For many years, I dreaded yesterday. Every year it came and I wanted to bury my head in the sand. That’s because yesterday was Father’s Day and when I was 11 my Dad died from Cancer.
I can remember everything about the day he died like it was yesterday. It is etched onto my memory. It was surreal, sad, hard and heartwarming all in one. I was just a kid but the love of my friends and family was overwhelming. I will never forget it.
I felt safe and secure at a time when what had happened should have made me feel vulnerable and alone.
It was like God was showing me it was going to be alright. That even though my father had physically gone, I had a Father who would never leave me. And the people around me who loved me would help show me that.
Somehow though I soon forgot all that. Thinking about it I can pinpoint this time as when my infatuation with lust and naked women began. My journey with porn began when my father died. Maybe I hadn’t grieved properly or hadn’t really understood that my father was gone, but now I can see that I was trying to fill a void that had been created. I missed out on the things that every child deserves.
The love of their father.
Hanging out together.
Going to watch games together.
Talking about girls.
Having the birds and the bees talk.
Just knowing that there was someone who loved me and I could rely on.
Everyone deserves these things.
So I started to look at porn. I had this massive space left in my life where my father should have been and so I tried to fill that space with pictures and movies of women I didn’t even know. I tried to fix the distance of my father with distant relationships that weren’t real. And every time I clicked open the window on my computer I was getting further and further from filling that space.
We do this all the time.
When we don’t get what we need, we look to other things. Things that can never replace our legitimate needs in a million years.
Losing my father meant I felt rejected. I know it wasn’t his fault but that didn’t take away the feelings that I had got the short straw somehow. I felt alone and isolated and I felt unloved. I saw my friends with their Dads and I felt alone. Like maybe I didn’t deserve a father. Just like everyone I needed to feel that I was loved and I needed that from my father.
Porn offered me the perfect escape from those feelings. I wasn’t used to being intimate with anybody so I could look at porn and feel what that might feel like for a while, without having to actually be real with anyone. And the more you look the stronger it becomes until finally I started to believe that this fake intimacy was actually going to solve my feelings of isolation and rejection.
But it never did.
The only way I was going to fix this was if I actually found real intimacy. I needed relationships with other guys that would show me what it was to be loved. There were times that I found that. I got accountable and I can’t tell you how amazing that felt. For the first time I was opening up to someone. I had father figures growing up who I am forever indebted to.
But something still wasn’t right.
And so I continued searching.
And I continued to be disappointed.
The thing about porn is it is relentless. You will never be able to stop looking at it until you address the deep issues why you look at it.
For me it was because I needed the security that only a Father can provide. But understanding that was the first step to being free. I was able to identify what it was that I needed and deserved and when I did that I could start looking in the right places.
I’m not going to lie to you. It won’t always be easy. You can’t just flick a switch where one minute you are addicted to porn and the next you aren’t. There are times every day where I doubt that God can fix me. Or I feel like I am unlovable. But these feelings are not the truth.
The truth is you are loved. The truth is you are not alone. The truth is you have never been alone. The truth is you are not worthless. The truth is that God loves you.
I need to remind myself of that every day. I need to set up filters on my computer and I need to be open with at least one guy. But even these things won’t work if we don’t believe we are loved unconditionally.
I am writing this for those of you who know what it was like to go into Sunday trying to keep your head down because you feel like Father’s Day is not for you. Maybe your father has died like mine, or maybe he left you when you were a baby and you haven’t seen him in years. Maybe he is just not there for you emotionally. But I want you to know right now that Father’s Day is still yours. Because you have a Father who will NEVER give up on you. Who will NEVER leave you. Who will NEVER stop loving you.
Do you believe this?
You should. Because it’s true.
Father’s Day is a day when we thank our fathers. We remember all the times they have helped us and we can’t help but be thankful for them. Maybe yesterday you felt alone. Or maybe you have a father who loves you so much. But maybe we can thank our Father who is always for us. Our God who cares so deeply for us that it would blow our mind.
So if you didn’t celebrate Father’s day yesterday why not do it today and remember your real Father.
So what does Father’s Day mean for you? Have you allowed porn make you believe you aren’t loved? Are you in recovery and are discovering maybe for the first time that porn is not the answer?