I never knew that something that merely peaked my curiosity at the age of twelve, would turn into years of relentless shame and secrecy. Over the course of four years pornography had consumed more of my life than I ever intended to give it. I vividly remember one of my most desperate prayers to God when I was sixteen. With knots twisting in my stomach, and tears uncontrollably running down my face I said, “God, I can’t do this anymore.” It was in that moment He replied, “Jessica, you don’t have to.”
If you are reading this, I don’t know where you are in life or the magnitude of the struggles that you face. What I do know, is that there is such a thing as freedom. For me, it was freedom from more than a pornography addiction. Lust, deception, shame, guilt, comparison, rejection, abandonment, and condemnation have all reared their heads in the years that followed that night when I was sixteen. At times I found myself asking, “When will this ever end?” Somehow, I fell under the impression that the surrender of one thing meant that things in this new relationship with God would inevitably be effortless afterward. Not only was I wrong, but I am glad I was wrong.
John 8:36 reads, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” To this day, it is a verse that has brought me the greatest joy, and I want to tell you why.
Jesus starts out this verse by saying “if the Son sets you free.” I couldn’t keep up with the facade that everything was okay, and that I didn’t have an addiction. Freedom came in the moment I said that I couldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t ever going to be found in my own ability, and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that I can never be too proud of my own strength and resistance to sin. On my own I will miserably fail.
Then later in the verse comes my favorite part: “free indeed.” For only six letters, indeed is a powerful word. According to Strong’s concordance, some definitions include “really, truly,” and “actually.” In other words, Jesus was saying that this freedom is without question. It’s not a distant, unattainable fantasy. It’s an undeniable reality that only He can make possible.
So where does this leave you now? It leaves you with a choice. Regardless of where you consider yourself to be in this life, Jesus is the only way to lasting freedom. The lies that tell you that this is how it always must be are exactly that – lies. There is a life beyond addiction. Ten years ago, I found myself at that crossroads where I had to decide if I wanted to keep living the way I was. Jesus wasn’t just as my crossroads, but on the road leading to it.
I only had to recognize that He was there.
Jessica Brown is a mentor/leader in CL Women. You may reach Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.