14 years later and I can still remember that image.

That pretty much sums up how porn has impacted my life.

It has left an image engrained on my brain. It may now be a little blurry but it is still there.

When my friend showed me on his new computer with the internet, something I was alien to, the couple of images which he had probably waited nervously for hours to download; I never thought a good portion of 12 years later I would find myself looking again and again and again. Many images have come and gone since but none like the first one.

But rather than satisfy me, it just peaked my curiosity. From the moment I shared with classmates as we sneaked a look at a copy of FHM in the back of History class (shortly after the initial image incident) to the thousands of moment I shared with myself, nothing was never enough.

So how has porn impacted my life?

Well I am pretty good liar because of it. I was able to tell just the right thing to get my mum or sister off my case. I became pretty good at hiding who I really was. I was an angel on Sunday at church. Not so much when I got home.

But most of all porn impacted my life by robbing me of a lot of years. Because regardless of how it looked to people, I wasn’t doing great. I wasn’t secure in who I was. And I certainly didn’t feel like I was important to God. Porn made me hide more than just the computer screen. It buried the real me.

Before I really got into porn I was pretty outgoing. I could make people laugh and I was actually pretty confident. I loved God, I loved church and I loved the people I was blessed with.

Porn took most of that away from me.

Sure I wasn’t depressed all the time. But sometime I hated myself. Sure I wasn’t scared of what people would think of me all the time. But slowly everything was reflected in my own image.

I was morphing into someone I had never been before.

See, I didn’t change straight away. It was very gradual and that was the killer. I didn’t really see it happening. I didn’t notice when I was less joyful than I was and I didn’t notice that I wasn’t fulfilling the potential I was given. I didn’t notice that I was losing my peace in God and losing my trust that I was loved.

This was how porn impacted my life. Not immediately but slowly.

Thankfully that did not mean it was gone forever.

Through honestly and accountability I slowly got the “me” that I was happy with back. It took time but soon I saw God again for who He really is, the loving God who cares deeply about me and who has nothing but great plans for me. I soon became confident in front of people again. No longer hiding from shame.

That is the great news. That no matter how far you have gone, God can help you reclaim the “you” that you have lost. There are people out there who can help you. There are people here who write great blogs about how God rescued them.

Let them be your hope.

See that their stories are the same as yours.

See that there is always a new beginning.

And remember that no matter how porn has impacted your life; the blurry image of a God you knew once loved you, can become clear again.

Hopefully that will be one image you will never forget.