100 days off! Now what?
It has been over 100 days since I last masturbated. Actually, a 108 if I want to be exact.
When I started this 100 day challenge, I was almost certain that I would NOT complete it. How was I going to go 100 days without an activity that was a daily habit? The common sense approach would be to wean myself off gradually, not cut it off cold turkey. So of course, I figured my flesh will eventually win. But this did not deter me from at least trying.
So how did I start masturbating? Honestly, I don’t even know. I do know the famous Mills and Boons romance novels in secondary school did help my imagination though.
When I started university, I dropped the Mills and Boons books but not the habit. To be honest, masturbation did not even seem like a bad thing at the time. Although I never openly discussed my habit with anyone, I was in an environment that openly discussed and encouraged sex.
I graduated from university and masturbating was just another activity in my daily life. If I struggled to sleep, I masturbated. If I was bored and alone, I masturbated. Over time, I would come to identify these and more as triggers that I had to avoid when I started my 100 day challenge.
Fast forward to 2016, six years after I had graduated, and I was still struggling with the same habit. I was tired of it. I figured that if it had to be shrouded in secrecy, then it was not ok. Coupled with the fact that it always left me feeling guilty and condemned.
I could not understand how it could wield so much power over me. I could never say no to it. I felt like a bystander watching myself give in every single time.
But what I have come to learn is that every single struggle we face, God uses it to teach us certain lessons and also encourage or inspire others.
Lesson 1: The devil wants to isolate us.
If the devil can successfully isolate one, the problem usually feels worse than what it really is and it becomes too much to handle. This sometimes causes one to give up and also give in, not seeking the necessary help or assistance that others can provide.
I wish I had known that years ago. Instead of shrouding my masturbating habit in secrecy and giving it more power each day, I might have actually found a solution and quit sooner. When I finally opened up to a close friend, let’s call him Segun, I actually felt lighter. All of a sudden, it wasn’t just me that knew about it. Segun had counselled many people in the past, and he made me realize that this struggle was not unique to me. As a matter of fact, a lot of people were dealing with it and just like me, they were looking for a way out. But he also pointed out that many people, including himself, had dealt with the habit in the past and quit it.
For the first time, I felt like there was a solution. The devil did not want me to know that and he would have continued to keep me ignorant of that fact if I had not sought help.
Remember that there is no struggle or problem that is unique to you. Others have walked several miles in similar shoes and have come out victorious. So do not be ashamed to share your problems with the right people when you are seeking help.
Lesson 2: The devil loves condemnation
After my eye opening conversation with Segun, I made a decision to drop the habit. I wish I could say everything went uphill from there but I was able to hold off masturbating for almost four months! Looking back, that was a major feat. But rather than commend myself, I condemned myself. I did not think I deserved anything good God wanted to send my way because I had decided to return to a habit that I knew would displease Him. But this verse reminded me that since I was already in Christ, there should be no room for condemnation in my life.
All the condemnation did was encourage me to continue sinning since I was not good enough anyway. And this brings me to my third lesson.
Lesson 3: Do NOT justify a bad habit
Condemnation plays funny tricks with our minds. Since it looked like I was not going to stop masturbating after all, I asked God to accommodate my habit. I figured that since I did not have the willpower to stop, the least God could do was cut me some slack and accept me as I was. It was not sex, so I told myself it really could not be that bad after all. I did not think it was fair that God would create us as sexual beings but ask us to wait until marriage before having sex. Why could He not just activate a sex code for each person when they actually got married? Then one could truly live according to His laws.
But you see, I could not intentionally continue sinning because my flesh was too weak to say no. So what did I do? Honestly? Nothing. I actually just continued masturbating. But my awesome daddy, a.k.a God, stepped in to help.
Lesson 4: Sometimes God will send someone to you when you’re not willing to look for the help you need. Don’t be ashamed to respond to the call.
I had a meeting with Segun and he randomly asked how I was doing in that area. I was ashamed to admit that I was back at it as we had had the initial conversation a year ago. But I also realized that I couldn’t lie to him.
Segun did not condemn me or even make me feel awkward about admitting my struggles. We spoke about it and then he put me up to this 100 day challenge. Now remember my mind was still inside lesson 3. I was asking God to cut me some slack and Segun was asking me to do a 100 day fast off masturbation. I was like, 100 days? With no sexual pleasure? How was I going to do it? I know I did it last year but that was last year. I told him that God should have powered on our sex drives when we’re ready to get married. I mean the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak man!! (Matthew 26:41)
But he gave me advice that stuck. He told me that at no point should I feel like I don’t have the willpower to say no. Even when the desire is sooooo strong! God Himself told us that His grace is sufficient for us in our weakness. Like Joyce Meyer said, God shines through our imperfections.
I started this challenge on March 5th, and it officially ended on June 12th, 2017. I’ve asked God for the grace to continue. I still think about masturbating sometimes but these thoughts are fewer and farther between.
Some things did help me keep off the habit:
- I had to identify my triggers or the situations when I was more likely to masturbate.
- I had to avoid these situations/environments altogether so that I did not fall back into my default habit.
- The more I shared my story, the less ashamed I felt about it. And also, sharing encouraged me to keep away from masturbation.
Although this post makes me feel vulnerable, people have been bold to share their stories and bless me and many others. I hope this blesses someone too.
Have a lovely week everyone.