Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve taken the time to blog (or process anything on a deeper level). But here we are again — a buzzing mind, a confused heart, and a very blank page in front of me.
After my last blog on pornography, several people commented or talked to me about writing a follow-up. And that was in early November.
Better late than never I suppose.
What took me so long to write this follow-up to #NoPornNovember? Well, let’s begin with a confession: honestly, I failed pretty hard at that self-imposed challenge to go porn-free all month.
Much of me really wanted (wants?) my follow-up to be a success story. I wanted to share how much I had grown by not looking at porn and to be an encouragement, maybe even share some awesome pointers for how you could quit porn too!
But that isn’t my story. At least not this time. The past few months haven’t been easy.
I started a second job in November — partly because it sounded interesting and partly to use up any free time so I wouldn’t look at porn. I learned that balancing two jobs wears me out. When one job drains my energy and the other feels outside my comfort zone, there isn’t much energy left for me.
Or Jesus, really.
Despite growing with my church community last autumn, I felt distant with them and Jesus. My community group took a break during the holidays — and I suffered without them.
The “good Christian” part of me wants to share that I reached out to guys in the group about connecting over break. And that is true. But these attempts to be in community were last-minute and half-hearted as well.
The authentic reason for my loneliness these past few months is that I had overworked myself and chosen isolation. This is almost humorous now that isolation is somewhat of a forced norm due to COVID-19.
If I haven’t said this before, I am very prone to isolating and numbing behaviors. Give me the choice, and I will almost always choose Netflix, YouTube rabbit trails, porn, or a nap over something I know to be good for me.
I’m working on this, but it is a process for sure.
Life is crazy, y’all. And trying to power through life to make everything look okay, all on my own, has been my downfall. Admitting this has taken four months; apparently, I’m a stubbornly independent human.
This blog started pre-coronavirus, and maybe I needed a full stop to get back into it. Being forced not to work made me stir-crazy — and it still does some days. But slowly it’s been teaching me what I need to learn, where I can grow.
While I often complain about a lack of community, I also keep people at a distance. Being real isn’t easy, especially since I tend to isolate.
At different points these last few months, I saw this lack of community as a failure of the church in my city. Or I directed my failure inward, regarding my own inherent character somehow.
Only during this socially distant time of coronavirus have I realized something: maybe my community felt lacking because I wanted it to solve all my problems.
And finding a community that felt authentic, one where I could be vulnerable, couldn’t exist because I wasn’t connected with Jesus.
Maybe connecting with Jesus felt difficult because work had become an idol. I had never categorized work as such, because idols are supposed to be something you love, right?
But if work uses all my energy, then maybe that indeed counts as an idol as well.
Blame. Overworking. Shame. Isolation.
Looking at it from this page, easy connection with Jesus would have been impossible. As I write this, connecting with Jesus still isn’t easy.
Yes, I have plenty of time now. But I still worry about what work will look like whenever I do start working again. I’m drawn to YouTube and Netflix because they are easy ways to pass the days with humor and thrills and music.
I’m still working through my own doubts and fears that keep me from Jesus. But slowly, ever so slowly, I am trying to hold onto Truth. To remind myself that God is good. God is present.
And God is faithful.
Do you struggle with authenticity amongst others and with God? How have you coped with isolation in the past and currently during this coronavirus pandemic?