We were sitting in my living room on Valentine’s Day. “It’s just not working out anymore.” He was breaking up with me, and I could barely comprehend it. All I could think was…”I need to make him stay. He needs to stay, because if he doesn’t stay, I won’t have anything. And I’ll be nothing.” Over the next few weeks, I bargained with him, I got angry, and I was super vulnerable. I contemplated giving more of myself sexually to him, and even told him that I would do that if it would make him stay. But he didn’t. And when it was finally done, I fell into a deep depression that lasted for weeks as I struggled with another aspect of having a porn identity: being nothing.
My mom taught me to “treat others as you want to be treated.” But after overcoming an addiction to pornography, I realized that while the porn identity tells us how we view others, the most important thing it tells us is how we view ourselves. Here are three things the porn identity has told me about being nothing:
- The porn identity said that I was nothing without a significant other. In a culture that readily accepts pornography as normal, it should come as no surprise that there is a focus on being with someone else. This is part of the porn identity that I still struggle with; being a single 37-year old woman is difficult in a couple-driven society. Back then, I focused too much on having a boyfriend/husband and not enough on having strong relationships with others, which left me feeling very alone when things didn’t work out as I planned. But God reminds me that He created me for relationships with others—not just one marriage relationship, but relationships that challenge me and sustain me outside of having a significant other. It is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18)—in any capacity. I am to be in a community, not just a coupling.
- The porn identity said that I was nothing without sex. When my efforts for finding a significant other came up empty, pornography reminded me that having sex was the most important part of the relationship anyway. I remember thinking of ways to please God while still pleasing the growing sexual frustration within me—believe me, folks, this is not possible outside of marriage. It led me down a very dark and hurtful path that I would never recommend, one where I used my body to define my worth instead of using the Word. But God reminds me that sex, while an important part of marriage, is a tool, not a defining factor. That is why sex is meant for the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4). Outside of marriage, it defines you instead of being a tool to complement a marriage. In order to not become defined by sex, I am to view sex in its proper perspective—God’s perspective.
- The porn identity said that I was nothing. If not in a relationship, if not an object to be used for someone’s pleasure, then what was I? Pornography answered loud and clear: I was nothing. I wavered between feeling like nothing because I wasn’t in a relationship or getting married like my friends, and then feeling like nothing because I was failing God by struggling with my desires and fantasy/pornographic thought life. But God constantly reminds me that even though I fail Him, I am still His child. And being His child is everything (1 John 2)! That means I have favor, honor, blessings, glory, and most of all—LOVE. Because I have the love of the Creator of the universe, I am to love and treasure myself, so that I can love and treasure others (Mark 12:31).
These days, I’m actually okay with being nothing—because God has said I truly am no thing. Instead, He says I am an original, amazing, beautiful human being that He has given passion and purpose to be used for His glory. And so are you! So reject the porn identity’s suggestion that you are nothing, and accept that you are everything to God—and watch your quality of life go from nothing to something!