Ways to resist temptation

I have already shared my thoughts on whether or not masturbation is a sin. I want to focus on what can help those who view it as something that is unhelpful or even sinful. There are several things that I have found to be extremely helpful in resisting the temptation to masturbate.

1. Marriage really does help. At least, in my case it has. With a husband who is willing to make time for you and meet your needs, things will become much less difficult. However, not everyone is in this situation. If you are single, this point probably frustrates you to no end. And not all married women have husbands that are willing to meet their needs.

2. Have someone that you confess to! You can tell yourself all day long that you won’t do it again and no one needs to know you messed up. If you do slip up, it isn’t like you telling yourself will really embarrass you all that much. But if you have to tell someone else it changes things drastically. You think twice about what you are about to do, because you know if you go through with it you are going to have to tell that person. You could always lie to them, but that would only increase your frustration and guilt.

3. Know your cycle. Have you ever noticed that you typically have the desire to masturbate around the same times of the month? I definitely experienced that but never really took the time to figure out why until recently. I have found theories (no facts) that women have a higher sex drive during the week before ovulation due to the higher levels of testosterone. Either way, if you notice you tend to be tempted more during a certain time of the month, start taking note of that so you can be more prepared mentally and have people praying with you about it.

4. Don’t make it easy to fail. If there are certain places (bedroom, bathroom, etc.) that you tend to masturbate in, don’t be in those places unless it is necessary. If you like to study or read in your bedroom, but find that your mind will wander and you give in to temptation even though your intentions were sincere, start studying or reading somewhere that that won’t be an issue. If you struggle more reading certain books or watching certain movies, stop making it harder on yourself and acquire different tastes. Those books and movies may not be bad in and of themselves, but for you they are.  In a nutshell, you will have to make some sacrifices.

5. Memorize scripture. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you about masturbating, the enemy will do everything he can to make sure you fail. Nothing works better than prayer and quoting the Word of God. There are three verses in particular that I find to be the most helpful and they just happen to all be in books of the Bible that start with C!

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Most importantly, and probably the only one that really needs to be remembered is this: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” The more you dwell on your heavenly Father, the less you will desire the things that you once did. The other things may help for a time, but without this one thing you will eventually fall back into your old desires.

I hope this helped somebody, and I would appreciate any feedback that anyone has to offer. If there is anything you would like to see discussed feel free to let me know!

How I told my boyfriend…

“I’ll have to tell him before we get married, but I just don’t think I can tell him yet.” Those were my thoughts when it came to telling my now husband about my previous addiction to pornography and struggles with masturbation.

The way it all turned out just proves that God has a sense of humor. At least when it comes to my own life.

My husband and I had been dating for several months now and I was thinking that I would just wait until we were engaged to tell him. We were pretty confident we wanted to get married at this point. We were sitting in church one day when the pastor said, “Girls, on the very first date you need to be asking the guy you are with if he is addicted to pornography.” I sighed inwardly thinking that if he had been dating me a year and a half ago he would actually need to be asking me that very question. I was still too nervous about telling him though and figured it could wait until we were engaged.

I had never shared my past or present struggles with a guy before. I had no idea how he would react. Would he still love me? Would he be angry or disgusted? I had finally gotten over the idea that I was horrible and unique in this area of sin as a woman, but the idea of having to face my boyfriend’s rejection was too much for me.

We often drove about 45 minutes away to visit his parents and on our next trip there, he turned to me and told me he had been thinking about what the pastor said. “No, no, no I don’t want to hear this yet. I am not ready to tell you” was all I could think about. I already knew what he was going to tell me. The statistics of guys viewing pornography made it pretty likely that he had looked at pornography. I didn’t care about that, but what I did care about was that I was now going to have to reveal my ugly past to him. I immediately burst into tears.

He was confused, thinking that I was horribly upset by the fact that he had been addicted to pornography before. I explained through sobs that that wasn’t it at all and I had to tell him something too. I was shaking and crying and finally managed to let him know, through a mixture of him guessing and me saying random words, that I had been addicted to pornography and struggled with masturbation.

His reaction was the opposite of what I had feared. Some of his comments were things like, “At least we know we will probably have a pretty good sex life” and “Well, that’s a relief. I thought you were going to tell me you have homosexual tendencies”.

The funny thing is that the whole time he was trying to tell me his past, I could have cared less because of what I had to tell him. And the whole time I was trying to tell him about mine, he could care less because I didn’t seem to be bothered by his own.

We had several more conversations and still do concerning this issue, but it was one less burden for me to carry. I was so happy that I had to tell him sooner than later. I can only imagine the dread and anxiety I would have experienced the moment he proposed to me. “Oh no, I have to tell him now” would have been my first thought after he bent down on one knee instead of being joyful and thrilled.

Although I thought I knew better than anyone when I would need to tell my future husband, God knew much better than I did what was best for us. I really should have known better looking back on how most of my plans tend to work out.

A Breath of Fresh Air

I called my friend up after a while and told her I needed to talk to her about something serious. For anonymity’s sake, I will call her Angela. I still didn’t want a soul to know what I was dealing with, but I couldn’t ignore God anymore. Angela sounded a bit confused on the phone, but was more than willing to have me over for a chat.

As I sat on her living room sofa, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed about what I was about to tell her. I said every vague phrase I could think of to try to get her to understand what it was I was dealing with. It was easier to tell her that I had been addicted to pornography because that was now past tense. But to tell her that I was continuing to masturbate and having a hard time seeking the Lord because of it was like pulling teeth.

I circled around the word for a little bit until she finally just asked me, “Are we talking about masturbating?” I sighed and said yes.

“Oh, well I have struggled with that for years, ever since I was young” she said.

There was no condemnation in her voice, no embarrassment, no disgust. I could already feel what I had hidden for so long in my life getting a breath of fresh air. Perhaps I wouldn’t have to do this alone anymore.

I began to open up more with other people as well. It turned out that there were several people whom I respected and loved that dealt with the same things I did. If I hadn’t talked to Angela, I may have never come to know this. I would have had no other human being to talk to; no one to lend a sympathetic and understanding ear.

It has now become a part of my testimony and God has shown me that those who love him know how to respond to my experiences. Not everyone I have shared this with has been through the same things, but they have responded in love and praise God with me for all of the victories in my life.

I wrote the previous post because I wanted people to understand the reality Christians face. One person can prevent a scenario like the one above from occurring for years or a lifetime. Reacting negatively to this topic can essentially stunt growth in a Christian woman and keep them from being exposed to the light that they need.

And if you are one of those women who have overcome, don’t keep your testimony and thoughts all to yourself. Be honest and open like Angela and you just may change a young girl’s life forever.

Obeying the Voice of the Lord

As a kid, I remember my mom always telling me, “Partial obedience is the same thing as disobedience”. I would usually roll my eyes and say something like, “Yeah, sure mom, whatever you say”. I thought she was being completely unreasonable in her expectations and wanted too much from me, but really she was trying to teach me a lesson; a lesson that I unfortunately did not learn until much later in life.

Have you ever felt like God was telling you to do something? And it wasn’t just something that you would find easy, it was something that you really, really didn’t want to do. That was me in my first year of college.

I was still struggling with viewing pornography and masturbating to whatever material I could find (books, movies, my own thoughts) that would turn me on if I couldn’t watch porn. My relationship with God was up and down because of this. I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit about my actions, and I had begged God to just make me stop, but nothing was changing. Whenever I would slip up and view pornography or masturbate, I fled from the Lord. Sometimes I wouldn’t talk to him for days, sometimes it was weeks. I was just too disgusted with my behavior and inability to control myself. I figured he was tired of my tearful apologies and requests for intervention.

The problem with running from God in my most vulnerable, miserable moments is that I couldn’t hear what he was telling me to do. You see, he had given me a command, but I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t hear what it was until I was nineteen years old. He was telling me I needed to talk to someone. But not just anyone, I needed to talk to someone specifically.

That someone was one of my mentors who has now become one of my closest friends. I decided I was smarter than God and would take this command, but put my own little twist on it. I would tell someone, just not who he wanted me to.

So, I told my mother. I had a good reason too. I told God I couldn’t tell my friend because she wouldn’t be able to hold me accountable. Of course, I knew better and my plan was flawless; except for the fact that my mother had never looked at porn or masturbated. Except for the fact that my mother was embarrassed beyond belief when I brought this up to her. Except for the fact that my mother did not want to bring it up again and was therefore no good to me as accountability.

I don’t blame my mother for the next few years, I blame myself.

Because I didn’t obey the commands of my heavenly Father, I suffered for it. Instead of finding relief and someone to talk to about my struggles, I only found more shame, guilt, depression, and self-hatred. I would suffer for two more years like this, until I finally realized that partial obedience truly is disobedience. And maybe I should start taking my Savior’s commands more seriously from now on.

If you are feeling any of these things because of your sin, you need to confess. But it isn’t always enough to just confess to whomever. I encourage anyone struggling with what I did to confess. You can confess it to me with no worries of judgment or anyone else finding out, but if God has told you to tell someone specifically, then it won’t be enough. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Obey the commands your Father has given you.