Why I stopped reading fanfic
Corinna Ng // January 28, 2020, 9:58 am
Fan fiction. Not everyone would be proud to say that they read them. Most of us have it as a little secret, a guilty pleasure.
Why fanfics? To escape reality. When real-life celebrities or characters in books and movies don’t live their lives the way we want them to, we create fanfics and we read fanfics. It’s a world based solely on imagination and fantasy.
There are generally two kinds of fanfics. I read the latter.
- Those that involve ourselves – readers replace all protagonist names with their own.
- Those that don’t involve ourselves – pure reconstruction of book or movie characters’ lives.
When two movie characters have all the romantic chemistry but don’t end up together? Fanfic is the love guru.
Feeling sad over the death of a movie character? Fanfic is the reviving power.
Want to reimagine movie characters as high school students? Fanfic is the genie who grants our wildest dreams.
Having an imaginative mind, I thoroughly enjoyed this world of possibilities.
I came across a fanfic platform when I was in secondary school, and I got hooked from then on.
My first exposure to unhealthy romance and sexual content was also through fanfics because of the lack of censorship on this user-regulated platform.
Anything goes here – vulgarities, sex, violence. All responsibility falls on the writers to inform their readers about the content. But due to different standards, many stories pass off as being appropriate even for young readers.
Curiosity would get the better of me as I occasionally clicked on stories obviously labelled “mature”. I tried to skip over the parts with heavy sexual content, but it was still hard not to take a peek.
So I did at times.
That was how the world of fanfic opened doors to sexual fantasy in my mind. And these doors, once opened, were almost impossible to shut by my own strength. So I struggled with these sexual mental images that constantly invaded my mind.
The world typically associates porn with images and videos, but words have an equal if not greater power over the mind because it invites us to imagine and fill the gaps with our own images. And our minds certainly know no limits when they start to spiral down that filthy, dark abyss.
The devil seeks to feed us with this lie that fantasy is harmless because it only occupies the realm of the mind. However, the Lord says this in Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The world typically associates porn with images and videos, but words have an equal if not greater power over the mind.
As followers of Christ, we should adhere to God’s standards and truths rather than that of the world which is ruled over by the father of lies.
So I repented and stopped reading upon God’s conviction. I fell a few times after that and went back to reading unhealthy fanfics again – until God’s conviction became stronger than my desire and I grew determined to make a change.
Still, the damage had been done as my mind was exposed to impure things.
Only God can help with cleaning and sanctifying my mind. God forgives and washes away our sin when we repent, but we still have to face the consequences. It’s a purification process that begins with repentance.
As of now, I have little to no desire to read fanfics because I’ve gone “cold turkey” for long enough. But here are some practical tips that I found helpful when struggling with the temptation to read fanfics:
- Be convicted of your sin. Submit to God and ask Him to give you strength to overcome.
- Say “no” to this ungodly desire and reject the devil’s temptation. Delete the reading app or close that tab. It’s better to remove all traces rather than leave them there as future temptations.
- Replace fanfics with things like crossword puzzles or Reader’s Digest articles. Even better – read devotions and godly books instead!
- Be accountable to your parents, spiritual leaders and godly community. Ask for prayers whenever you feel tempted or when you’ve fallen.
It won’t be easy in the beginning, but it gets better and it’s definitely worth it. See it as a pruning for fruitfulness; a removal of things that hinder growth.
I thank God that I was able to stop before reading fanfics became an addiction and my only source of comfort and satisfaction. I thank God for stepping in before it had the opportunity to completely take over my mind.
I thank God for becoming my eternal satisfaction and for patiently guiding me in this process of purification and restoration.
THINK + TALK
- What’s your guilty pleasure in life?
- Listen to God quietly. What does He say about this area of your life?
- What steps would be useful in helping you to overcome this temptation? Who is someone you can be accountable to and journey with?