I got my first tattoo when I was a sophomore in college. The word “beloved” is written in a script lettering on my left wrist. I often get asked what it is about and what it means. I decided to get this tattoo as a declaration of identity over myself. I wanted a daily reminder of the permanent identity that Christ has declared over me as His beloved daughter.

Identity is extremely powerful. What we believe about who we are can have huge impacts on our life choices. We see time and time again scripture urging us to cling to our identity in Christ and not be tied to other things to find our identity.

Colossians 3:1-4

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

There is a specific call of the believer to press into their identity in Christ through seeking the things that are above. We will only seek after what we are sure of. If we are 100% secure in our identity being in Christ then we will always trust and seek the things above. Yet, the reality is that we are broken and sinful. We all have fallen victim to seeking after things that will not satisfy, leaving us empty and broken. I experienced this first hand in my own life story.

For the longest time I have censored my story. I never shared the full weight of the sin-chains that held me down for so long. Honestly, for a while it was because I was terrified of what other people would think. As I have grown in my relationship with Christ I’ve realized that my identity in Christ does not change despite my past. So, I have continued to commit to sharing my journey to a renewed understanding of my identity in Christ and freedom from sin that entangled me for too long; hoping that someone reading this can know that they are not alone and that the fight for their identity is worth it.

I was 14 years old when I was first exposed to pornography and at the age of 15 I started actively pursuing sexual sin. The truth is, desperate humans do desperate things when they don’t feel loved. And no matter how hard I tried to craft my image on the surface, sexual sin was the enticement I always let in. This was the start of my battle with sexual sin and my addiction to pornography. I grew up in the church, knew all the Sunday school answers, and yet I settled for a cheap and fabricated love that left me broken.

For me, sexual struggles began long before any type of sexual activity. My promiscuity and deep soul wounds grew out of a heart that was out of tune. I missed the truth about the identity of the person who stared back at me in the mirror. I failed to see my worth, so I looked for someone or something to assign it to me.

Matthew 6:22-23

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

We are shaped by what we see. What we choose to watch. And what we consume, mindlessly. Spiritually, our clear view of our identity in Christ is blurred and blinded when our gaze is entertained by cheap and easy things. We are what we see. And if they eye is the lamp of the body, then it is also the gateway for broken and impure things.

The first step to healing was admitting I had a problem. That was the hardest part. Everything was in the dark. I had to come to the reality that God couldn’t heal what I didn’t give him access to. I genuinely believed I was the only Christian woman living with this struggle. We are foolish to think that this issue only happens outside of the church. We are afraid to boast in our weaknesses and point to the power of the cross, so instead we stay silent and leave far too many hurting hearts feeling like they are the only ones weak enough to give in to these broken things. In failing to talk about the issue we doubly fail to talk about the power the Holy Spirit possesses to purify our eyes, reclaim our hearts, and break our chains of bondage.

My breakthrough from this sin was a process filled with hard conversations, months of counseling, and discovering for myself what the bible says about my identity in Christ. It was worth every second. I am living proof of the power of the Holy Spirit to break the chains of addiction and false identity. My tattoo is a daily reminder of that. A daily reminder that I have been raised with Christ. A daily reminder that I am His beloved and that identity will never leave.

Psalm 34:4-7

I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.

He freed me from all my fears.

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;

no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

In desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;

He saved me from all my troubles.

For the angel of the Lord is a guard;

he surrounds and defends all who fear him.