Editor’s Note: Sexual addiction is real and rampant in our society. With how easy it is to access the plethora of films, books and billboards showcasing all forms of sexual acts, it’s no wonder so many people have been ensnared just like Lauren was. But there is hope and a chance to be set free from it.
My name is Lauren and I am made in the image of God.
If you knew me at any point between grade school and early college that sentence probably sounds like complete bs. My entire life I was the girl that parents told their daughters not to be friends with. I was either too troubled or too much trouble.
Ironically I grew up attending Sunday school, I had memory verse badges on my Pioneer Girls’ vest, and I could probably tell you what it meant to be made in God’s image. I could quote to you Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…'” and I could tell you that man was made to be similar to God or to reflect God.
But the last thing I felt was that I was a reflection of Him.
When I was 10 years old I began my struggle with sexual addiction. What started as innocently browsing online, turned into a rabbit hole of porn pop-ups and talking with predators in chat rooms. It got to the point that I could not touch a computer without getting a fix because of how normal it had become. This obsession led to endless infidelities in all of my dating relationships, disappointment and shame from those who caught me, and the loss of my first job for browsing porn sites on my work computer.
The culmination of my struggle was a life long STD I acquired from my first partner who did not disclose that he had the disease. Full of shame, low self-esteem, self-loathing, and anxiety, sexuality became the only way that I knew how to identify with people. Full of shame, low self-esteem, self-loathing, and anxiety, sexuality became the only way that I knew how to identify with people. I became promiscuous. I was put in counseling about my orientation, I was unable to maintain friendships without favors, and I could not maintain normal relationships with everyday authority figures or monogamous commitments. I believed that everyone wanted something and that if I didn’t supply, they would leave me.
I was a slave to my sexuality, suffering from Long Term Depression and Anxiety disorders, and permanently marked by the positives on my bloodwork.
In my mind I was the farthest thing from similar to God.
But by God’s grace He got hold of my heart in the midst of it. I finally broke down when my most serious relationship ended because of my addiction, and I decided to go back to church in a last ditch attempt to mend it.
When I began to attend the college ministry Kairos at Golden Hills Community Church the pastor was preaching on Song of Solomon. He went through the love poetry explaining the way that men and women ought to treat one another with purity and holiness. He spoke about how biblically men were supposed to love their wives the way Christ loves the church. I wanted to know more.
Over time I saw a community that modeled Christ to one another and who shared the gospel with me. I was reminded that I was dead in my sins and that by God’s grace He sent His son Jesus to the cross as a substitute for me. Jesus, the sinless incarnate deity, suffered through the trials of human life and died as a suffering servant on a Roman cross. He did this to pay the price of my sin which separated me from a perfect God. Jesus was put into a tomb, but in three days he rose from the grave victoriously because death could not hold Him. He promised that those who put their faith in Him would be free from sin, have everlasting life, and would be sanctified, or brought closer to His likeness.
It wasn’t long before I was suddenly faced with the decision. I realized that I believed that Jesus was who He said He was, therefore my life was at a crossroads. I could either walk away and continue the path I had been on, or I could repent, believe, and follow Jesus.
I gave my life to Christ on June 11, 2011 and I was baptized in the American River three days later.
Since then I have learned that all human beings are made in God’s image. We reflect God in a multitude of ways, be it creativity, intellect, morality, empathy, etc. However we only portray shadows and glimpses of God because of our sin. Only through repentance and faith in Jesus are we able to more accurately and distinctly reflect God.
While I cannot erase the past, I know that I am a woman who is made in God’s image, who is saved by grace and faith in Jesus Christ. I know that in God’s eyes I am pure, holy, adopted, and clean, because when He looks at me He sees the blood of Christ that covers my sins. I know that in God’s eyes I am pure, holy, adopted, and clean, because when He looks at me He sees the blood of Christ that covers my sins.
While my reflection of God is still cloudy and imperfect, I am promised that through the Holy Spirit I am being sanctified to every day reflect God just a bit more clearly. Though I still struggle, by his grace I have been celibate and pornography free for four years, blessed by a serious monogamous relationship, and am currently attending a Christian university where I am able to learn and grow in my love for Christ.
My name is Lauren and I am made in the image of God.