(Photo by Selma Komisky)
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONTENT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
Confessions of an Overcomer: A Testimony
By Sharina Menke
Only two and a half years ago, I would have thought it impossible that my mind would be free of all of the ugly, sensual, insane, and cruel images it’s been saturated with over time. I didn’t believe I was doing anything wrong, because after all, they were only seen through a screen. I wasn’t harming anyone. I grew up during the age of the internet, and easy access to pornography had affected my very identity and embedded into my thoughts. I came to accept things that are unacceptable in God’s eyes. But, even though change seemed impossible to me then, I now have a testimony that my mind and heart have been healed and made new in Christ.
I was very heartbroken and confused during jr. high. I became sexually active at a young age, and a guy told me that I should watch porn so that I have a sense of what I’m doing. So, I downloaded a video on LimeWire, watching it over and over. I remember feeling inadequate to the woman in the video – a tall, blond lady with the typical features a porn star would have. Yes, it did leave me with some “tips,” as well as the idea that this is what gives me value, and this is what a woman ought to be. This is what’s expected and it’s how I’ll get a man to love me. It’s hard for the graphic scenes from that old video not to pop up in my head as I write, though I’m not even concentrating on remembering them.
I continued to fill my mind with graphic images from the internet. A lot of the material is very violent and demeaning to the women involved. This type of sadomasochistic behavior caught on video is often treated as completely normal and just a matter of someone’s taste.
Thinking back, my mind became very sick and depressed from watching all of this, but somehow I desired to see more depraved stuff. My grades in high school and college suffered because of my emotional and spiritual state. The unhealthy addiction and ungodly soul ties affected my mental health and relationships. My behavior was erratic and weird. I believe these images kept me comfortable with my own sin. It’s almost like I was trying to just “feel better” about the sins that separated me from God, and trying to fill a void watching, and experiencing firsthand, Satan’s perverted intimacy.
Then, two years ago, I had a wake up call from God – that the identity that I was walking in, and what I had experienced from men was not His will for me and that He loved me! Suddenly, I understood how much I needed Him. Until then, He was just an idea that was often ridiculed by my atheist boyfriend at the time. But he was wrong – God does truly exist, and He did love me because He offers grace and mercy through Jesus! All of the ugly things that I had watched, the acts that I saw on video are Satan’s perversion of His beautiful plan for intimacy and love between a man and a woman. After this epiphany, I sought to achieve what God wanted for my life.
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 2:21 (ESV)
Pornographic images stay in the brain for a long time. Even after I quit watching it for good, the images still crept up in dreams or popped into my mind during waking hours. If you had a physical reaction to something, whether it is painful or sensual, you have a more difficult time forgetting it. It was a process to stop the habit, especially since it was a “private” habit between me, myself, and I. That wasn’t the case though, God was watching and it grieved His spirit to see me go back to what I left behind when I accepted Christ, and a new identity in Him.
One major weapon that helped in my battle with my pornography addiction was prayer. Every morning, I kneeled next to my bed and prayed sincerely to God to fill me with His Holy Spirit. I thanked Him for giving me that day and asked Him to do His will in it. I put on the whole armor of God everyday, including the helmet of salvation, so that the same mind would be in me that is in Christ. There are awesome duties and callings that God has for you specifically, with your special talents and gifts, as a soldier in His kingdom. You can find healing and love in the wonderful friendships that God has in store for you. Don’t ever let the enemy distract you from these duties with His schemes. Don’t waste any more time on Satan’s counterfeit.
Another powerful weapon that God used to transform my mind and deliver me from my addiction was His Word.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
– Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
God’s Word helped me to stay grounded in His identity and plan for me. One of the most powerful expressions of God’s vision of who we are to God is in Psalm 139. Filling my mind with Truth was crucial to breaking the bondage, traps, and the lies that the enemy had placed. I will never go back and see it as ok that women and men can be used as objects for carnal pleasure and financial greed. We are God’s beautiful creation made to live in harmony with one another, not use each other.
Now, my mind is completely different. My thoughts are so powerful – they are the seeds that my words, deeds, and actions spring forth from. I’m so thankful to God for giving me this mind. I’m going to care for it from now on, and not fill it with garbage.
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
– Psalm 101:3 (ESV)