Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Laying it down...

When I was 16, a boy asked me to hold his cigarette for him while he bent over to tie his shoe.  In that moment, I felt like the gates of hell were opening wide for me for simply holding the cigarette.  Can you imagine how I would have felt if I had dared to put it to my lips????  I would have needed a few extra hours of over-priced therapy.  Anywho... the big naughties in my mind growing up were cigarettes, alcohol, and sex.  During my high school years, I successfully refrained from all three and felt like a I was one step closer to heaven for doing so.

I don't hide the fact that I drink alcohol from anyone.  I know that this goes against the beliefs of some and that others are not entirely opposed to consumption of alcohol.  I won't get into that debate here today as that's not my intention behind this post.  I will only say that every human being has a sinful nature, but our compulsions, or the things we choose to ease the angst in our soul, are all different.  Some choose alcohol, food or sex.  Some choose to immerse them self in their job.  Some escape by reading book after book after book.  Some run.  Some beat their kids or their spouse.  Some yell at and belittle others.  No matter how it presents itself, we are all looking for a way to settle our souls, to find a place of peace, to work out the anger, fear, frustration that we feel internally.  

I choose the night cap.  Mix a little of this with a little of that, and I can relax.  Not get drunk, rather just relax.  Is this wrong?  I don't know the answer to that question.  What I do know is that it wasn't the place God intended me to find a little peace and relaxation...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

In my readings, I have discovered that my focus should be on God.  Feeling anxious?  Pray.  Feeling stressed about the kids?  Pray.  About the bills?  Pray.  About your mom's cancer?  Pray.  I have yet to read in the Word that when you feel anxious you should have a margarita, though I was hopeful at one time I just may find it if I dug deep enough.  Maybe in Ecclesiastes?  Nope, not there.  I digress... 

Over the past few years I had toyed around in my mind about giving something up for Lent.  This year, I set my heart to observe it, and I began to think on something that I could give up that would actually make a spiritual difference in my life.  I could give up chocolate, but on Easter Sunday, I would eat every piece of chocolate in sight, and it would be plentiful.  The sacrifice wouldn't leave a lasting impression on me.  My mind {and soul} finally settled on liquor.  Now, maybe all you pretty Christians cringe when you hear me say that I am giving up liquor for Lent, and that's exactly why I haven't blogged about this yet.  There's a huge part of me that finds it embarrassing that my taste buds desire a spiced rum and diet cola, but another part reminds myself that everyone reading my words struggles with their own sinful nature.  My compulsion may not be your compulsion, but it's no different from any other sin.  It's taken me years to get past the high school me, the one who thought I was dirty for holding a cigarette I didn't even know how to light, the me who thought my salvation was earned through a list of earthly things I could successfully avoid.

Do you find it a coincidence that I would face one of the most stressful times in my life (as in the discovery of a malignant tumor in my mother's brain) the week following the beginning of Lent?  I think not.  I am amazed at the lessons God will teach you as He works on your weakness.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

The past few weeks have been filled with nights that I would have loved to have jumped right into a bottle of  spiced rum, vodka, or tequila and bathed in it.  But the kicker was that I wrote out a covenant with God that I would refrain from all liquor during the 46 days of Lent.  Do you have a clue how powerful it is to write out a promise to God?  It's life changing... I have never done it before, but it's definitely something I will use again as a tool of accountability.  By making the promise to Him, not to myself, I have been forced to call on Him, think on Him, when I have felt tempted.  These weeks have also shown me that God is able to fill any space inside of me if only I ask Him.  He is able to calm any storm within my soul.  And the glory of it all is that I can indulge in as much God as I want to without any morning-after headaches or empty calories.

So maybe your compulsion is different from mine... maybe your distrust in God to fill the empty parts of you manifests itself through something else.  Don't worry; I won't judge.  I will simply say to think it over... pray about it... lay it down at His feet and watch what His Power can do inside of you.


3 comments:

Thad said...

I like this.

Ora said...

Excellent testamony by a beautiful child of God.

Victoria said...

F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.

Well said sister! Thank you for sharing! And I LOVE the idea of writing out a covenant promise to God...I need to try that!