I used to be a smoker. I wasn’t your normal smoker though. I would be “good” all day, but at night, when all was quiet and I was by myself, or if I was out during the day by myself…that’s when I felt like it was “me time.” I would chain smoke until I was sick of it. Sometimes I would smoke a whole pack in just a few hours. Then I‘d brush my teeth, spray on some perfume and go back home. I even tried to keep it from my husband for a long time. Looking back on it, it kind of disgusts me.
I used to drink a lot and smoke a lot of marijuana. Guess what? Same pattern as my smoking. During the day I successfully held down a supervisory job. I made sure I took care of things that needed to be taken care of. I paid my bills and was nice to old ladies. But at night, when I was with my friends, it was on. And we didn’t just drink or smoke to get a little buzz. We were in it all the way. It was gluttony of the flesh.
Now it’s food. I wake up and eat a healthy breakfast. I may have a snack in between breakfast and my healthy lunch. As the day goes on, I can feel my hunger increasing but typically keep it under control with water and healthy snacks again. Dinner comes and goes with little incident. The kids go to bed. My husband falls asleep. The TV or computer comes on. That’s when I do the most damage. I can ruin a whole day’s worth of good behavior in an hour. No problem.
Every time I indulge in this pattern, God sends a wake up call to kick me in the butt and tell me to get myself together. When I smoked, it took three days in the hospital after a nasty bout of pneumonia to finally convince me that I needed to quit. With the alcohol and drugs, it took a run-in with the police that could’ve landed me in jail and permanently changed the direction of my life forever. And now with the eating, it’s taken untreatable blood pressure readings in the 200/100 range to rattle me.
I may not be the brightest bulb in the hall - you’d think I would have noticed this pattern long before now. But alas, I did not. But now that I do see it clearly, I feel more confident than ever that I can overcome this addiction just like the others. Just like the others, I am going to have to turn this over to God. He’s gonna have to get the credit for this.
Sometimes God needs to bring us to a crisis point in order for us to see that we need Him. He is patient and he waits and waits on us, sometimes letting us make bad choices that may even adversely affect ourselves and those around us. But He knows what it will take to bring us back to a place where we seek Him for comfort rather than all of this other stuff. And once we hit that point and decide to turn to Him for help, He does it with JOY. He wants to help us out of our dark places.
“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message