Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lies Women Believe: Tainted Goods

I’m not worth waiting for. I’ve ruined my chances and I don’t deserve another. I am tainted goods – no one will want me.

These are some of the lies that I have believed.

Hard to imagine I guess, but before I was a confidante Christian, I was a depressed and angry wreck. At times like those, you’ll believe anything.

Tonight I want to share with you a bit about my story; what lies I have believed and how God showed me that they are not true. I also want to centralise this around a huge issue for not only me, but also women everywhere; pornography.

Did you know that of people under 25 years of age, 50% of the people who view porn are female? Maybe you haven’t ever thought about, glimpsed it or even looked at it in detail. But maybe you have and are thinking right now “I bet I’m the only one in the room.”


My story starts when I was in grade nine. In my room – which I’d only moved into 2 years previously, there were 3 cupboards – the last one was the “present cupboard” or the place that mum put all the stuff she couldn't fit anywhere else. I love to reorganise stuff, and I figured one day – if I could reorganise the “present cupboard” maybe I’d have an extra shelf to put some stuff.

So I start cleaning out the cupboard. Bottom shelf: material, material and more material – mum’s into sewing. And then I hit magazines. I can’t see them, so initially I think – oh they have to be old cooking magazines (mum’s into cooking too), but when I pull them out – I’m looking at something very different.

Form that night on I was changed. I was stuck with these images of naked people in my head. I couldn’t forget about them. It seemed like everything I did or looked at reminded me of it. I wasn't a Christian at this point, I was taken to church every Sunday, but still struggling to find meaning in the “by the book” service that we attended and forgot about for the rest of the week.

I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. So it became my secret. And it became a secret I couldn’t get rid of. All through my senior years of high school I looked at porn. Life was getting hard? Get on the computer and read some. Look at some. Whatever. I thought I was the only girl who had this problem and I had no way of escaping, and so it became my addiction.

When I got to grade 12 I found that I had started to believe some of the lies that pornography had been telling me. That with out sex, or with out being sexual, I wouldn’t get a guy. And so I started a relationship that was purely founded on the fact that we both read porn.

Through this time I did a lot of things that I don’t like to think about, I wasn’t pure, I was stuck in a hole of addiction to pornography and the lie that I had to have it and then portray it in my life to be anything to someone else. But this isn’t a story about how sucky my life was. This isn’t a story that I’m embarrassed about. This is a story about how awesome God is. This is his victory story, and that makes me glad to tell it.

I finished grade 12 and, as most of you know, I went to Japan. It was my escape year. It was going to be the biggest adventure of my life. I still wasn’t a Christian – in fact I was really struggling with God – but I took my bible because it was also going to be the year I really sussed out God and found out what his deal was.

I did find out what God’s deal was in Japan. I found out that I was screwed up and pretty worthless. But despite my mistakes, my failings and my sin, God loved me and wanted to show me a better way. Well, when I found that out I literally said this to God:

“If you want my pathetic screwed up life you can have it. If you think you can do better than the mess I’m making of it – go ahead.”

I was so overcome by joy when I gave my life up to God, because I knew that he was going to be in control and I didn’t have to worry about it any more.

Life was not instantly better however. I was still struggling with pornography. As I got to know God better I came to realise that that wasn’t what he wanted for me. He had made me as a beautiful creation and he didn’t want me degrading myself with pornography. I struggled so much.

“How do I get out of this?” I kept praying. “God give me a way!”

And he did.

2 Timothy 2:22 says “Flee from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

It’s right there – Flee. Get away from it. Physically put as much distance between it and me as I can. And people say the bible isn’t practical.

Eventually, through trusting God to help me, praying to him when I needed strength, pursuing righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace as well as having a great accountability partner, God totally broke through and pulled me out of it.

I’ve been pornography free for about 3 and a half years now. Hooray!

This is not to say that I’m completely fixed. I still struggle with this. Sometimes I’ll close my eyes randomly and honestly – that’s where I’m praying that God will give me a clean and pure mind. It’s not over till it’s over they say. But something else gets me through this struggle:

Hebrews 4:15-16 says “This High Priest of ours understands our weakness for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Let us go boldly! God is so ready to give grace to help us. How amazing is our God!

For a long time, even after Jesus and I had beaten my addiction to porn I really believed I was tainted goods. Even though God loved me, I felt like I had done some things that just made me not worth it.

Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”

For so long God pursued me with this. Sure we do bad things that deserve death, but the sentence doesn't stop there! God wants to give us eternal life – and not just later on, but now! He want’s to give us freedom in the knowledge that he loves us. That he loved us so much he went to the greatest lengths to offer us that freedom; that eternal life.

Now it is so good to know that as someone loved by the king of the universe – I am worth waiting for. I’m not tainted goods – I have been cleaned by God’s love for me. I am worth waiting for.

Now your story may not involve something like a pornography addiction. Maybe it does – I don’t know. But whatever you are believing about not being pretty enough or smart enough or strong enough. Or being tainted so much by whatever you have done you will never be worth it. Stop believing that now and start believing God.

Hebrews 10:21-25 says:

“And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

I really want to encourage all of us here with this verse. Let us go into the presence of God and trust him. Let us know that God can be trusted to keep is promise. Let us motivate and encourage one another.

So often in my life the biggest lie that I believed was that I was all alone in this. I’m not. Neither are you. Let us continue to meet together and encourage one another. Amen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just thought I'd pop up some pictures from Steve's brother, John's, wedding from the weekend. :) It was a pretty stellar night. I made friends with small people!!

These guys are Imogen and Adam. Their sister, Erin, is with me above. They are Steve's cousins on his Mum's side. Due to the family controversy this was the first time they had met Steve. It was really funny because they had obviously heard about Steve from him Mommo who always calls him "Stevie". For the whole night they asked me about "Stevie". hehehe

And this is the beautiful bride, Aroha, with my new new girlfriends :D I really wish i had a photo of me and Steve to put up, or even of me and Aroha, but sadly i don't yet. I should get them eventually though! :D

Yay for weddings that bring every one together and in which no one feels the need to have a family fude because they are just so happy for the bride and groom. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

As you may have heard, the shortest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 117 (with a mere two verses), and the longest chapter is Psalm 119 (with a whopping 176 verses). Some people claim the center chapter of the Bible is Psalm 118, but that's not quite correct.

Actually Psalm 117 is the center chapter of the Bible (with 594 chapters before it and 594 after it), but the center verses of the Bible do fall within Psalm 118. There are 31,174 verses in the Bible, which means the 15,587th and the 15,588th, are the center verses. That would be Psalm 118:8-9. What do those center verses of the Bible say?

"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes."