Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Broken Me / Cut it Off (Pt 3)

If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

Matthew 5:29

Things are not going as I had hoped. The idyllic life that I had dreamt of in Seminary was fading farther into darkness.   

I had hoped to become a successful pastor in Las Vegas. I had hoped to find freedom from the lustful, leering, burning desires in my soul. I had hoped to be free from the trappings of “worldly” life and live the “holy” life of a Christian Elite. I wanted the life like the pastors I grew up with. As a child, I saw the love and respect that James Miller had, the deep following that AFB had, the cheering crowds and passion of Rod Parsley. I was feeling as if God had abandoned me and that what I had believed He told me to do was a lie. The time spent was wasted.  

The distance was increasing between me and my God.  He was my friend who spoke loving things to me everyday during school, who inspired me to study the bible endlessly for three years. My friend who told me to learn everything I could so that I could teach it to others. My friend who called me to stay away from dating so that He could be my love. My friend was gone. His soft loving touch was replaced by the harsh jagged edges of reality and the endless guilt surrounding my uncontrolled secret behavior.

I failed Him in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was failing Him in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was lost. My God-friend was silent and distant. I turned to my mistress more and more frequently as the only way to cope with the emptiness. The guilt I felt regarding my behavior was overwhelming and soul crushing. If I could pray more, read the bible more, tithe more, volunteer at the church more. If I could act like the Christian I wanted to be, then one day I would be the Christian I claimed to be, my addiction to sex would be healed and I would be OK. I needed to do something,

I had lost another job, I was fired for another reason that was preventable, I spent another summer completely adrift in a world of fantasy and eroticism. Before I knew it, another season was spent looking at a computer screen searching, looking, watching, waiting tor the perfect moment to find release.

On the way home from dinner one day, I turned to Amy. “I miss Jesus. Let’s try and find a church to go to.”  

She agreed, and a few weeks later we were attending an Assemblies of God church on the east side of Colorado Springs. We liked the pastor, he seemed genuine and caring. He even took us out to dinner and patiently listened to us as we confessed our sins to him.

Almost every week after that, I found myself pleading with God to heal me, to take the wild and unchecked lust from me, to heal me from the unending compulsion for internet porn. Each Sunday, I also found it strange that while in church during the songs, or during the sermon, I became compleatly overtaken with erotcism, unable to control my wandering eyes as women would walk by. I felt deeply guilty, trying to hide my remorse as I sang old hymns like “Amazing grace” or “Jesus Loves Me.”

I just wanted to be free. I wasn't free. God was ignoring me.  (If He was there at all.)   

The simple act of going to church wasn't changing me. “Time to up the game.” I thought. Perhaps, if I became a member of the church, then become a volunteer, I was willing to scrub toilets so that God would hear me, He would answer my prayer. Soon after membership classes, an opportunity arose to become the church's young adult pastor. Amy and I were excited to finally do what we thought God had told us to do. To teach the Bible and Pastor people. I was excited that God had turned to me and was about to heal me.

The next Sunday, I put on my best three button black suit, a crisp white shirt and pink tie just for a splash of color. As I nervously read from my notes I was elated that I was finally teaching what I had studied so diligently.  Soon, our small group grew and we moved our meetings to a larger room. Each week, I happily prepared each lesson while at work answering the phone for a major cruise line.   

As I taught about the sermon on the mount, the passion week, or about the crucifixion, I hoped that God would favor me enough to bring the freedom from the overpowering lust that I desperately desired. Freedom eluded me and after a few years, I lost interest in teaching the gospel. God was not fulfilling His end of the bargain. I couldn't stop, I couldn't control myself.    

After endless heartfelt prayers, after teaching the Bible, after sharing the gospel at work and seeing lives changed for the better, seeing God answer the prayers of others, my one supplication was left over looked. I felt that God didn't care and that perhaps the only solution was the strength within me. So, I determined to grit my teeth and resist. Resist my deep longing to view images on the internet, resist the lustful gaze at church.  

No matter how hard I tried, I could only withhold for two weeks. I was frustrated and confused. Why wouldn't God free me? Why wouldn't He help me? He answered my prayers when my truck wouldn't start. Each time I prayed, then turned the ignition it would start, He answered my prayer when the sores on my hands were healed and fell off one by one. He answered my prayers and gave me an awesome wife. Yet this one tortuous behavior I couldn't break. He wouldn't help.

The chasm between me and my old friend was widening. I wasn't getting better. The guilt and shame, the unworthiness I felt was overwhelming and possibly translated into my job. Eventually, I was fired, again.

I knew that as soon as I could, I would be on the internet, staring, waiting for the images to load one by one. I knew that hours, days, weeks would go by and I wouldn't even notice. I would be so hypnotised, I would forget to move, forget to eat, forget to breathe. I didn't want to do that again, I wanted to be free. I needed to be free. I wasn't free.

Desperately, I sought counseling from the only place I knew, the assistant pastor of the church. Perhaps, he might be able to convince God to free me from this addiction. I confided in him like never before. He quietly listened to my confessions and prayed. Sadly, God ignored him as well. I was not free. It looked like I would never be free.  

I enjoyed my job at the cruise line and I even thought about starting my own travel agency, but I decided instead to focus on being the best father I could to my 10 month old daughter. While she slept I simply gave up on resisting.  I gave into the desires of my broken soul, downloading megabyte after megabyte. I sat in my chair in front of the screen hardly moving, barely breathing, at full attention watching the images dance before me.

“Fuck it.” I thought to myself, “This is the only thing that makes me happy”   

“Fuck it.” This is the only thing that makes the day go by.”

“Fuck it, This is the only way to fold laundry, by watching people fuck.”

“Fuck it, Why leave the house? Everything I want is right here.”

I was not a negligent father during this time, I made sure she was well cared for, but it was while she slept I took advantage of “me time,” three hours in the morning, and three hours in the afternoon. While she was awake, I was downloading, the blue bar slowly going across the screen filling up my hard drive.

We eventually stopped going to church. I really couldn't fight anymore. I felt horrible about myself. I was a failure.

After my son was born, things got really bad. What had started out as a “fuck it” became a “What the fuck am I doing and why the fuck can't I stop?”
How do I fix this?  All my mind could do is run through the cycle of thoughts like a song:

I just want to stick it in.
Stick ma dick in it!
but it's far too risky. I am just so frisky!

A coke bottle, A vacuum nozzle
These feelings have my mind in a boggle

I just want to stick it in.
Stick ma dick in it!
but it's far too risky. I am just so frisky!

Craigslist, or an afternoon tryst
All this confusion! I am just so pissed!

I just want to stick it in.
Stick ma dick in it!
but it's far too risky. I am just so frisky!

Oversexed, undersexed
Why I act this way I'm so perplexed!

I just want to stick it in.
Stick ma dick in it!
but it's far too risky. I am just so frisky!

Need help, nothing is working
I am always lurking, always searching

I just want to stick it in.
Stick ma dick in it!
but it's far too risky. I am just so frisky!

Cut it off, cut it off
It offends me everyday
But it's far too risky. I am just so frisky

How do I fix this?  What does the Bible say?  Cut it off???

CUT IT OFF!  I could feel the warm blood flow over my stomach; at last I was free. The offending member disconnected from my body in my left hand and a dull pocket knife in the other. I wasn't  free enough.  Gouge out my own eyes so that I can never be able to see the wickedness of pornography again. Darkness encompasses me, but the images are not gone.  The desire is not gone.  CUT IT OFF!  There is nothing left to give.  CUT IT ALL OFF!  My brain, my body, all that I am offends me.  They are working together to conspire against me.  CUT IT OFF!  My God, My God, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?  You turn your back while I bleed and die just to be holy.  FUCK YOU, GOD!  You cut ME off.  I offend you.  YOU are not MY friend.