By: Allie Joy Hudson
4 min read
Lust, Satan, Anxiety
A struggle with anxiety has brought many of us to our knees.
Anxiety isolates you. It chokes out the real world. It steals your motivation, your joy, your energy, your sense of identity. It lies to you. It eats at you. It robs you of the will to fight back.
Satan knows these things and rejoices in them. His desire is to steal from us and kill us.
Anxiety has become a powerful and popular weapon in the hands of the enemy, especially in 2020. I hear talk of anxiety or anxiety disorders in their various forms multiple times a week. Anxiety is often coupled with other mental illnesses.
And, anxiety can have even greater power when it is coupled with a bend towards lust.
Related: Loneliness and Pornography
Anxiety’s Dark Hole
We’ve been talking lately about the connection between pornography usage and mental health. As Cale articulated last week, the relationship between porn and mental health is indeed a hellish cycle. Let’s look at this pattern, specifically as it relates to porn and anxiety:
- Anxiety closes in and clouds your mind, robbing both the mind and heart of recalling and believing what is true.
- The will to be present and involved in the real world and daily responsibilities diminishes.
- Somehow, we need to cope with the chaos in our chest and the confusion in our minds. These feelings won’t go away, and we need a way to make them stop.
- Instead of having to be present in real life and trying to function with this turmoil, we push it away. We try to run as far and as fast as we can to the first thing that offers to hide us.
- Many times, and for many people, that “hiding place” is pornography. Porn isn’t real, and we try to find some semblance of peace or normalcy or equilibrium in the escape it offers.
- Because porn presents us with a cheap substitute for intimacy and eats away at the core of our relationships, we are left feeling empty, lonely, shameful, and distant from others.
After this, the cycle repeats itself. Devin Golden emphasizes the neurological effects of this process: “People who are addicted to porn often struggle with depression and anxiety after using porn. This can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain that can cause withdrawal symptoms.”
As with all addictions, porn leaves us wanting more. It becomes harder and harder to find satisfaction in a screen. This damages our minds and hearts and leaves us more anxious than before.
How We Hide
When we feel helpless, alone, and overwhelmed, our flesh begs us to retreat into worlds of fantasy to avoid feeling pain or sometimes even numbness. And often, because of our sinful nature, we justify responding to our anxiety in ways that gratify our lust. We might believe the lie that since we’re using porn as a way to try to cope with anxiety, that makes it okay, or even good for us. Please don’t fall victim to that!
Rather than helping us to cope, we instead become dependent on pornography. Our lust becomes a crutch. Golden writes:
When people use porn to try to cope with unresolved trauma or other psychological pain, they are at an increased risk of establishing a pattern of regular porn use. People who have suffered trauma often learn to dissociate from emotions and memories related to the trauma. Porn use can become a way to prolong or intensify these states.
A Messiah Who Hurts with Us
Porn offers us an easy fix, a quick retreat from pain and problems and anxiety. But it lies. It only leaves us worse off than before.
This cycle is vicious and oppressive, and it can leave us lost and desperately lonely. Truly, it is Jesus alone that can rescue us. Though a battle with an anxiety disorder, especially when it is entangled with a porn addiction, can take time to overcome, it is possible to find victory.
And though we face a strong temptation to isolate ourselves when we are struggling instead of reaching out to Jesus and to other people for help, Jesus provides us with a way out every single time the instinct to hide ourselves overwhelms us.
Jesus sees our worries, and He cares about them. He is the One who was anxious to the point that “His sweat became like drops of blood, falling upon the ground” on the eve of His crucifixion. Jesus knows what the absolute oppression of anxiety is like, and He hurts when He sees us hurting. He suffered and died to give meaning and purpose and dignity to our suffering. He also came back to life to give us freedom and hope and life in the midst of our pain.
Jesus wants to walk with you through your deepest lows. Reach out to Him, and let Him in. Trust Him with all things, even your anxiety, and let Him guide you through being present with Him and with those around you every day. It’s grueling, but it is possible and even, in many ways, good. Truly, “cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has been with Proven Men for over a year and serves in the position of Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, singing, theatre, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.