Dear young me,
My name is Chad Masters, and this is my story of why at the age of 23 I gave up my life of self-satisfaction and promiscuity and asked God to make me pure. I’m currently 28, a newly wed, a full-time model, a grad school student and someone who is learning to love the Lord AND His commands. You notice the emphasis on “and” that’s on purpose. You see I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, heck, I hated the idea of God for most of my life. When I came to Christ it wasn’t because of His plans for my life or because his commands and rules were so attractive, and it wasn’t because of my broken human nature. It was because I was broken. I was hurt. I was doing whatever I could to hold myself together, and self-medicating in all the wrong ways and I had no idea how addictive my forms of self-medication would be. You hear about the opioid epidemic and how its ruining America? Wait till you hear about the sex epidemic. Now before you get all weird on me and you think I’m going to talk about how bad sex is blah blah blah, stop there. It’s not bad, it’s actually amazing! But it is very powerful, and it deserves respect. Here is a anecdote to hopefully help you visualize what I am saying in terms of the way you can use sex or even how deeply you desire it can become bad.
"Imagine you are in the middle of the frozen tundra, in a freezing cabin without a fire or anything to keep you warm. You hear a knock on the door, and you open it to find a box on the floor. You open the box and it is everything you need to start a fire; the wood, the matches, and even instructions. You toss the instruction aside and, in your haste, to warm up you decide to light the fire in your bedroom because you want to be warm while you sleep, what happens then? You will burn your house down. Now imagine you light the fire in the fire place what do you think happens? It may take more time but it safely sends warm toasty air all over the cabin and keeps you safe. Fire, like sex, deserves respect because of how powerful it can be. If we treat sex just like a physical act, then we are ignoring all the signs that are in front of us and risking really hurting ourselves."
Even if you aren’t sexually active it is having an impact on you. Whether it be your hormones, the media’s portrayal of how sex and how you should test drive the car before you buy it or even the “that’s what she said” jokes we have with our friends about it, are making us think about it. You see at the age of 14 I started watching porn. It was harmless. All my friends were starting to and no one knew but me and it’s my body, mind your own business. I didn’t know that 10 years later I would be pursing counseling on pornography addiction. It wasn’t even sex that was hurting me, but my lust for it. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 20, and that was with someone I was dating for a few years at that point, so I thought I was safe. I actually choose to wait till that time because I believed in waiting for the right person, or for marriage and I wasn’t a Christian. That right there shows that even the greatest intention is outweighed by the smallest action. Because when we that girl and I broke up, I went crazy. It was now no longer about the right girl, it was now about whose next. I chased that fantasy for a few years, not knowing the hurt I was causing the girls in my path and ultimately myself. When sex itself stopped satisfying me, I continued my search to “self-medicate” as I mentioned earlier and thankfully this final search to cure the emptiness, I was filling lead to rock bottom where I found the rock I stood upon. I gave my life to Christ at 23 and that is when I began my road to redeeming sex.
I tried everything. I have the software that blocks website, I used apps that wouldn’t allow me to log into Instagram at certain times during the day/night, I was going to weekly group meetings, counseling, reading books on it “treating pornography addiction”, “sex & money” just to name a few and I am still on this journey of recovering from the things I did that I didn’t think would come back to bite me years later. Last year I kept having this verse pop into my head, and funny as it may be, it is probably one of my least favorite pieces of scripture but now it’s one of my favorites. Romans 12:3 “…Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” I got to a point where I could not shake these issues. And the more I was avoided pre-marital sex the more I wanted it. It really showed me the hold it had on me when on the outside I was living such a great life, but I would secretly find ways around the software so that I could watch porn.
A friend told me once, that you must sleep with yourself every night and while that sounds weird, it’s true. Our minds go on this rabbit trails of jealously, comparison, envy, lust, greed and more and that is the stuff we don’t want people to know about. But with all those thoughts you need an outlet and if you hold them to yourself you will try to fix them yourself and like Paul, I will warn you… “don’t think you are better than you really are…” This is a battle that should not be fought alone because that is what the enemy wants. To isolate you, to make you feel like this is smaller than it is and to make you feel like you can do it alone or should be ashamed of yourself, therefore you can’t tell anyone because of what they will think about you. Well let me bring you up to speed. We ALL struggle with this. Did you know that 35% of all internet usage is pornography? That means that 1 search in 3 involve nudity and sex. If that doesn’t make you question the power, it has over us in the western world and where we are headed then I implore you to research. I am still on my journey to healing from my sexual immorality and if you get anything from this rant, I hope it’s this. Life is hard. We all have ways of coping with how hard life can get. Sex was/is mine. It may or may not be yours, but I encourage you to find out where you run when things get hard because I have done things physically that majority of guys dream about. They left me empty and now haunt my future. I have made amazing money. It didn’t save me. I traveled to 12 countries in one year just for fun. It wasn’t enough. I ran and ran and ran to fix my problems and Jesus was the only answer.
Practical Steps to either helping a problem or if possible, avoiding a future one:
I hope this helps. I don’t know how it would have impacted me if I had read an open letter like this at your age. I may have ignored it or maybe it would hit home. But take this in. Here I am over 10 years later living a life most people dream of and I am living with regret and have brought a lot of baggage into my life because of the things I thought were just harmless.
Be the good,
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Thank you Chad Masters for your vulnerability in this journal! Due to readers requests on April 11, I'll be sharing a journal all about boundaries.