We’ve all heard the old adage
“To thine self be true”
But I say NO to that baggage…
I’ve seen what My Self can do
I love the verse in Romans that asks the simple question, “With God on our side, how can we lose?” It reminds me that God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for me, exposing Himself to the worst of humanity in order to save me. What could possibly even attempt come between the love of God and me?
I cringe when I think of some of the things I’ve done in the past. You see, I am my own worst enemy.
In my life as an active addict, I used alcohol as a numbing agent to quiet my anxiety. It started off innocently, but ended in the near-destruction of my body and mind. Yet the worse byproduct of my drinking was that it anesthetized the quiet, divine stirrings that my Father in Heaven was sending. He was loving me, trying to tell me He loved me. I chose numbness over relationship in order to keep my sickness alive. In countless small ways, I shut God out, preferring to get “my way”.
Before long, there seemed to be a pattern with “my way”. It always ended in destruction, and then surrender to God. What if my pattern were to become taking all matters – big and small – to Him, and bypass the whole “destruction” phase altogether?
I’ve been sober 11 years, but I’m still a work in progress.
“To thine own self be true,” ends, ironically, in my self-destructive behaviors.
People ask me sometimes when I knew it as time to stop drinking. I’m never quite sure how to answer them, because I knew the first time I took a drink and thought, “If I can feel like this all of the time, I’d be crazy NOT to stay drunk”. That warm buzz? I loved that sensation….I really loved it. At first, I tolerated the destructiveness because it felt so good. Years went by, and by that time I realized it didn’t help with the anxiety anymore, I needed it in order to stop the shaking in my hands. The shaking in my spirit.
And prayer? I’d stopped praying altogether, because of the mess I’d made of my life. I was embarrassed before God Himself, ashamed that I couldn’t control this thing, this one thing. That is how insidious my disease is. I was turning yellow, sick and retching, but I just couldn’t let it go. I wanted desperately to be a good mother, but that facade was breaking apart. I couldn’t get sober for my kids, for my job, or for my life.
One cold January evening, I walked to the harbor near our house, and sat on the bulkhead. I always felt the Creator a little closer near the water. I told God that I couldn’t do this anymore, that I’d made a mess of everything. I shouted at Him for not saving me from myself, and warned him that if I had to live without drinking, He may as well take me home now because I couldn’t give it up. I cried for my children, who were four and seven at the time. For two hours, my cares and worries spilled out in racking sobs until I had said everything. I ended the rant of my soul by telling the Almighty that He had to meet me in that place because I couldn’t take another step.
Essentially, I said, “Ok, God….You said you are enough to get me through this. You said your grace is sufficient. Show me your grace, then!” I’m not proud that a challanged God, but thats what I said.
The sun had set by this time, and all was quiet. I half-expected a light to beam from heaven, but instead, something better happened. I felt His Spirit gather me into the lap of his unfathomable grace and hold me there. I felt so incredibly small, like a much beloved child. I cried for a long time in the lap of Jesus. “What took you so long?” He seemed to say. “I love you so much.”
It was January 3rd, 2001. I was a captive set free.
Of course, it was no easy task to get sober, or to stay sober. It was very hard work, but every day, God extended His help, His supernatural-ness to me as I needed it; not ahead of time, mind you. But enough for each day. He is faithful every day, one day at a time.
My addictive personality didn’t change, although I have a healthy dis-trust of it now. I ask God to use the good stuff within me to tell others what He did for me, and to help me overcome the bad stuff within me so somebody might actually listen and receive his help, too.
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? Theres no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins found in scripture
That’s what God says about it. Still not convinced?
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing dead or living, angelic or demonic – today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely NOTHING can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. – Romans 8:31-39 (The Message)
I tried to drive a wedge, but I failed. He loved me still. Now I ask for His will for my life, and try to get out-of-the-way of it.
“Lord, your will…not mine,” is my prayer.
I’ve seen what “myself” can do.