Each year Covenant Eyes awards thousands of scholarship dollars to students who demonstrate integrity. This year, we’re doing it again! Check out the application information and pass it along to a student you know or apply for the scholarship today.
The essays below were written by one of the scholarship winners. He shares how his porn addiction began and how he now lives a life of integrity.
Please explain how you use Covenant Eyes, and how it has impacted your life.
One word: self-worth. Society today has taught the people of my generation that life is all about finding out where you find your self-worth, whether it be your friends, your talents, your grades, or even how many likes you get on your Instagram selfie.
What many people don’t realize about this mentality is that this journey to find self-worth can lead down some dangerous roads. When nothing else fulfills this hunger to belong, people turn to destructive habits that can lead to serious consequences, hoping to fill the void with anything from a needle full of drugs to the arms of a stranger.
My story of finding self-worth starts when I was young. As the second child of four kids, I tended to feel lost in the shadow of a trail-blazing older sister and two younger siblings in desperate need of the world’s attention. I didn’t know where to turn to find my identity when everyone around me seemed to find it naturally. I had been told my whole life that I was a child of God, bought with the precious blood of a Savior. But how was I supposed to really know what that meant?
So, I sought to find myself in anything and everything I could get involved in. This search eventually lead me to my computer, where I would spend hours on end playing video games, hoping that by achieving a high score or beating a hard level, I would finally feel loved and accepted. When, like everything else I tried, my computer game achievements didn’t work, I tried playing around on the web. Now, my 11-year-old self really knew nothing about how the human sexuality worked, much less how precious it was, but that didn’t stop my curiosity from overwhelming my conscious one fateful afternoon.
What followed that glimpse into a world of temporary acceptance was seven painful years of my life enslaved to pornography. I went to a therapist, saw psychologists, met with leaders of my church, but no matter how many times I cried, not matter how many promises I made, no matter how many restrictions my parents put on me, I always came crawling back to the same, filthy obsession that continued to ruin my life again and again.
Through high school, this addiction appeared to get slightly better, or so I told people. In reality, I had unconsciously decided that I would separate the life I wanted to live from the life I was actually living. This division caused my need to feel accepted to deepen, pushing me further into my addiction.
The depth of this addiction was never truly shown to me until this year. I started off this year at a well-known internship program at a church camp I had grown up attending. After multiple mistakes and numerous second-chances, I was asked to leave due to my inability to comply with the programs rules concerning these sexual issues. Coming home, I was shocked, hurting, and looking for something to fill my need for love. Obviously, the self-worth I found in my self-proclaimed, Christ-centered life that I developed in the program was not enough for my starving heart so I turned to the very thing that caused all this pain.
I continued to struggle with my addiction for a couple months after my leave, until my mom decided that enough was enough. In order to help me keep accountable, my mom installed Covenant Eyes on my computer. She and three of my new mentors talk to me constantly about my struggle with temptation and are there for me when I try to give in.
Covenant Eyes has given me the best protection against temptation that I have ever experienced. By having this Internet Accountability and Filter, I am able to use my computer with the confidence that I am safe from the temptations of any sites that might fuel my addiction. The weekly accountability reports have forced me to be honest with my mentors in a way that I never thought was possible and has lead to numerous conversations about the deeper issues behind my cravings.
The Covenant Eyes app on my phone has also proven to work miracles! Having Internet on a mobile phone can be one of the most convenient tools of technology today. By installing the Covenant Eyes app, I have been able to use my phone without fear of a temptation that so many people fall prey to in this day and age.
I am still on that long journey to find where I find my self-worth. But, by the grace of God, Covenant Eyes has given me the ability to seek out my identity in the arms of Jesus. Covenant Eyes hasn’t impacted my life; Covenant Eyes has given it back to me.
Even though I still fall, having the software on my computer has awakened me to the realization that I am not just my addiction. God has blessed me with this software and has allowed me to experience a peace that I have never felt before. These boundaries have also helped me have the courage to speak into the lives of the brothers around me who experience the same temptations that I have. By giving me Covenant Eyes, God has granted me with a new sense of freedom, a better life, and a new hope for the future.
Part of the Covenant Eyes mission is to equip men and women to live lives of integrity, to assist people in their commitment to set no worthless thing before their eyes. In your academic, social, and spiritual pursuits, describe how you strive to demonstrate a life of integrity.
According to the Webster’s Dictionary, integrity is defined as: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness” or “the state of being whole and undivided.” In practical terms, living with integrity means being consistent with your actions, behaviors, and beliefs, both in public and behind closed doors.
While easily defined, integrity is not something that is easily achieved. As someone who spent years living two very different lives, I can attest to the claim that integrity is one of the hardest attributes that God calls us to achieve. Installing Covenant Eyes was probably the single, most important decision I have made concerning my integrity. By not allowing myself to indulge in all of the temptations that the Internet has to offer, I have been able to examine my life and take a thorough look at where I need to work on my integrity.
Academic integrity has been an area of extreme difficulty in my life. As a teenager in an age of technology, I have been able to find dozens of sites and apps that do almost everything for me. Throughout high school, I used these apps and websites at my leisure, claiming the work was my own and getting good grades for it. Now that I have entered college, I find the use of these apps distasteful, as I see my fellow students working hard to achieve what I have always faked. By deciding to block those sites on my filter, I have learned that doing things the right way through good, hard work can be more satisfying than just allowing a computer program to do everything.
Social integrity is another area of my life that I continue to strive towards. As my life has progressed, I have seen society continuously increase the importance of being accepted by one’s peers. When high school hit, I began to compromise myself in ways I never dreamed of in order to fit in with my friends. I stretched my morals, acted in ways I wouldn’t normally, and so much more just so I could find acceptance in my friend group. When high school ended, I was a very different person. I decided that, from that point on, I would stick to my guns and never compromise for the sake of others.
This promise has really been put to the test this year, especially in my workplace. By not allowing myself to participate in certain activities or behaviors that most of my coworkers bond over, I have been able to be an example to them. On a daily basis, I continuously try to have integrity by not compromising my personal morals for the sake of acceptance.
Spiritual integrity can be very difficult to define. As someone who leads worship, I can see how people can appear so pure and holy on stage. Then the lights go down and the congregation leaves, and these worship leaders do nothing more than just put on a show for the sake of the people.
In order to increase my spiritual integrity, I have recently been delving into God’s word through devotionals on my Bible app. I have also sought to find time in my busy schedule to pray and talk with God, even if it is just for a short amount of time. I have also started to be more open with my mentors about my difficulties with this and have pursued their advice to gain some wisdom on what they think I should do. These steps have allowed me to see the life that I present to people and the life I live daily merge into the type of spiritual integrity that I hope for.
Are you or someone you know in college? Check out the Covenant Eyes Scholarship and pass along the information to a student you know or apply for the scholarship today.