Meet the Author/Artist
Sohma Rae Hathaway is a wife, mother, mentor and friend who has served in various capacities in her church. She and her husband live with their grand-cat “Storm Trooper.” They have six children and four grandchildren. She is also the author of “Finding Diamonds in Dungeons – A journey through heartache and loss to a compelling view of pain’s purpose.” Learn more at findingthediamonds.com
In today's guest post, my friend Sohma shares her perspective on my last post, Lust, Lies, Laziness. I pray this speaks to you as much as it has me.
Whether you’re toying with selfish desires or trapped in the clutches of pornography, there’s something you should know.
You are not alone!
So many of us struggle to control our appetites one way or sometimes five others. This is exacerbated by our society’s acceptance of greed and entitlement.
In a sense, we all start out on the path to selfishness. As infants, we are solely aware of our immediate needs. In adolescence, our awareness shifts but there is still that natural instinct to serve ourselves. While self-preservation is necessary, there is a persistent craving to push those boundaries. This is often referred to as being “carnally minded” (Romans 8:6) and it’s something we ALL face. Chris Hewitt defined the main desires of the flesh in his excellent blog “Lust, Lies and Laziness.” As I read, I was prompted to add my female perspective, reiterating his words. Lust, Lies and Laziness are self-serving issues that Chris says men struggle with most. I add that women are not immune to these tendencies either. As a result, addictions often surface.
Wherever you are on the path to addiction, it’s not too late to pivot in a new direction. I’ll give you (at least) three powerful reasons why there is a need to do so and then offer suggestions on how you can overcome these desires. First, a little background.
Ironically, I’ve seen lives crumble from lust, lies and even laziness but today I would like to focus on the first two. Lust (as defined in Chris’s blog) is most often what fuels our lies. These crippling effects of selfishness then easily lead to addictions. As I share my examples, please do not judge those who have succumbed to the “will of the flesh.” Most often we serve ourselves in an attempt to cover an inner pain or emptiness. Only God understands our suffering, which is why judgment is reserved for Him.
My upbringing was not fortified with examples of self-less living, so as an adult, I naturally gravitated to what I was familiar with. I experienced one failed relationship after another. At the age of twenty-one I was married to my second husband with a child of my own and three step-children. I loved my new husband. He was a great man. His focus was on God and the family. I could see his potential for greatness and knew I had made the right choice.
I was wrong.
In our third year together, I gave birth to a son. We were both elated with his arrival. Our first 4-5 years of marriage were pretty blissful! In spite of being strapped financially, we NEVER had an argument. Then, I started to feel like something was off but I couldn’t put my finger on it. After our second child, the feeling intensified. I thought I was doing something wrong because he just didn’t seem to feel the same way about me. The foundation of our marriage began to crumble but I didn’t recognize what was causing it. It was lust. I craved being the focus of his attention, with an unhealthy need to be wanted. He found a different focus. After our 3rd child was born, I caught him viewing pornography. He excused it away and I let him because I was not educated on the severity of its addictive nature. I found comfort in being noticed by others.
I’ve been told you are either progressing or digressing but never standing still. If you don’t address a problem, it will continue to grow. I tried to address my unhealthy cravings, though I didn’t understand their connection to my husband’s weakness. I slowly watched the light leave my husband’s eyes. Over time, his addictions grew because he was too proud to admit there was a problem. He thought he could secretly handle it, saving himself from shame and others from heartache.
He was wrong.
This is the case with any addiction. We think we are in control when we aren’t. My step-father thought he could “handle his liquor.” Instead, he lost everything. He lost his wife and family and the respect of loved ones. Then, not many years later, he lost another wife, his job and ultimately his life, from cirrhosis of the liver. He also had emphysema; caused by his addiction to cigarettes. These cravings killed him! So please, don’t pretend you have control over something you can’t easily walk away from.
As the insatiable desires of addiction grow, that person’s self-worth dissolves. It’s a black hole of discontent. Some will fight it with the strength of lions, using justification and entitlement as weapons but it’s a battle they cannot win. Pride is then used as a substitute for self-worth. Ironically, this creates a downward spiral where Satan convinces us that we are worthless. If we fill this void with more pride, selfishness and/or addictions, we become even more susceptible to the buffetings of Satan.
After 13 years of marriage, raising 7 kids together, my husband and I got divorced. In the previous year his sexual addictions led him to have an affair but this is not why I left him. He gambled away our livelihood (another addiction) and then quit his job for a get-rich-quick scheme but this is not what ruined our marriage. I could have forgiven him for these things. I left him because of his unwillingness to admit his addictions were a problem.
He moved away and became estranged from all his children. I continued to watch this man with great potential, morph into a person I hardly recognized. It was like watching a loved one die. He lost his family, his dignity and his eternal perspective. Three treasures too precious to gamble with.
Tragedies like this happen all around us. Why? Because, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Suggestions for fighting the flesh:
Pray daily, hourly if needed. When we earnestly pray, knowing God is listening, miracles happen. Sometimes the Lord’s timing is not our own but faith always precedes the miracle. Which brings me to the next one.
Have faith. Believe in God. Believe that He is all knowing and all powerful. Believe that you are His child. Romans 8: 16-17 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” Even if no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you. Nourish it with the word of God until faith finds a place in your heart.
Study, pray about and have faith in The Atonement of Jesus Christ. Isaiah chapter 53 is a good place to start. Do the work. Look it up. Then, repent (as we all must) and apply The Atonement of Jesus Christ in your life.
Avoid temptation. Stand in holy places. Do all you can to be in uplifting environments around people who support you in your efforts. Evaluate the music, movies, books and other stimuli you allow into your mind. Chanel your thoughts. I silently sing a sacred hymn when my thoughts are headed in the wrong direction.
Lastly, but certainly not least. LOVE. Love God and love others with all that is in you. Love in a way that requires sacrifice. The rewards will be greater than your time invested. In doing these things you will learn to love yourself in a healthy way.
If we humble ourselves before God and exercise faith in Him, he will turn our weaknesses into strengths. There is no place low enough that God can’t reach us, if we are willing to turn to Him. This I promise. This I know because I have been in lows I never thought I’d find myself in.