Where is Your Medicine?

Proverbs 28:26,“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”

Can you remember the last time your heart got you in trouble? I can! In fact, just last night my husband and I got into an argument. The argument ended with him telling me to leave him alone and me letting him fall asleep on the couch and literally leaving him alone there.

I was alone in bed half the night.

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but we NEVER do that. We always go to bed together. The next morning, we both felt terrible.  It seems that when I follow the desires of my heart in the moment, I am hurting myself and those around me.

It’s incredible, really, what we can fool ourselves into thinking when we follow the foolish desires of our hearts. Especially when we are fearful of the discomfort that comes from looking in the mirror.

I wanted so badly to blame someone else for my sins. I felt unloved, unwanted, ashamed and guilty. But, surely, none of that could be my fault, because let’s be honest here, no one truly wants to take blame.

We are all victims, right?

That is what I thought until a couple of years ago. I blamed my self-disgust completely on my husband’s struggle with pornography. Hear me, his sin DID do a number on us. On our marriage, him, me and numerous other areas. But, THAT sin did not CAUSE my sin.

Ouch.

His sin was from HIS heart and my sin, well, that was from MY heart. My sins were in place before I even met my husband. We were both following our foolish hearts.

My feelings of insecurity stem from not connecting with God fully in my heart. My feelings of guilt stem from not allowing myself to be forgiven fully in my heart. My feelings of shame stem from not letting God shine his light in some areas of my heart. My feelings of being unloved stem from not fully realizing the price God ALREADY paid.

MY SIN. Not my husband’s. Not anybody else’s. Mine.

I know that all of you are struggling in life somewhere right now. I am here to encourage you, that you are not alone in those struggles. EVERYONE struggles. Look around. Our entire culture brings about struggle.

The standards of the world put insane expectations on us. I mean, women especially. (Not that men don’t have expectations!) We are expected to look like Barbie, cook and clean like Susie homemaker, perform like porn stars, be successful in our careers and be Pinterest-worthy mothers! That is ludicrous. No one can measure up to all of that AND not sin somewhere along the way.

The standards that the world puts on us begin to define who we are if we let them. Trust me, don’t let this world define you.

Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things above, not earthly things.”

When you set your mind on earthly things, your thought life never ceases to tell you how you have horribly failed in this life!

Guess what? A sinful thought life leads to a sinful way of life.

Your thought life is the first step. The initial sin.

When you continually allow yourself to think sinful thoughts, eventually you are going to act on them. Or medicate them.

I know so many people who go through life medicating all the sadness, guilt, shame, inadequacy that they allow to brew in their thought life.

What thoughts are you allowing to hang around?

Are you medicating? with Alcohol? Sex? Shopping? Gossip? Anger? Resentment? Jealousy? Food?

BUT LISTEN: There is GREAT news! Your sin is not the end of your story. Jesus can be your medicine.

The truth is, God didn’t create you to be so stuck in your mud that you can’t move. You are not destined to sin! Romans 6:14 says “…sin shall not have dominion over you.”

God’s standards, unlike the world’s standards will set you free! God created you to live life to absolute fullest that is possible.

But here’s the thing, you simply cannot live in darkness and stand up in your full potential from God.

I was reading an article the other day called 7 Truths to Help You Triumph Over Sin by Michael L. Jacobson and he brought about this simple but life altering question about sin. Do you believe that sin is inevitable or do you believe that sin conquerable?

God says that, with him, we are more than conquerors. MORE than CONQUERORS. We have the choice.

Do you want to continue down the path of self-destruction or do you want to begin to walk wisely and be delivered?

Are you ready to look in the mirror and face YOUR sins? That is the first step. You no longer need to play a victim. Listen, God already gave us what we need to conquer sin. We have his AUTHORITY. He keeps us upright. We just need to step in the ring.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For the spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Pray. Step up.

I encourage you to this week to sit down and dig deep into your thought life. Where are you sinning? WRITE down those sins. All of them. Pray and ask God to forgive every single one of them. Let me be clear here: in asking for forgiveness of these sins, you are not creating your salvation. Jesus already did that. He died on the cross for our sins. Asking for forgiveness of these sins allows you to find closure there. It allows you to find freedom there.

Lastly, start to recognize the triggers that cause you to stumble in your thought life. Recognizing these triggers allows you to take back your thoughts. Once you can recognize and capture the sinful thoughts (guilt, shame, jealousy, etc.) replace them with Biblical truths.

Stop the lies and build the truths.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

It takes time. There is no overnight fix. Work at it. Work at it because you are worth it. Work at it because you do not have to play a victim. Work at it because you are worthy. Not only in my eyes, but in our Creator’s.

He loves you. He cares about how you are living. He wants you to listen to his word, not YOUR heart.

Let him help you break free from these chains.

Let him be your medicine.

3 Ways Porn Wrecked My Marriage

*DISCLAIMER: This post is raw, real and vulnerable. My husband was the very first person to read this writing. It was his decision to have me post it to try to help other people struggling.

Pornography. That word makes every ounce of my being shudder. I don’t really hate a lot of things, but this, this I hate. If pornography was a person, I would punch it until it dropped to the ground and then I would curb stomp its face. Now, I didn’t always used to have such a strong reaction to pornography. In fact, I used to watch it; both by myself (before getting married) and then with my husband. I was under the impression, like so many others, that pornography helps to enhance our sex lives. But, man, can I tell you thinking that way is a straight up lie. Pornography is a straight up lie. It almost ruined our marriage. Pornography wreaked havoc on my self-esteem, devastated our sex life and destroyed trust between my husband and me.

  1. My self-image changed in every respect for the worse.

Every single part of who I thought I was changed. I no longer felt vibrant and lovable; I never felt good enough. He wanted to watch some other women do sexual acts instead of being with me. I often thought I needed to look like a porn star and act like a porn star just so he would notice me. I felt like an object. I was only there to be pretty and fulfill every sexual need. I distinctly remember asking him one time if I was better than porn. Of course, he said yes. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. Over the years, I tried to “win” his affection back by competing against what he liked to watch. I would see that he liked stripper type stuff, so I would dress up and give a show. Wow, what that did to me was horrendous. It is something that I struggle with to this day, to this minute, this very second. Who I was before this affected us, is definitely not who I am now.

  1. I stopped wanting to have sex with my husband.

You know, a lot of people think that introducing porn into their sex life is something that will “spice it up”. Yet, there we were, not having a whole lot of sex anymore. There were these expectations that I felt I had to live up to. Having sex with him was a show. I felt like I had to perform exactly like the women he watched. The true intimacy that a husband and wife should have, was nowhere to be found which made it difficult to really engage. I couldn’t be vulnerable with him. I couldn’t really “feel” during that act. I no longer enjoyed sex, I no longer wanted him to touch me and I did not want to touch him. Over time, I related having sex with my husband as something negative. That was bad. Not only did it affect our marriage at that point in time, but it continues to affect our marriage even now. I have had to work through a lot of negative to become available, emotionally and physically, to my husband again.

  1. Trust issues ran amuck in our relationship.

One of the most important things in a relationship is trust. When he was addicted to porn, there was no trust. He constantly would tell me lies to cover it up. I remember the first time that we talked about it. He simply responded that it was no big deal and that every man does it. So, I simply set it aside and let it go. I even allowed it in our bedroom together. But over time, it felt worse and worse. The distance between became greater. So, that ended. Then, I found out again that he was watching porn on his own; which is silly because I knew the whole time. I felt not good enough and second-rate. I was hurt. I asked him to stop and he agreed. But at this point I didn’t believe him. I would go through his phone, the computer, our television just to see what he watched or looked up. The smallest thing would set me off.  Low and behold the third time came around. This was the boiling point. I felt betrayed. I was done. The little trust that was left was shattered into pieces. Gone.

This boiling point sent us over the edge. There was an ultimatum now: stop looking at porn or leave. Praise God that my wonderful husband chose help. The first step we took, we took together. We set up an appointment with our pastor to go over everything. At the appointment, there was breakthrough. We learned about an organization called XXXchurch. They have a super cool spyware software that will not allow people to look at porn on their computers, tablets, phones; pretty much any device. So, we set that up. Which was awesome because I could let go of trying to do detective work and focus on healing. There was also a book that we both read. Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn. This book is a great “manual”, if you will, to learn how to stop looking at porn, checking women out and basically being faithful to your spouse mentally and physically. My husband and I learned a whole lot from that book. Both of these were extremely helpful and tangible first steps. But, let me tell you, if it wasn’t for God, we would be divorced. If it wasn’t for God we would be alone. We both persistently leaned into God.

God showed us both how to get through this. For my husband, he needed to learn to get past the addiction. For me, I needed to learn trust again. So, there we were, both trying to do right by each other. I can say that everything was roses right away, but that’s a lie. This road to recovery for us was a long and difficult one. This road to recovery is something that we both struggle with daily. He has to daily commit to make me his only eye candy.  I have to commit daily to trust him. There are times that we fail, well because we’re human of course. But, mostly, we are growing and going forward with God in life and marriage. In the book Every Man’s Battle, they talk about the wife being annoyed after the husband stops looking at porn because he now yearns for her WAY more. It’s true, lol! But I am far from annoyed because every time he shows me that yearning, my self-esteem grows and my desire for him gets stronger. Now, three years later and we’re on the other end, our marriage has never been stronger. My husband is the man of my dreams, the best father to our children that I could have hoped for and more over a man who loves the Lord. Jehovah Rapha is who we have to thank.

Do you or someone you know need help? Start with prayer. Another great first step is to contact XXXchurch (www.xxxchurch.com) and your pastor. Please don’t wait. Please seek help. Your life can be so much better.

If you are interested in reading the book (which I highly recommend) Every Man’s Battle, you can purchase it here:  Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn.

 

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