I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who celebrates victory one day at a time over Pornography and Co-Dependency and struggles with Perfectionism, Anxiety, and Depression. My name is Selena. A couple years ago, on a February night, I remember jotting down some thoughts in my journal, releasing whatever came to mind onto this paper. I wrote “Should I be going to Celebrate Recovery (CR)?” Here I am almost 3 years later, and my question is definitely answered. Before I go into why I walked into those doors, I should tell you it’s not just about my story. It’s about what God is going to do with my story and how it will penetrate your hearts, and maybe your story, as well. I don’t expect anything from you, but I do expect great things to come from God’s plan in it all.
I have experienced divorce in my family, loss and grief over a loved one, and other painful life experiences; those experiences, partnered with my choices, contributed to many years of addictive behavior that I knew I could not change on my own. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” While at college, I was able to stay away from some of those addictive behaviors. Even though I was going to a Christian school, I was still tempted by heavy feelings of shame and guilt. It owned me while I was out there. The one thing that I knew I could turn to, and was very good at hiding, was the internet. I dipped my toes first in computer games with live people and that led to many lost night’s sleep talking to boys inappropriately and eventually it led to porn.
I can’t pinpoint the moment I realized that I could change. By the grace of God, I noticed this about myself. I prayed for more. I wanted more of God. I wanted more out of life, but most of all I wanted to feel freedom over the addictions and chains that had a hold on me. I made this promise to my sweet Stepmother years before her death that I would seek God first, and I think that was the only thing keeping me from giving up. More time went by and I was showing physical signs of my issues wearing on me. I developed anxiety and panic attacks…pretty bad ones. Several times I felt like I was going to die. I knew something wasn’t right. Nothing was working for me. I needed surgery on my heart, spiritual surgery.
That is when I heard about Celebrate Recovery (CR) and I asked the Lord in my journal, “Should I be going to CR?” I also wrote below it something I had heard. “To squirm while we learn at least means that we’re listening.” I took that as my next sign. That’s when my life began to change. The encouragement I would give someone who has never walked through these doors of Celebrate Recovery before is to not give up. Keep coming back. Stay committed for your own heart’s health and allow yourself to receive what God has planned for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have you for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” The second thing I’d say is….Seek Christ. The one thing I did right all these years is hold onto my Savior. I never gave up hope that Jesus was there all along, and when I stopped trying to understand God and His plan, I received His peace. The third and last thing I would say to the newcomer is “Recovery is a journey, not a destination.” I am by no means “recovered,” but I am certainly on the road.
Come and hear Selena’s full story live at Celebrate Recovery on Tuesday evening, March 31 at 6:30 PM at Valley Christian’s FIRESIDE ROOM. Meet Selena and others with open hearts and similar experiences as you; people who are willing to meet you just where you are: All masks off… begin the healing on the road to recovery!