The other day, I was asked this question, "What do you want?" and "What do you need?".
I started thinking and decided to try to put it on paper. This is what I wrote in my journal:
1. God, I want you to make my steps firm.
2. Lord, become the delight of my life!
3. I want to live abundantly.
4. I want a life of obedience.
5. I want to enjoy great peace.
6. I want you to help me to refrain from anger.
7. I want to feel your pleasure.
8. I want to know I am doing your will.
9. I want to keep your ways.
10. I want to keep my ways pure and holy.
11. I don't want to screw up.
12. I want you to use even my mistakes for your glory.
13. I want my family restored and to have a double portion of blessing in your Kingdom.
14. I want to hear your voice.
15. I want to love you so I can love others.
16. I want more faith, hope and love.
17. I want you to help me walk in freedom from fear, guilt, and shame.
18. I want to let people off the hook by forgiving them.
Oh Lord, I want a lot don't I? But You alone are capable of delivering this tall order.
Psalm 119: 33-40 says,
"Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all of my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart towards your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Fulfill your promise to your servant
so that you will be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life according to Your righteousness."
Psalm 119:49-50 says,
"Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life."
As I share our story with people, I am amazed at the grace in which it is received. Grace for my son, grace for us as parents, and people see the redeeming power of the Lord in our situation. How can I deny that God allowed this for His glory? Is it painful, scary, and tumultuous at times? Do I question if sharing our story is wise? The answer is absolutely!
But then I remember all the parents that I have talked with that tell me thank you for sharing our story with them. They tell me that it has changed their thinking and that God has used it to change their lives. Our friends (Believers and non-Believers) have watched us walk through this and declared themselves changed because they cannot deny the power of Christ in this situation. Yes, it is risk to share such secrets publicly. But after examining all sides of this situation and wrestling it through with God in prayer, I believe that it would be completely irresponsible to not share it.
When I started researching how addictive porn is and that it is harder to stop then drugs, I was shocked. Here is just a bit of what I learned.
Once cellular-memory groups and neural pathways are formed in your brain and body, you don't necessarily require outside stimuli to access and activate them. You can call up the images, feelings and information simply by using your imagination, another tool that pornographers use to their advantage.
The makers of porn know that the erotic images stored in the male brain are so potent that they can be activated merely by a word, a woman walking by, or a passing thought. For men who are trying to overcome porn addiction, this automatic response mechanism can be a major source of frustration and discouragement.
Cellular-memory groups storing pornographic images and the neural pathways leading to them are so deep and entrenched that their influence can permeate the whole mindbody network. In a porn user's brain and body, there are so many cellular-memory groups associated with porn images that they can be activated from a thousand different kinds of outside stimuli-or, many times, for no apparent reason at all.
Porn addicts trying to overcome their addiction say that pornographic images will pop into their minds at the worst times: in church, during prayer, during a job interview, while chatting with a son or a daughter, and, worst of all, amid intimate relations with their wife.
These men are in for a lifelong struggle; the cellular-memory groups where these images are stored will always be there to beckon them back to the computer screen. A relapse is always a possibility. Pornographers know that there is a good chance they will reclaim as customers men who are trying to overcome porn addiction, because many give up in despair when the images keep barging back into their minds.
For other men and teens who are caught up in porn addiction but are making no effort to stop, stored porn images become a way to look at porn in the privacy of their own minds. It's like having a mobile porn library of photos and videos to draw from at any time, night or day.
Hours better spent at productive work, with family, serving others, etc. are instead wasted in hours of private fantasy. Otherwise good, hardworking men become so distracted by their fantasies that they become zombies. They are present in body but their minds are lost in a pornographic wasteland.
Nina Laltrello, MFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Georgia .