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A Girl Who Struggled with Porn – Who Happened to be a Christian

In the first part of my story (How Three Minutes Changed My Life), I shared a small part of my journey as a young woman struggling with a porn addiction. I was caught and told that it couldn’t have been me because ‘women just don’t have this problem.’ I gave up after that, and decided that even though I was a Christian, even though I grew up in the church, even though I was attending a Christian college and wanted to live for God, I had no other choice but to become an adult actress. In the fall of 2003, at the age of 17, I sent pictures to a complete stranger.

A Girl Who Struggled with Porn - Who Happened to be a Christian    GrowingUpTriplets.com   #porn #Christiansandporn

A Girl Who Struggled with Porn – Who Happened to be a Christian

Oddly, enough, that was a form of confession, for me. More than anything, I think, I wanted the ability to truly own who I was. I had spent years struggling with this, fighting this, living with this. I wanted the games to be over. More than ‘wanted,’ I needed a place where I could be what I was – whatever broken, mangled mess that might be.

My life felt like the life of a spy, constantly switching between two personalities – Jessica the good Christian church girl, and Jessica the sex addict. It was tiring, and I was done. If I couldn’t be a Christian who struggled with porn, then I would be a girl who struggled with porn who happened to be a Christian. Either way, I couldn’t handle separating them any more.

Through a series of circumstances (and probably a lot of providential grace), I had to withdraw from that college at the end of the semester. Returning to the land of dial-up, it was back to e-mailing and sex chatting for a few months as I tried to figure out God’s place in my life and porn’s place in my life. I was pretty certain they both had a place.

Somehow, by the following fall, I had made the decision to go to Bible college. I’m not sure if I was trying to really convince myself that God and porn had a place or if I was truly growing in my faith. Whatever the case, I moved to upstate New York, to a room with three roommates, and a Bible college with strict internet monitoring. There would be no falling here.

In a way, I was happy. Porn couldn’t mess with me here. It couldn’t be a part of my life here. There were firewalls and filters and all the computers in the library faced the center. Well, glad that’s over, I thought.

But it wasn’t over.

Try, Try, Try Again

During the first few weeks at the Bible school, I really found myself struggling. Fantasy and sexual thoughts plagued me, and I quickly discovered just how brilliantly the human mind remembers videos and images. Turns out I didn’t need to be actively taking in pornography in order to struggle with pornography. Turns out even the Bible can be pornographic to a mind marked by struggle.

Still, I figured if I could get my faith strong enough, I could beat this. I just needed to memorize more verses and read more Christian books.

I tried, and it seemed the harder I tried, the more I failed. No matter how much I wanted it to, I could tell my relationship with God was not growing. But I was determined to fix this problem on my own. I got myself here, I could get myself out.

Conquering the Enemy’s Fortress

Near the end of that semester, as we readied to head home for Christmas break, the student life staff called an all-women’s devotion. There I sat, in a room with 300 other Christian women as we listened to the dean share about strongholds from 1 Corinthians 10. She said that a stronghold was like a hook in our back. It’s a fortress for the enemy that we’ve failed to conquer, yet have passed. It is something the devil can still use against us, something he can hold over our heads. We might feel like no matter how hard we try, we just can’t grow.

My heart resonated with every word. She was talking about me. Then, she said, “We know some of you struggle with pornography and masturbation, and we’re here to help.”

The room fell uncomfortably silent. I think most of us stopped breathing for a moment, trying to figure out what was going to happen next. Were they going to make us come forward? Raise hands? How did they plan on working this out?

We were each handed two slips of paper and told to write down our stronghold – whatever it may be. I will never be able to adequately describe the battle that raged in my heart in that moment. One part of me wanted to be free, while the other argued that I already had freedom and I didn’t need anybody’s help. I fought back the urge to walk out of that room. I was an American; I had my rights.

Through tears, I looked up at the dean from my seat in the second row and said, “Do I have to?” She seemed shocked, “Yes.”

The rest of my story will be continued next week – be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss it!

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About Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris is a Christian blogger, speaker and former porn addict. Since going public with her story in 2009, she has written for various ministries and travels, speaking on purity, addiction, and grace. She has self-published one book, an e-devotional entitled Love Done Right: Devos and is currently working on a book capturing her own journey into and out of porn addiction. She lives just north of Washington DC where she balances her ministry with being nanny to two adorable boys (both under two). You can read more of her story at Beggar’s Daughter and catch a glimpse into her reflections on life on her personal blog, Chai Dates with Grace.

Comments

  1. I commend & applaud you Jessica for your courage & honesty! Porn, especially that on the internet, has turned into a modern day scourge, and, had like locusts eaten up much of my life. Until I found God & a 12 Step Recovery program & a good therapist.

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