So much of my addiction and my faith has been based on the belief that I am not worthy to be loved.
There are many reasons why. Losing my father at a young age and feeling abandoned, having been laughed at, not being taken seriously, not feeling attractive, not believing in my gifts.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize that those aren’t what has caused me to feel unworthy. I feel this way because I believe I am unlovable.
So I feel abandoned not simply because my dad died but because I have a propensity to feel unloved which allows me to interpret my dads death as a feeling of being abandoned.
I don’t believe in myself, not just because something happened to me but because my starting point is always, “I must not be good enough”.
Truthfully though, it’s a circle. I feel unloved so I translate the things that happen to me to be simply the natural consequence of not feeling loved, which further makes me feel even more unloved. Round and round I go.
These feelings are further exasperated by addiction. They contribute to my addiction sure but also addiction and the failures to break free proved my hypotheses true. I am not worthy so that must be why I can’t break free.
This filters into how I need people to affirm me or how I need respect or how I need to earn a certain amount of money.
So I try harder and do everything I am supposed to do more intensely.
But I am not working extra hard to stop looking at porn. I am actually working extra hard to earn forgiveness. It’s not now or ever been about porn. It’s been about the belief that I can’t be loved on my own merit so I need to prove or fight for it somehow. “If only I could break free from porn then I will feel loved because I have finally earned it.”
But what if ‘earning’ it has never been the point?
What if my insistence on being free is getting in my way of being free?
What if I am loved simply as I am and I do not need to work to earn it but I already have it?
What if there is a love that is so big and so enormous that it can replace my starting point of believing I am unworthy?
These ideas are the ones that I have wrestled with for years as I struggled and and am overcoming porn addiction. These are also the ideas that I need to wake up every morning and remind myself of. When I lose sight that I am loved because I am simply me, then I lose sight of myself. I go searching to earn that love. To fight for what I soon realize I have been holding all along.
I can look at porn all day and I will still be loved.
I can fight to break it’s power, win and sometimes lose, and still be loved.
Or I can wake up and remind myself that I am worthy to be loved simply because.
When you’re a kid and you ask your parents why things are they way they are and they don’t want or know how to respond they will reply ‘because’. It’s frustrating because you are born curious and creative. You want to explore because everything is so beautiful and intriguing. You were made with a keen sense of life being special. Then a few too many ‘becauses’ and you get tired and stop asking those questions.
Perhaps that same process happens in each of us who has struggled with addiction. We want to know why we are loved? We want to know what we can do to earn it or believe it? We ask what about me is so lovable?
If you believe in God as a Father this is a new way of parenting. This “because” is not one born out of a long day at work and little patience. It’s a beautiful “because” as it’s inviting us into a new way of thinking about the world and our place in it.
We don’t have to go searching anymore. We don’t have to be smart or attractive enough? We don’t have to earn our keep. We have a home that is ours no matter what. That is why community is so important. It’s the way that we feel this love everyday, with real people.
Today may be the best day of your life or it may be the worst. Today you may have added another day of sobriety or you may have fallen for the millionth time. It doesn’t really matter because either way you are still loved. You are still worthy. Nothing in today has or can change that. Nothing ever will.
You’re right; it’s not about doing or earning. It’s about accepting the unbelievably expansive gift of God’s grace. It’s not even about our worthiness or unworthiness; it’s not about us at all. Except that He chose you to love. He chose you to pass on His inheritance. It’s about how unconditional and unending the Giver is of His love. It’s quite humbling when you take the time to digest it.