I spent the entire day today crying. I even woke my roommate up this morning with my loud sobs. Most people think I am simply reacting to the death of a friend, the state of my uncle’s recovery from his stroke, the impending death of my father. And while these things are weighing heavily on me, none of them have been the reason for my sorrow. Nope: I’m upset because I didn’t hear from someone on my birthday yesterday. I have spent hours in tears today because someone did not text me, call me, or leave me a Facebook or Twitter shout out on the “holy grail” of days in my life. And because of this, I feel used, taken advantage of, and unloved. Suffice to say that as I was contemplating my blog topic in this new series, God very clearly told me to blog about expectations.
Pornography creates its own identity in its addicts. Our brains begin to think differently: we see pornography, internalize it, and begin to LIVE it. Consequently, there’s a number of things I’m still undoing in my life due to my former addiction to pornography. One of those things is learning to temper my expectations. Here are a few things the porn identity has led me to expect:
- Porn told me to expect perfection from others. Whether it was physical appearance or the perfect sex life, porn told me that everyone and everything was perfect. Therefore, when I encountered real people—messy people, sinful people—I was appalled. I still struggle when people disappoint me or hurt me, because I never saw that happening in pornography. I believed that fake perfection could be realistic, so I expected it. But God says that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). He says that no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). That means that people ARE going to disappoint me and hurt me. And I am going to sin and hurt others. And I have to learn to accept that and deal with it—not end relationships when people aren’t perfect (as I was prone to do).
- Porn told me to expect life to revolve around me. Porn is all about my pleasure, very me-centered in its content and with those who use it—everyone always gets what they want. I became quite a brat in believing that, and my pity party for myself today goes without saying: sometimes, I still have that expectation for others. But God says life revolves around HIM—because He is life (John 14:6). When I am making life about me, how can I also be living life for God? The truth is, I can’t. In this me-centered culture, we are told to take offense at everything, to look out for #1, and to give only when we can get the same in return. But that’s not Biblical, and that’s not how God calls me to live. And when I put my trust in Him instead of the world around me, I can let go of the expectation that life is all about me.
- Porn told me to expect the good, but not the bad. Porn is all about happiness, fulfillment, and sex. Nothing bad that happens in pornography—no one dies of cancer, people aren’t hurt by each other, and no one’s father abandons them. People likely wouldn’t watch porn if it was such a killjoy! That’s not real life, though. God says that we are going to have trials and we are going to suffer in this life (James 1:2-3). I’m in a season of trials and suffering now, and I feel like giving up. The birthday non-texter was just another thing on a long list of hurts. But God says I am to count this all as joy, because it’s going to produce perseverance in me. God says He’s going to use all of this for good (Romans 8:28). And God says I can trust Him (Psalm 112:7).
While it’s tempting to continue believing what porn said to me many years ago, I know that what God says is far more important—and what God says is true! As I consider that, I must remember to temper my expectations for myself and others while increasing my expectations for my Creator and King–He’s the only one who can meet and exceed them!