Good morning everyone,
I hope this post finds you well:). Today I wish to speak about the season of Lent that begins tomorrow, February 22nd 2012. Those of us who observe Lent are considering the things we may want to sacrifice as we look forward to Easter. This post will not be getting into a theological discussion about whether or not we should be observing Lent – there is enough of that type of discussion elsewhere on the Internet.
What I do want to say prior to anything else is that the season of Lent should not be one in which you are trying to seek God’s favour or approval through strict adherence to whatever it is you are planning to give up. Your approval has been sealed already by Christ’s death and resurrection – the grace offered to us has covered us already. You do not need to guilt yourself into anything.
For those of you still with me:), let’s shift to the topic at hand – what are your plans for Lent? Is giving up pornography in your plans? Easier said than done, to be sure – if the choice was that easy you would not be struggling with it so hard.
So, let’s back the figurative truck up a little. There are many “heart” issues that all lend themselves to the development and continuation of pornography use. Until these challenges are identified and understood, breaking the hold porn has is very difficult. One of the biggest “heart” issues is a focus on self. Many of us would not say that we are focused mostly on ourselves, but our actions often provide evidence that we are. Are you serving yourself, or are the concerns of those around you paramount? A post later this week will delve into the “heart” issues relating to pornography use in greater detail – this brief discussion is included today to provide a little bit of context for the next section regarding Lent.
As Lent is meant to be a time in which we focus on the sacrificial actions of Christ, it is appropriate that we look at ourselves and our own focus. To repeat – is our focus on ourselves? On meeting our own needs regardless of the needs of those around us?
Porn falls firmly in the camp of meeting your own needs regardless of the needs of those around you. This would definitely include your partner, your children, your friends, and your coworkers to name a few. This is not a stretch. When your focus is on meeting your own needs, including an ever growing appetite for pornographic material, you cannot adequately be meeting the needs of those whom you are in relationship with. When it takes over, it takes over everything.
Giving up pornography for Lent may not be a realistic option for those of you in the midst of the struggle. A more realistic approach is to give up the source of your pornography, which will obviously limit your use of pornography. This may mean giving up the Internet for everything beyond work requirements. This may mean giving up your mobile device for Lent. It may mean giving up television, print media, etc…
As written earlier in this post, easier said than done. If you are serious about giving up something for Lent in the hopes of consecrating yourself for the upcoming Easter season, consider the source of your pornography. If you have been resisting this, take the next 40 days as a trial run. You will not be disappointed if you stick to it, and the fears you have around how difficult it will be will fade as your mind clears. Grant yourself the distance from the source, and you will make better headway than you think possible. What better time to make a more concerted effort in this regard? Do what you can on your own, but do not discount the assistance available through counselling – either individually or in a group context. The resources are there, you just need to reach out to access them. Enjoy the Lenten season…
Individual and group pornography recovery treatment is available through Juniper Tree Counselling and Psychotherapy Services (www.junipertree.ca).
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