Love was the problem. Not because I could not "fall in love" (some friends described me as boy-crazy), not because I did not desire that, and not because I was not in love with the Lord. Contrarily, it was love of the Lord that brought me to this place of desiring to destroy this addiction and sin in my life. No, the problem of love was that I did not believe I was lovable. I did not believe I was beautiful or could be loved. And that fueled the infinite, fiery pit of addiction in my soul.
Only someone infinite could extinguish that hell and fill me.
Love was the answer. Not love for or from the Lord or another person, but self-love. I could list every minute problem, weakness, and failing I had, I could come up with every reason possible why I was not lovable or beautiful. It took Infinite Love for me to realize that it was not He who did not love me, but me who did not love me. I gazed upon the Crucifix like Mary Magdalen gazed upon Christ when caught in adultery and felt how she felt-- Love was standing before me, forgiving me, inviting me deeper, and I had one choice left, whether or not to forgive myself. The Magdalen followed Christ the rest of her days, even following Him to the Cross because she found she could not remain unforgiving to herself when so infinite a mercy was being poured out upon her. In a moment that can only be described as the Divine rushing wind in the small whisper of the Holy Spirit, I said, "Theresa, I forgive you for being too weak to stop masturbating."
Love is still the answer. Even though I have fallen in love and married a wonderfully godly man, my struggles have not magically left me. Those envious, parasitic temptations still vie for a place in my soul to dwell, but I recognize them now. I see them as they are now and I see me as I am-- Theresa, fallen yet good.
The chorus of "Martyrs and Thieves" (by Jennifer Knapp) begins:
So turn on the light and reveal all the gloryI am not afraidTo bear all my weakness, knowing in meeknessI have a kingdom to gain
I am a slave to sin nor to my own mercilessness anymore. I am free. And I am running and fighting, inching however slowly towards that Kingdom. I have left my chains and old ways behind.