trying to find them? Remember all of those viruses that were on your PC when you finally decided to give it up? You almost had to purchase an new computer altogether.
Masturbation: Come on. Why eat a cracker when you’re fasting? Masturbation is the biggest kind of tease. All that’s gonna do is make you mad. It never satisfied you before. That’s why you used to do it so much.
Yep. My spirit man was making perfect sense and yet, I still couldn’t seem to shake it because I had some questions of my own:
How long is this abstinence thing supposed to last?
How long is this abstinence thing supposed to last?
Oh, and how long is this abstinence thing supposed to last?!?
A big news story in Nashville last week was about this organization that claims to know when Christ is returning. According to them, it’s May 21, 2001. Hmph. Wonder if they read the Bible (Matthew 24:36). I couldn’t help but smile a bit because I remember getting a phone call from a girlfriend of mine earlier this year, out of the blue, in which she said, “Shell, the Lord told me that you would have sex before Jesus comes.”
She’s not the prophesying/prophelying kind and so I got excited. My reply? “Great! More than once?”
She paused and then said, “Well, I’m not sure if it’s gonna be more than once.”
Shoot, if he’s coming in May, then I need to “gird up my loins” for April, right? (LOL) Maybe that’s why the Liar (John 8:44) is on me so right now. Just as I don’t know when Christ is returning, I’m not really sure when I’ll be jumping a broom, either…but sometimes you can just sense when you’re getting closer.
One of the telling signs is that the Enemy comes to throw you off course.
Which is why I’m sharing this. In this journey towards purity and wholeness, you too will encounter hell nights—nights when it seems like Satan has come to see you personally, and to be honest with you, there is no “quick fix”. I liken it to the flu. With some “bugs”, you just have to be still, know that God is on the throne (Psalm 46:10) and wait it out. Just as a male friend of mine emailed me today, sometimes, it’s not about waiting for one year, six months, four week milestones…but celebrating today.
Today you did not have sex.
Today you didn’t check out that site.
Today you didn’t masturbate.
Today you didn’t return that “sure thing’s” call.
Today, you restrained yourself.
As it says in Matthew 6:36 (NKJV), “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” How nicely that works with 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV), “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
My male friend, Brian, ended his encouraging email with, “We say God is ‘Worthy’ all the time, but it boils down to us actually showing He is ‘Worth It’ to us, by the sacrifices we make or better yet the how we obey Him.”
Which is why I started this rant with the Scripture that I did.
Sometimes I think we don’t take the Bible nearly as literally as we should. When Christ said that we should take up our execution stake and follow him, that’s not saying “recline on a pillow and chill out”. Denying ourselves, denying our flesh, is hard…hard…HARD WORK. Sometimes we see immediate rewards. Very often, we simply don’t. Shoot, there was a period of time Saturday night where all I could do was put my head on my pillow and cry…and cry…and cry.
Detox ain’t easy. (Which is why the Lord wants us to avoid getting hooked to begin with!-I Corinthians 10:13)
But you know what? I made it through…and sometimes, that’s all someone else needs to hear (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP). And while I’m not sure when this part of my journey will transition into something else, take it from me: doing four weeks, six months, one year over again? I remember when I used to be in the “hamster wheel” of 10 months…stop. 10 months…stop. It’s exhausting pushing the reset button. And besides, it’s been my personal experience that the Thief only comes when he senses there is something worth stealing, killing and destroying (John 10:10). I have to trust that if I wasn’t a threat, he wouldn’t be threatening me…that if a “slice of heaven” wasn’t within my reach, he wouldn’t be trying to distract me so much. He wouldn’t be trying to have my hands otherwise occupied to where I wouldn’t be able to reach for what’s best for me.
And so, if this is a HELL NIGHT for you, I just want you to know that even in the moments when you just know that you won’t make it, you can. I can attest to the fact that his strength really is made perfect in our weakness. He’s not afraid of our past or present addictions. He’s not expecting us to do this on our own. He just wants us to deny ourselves so that he can make his presence known…so that we’ll not feel that we have to fight our urges by ourselves. Sometimes the Liar wants us so focused on the “ailment”, that we forget there is always a “cure”.
THERE IS ALWAYS A CURE (I John 4:4).
OK, I’m gonna get off of here. I got myself some ice cream to reward my coming out of the “refining fires” unscathed. Yeah…that’s another thing to keep in mind. When you go through “hell nights” and come out to tell about it, there’s *absolutely nothing wrong* with celebrating your accomplishment(s). Heaven rejoices when we surrender ourselves over to a Higher Power than our temptation. We should too.
Love to you. Prayin’ for you. Please pray for me.