April 2014, I set out with three of my boys on a road trip from Chicago to California. We were in college and it was spring break, so you’d think I’d be stoked about the trip. I was, don’t get me wrong, but I distinctly recall a static disappointment an hour or two into the trip.
It was funny. We were all operating on about 4 hours of sleep, but I was driving so I had to stay awake while everyone else crashed.
I threw on some music, thinking it would make me feel even more alive as the fields and farmlands whipped by outside. It was a weird feeling when these songs — which I knew to be good, rich songs full of meaning and emotion — just bounced off my ears like a racket more than embodying the depth I knew they should.
I tried different genres. I tried podcasts. But no matter what I pumped through the stereo, I felt itchy and restless rather than lively and stoked to be on this trip.
The trip lasted about two whole weeks, and by the end, I remember pulling out of LA and singing along to some Fiction Family at the top of my lungs and really feeling it. Like the music was inside me.
So what changed in those two weeks?
Well, because I was on this grand adventure with my bros, I didn’t look at porn or act out sexually once that entire trip. This was a stark contrast to the daily mundanity which had consumed me in college, and so many times throughout my life. A week of reprieve from my addiction had freed me and allowed me to feel things I hadn’t in a while. Music was restored to its rich depth of expression, and my spirits were high.
I really wish I could say I was able to abstain from acting out ever since then, but that’s just not true.
Somewhere in my psyche, there is a deep unhappiness with reality the way it is. This rubs against my emotions and expectations in a way that nudges me back to my addiction again and again. And every time I act out, my sensitivity to the world, to life, gets reduced a little more.
I’m roughly 1.5 years away from entering into my 30’s, and my hope is to live in more of the ‘road trip awakeness’ than the ‘porn-induced numbness.’ This won’t happen on its own though, and I am always taking steps to battle my addiction in order to strive for life and all it has to offer me.
This morning I taught a lesson on Mark 5, where Jesus casts the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs. The interesting detail is that the man had been restrained hand and foot, but with some supernatural strength had broken out of his chains. But he was still not free.
I can see myself in that man; whether it’s demonic binds or physical bonds, nothing seems able to actually set me free. But when the man is finally freed by Jesus, He rejoices and goes to tell everyone about what had happened to him. I’d like to experience that level of joy. It’s uncontainable.
When you get freed, you run and tell others what has happened to you.
That’s what I want for my future and yours.
As far as I can tell, this only comes from one man, Jesus Christ. May we turn to Him for life, freedom, and even emotions!