My Relationships

Too Precious for Porn

“My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” -Mark 5:23

A few years ago, I was dead. Well, not actually, physically dead. I was living in a state so far away from the Father that I had little hope of returning. Like many young people, I became ensnared by porn in high school. Sexual sin ran the show for a while and I fell away. I also became ensnared by the idea that I wasn’t good enough to get better. That somehow, my sin had spoiled salvation. I wasn’t a real Catholic, I would never be good enough for Prince Charming or even Jesus Himself. I thought that God probably didn’t want me.

If you are in this place right now, if you are lonely and hurting because of your struggles with pornography, masturbation, and sexual sin, know that there is hope. This thing you are bringing to the table is not too much for God. If the place you’re in is causing more death than the abundant life God wants you to have, I pray you’ll be able to take away a few of these insights to help you live in faith hope, and love again. Let this be your invitation to rise above the confines of sin and into God’s loving embrace.

Faith

“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” -Mark 5:36

There’s a catchy little Veggie Tales song that goes, “God is bigger than the boogie man!”. Well, God is bigger than porn too. He’s bigger than lust and loneliness. This battle you’re facing is not too much for Him, so there’s no need to be afraid. God also knows you inside and out. He has seen everything and still, He pursues you.

When I wrestled with sexual sin, I questioned God quite a bit. I tried to rationalize my actions because of the hurt I felt. It took some time and research, but I quickly came to realize that our Church knows a thing or two about salvation. The CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) teaches that the disordered act of viewing pornography and masturbating robs us of our human dignity. We have been created, to join in union, laying down our lives for, either our spouse or the Church, and to create life. Porn just doesn’t cut it in terms of what we were made for, and ultimately leaves us in a state of frustration with our very being.

It takes faith when you doubt, and even more so when you’re afraid. Sometimes we know the answers, but man, this is hard! Becoming free of this sin can seem like Goliath. Have faith and know He has so much more waiting for you than screens and actors. He has real relationships, mission, a specific calling, a place in creation, all waiting for you. You weren’t created to settle for a quick fix, but to experience a lifetime of joy!

Your faith is something you must hold fast to when battling this sin. Be intentional about going to Confession after a setback. Make small strides in prayer when returning to Christ. Structured prayer, like the rosary, is a good start! Fill yourself with goodness so the Devil doesn’t have an inch of wiggle-room. Be active and intentional with your faith in God, cooperating with His grace and His transformative healing.

“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” -Mark 5:34

Hope

“She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.” -Mark 5:33

He wants you back. Every time. Every time! The moment before and the moment during and the moment after. He wants to forgive you. He thirsts for you to bring Him your pain, your sin. He wants to dry your tears and to give you something better.

One night I walked into Adoration with a heavy heart. I had just fallen. Again. I brought my big bundle o’ sin into the pew and slumped down in defeat. I imagined my burdens and shortcomings like a sack of dirty clothes and thought, “This thing is just in my way, He won’t want this.” In the quiet of my heart, I heard Him reply so firmly, “I want you.”

Sometimes our faults look like that sack of clothes. It’s a stinky gift, and we’re afraid He won’t accept it. The truth is, He’s really not interested in what you did. He’ll run right past your mess to get to you.

Have hope that the same Jesus who rose from the dead wants you to do the same. Leave your sack in the confessional, He really does want you.

Love

“He took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise!'” Mark 5:41

He knows what you did and He loves you beyond that. Allowing Christ to love you as you break free from pornography means letting your friends and family love you as well. To be honest, I had no idea how to let people love me. I’d refuse help from anyone who offered, including God. I’d wear baseball caps low over my eyes and carry myself confidently, but underneath I was a wreck who needed a hug and a coffee date with a friend.

Practically, this might look like sitting down your bestie and asking them to listen to how your day went. Or, allowing someone to care for you when they notice that sad look on your face. Maybe going into the chapel doesn’t look like a perfect litany, but a messy unloading of your hurts, just so He can gaze upon you.

Victory

If you were to tell me that my life with be overflowing with joy and abundant life, that 15-year-old girl would have chuckled and shaken her head. No way was I that important to win freedom from this addiction. No way could I ever have a life outside of this, or better yet heal. But I did! I struggled, and now I struggle better than I did through Christ’s mercy. I smile and proclaim victory. You can too. Here are some steps I took to win each day, to fight for authentic love, and to hope in the Risen Lord:

Get rid of everything causing you to fall -Matt 5:29. Specific apps used for the consumption of porn or even Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. Learn your habits and be honest. If it’s even a question of “if”, do not risk it.

Confession. I know you know, but honestly, confession is a big step in healing. Christ doesn’t want you living in sin, and the longer you do the harder it is to hear Him. The easier it is to hear lies such as “you are not worthy of love”, “you’re such a terrible sinner” instead of a compassionate invitation to healing.

Download the Victory App by Life Teen.This was a huge step for me. You can set up an accountability partner and track your progress. Plus, the app comes with a library full of empowering information as you battle

Limit screen time and be active. Whether it’s hitting the gym, getting out of your room, taking up knitting, or joining a club. Don’t be a sitting duck when it comes to temptation. “Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones.” -St. Thomas More

Find a friend to confide in. This is a hard one. Just this past summer, I opened up to my parents about my 5-year struggle. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and was met with so much grace-filled love. Start with your best friend, a teacher you trust, your youth minister, someone you have a daily, healthy relationship with. Tell them simply and ask that they check in on your progress. It’s never fun to face something alone.

Address stress and anxieties in a healthy way. Stress is a big trigger for me. It’s easy for us to allow emotions to take control. Don’t let them make you weak. When I was in the thick of it, getting seriously frustrated would mean I was upstairs consuming pornography later. Your brain has found pleasure in watching pornography. Break the habit of using it when you are low. Be brave, offer your emotions to the Father, and care for yourself as He cares for you. Take a hot bath, eat a good meal, listen to instrumentals or your favorite Praise music. Keep in touch with your accountability partner and stay away from isolation. It’s tough at first, but after a while, that healthy routine will become an instinctive go to.

Stick with a Saint! I’ve always loved Saint Philomena. Choosing her (or her choosing me) as a battle buddy helped keep me pointed towards a beautiful and courageous love. One out in the open, a witness to Christ. Be that witness with a Saint you are close to. Here are a few to check out that were soldiers for Love:
Mary
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
St. John Paul II
St. Maria Goretti
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Justina
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
S.t Josemaría Escrivá

Quitting pornography isn’t a diet. It’s a choice to go all in for something real, something better. Because you are real and you are better! You are infinitely loved, wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and known deeply. You were made for life, for true connection, for smiles and good struggles. You were made with the ability to take your suffering and nail it to the Cross. You were made to be one with Christ. You are free to make the choice to live a healthy and full life. No lie can stop His love, His gentleness for you. I can’t tell you exactly what this journey will bring.

I can’t give you exactly the right answers. I still feel like the worst of sinners on even the sunniest days, and I still struggle. What I can tell you is that I am too precious for porn. You are far too precious for porn. You are too precious to be lonely, stuck, and hurting. Pornography can leave you lost, but don’t be afraid. A year ago I barely smiled. I’d trudge through the day waiting for the inevitable moment when temptation would be too strong, when I’d see an image or phrase that would put me right back where I started from. Today, I’m a soldier for joy and I smile. A lot. This fight you are fighting was already won. Claim victory! Rise! He loves you!

About the Author

Helen Maier

Bad at prayer but good at returning. Just a midwesterner with an unbridled love for cheese, trees, and a good hug. Big fan of God's creation and the human journey. Still not over the sunset I saw yesterday. I love doodling, my big family, and walking with the Saints! Catch me on the Twitter.com @Talithakoum9, Pax!