In folklore, dragons are formidable enemies. They usually terrorize and bully a group of people until a valiant character finds the courage to face the dragon and defeat it. We, as believers and followers of Jesus, do the same thing. We all have dragons in our own lives – fear, insecurities, and sin cycles. We cheer when one of us finds the courage to face their dragon, but we cower, run, and hide when faced with our own.
I did the same thing for over a decade of my life. I let fear, insecurity, and my own sin cycles bully me in the private, unseen places of my mind. I want to tell you the story of how you helped me slay my dragon. The truth of the matter is that I haven’t been vocal about it, but I know there are others who are struggling and need to know that there is hope of victory against their own dragon.
Here is my story.
I took a step to believe in and follow Jesus when I was five years old. I understood that my sin separated me from God. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection restored my ability to have a relationship with Him. As I got older, I let broken relationships, undesirable circumstances, and deep wounds turn my heart away from God. I gave the dragon of pride a place in my mind. My God-given desires became twisted and self-serving. Pride gave birth to the sin of sexual fantasy and masturbation.
Since I knew what was right, I was plagued with guilt over my sin which I internalized, and it became a deep-rooted shame. I would ask God to forgive my sexual sin, but I would allow the dragon of pride to remain. Eventually, I would return to sexual sin because of my pride. This fueled my feelings of shame and continued to push me further away from intimacy with God and with people.
Let’s make one thing very clear: No one knew about my struggles—not my family and not my friends. I let everyone see the shiniest, most attractive version of myself. She attended church every time it was open. She was a leader among men. She “struggled” but only in a way that she deemed acceptable in the eyes of the Church. She loved God deeply and her piety was on display for all to see.
Inwardly, that women didn’t exist. I wrestled profoundly with the character of God. He wasn’t good, trustworthy, or for me, because He wouldn’t take away my temptation to sin or give me what I wanted. I also struggled with my identity. I longed to be loved but thought myself unworthy of it. Therefore, love had to be earned from everyone. These beliefs only fueled the sin and the shame in my life. It fed my dragon of pride until hopelessness and despair enveloped my heart.
But God in his infinite goodness and compassion wasn’t satisfied with my crippled and distorted view of Him or me. He pursued my heart and my mind. To be honest, my path to healing and restoration didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t have one “aha” moment that radically changed me. I had hundreds of life-changing moments where I fiercely battled my dragon. All were orchestrated by God who is the very embodiment of love and victory.
It all started with healing my relationship with Him. It was incredibly broken and selfish which reflected the state of my heart. I had to turn to Him in my shame and my pride and ask for forgiveness. More than that, I had to commit to cultivating intimacy in our relationship through prayer, worship, reading the Bible, practicing spiritual disciplines, and obedience. This was and still is a non-negotiable in my life.
While the transformation of my heart took root during my time with God, it grew through transparent relationships with people. God gave me the courage to pursue relationships where I could be completely open, honest, and held accountable for my backward thinking. My Christ-centered, safe community helped me gain ground where I struggled for years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them spurring me on.
I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I have not arrived. There are still places in my heart and mind that God is still healing, restoring, and shaping. I chose to write this to you to strike the fatal blow to my dragon called pride. I can no longer be silent about what God has done for me and continues to do for me because I know He wants to do the same for you. There is nothing beyond his redemptive reach or healing hands. Nothing. He is victorious in all things, and you can be too.
I can no longer be silent about what God has done for me.
If you are serious about battling your dragon there are two steps you need to take. Victory starts with waving the white flag of surrender. Turn to God and admit your sin. Ask for forgiveness. Then spend intentional time with him every day cultivating a deeper intimacy in your relationship with him.
The next step you need to take is to seek open and honest community with other believers. Transparent relationships offer a new level of freedom from and victory over your dragon. If you are a man or women struggling with sexual integrity join one of our Proven Men or Proven Women groups launching this month. Otherwise, join a community group.
It’s time for you to come out of hiding, stand firm, and face your dragon.