It is the one feeling that can keep us tied to the past…to horrible habits…chained down to a master who is wholly satisfied with our inability to see hope from the bottom of the hole that we have settled into. We all have things in our lives that we think back on that cause our faces to flush instantly.
I know there are quite a few “rabbits” that I have been chasing around in my mind only to wind up smack in the middle of my past self’s realities…. Suddenly, my heart is racing, my face is hot and I am literally looking around to ensure that the other people nearby weren’t able to watch the movie that just played out in my mind…that no one else knows what it was that I did before I became the me they now know. Then the voices come in – I can hear their heels in the halls of my heart as they make their way to parts of my mind that are vulnerable…to the sections of me that will believe the lies they bring when they scream them out at me.
“Stop trying to fight it. You know that you are still that person. Just give in and go back.”
“If people knew what you did, they would never like you.”
“If your friends had any clue how messed up you were before the you they know now…you would be all alone.”
“It’s your body. Do with it what you want to.”
“You deserve the right to be who you want to be. Why spend so much time fighting what feels natural to you?“
“There is no way that God can love you with all that in your past.”
The reality of it all? I am an addict. I lived as one, locked in the closet of denial and shame for many, many years. Then one day, God gave me a choice: out myself and my lies to everyone around me…or He would. I chose to do it myself because, well, I suffer from control addiction above all else!! From the moment that He allowed His holiness to hover in front of me while asking me to walk a blameless path, I began to struggle with those voices in ways that words can barely describe…but shame was the thing that kept its hands on my throat and its heart beating for mine.
It took me 2 years to actually get clean…but praise to the Lord, He saved me from that pitfall and I have many years behind me without the use of chemicals to get me thru. I stopped counting time awhile ago as I found that THAT was an entry way to my enemy’s tactics…trying to trip me up with how long I have been on the straight & narrow…and just how quickly he could help take it all away from me. I had a wise woman listen to my story and tell me “Stop saying you will never do it again. THAT is what is tripping you up – as soon as you give satan a timeline, you give him the win. Just take each moment for what it is…a moment.”
So why have I shared all this? I promise, I have a point. Yesterday I had the chance to hang out with some great friends…and last night, after everyone was gone, I remembered their smiles, their laughter and the truth behind their eyes…and I was overcome with the reality that I could have missed out on any of them simply because of a path called “Addiction”.
The one driving emotion that keeps addiction rolling is shame…and shame keeps you locked in a cycle because it reminds you how horrible you are…and how little you can do about it. It can shatter your life into pieces. It takes the fragile, glass bottle that is your life and starts to invade it. Soon small spider cracks can be found and then, in one swift move, it can knock your life to the ground, breaking it into thousands of jagged shards. I know…I have been there.
But from one cry sent upwards, those pieces can be used by the One who created them…by the One who loves your soul and cares about your life.
Aaron Shust has an amazing voice…and an amazing truth comes from his heart:
To God alone be the glory and praise!
I pray you will give God the chance to show you a glimpse of the artwork He can make from your life…your ups and your downs. I can say that because as I sit here, I know the depths of my lows and the places I was headed before He reached out for MY hand. I was at death’s door, happy to let it ALL go for the thing that allowed my mind and heart to go numb from the pain of my life…barely able to think, much less able to believe that one day I could be living life, sober…and FREE. Ernest Hemingway has a quote that really grabs my attention because of the Truth that lives within the simple words: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
Although I will always be an addict when it comes to certain aspects of my life, I can be fully strong where I once was weak because He can use it. You can be strong where you are broken too. Really.
Feel free to let me know if you need help finding help off the road you are on…or if you just want prayer.
(Originally posted in 2009…still me today)
Looking up as always…