“Someone help me stop looking at porn.”
In a moment of desperation, I reached for help and for answers. Someone had to know; someone had to be able to help me. The darkness of my room that had once ensured my secrecy now entrapped me in a feeling of helplessness. I realized for the first time that no matter how badly I wanted to stop looking at porn, I couldn’t.
That frustrating feeling of helplessness didn’t stop there. Over the next few years, I would try time and time again only to relapse in the end. And every time was the last time, and every day was the last day. I would put my foot down and say, “This time is different, though! This time I’ll try harder!” But for some reason, I couldn’t seem to keep myself from giving in the next opportunity I had.
I know many of you resonate with my frustration. You’ve resolved to never look at porn again, and yet, despite all of your effort and all of your grit, you fall back in.
Why is it that despite all of our best intentions we can’t seem to get free and stay free?
For a long time, I didn’t understand. I would ask myself why, and of course, I immediately thought: “Oh, I didn’t put in enough effort! Oh, I didn’t have enough faith! Oh, I didn’t have enough resolve!” And while in the end victory requires effort, faith, and resolve, the answer didn’t sit well with me. I hated thinking that I just wasn’t doing enough because I was trying. My real problem was that I couldn’t seem to hold on to any of that in the face of temptation. It was like my mind got wiped from all of its good intentions the second it was confronted.
And then it dawned on me…
Imagine your last concert with me for a sec. Why don’t you just walk backstage at a concert? Sure, maybe there were bodyguards. But I don’t think that’s really what kept you from going back there. While I was on Warped Tour, there were times I walked back stage and didn’t have anyone ask to see my badge. So why didn’t anyone else sneak back there with me? And why don’t I walk backstage for any other concert I don’t have credentials for? I think it’s because we believe we don’t belong there. It requires a badge; I don’t have a badge; therefore, I don’t belong. And because you believe you don’t belong, you don’t walk in. You acted according to your belief. Your beliefs, your thoughts, your mind all guide your actions.
The problem we have with holding on to our grit in the face of temptation despite our best intentions is our mind! For a day, for a week, for a month, we might hold onto the belief that we totally can be porn-free. But after a while, our thoughts start to change. Once we experience some friction with temptation, we start to believe, “Uh oh….I don’t know about this…I…I CAN’T DO THIS!!” And once we adopt that belief as the truth, we fail because we act on what we believe is true.
So the most important question that will dictate the way you act, the way you hold your resolve, use your faith, and exert effort to stay porn-free is this: What do you think when you’re confronted with temptation?