“I promised God I would stop”: My struggle with sexual addiction
Cynthia Wong // March 26, 2019, 3:36 pm
I discovered pornography when I was really young and because I didn’t know better then, it quickly developed into an almost daily habit of pornography and masturbation. It even came to a point where I wouldn’t need to watch porn because my mind was already so wrought by the images I’d filled it with.
Things didn’t get any better in secondary school. I promised God that I would stop so many times, but honestly, I wasn’t serious about my walk with Him. I was doing the bare minimum of Our Daily Bread for quiet time and rarely prayed.
God was my “vending machine” for many years, the one I’d turn to if I needed something. I also saw my sin with the wrong mindset – as something to just stop doing so often, rather than something to turn away from and towards Christ-likeness.
With a weak understanding of the faith, I struggled with my habit all by myself, isolated by the downward spiral of shame, guilt and disappointment in myself.
But things began to shift when I attended my very first church youth camp. As people shared their testimonies, including those who were caught in similar sins as I was, I could feel my heart changing and growing in courage. So for the first time, I decided to come forth to a few about my struggles.
However, I couldn’t truly break free from the addiction. It didn’t help that female masturbation was not talked about as openly as male masturbation, and topics on sex and pornography were already uncommon in a church setting.
It was only at my second church camp did I experience a certain breakthrough. Serving as a musician this time round, I was very moved by the dedication and service of the team. I saw how God used the Church to orchestrate something greater than themselves.
This made me realise I too was woven into His full plan, no matter how insignificant my role might seem. There was a new yearning in my heart to serve, glorify His name and encourage others. But I knew that to do so, I would need to build up my spiritual life – and that would mean tackling my “largest” sin, which was the porn and masturbation.
During that camp, I found people to journey with me out of the addiction and towards holiness. They kept me in check every day, even beyond the camp, which was something I’d never experienced before. This daily openness and vulnerability with Christian community drew me closer to my church mates, but more importantly, closer to God.
I became more purposeful in finally putting an end to my old self, to live wholly as a new creation in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
These days, I do my quiet time regularly, doing my best to take everything to the Lord – the good days, the days I’ve stumbled, and the bad days as well. I’m closer to God than I’ve ever been and it feels like I’m seeing with new, opened eyes.
Having this eternal perspective on things has changed me for the better. It compels me to watch what I say, what I do and what I think, knowing it is a chance to shine for Jesus wherever I go.
Have I completely broken free from my sin? No, not yet. There are still times where I fall. In fact, I know for sure that there are more trials to experience and more temptations to overcome in this life.
But it will be a good struggle. I believe, with constant prayer and reliance on the Lord, that there eventually will be a day I will be able to fully overcome this hurdle.
How am I so sure, you may ask?
Because I have come to know the one I place my faith in – my God who never fails to deliver His people and who works out everything for our good (Romans 8:28).
And what a glorious day that will be, when I no longer find pleasure in earthly things but only in Him, my Lord and Saviour.
The author’s name has been changed for confidentiality.