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Addiction • 5 minutes to read
You’ve probably been living under a rock or don’t care much for music if you haven’t heard about Kanye West and his new album.
The Grammy-winning artist and fashion icon has had a lot going on in recent months. He publicly declared that he is now a follower of Jesus. And in that spirit, he released a new Christian album, titled Jesus is King. Christians are not exactly sure how to feel about it. Is it legit? Should we love and support our new brother in Christ? It has been quite the topic of conversation.
That is not what this blog is about.
This past weekend, as news articles and interviews were happening, I found a recent interview Kanye did with Apple Music. Kanye, in this 1.5-hour interview, made a comment about his pornography addiction and how it has impacted him in his adulthood. Check out the short clip here:
As I watched this interview, it struck me how true his words are. Kanye said,
[Pornography] affected almost every choice I made for the rest of my life, from the age of 5…
At first glance, you may think his statement seems a little far-fetched. But if you sit with his words for a few minutes, you can start to make connections in your mind for how deep the fangs of pornography sink into our hearts and minds.
In other comments, Kanye mentions that the world is always trying to create more traffic in our minds with sexual content—always trying to get more and more of it driving the roads of our daily lives.
The reason I know Kanye is on to something is because I see how it played out in my life. I remember my first exposure to pornography clearly. Like, I remember how old I was, whose house I was at, what the women looked like, what website it was on, all of it.
No matter how hard I’ve tried, I can’t forget this moment.
The past few days, I’ve been mulling over Kanye’s words a lot and I’m willing to say that from the ages of 11 to 27, my life decisions were consistently fueled by my exposure, struggle, and eventual addiction to pornography.
Through life’s traumatic and wounding moments, I came to believe that I would never be enough. No matter how hard I tried, how well I performed, or how “godly” I was—I would never measure up.
So, in my self-protective way, I found avenues where I could experience love in tangible ways. I conspired to put myself into situations where I would be loved, wanted, and adored. I would try to create the exact environment where I could feel the balm to my biggest wounds.
These avenues played out most evidently in pornography and physical relationships with women.
Pornography always welcomed me with opened arms, loved me unconditionally, and never told me I wasn’t good enough. It was the most consistent and affectionate force in my life.
Not only that, but it also taught me that sex equals love. If you are sexually attracted to me or want to be sexually active with me, that equals “you love me.”
This often played out in my relationships.
If you look at the track record of my romantic relationships, I shuffled through them for years. I would have long relationships, then a break-up, and then within six months be in another relationship. I would feel loved for a while in the relationship––we’d be sexually active––then feel rejected, end the relationship, and then look for another one to feel loved and wanted again.
Thinking back on it, this was a brutal and almost embarrassing cycle. But it made sure I never had to feel “unlovable” or “not enough” for very long.
Porn was always there and there were always other women.
You see, Kanye’s words are extremely accurate. Pornography not only allows us an escape from our problems or our wounds, but it also teaches us that we don’t need to feel our wounds for very long. We can shuffle through all different types of porn or a number of different relationships. We don’t have to sit in our sufferings—we have a simple and easy escape.
Kanye describes his fight with the addiction by saying,
Now, having to kick the habit…
This is the trick that pornography plays on us. It welcomes us in, telling us it’ll be fine, it’s not that bad, you won’t get stuck in it, this is what true love is. But then, years and years later, we look back on our first dive into the waters and realize the waves have brought us further than we ever thought we’d go.
Then, we not only have to process through our wounds (which is difficult enough), but we now have to rewire and retrain our brain to break the pornography addiction and view sex in its rightful place.
As Kanye says,
[Pornography] presents itself in the open like it’s okay…I stand up and say, ‘You know, it’s not okay.’
We have to fight back against the bite of pornography. We have to push back against the darkness. We have to realize the long-lasting, life-altering, choice-affecting reality of pornography.
We also need to know that healing is possible. Processing our wounds, understanding what motivates our behaviors, and then allowing God into those dark pockets to shine His light––this is how we heal.
Start your healing now! Don’t wait any longer to kick the habit. Let God be what affects every choice we make.
God can redeem anyone, whether it’s Kanye West or it’s you. God loves you and wants a relationship with you. He desires you, wants you, and continues to pursue you. Don’t lose sight of the love, redemption, and freedom that He offers.
This image was originally posted to Flickr by Jason Persse at https://www.flickr.com/photos/49502990569@N01/5710188161.