It’s time to submit your essay entry for the 2022 Covenant Eyes Scholarship and Kenneth Bowen Annual Scholarship! For the 13th consecutive year, Covenant Eyes is pleased to offer financial support to students and promote their use of Covenant Eyes accountability software!
Last year, out of 67 applicants, Covenant Eyes awarded $16,500 in scholarships to 13 students. This includes the $5,000 Kenneth Bowen Memorial Scholarship! As we prepare to read this year’s essay submissions, we want to share one student’s essay, submitted in 2021:
“At face value, Covenant Eyes does exactly what it promises to do: it helps me live a life free from pornography. However, I have come to see Covenant Eyes particularly as something that provides me with two essential tools in fighting against the lure of pornography and finding healing in my broken sexuality.
Too Weak to Fight on My Own
First, the monitoring and reporting functionality that Covenant Eyes implements has served as a firm yet gracious and ever-present reminder of my inability to fight against the draw of pornography on my own. Years of compulsive porn usage and the feelings of helplessness and shame that always followed made it abundantly clear that neither my own willpower nor any synthesized form of self-respect could sustain my freedom. Only when I began with an honest recognition of my own weakness was I able to seek help from a genuine place of humility, rather than trying to maintain my pride by fixing myself.
The Need for Personal Connection
The presence of a digital monitoring system that was intrinsically linked to a friend who knew my struggles but loved and supported me nonetheless has served as both a crucial deterrent for internet misuse as well as the important reminder that I am not alone and must lean on others to grow and experience healing. The personal connection of accountability that Covenant Eyes emphasizes is the second and perhaps more important function that I have found the program helps facilitate. I have often pondered the popular definition of sin that describes it simply as “separation from God”. For anyone trapped in the addictive grasp of pornography who is even remotely aware of how deeply it grieves the heart of God, the resulting separation from not only God but also other people becomes painfully tangible. In contrast with how sin impacts our relationships, I would propose that accountability, when properly grounded in both grace and truth, could be defined as “separation from shame and isolation.”
While sin (pornography in this case) is incompatible with the presence of God and detrimental to our relationships with others, intentional and grace-filled accountability with a trusted ally effectively combats that isolation and provides space for the relational intimacy necessary for healing. Covenant Eyes has not only helped me recognize the necessity of this accountability in my life but also has helped implement a structured framework that helps me to be intentional about maintaining those relationships.
Freedom and Restored Relationships
By using Covenant Eyes, particularly in the two ways I have described, I have been able to experience freedom from the shackles of addiction and shame and I have felt more capable of and comfortable with a new level of authenticity and depth in my relationships, one that porn had intrinsically prevented for so long in my life.
My addiction had created a painful rift in a previous dating relationship, and while I still have growth and healing ahead of me, I know that every day spent free of porn and every subtle reconstruction of my broken sexuality is an investment in the trust and security of my future marriage, should that lie ahead for me as I hope it does.
In terms of my relationship with God, I have always known that in His grace He seeks us out, even in our sin. By no means am I somehow any more deserving of His love now than when I was living in the midst of addiction, but there is certainly a new peace to be found in coming before a Holy God with one’s whole self, free of feeling the need to try to hide or ignore such a glaring misuse of a beautiful part of his creation.
As with my relationships with friends and family, I have enjoyed a greater depth and intimacy with God, still reminded often of my inability to live by my own strength, but resting more and more in the fact that He is continuing to draw me closer to Him.”