When Crystal was exposed to pornography at 10 years old, she didn’t have a real sense of what sex was at that time. The images she viewed were shocking but intriguing, awakening things in her she didn’t know were there. Viewing pornography became a sort of “secret escape” for her. It became something she started to seek out. As she grew older and became more involved in her church, she gave her life to Christ and began praying for God to take away this addiction to pornography and bondage to sexual sin. She asked herself, “How can I be the Christian I want to be, the kind of follower of Jesus I want to be, if I am so deeply engulfed and lost in this sin?”
Listen to Crystal’s testimony in full to discover her struggles with sexual sin and feelings of isolation and how, through her relationship with Christ and a supportive Christian community, she has overcome and fought against lust, temptation, and addiction.
Q: Do you think it’s possible to break free of [addiction to pornography, sexual sin] without that “bottom moment,” that breaking point?“I think everybody has their bottom moment, but — it might not be as intense as mine or as intense as yours — but I think we all get to that line we don’t think we’re going to cross, and I think that line becomes the bottom. And I hope people do. I hope they got to that point where it’s like, ‘Oh, I’ve gone farther than I ever thought I would.’”
1. Pornography harms you, your relationship with God, and other people (e.g., your relationship with others, the sexually exploited, etc.).
2. Pornography is a symptom. “For me it was filling a false sense of intimacy I didn’t get from my dad and it was just kind of feeding just the God-shaped hole in my heart. I didn’t know God could be my father. I didn’t know God could love me like a father. So for me, it was filling that void.”
3. God has to repair what is broken in you. If you have an understanding of what’s driving your addiction or desire, you can reach freedom before hitting rock bottom. Surrender those broken pieces to God to repair you. Seek a Christian community to engage with and keep you accountable.
Q: What are some steps you took to find freedom from your addiction?
1. Surrender to God. Pray to God, confessing and bringing your brokenness before Him. Seek His wisdom in what He wants for your life.
2. Seek Community. Pray for God to bring people into your life to walk alongside you in this journey.
3. Seek Accountability.
4. Seek Counseling. Crystal felt it was necessary to seek counseling in order to deal with some of the root issues that were driving her addiction.
5. Be patient. Your deliverance from addiction is not an overnight process.
“You hear women who talk about, ‘If I could just get married, this wouldn’t be a problem.’ ‘If I could just have sex every day, it would’ve be a problem.’ No, it’s a heart issue, and you have to become whole in Him and have Him fully and completely complete you before anyone else can even be in the picture.”
Q: How did it look when you first took steps to learn about the Lord and tackle your addictions?
Spending time with the Lord.
Crystal intentional sought to spend time with the Lord, both in His Word and through prayer. She shares that when as you learn more about God and who you are in Him, the less attractive everything else becomes. As you’re building that intimacy with Christ, you no longer need the false intimacy you received elsewhere.
Change in perspective.
Crystal shares that she used to believe masturbation was “self-care,” but soon realized that it was actually selfish. “We weren’t created to be asexual, we weren’t created to be sexual in one person. We were created to be sexual in a marriage union and have that be an act of worship, an act of love.”
Still a struggle.
Crystal’s struggle with pornography went deeper than outside sources. Even after you get rid of the outside influences, there’s still pornography in your mind. Previous consumption of porn had built up a “database,” so to speak, in Crystal’s mind, which was another thing she had to battle.
Q: Did you change some of the things you watched and listened to, maybe even some of your relationships, as you were walking in this repentance?
Because she had been living a lie, many of Crystal’s relationships with others was shallow or distant. As she walked in repentance, her old relationships were either severed or deepened, became more real as they found out who she really was.
● Accountability. Crystal installed an accountability software on her computer so others could see if she was “acting out.” Additionally, she had to remove her computer from her bedroom for a long time until she got passed the temptation to look at porn.
● Media Consumption. Crystal had to change some of the music she listened to. She could not longer listen to music with sexual themes, for example.
● Scripture and Worship. Constant renewing of the mind with Scripture. As she went to bed, Crystal began listening to worship music or Scripture to prepare herself against and lessen the temptation of masturbating.
Q: What are some tips for single women struggling with sexual urges and the temptation to compromise? What did you do to remind yourself that this is important, I’m going to stick to my commitment to sexual purity?
Crystal notes the importance of having a strong community of Christian women who were spurring her on to holiness and wholeness in Christ. She further emphasizes that having a mentor — an older Christian woman who had already walked that road and had greater biblical understanding — was there to teach her and keep her accountable. Accountability is not only with regards to whatever sins you’re struggling with, but also in regards to your walk with Christ.
Find Purpose in Your Singleness.
What are you going to do in your season of singleness that God has given you? He does not put people in a season to just sit there — He wants us all to be moving, doing His will and doing what He has set out for us regardless of what season we’re in. When you’re in God’s purpose for your life, you’re not going to want any of that other stuff.
“When the Cross of Sexual Purity Feels Too Heavy” by Titania Paige
“What If We’re Single On Purpose?” by Crystal Renaud
Q: What was your favorite way to intentionally connect with God?
Worship music. As a “recovering worship leader” (LOL), Crystal has always connected well with worship songs. She emphasizes that she loves the personal reverence and admiration of the Lord that is included therein. When she is in worship, she is praying and praising, giving back to the Lord with thanksgiving and gratefulness.
Q: What were the boundaries you set in what you would and would not do as you walked in purity and loving God more?
“Important, difficult, and sometimes embarrassing.”
Crystal states that whenever her friends invite her out to see a movie, she usually goes online to see if there’s something in the movie that 1) will not reflect well on her character and/or 2) will cause her unnecessary temptation.
Though not Catholic, Crystal celebrates Lent as a season of giving up something. She would use this time to reconnect with the Lord.
LEAVE A COMMENT:
Share your personal pitfalls as you’ve strived to overcome sexual sin in the comments below.