Most people who come to this blog wrongly jump to conclusions about me. Some people think that one day I decided to give up crossdressing and everything has been easy sailing since. And so they despair when they themselves are not able to give it up so easily and when they have a failure and fall into crossdressing, they decide to permanently give up trying to quit. Others who come to this blog think that I am in denial and suppressing myself and my happiness, and that I must be miserable. Others think I’m a liar and have not really given up crossdressing. Others think that I have given up crossdressing only out of terror of the Almighty God and that it’s not what I really would want to do. None of those assumptions are true. None are nuanced enough to explain the reality, not only of my story, but of the dozens of other men I know who have given up crossdressing. I am indeed experiencing great freedom and happiness because of having given up crossdressing, yet it has not been easy sailing, and I still have had periodic failures with crossdressing. If you are going to give up this addiction, you need to look at it realistically. And realistically, it is a long term struggle.
I’ve written about this before in several posts such as – “Healing doesn’t mean no more temptations” and “Progress Report 1-30-13 – How I successfully fought temptation but then failed” and “10 minute relapse.” But it’s time to write about it again, very clearly.
The Christian life is one in which we are already saved through Christ. We are justified by faith in Christ as our Savior. We are saved by grace. We don’t have to fear punishment as Jesus has already taken our punishment, and we are given the perfect righteousness of Christ so that God can look at us as righteous people deserving of eternal life rather than Hell. But although we are saved from the consequences of our sin, the reality is that we are still living sinful lives. We have been declared righteous in God’s sight through Christ, but our actual righteousness is still often quite pitiful in this life. All of us Christians are in the process of sanctification, the process by which the Holy Spirit works in us and helps us to become more obedient, more loving, more Christ-like, and more holy. It’s a long process that won’t be complete until Jesus returns and makes us perfect. In the meantime, we struggle, but we keep fighting against sin, and keep slowly slowly growing in holiness.
Sanctification does not mean that we will be perfect right now. No. We still sin, we still struggle. But it does mean that we don’t “walk” in sin or walk in darkness. We fight sin. We repent, we confess. We keep trying to please God. We obey Jesus because we love him. The evidence of being born again is not perfection, but it is that we no longer walk in sin or in darkness. We want to obey God. We want to fight sin. We don’t do so perfectly, but we keep trying. If you want to be assured that you are truly saved and born again, your life should exhibit these traits. You will not be living in sin. Instead you will be fighting sin and trying to live for God, even if you don’t do so perfectly.
In the life of sanctification, some sins are really easy to root out. It’s very easy, for example, at least for me, to never ever steal again for the rest of my life. I’m certain I won’t. It’s very easy for me to say I will never murder. It’s very easy to say I will never give in to corruption. Etc. But other sins are more virulent. They cling to us. We each have our own sins that we each especially struggle with. For me, one of them has been sexual addiction, primarily everything related to crossdressing, but lately I have been starting to struggle more with the temptations that normal men struggle with as well, of wanting to lust after pictures of women online and masturbate. It seems that sexual addiction and temptations are going to be a plague in my life until Jesus makes me perfect.
Why should I see myself as any different from others who have addictions? An alcoholic can successfully give up alcohol, but alcohol will remain a temptation and a negative influence on their life until they die, and they will have to continually be on their guard and watch out for it. They will have times of calm, smooth sailing with no temptations, perhaps for years, and then all of a sudden be at a wedding or party and have severe temptation. That is the life of an alcoholic. That is also my life, the life of a former crossdressing/sex addict. I will have times of smooth sailing, and times of severe temptation out of the blue. Those temptations will never fully go away.
But do I despair? No. Do I give up? No. Having temptations all the time is frustrating to be sure, but it doesn’t make me give up. I just have to keep resisting them. That is the Christian life, it’s a constant fight and struggle against sin until the war is over and Jesus returns and makes me new. I’m not going to give up and give in just because it’s hard. And as a matter of fact, though the temptations are annoying, I’m living a very happy life, and the more temptations I resist, the more I live the life that God wants me to live, the more healthy and happy that I am. I know that non-Christians probably won’t understand this. But a periodic failure is not evidence to me that I should give up on my resistance to crossdressing. If anything, it’s been the opposite. Each time I have failed, it has only reminded me of how worthless crossdressing is, and how much happier I am without it, and how much better it is to obey God. My temptations for crossdressing have overall lessened, but even if they remained strong every day, I would not give up. I’m in this for the long haul, until my Lord comes for me.
To me, I think we can divide sins into two categories. Stay with me for a second.
- There are those sins that you fight and resist, and as you resist, they seem to lose their power more and more. Finally, God changes your heart enough that you don’t even desire them all anymore and you don’t even have to deal with the temptations. For example, those who are habitual liars find out that the more they tell the truth, the easier it becomes and the happier they are to be living without lying.
- There are other sins, that it seems the more you fight, the stronger the temptations become! It seems the pressure just builds and builds until you feel like it’s almost impossible not to give in. This seems to be especially true of sins of a sexual nature. Perhaps it’s partly due to the biological release of pleasure inducing hormones, and the natural ebb and flow of sexual desire. And with sexual pleasure, you can experience something like a bodily build up of desire, where you just want the release. With these sins, the more you resist, the harder it feels to keep resisting. It’s like climbing a steep mountain. It’s hard enough climbing the mountain the entire day, but when you reach the tip top, that is the hardest steepest point and you feel like you can hardly make it.
Crossdressing clearly falls into the 2nd category. Resistance sometimes only builds the power of the temptations. Of course, I can also say that in my life it fits partly into category 1, because indeed God has changed me. I and others who have given up crossdressing can describe months and even years of not having much temptation because our desires have changed. We see crossdressing for what it is, it has become foolish in our eyes, and no longer as pleasurable. But even for those who have given up crossdressing and go for years without giving in, we see that crossdressing is really in category 2, because one day out of the blue we can get severe overpowering strong temptations to CD. The pressure can build, even without our conscious knowledge. Then the temptations come without warning, and when our guard is down, and we forget the nature of this addiction, we can feel like there is no way to resist. And sometimes when those temptations come, people like us can fail, even after years of abstinence. I’ve been there.
There is no reason to think failure is assured. We have self-control and don’t have to give in. But you should very much expect the temptations to come. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t think that this is going to be an easy quick struggle. It’s a long time war against our enemy, crossdressing. We can win, but you have to be in it for the long haul. And when you fail, don’t let yourself binge out of control and restart your addiction, don’t allow yourself to despair, don’t allow yourself to wallow in guilt, and don’t allow yourself to hear the lies that it’s better to just give in and stop resisting. Just recognize it for what it is, accept God’s grace and forgiveness, and begin the life of holiness once again.
When you resist temptations to crossdress, rejoice! Celebrate! Be happy about your victory. But realize that when the next hard temptation comes, whether next week, or next year, it might be an even stronger temptation than the previous one. Be ready. This is a long struggle, but you can do it. Don’t despair when things get tough. That may mean you are nearing the top of the mountain and ready to deal a serious blow to the addiction so that you can walk easy for a few years before you get to the next mountain of temptation. But don’t give up just as you nearing the top of the mountain!
And remember this. God told us in his Word over and over and over to rejoice at the trials we go through. Why? Because it strengthens us. As we experience temptation and resist it, we are learning self-control (one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit), we develop compassion for others who struggle, we are learning to choose the good over the bad, we are learning patience, we are experiencing dependence on God and closeness to him as we go to him for help to resist, we become more grateful for the salvation we have in Jesus and how he resisted temptation perfectly so that we could be saved, and we are developing a thirst for Heaven and Jesus’ return when he will end our temptations forever.
I hope you think carefully through this post. My message to all of you who are trying to quit crossdressing, and even to those trying to resist the lies of transgenderism, is this – Don’t give up! Persevere. This is a long struggle but a very worthwhile one. There is hope for your desires to change and for temptations to dramatically lessen. I have experienced that. But temptations come out of the blue because this is a life-long struggle. I have experienced that. You may fail unexpectedly. I have experienced that. Don’t give up. Keep living a righteous and good life without crossdressing. It is worth it. Rejoice at the times of peace and calm where you go for years without desiring this sin. And when the desires come, don’t despair, resist and conquer and keep on going. May we all persevere until our Lord returns and makes us new and brings an end to our long struggle.