Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fighting Temptations

Yesterday marked the 8th day I had resisted the urge to masturbate. I consider this a victory, and one which, without God’s help, I know I would have never been able to accomplish. And I did it for God.

It was certainly a struggle. Masturbation is something that I used to try really hard to resist. I spent at least three or four years doing my best not to give into this. Throughout that whole time I kept struggling and would always inevitably go off on a binge until coming back to my senses. The last two or three years, however, I really haven’t tried to resist at all. If I felt like it and could, I just did it.

Recently, though, I have been wondering back to those days when I tried not to do this. I knew it was a struggle, and I did just get really tired always fighting and failing to resist this thing. That’s why I eventually just gave up trying to fight and thought it best simply to rely on God’s forgiveness (which alone, I just don’t think is enough—I have to do my part as well). But I’ve felt lately that it was a fight I should have kept struggling through—that I shouldn’t have given up.

I won’t lie; masturbation has got to be one of the hardest things to completely give up (at least for me). And I think, deep down, it is something that should be given up, and better yet, I should never have started at all. I believe this simply because it is one of those acts which seems to always accompany fantasies of sex between other men or of sex between other men and me. I find it virtually impossible to prevent myself from lusting whenever I do this. If done without lusting, I’m honestly not sure it would be a sin, but that’s something I can’t seem to do. And so, as of late, I’ve just felt a stronger conviction to try more in earnest, yet again, to give this thing up.

I have also tried much more not to give into pornography. On this front, I have been somewhat less successful. Old habits die hard. I’m trying to remember not to drift onto certain websites. A few times I’ve literally just had to close out my computer and get away from it. Even though I have given in a few times, though, I know the times I was able to resist was the working and help of God. And that is really my main point writing about all of this. In trying to resist these two temptations, I have felt closer to God. I’ve prayed to him more for strength, for guidance, for forgiveness, and for thanks in what help He has given me.

I know some people may say that it is stupid trying to resist these two things, or in having some problem with them. But I think if fighting them brings me in some way closer to God, then that must be a good thing. And so, I hope to continue fighting on, resisting with all I can and with God helping me.

Last night, however, after eight days resisting the temptation to masturbate, I ended up giving in. I just couldn’t seem to find any means of which to stop myself. And afterward, unlike with the pornography, I felt so severely convicted, guilty, self-loathing, and shameful that it was pathetic. I felt like a kid who’d done something so wrong it was unforgiveable and heartbreaking. The result was that I stayed up most of the night, unable to sleep, hating myself for what I had done.

I still feel some of those feelings, but I know God forgives me. And I know that giving in last night doesn’t take away the fact that I resisted all those days before. I know that I’m still loved by God and that He will still help me going forward. And going forward, I’m going to try not to think of myself the way the devil would like for me to. He wants me to think I’m a failure and that I’m no good, and that I should just give up completely. But, as I said earlier, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to pick myself back up (even if that means a thousand different times) and continue fighting, with God hand in hand beside me.

If doing this brings me closer to God, then that’s what I want to do.


naturgesetz said...

St. Teresa of Avila is reported to have been asked what the life of a nun was like, and she replied, "We fall and we get up; we fall, and we get up."

You're right that the devil wants to convince you that you're doomed to fail. Resist him, strong in the faith.

You're doing well.

Brandon said...

N, thank you for the encouragement. It helps knowing that even a nun can fall from time to time.