About one year after The Confession: the point at which all the ugliness of my porn addiction came to light in my marriage, i had to take a business trip.
As i sat in my aisle seat, reading a book and waiting for takeoff, i heard a woman’s voice.
She was trying to get to the window seat next to mine, and she talked to me with some phrase that assumed a familiarity or a connection between us that clearly did not exist.
And it was at that moment that my old life and my new life collided violently. At least, it was violent inside me, even as exteriorly i remained calm.
She was dressed in tight clothing and her shirt was more revealing than was appropriate. But the truly provocative thing was that she carried some sort of bag that had a tag on it that read: “Sexy B*tch.”
i put my eyes right back on my book and never looked at her the rest of the trip. i spent the whole plane ride with a knot in my stomach, feeling like i would do anything to get out of that plane immediately.
Fortunately, my new life won the day. i was sufficiently scared in that situation. i also learned God’s transforming work was really happening in me.
The pit i had in my stomach was put there by God Himself.
The fact that i didn’t want to engage with her even in the slightest conversation was proof positive that i was different — and healthier.
The thing is, that woman still sits down next to me every single day. As Thom Yorke sings:
There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck.
i have to deal with a pornified culture; its advertising; the internet; and the like, every day of my life. i have to deal with my own vulnerability.
There are plenty of opportunities to start interacting with the Sexy B*tch sitting in the seat next to me, and take that somewhere in terms of lustful fantasy or porn indulgence. And some days are better than others.
It’s not that i have gone back to looking at porn. i haven’t. But there have been days when — unlike that actual trip years ago — i have started “talking” to that woman.
The great thing about that plane trip was that i was very aware of the disastrous consequences that would result if i interacted with her. And on days when i am tempted to start up that “conversation,” i try to remember what that situation felt like.
i also have come to savor the freedom of a clear conscience that comes from choosing purity. i love how that feels.
it was great being able to tell my wife about the business trip without guilt or shame. i told her the plane story too, and i could because not only did nothing happen — but i didn’t want anything to happen.
She sits down next to me every day. She sits down next to most men i know every day.
But we are not alone. God is with us, and He leads us to what is good for us because He is The Good Shepherd.