Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
This one goes out to the shadow hiding under by bed. The one who tempts my fingertips to reach out. The ever-present sultry voice in my head that dares me to go further, just one more touch, just one more look.
When did we become acquainted? I’m not quite sure. Was it the first magazine I stumbled upon that was not meant for my eyes to see, or was it the explicit scene in that movie that I came across far too young? Was it then you planted your seed that I’ve slowly but surely, knowingly, watered over the last decade? You may have started off minuscule but over time you have spread, vines snaking out and curling themselves around my being until you control every thought. The seed has become a forest, and there’s a wildfire burning it’s way through my mind.
In the beginning, you were a new and exciting friend. We went new places and saw new things. Very soon, I needed more and more, you taunted me to come closer, filling my head with false promises, to tread the darkest of paths. Little did I know that it would be nearly impossible to find my way back home. Now, I’m trapped in the shadows. You shroud me with shame, you convince me I’m impure, I’m dirty, I’m unclean.
You tell me I’m unloveable. You whisper that no one will ever want me, not now, not ever. And I listen, as I always do, to your voice seducing me once again. So I stay in the pit with you, for at least you are better than no one.
I feel suffocated, I’m here and no one knows, it’s just you and me and these thoughts pushing me further and further down. It’s a struggle to resist you and your ways, you know this, it’s what you prey on. So this endless cycle continues because I remain silent. You convince me I’m the only one here. You keep me shackled to you by softly reassuring me that no one else would understand but that you do. So we stay here. Your presence growing each day until it’s pitch black and I can no longer see through eyes that aren’t tainted with you.
I try to be honest, I try not to hide - but you cover my mouth so that I cannot speak. My head is filled with your best scaremongering tactics, ‘no man will ever love a woman like you’, ‘this isn’t a problem women have, you are unnatural’ and ‘you are alone in this’. So here I have stayed in the silence.
The only difference my friend is that I’ve learnt something new. That in the depths of the darkness, in the lowest of lows, the smallest glimpse of light destroys you. The light I have found goes against every lie you tell me and replaces it with only truth. This light comes from the Lord. This light is His love and His welcoming arms. I need not climb out of the pit for He gently picks me up and holds me until I’m strong enough to fight you.
This love sends you away, it sends you cowering away in fear. Its touch sears through your skin, until you have no choice but to leave. I will always be loved by the one who loves us all, and that is the only weapon I need against you.
When I feel disgusting and unclean, when I am tired of carrying the burden of my dirty little secrets, when the feeling of being the only one in this place brings me to the floor, He taps my shoulder and reminds me He is here. When you distort my idea of what healthy relationships looks like, He lifts my eyes to Him and tells me to be patient, to hold on for something more. When you lower my esteem so that it is non-existent, He points me to His Son.
You see, you may tell me that tangled up in the loneliness and shame is where I should stay, but my God breaks those chains and takes my shame when I run to Him. I leave my burdens at His feet and He floods me with forgiveness.
My God is constant and everlasting, whereas you are fleeting and temporary. You will trip me up, I will be tempted, but I will not stay with you. When you chase me, I will run as fast as I can, for I am worth something more because of He who is greater than you.
It is this truth that drives me to speak out. The acceptance and love I experience from my God gives me the courage to stand up against you. It was the first whisper of a struggle to a close friend that helped me realise I am so far from being alone in this.
You may try to convince me I’m isolated, but upon having the courage to share my story I found that that is so far from the truth. I found that even those closest to me struggle with the same shadow of shame, it is just something we have been so ashamed to share with one another. But, Lust, it’s in the walking with and the ‘me too’s that I am able to separate myself from you. It is the people who walk alongside me and accept me, who assure me I am not broken. It is the opportunity to speak out and encourage others to share their burden that widens the chasm between us. So I’m not fighting on my own against you, I’m surrounded.
No longer yours,
We are aware this is a sensitive and often unspoken of issue amongst young women. If you are struggling with sexual sin, feel free to reach out to us and ask for prayer. We would encourage you find someone you trust in (who is a solid Christian) to speak with about this.
If you are a youth worker looking for resources on this issue, try clicking here. If you are struggling with pornography, try clicking here. If you are struggling with lust, try clicking here for a list of good resources.
This article was originally published on the blog Hills & Valleys.