Monday, July 6, 2020

"God offers courage, not escape."

If you are familiar with my story, you know that I openly talk about my past issues with alcohol over-consumption.  I decided to share this part of my story so that it no longer had this secret hold on my life.  I felt alone in my struggle and as soon as I spoke it out loud, I felt as if I finally had control and that there was a community of people who could relate with me.  Speaking out about our sin patterns gives us authority over our choices and sometimes even more awareness.  When we finally stare that sin head-on and say, "no more will you win", WE start to win.  It starts with little steps and grows into strides and finally into summiting our sin mountain where it's so far beneath us, we can't imagine going back down.

As I was thinking about how I would have typically reacted during a time of unsettling and staring into a foggy future, I started to be so grateful I gave up alcohol before the whole pandemic began.  The last drop of alcohol I had was on January 2nd of 2020.  I had lost the baby in November and slowly started sipping wine again.  It never got out of control, and for that I'm grateful, but it was just so clear that it fit me like an ill-fitting sweater.  It was uncomfortable and I felt like I looked silly in that sweater.  It was an old garment, used and tattered and ready to go in the garbage.  So I finally threw it away for good.  Soon after I threw it out, I did some hard work of making myself truly believe I didn't need it anymore.  I told friends and family that I would no longer have "casual" drinks and not to offer them to me.  I told them if they saw me drinking, to confront me about it.  I think giving others permission to help me in that way gave me even more confidence in my decision to be done.

At church a couple weeks ago, my pastor was speaking thoughts I had in my head before walking into the service.  I started jotting notes down on my phone and as soon as he started speaking, I got my notes back out and added to them.  He beautifully spoke to what I was thinking.  This whole quarantine/pandemic/summer of riots has felt very.... heavy.  strange.  tiresome. among many other descriptive phrases I could use... but I'll refrain.  Pastor Dave described them as stones being thrown.  Stone after stone just kept on coming.

Shut down - stone.  "Stay home"- stone. Closed parks - stone.  Closed schools - stone.  "You might die" - stone.  "Wear a mask or you hate your grandma"- stone. "You're racist" - stone.  "Defund the cops" - stone. Burning buildings - stone.  "Your opinions are wrong" - stone.  My Nanny dying - stone.  My 34 year old cousin dying - stone.  My great-uncle dying - stone.

Stone after stone just kept on coming.  My mind tends to be very optimistic (maybe to a fault) but it just seemed like a lot.

Then Dave said some powerful words.

"God offers courage, but not necessarily escape." 

 My mind immediately went to what I was writing as I walked in the building.  "When we start to focus on circumstances, we start turning to substances.  But is what we are turning to anything of actual substance?"  I was feeling those stones coming and I didn't see an end in sight.  My optimistic brain was short-circuiting.  I could only be positive about so much!  The world seemed doomed.  I didn't have my normal version of escape anymore, it just wasn't an option for me.  What I started to do was consume as much information as I could.  I read news and blogs and opinions all. day. long.  I was addicted to information.  I needed answers and there were NONE!  No matter how much I searched, the only answer I could come up with was, PRAY!!! Pray and know that this is part of the story that God is writing right now.  Humanity is full of sin and aching, as I wrote in my last blog post.  We will die on this planet (unless we live during the rapture - COME JESUS!!) and Dave said another set of comforting words. 

"God offers heaven, not earthly safety."

  God never ever promised that we would live a comfortable, safe and happy life on EARTH.  He promises us freedom from the worries of this world by giving us eternal life in Heaven.  Beautiful, sin-free Heaven.  Then he said,

 "When you live a heaven life, it changes how you see earthly circumstances around you."  

That couldn't be MORE true!  As soon as you slip on your Jesus glasses, your perspective changes.  This life isn't all there is.  There is SO Much more to look forward to.  While we are here, we aren't to worry or fret or lose hope.  Jesus IS hope!  He is the source of all we need.   The greatest comfort we have.  

"God offers peace while the stones keep coming." 

To give you a little perspective, Dave spoke this message after learning that his wife was diagnosed, yet again, with breast cancer.  Now THAT is a man of faith.  A man on a mission to free people from their circumstantial mindsets.  

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

As we stare into this uncertain future, set down your phone, seek the Lord and spend time in prayer.  We are living through something historic, possibly even "Biblical".  (definitely Biblical) Be grateful that we get to be a part of this time on Earth.  We were hand picked and chosen to be living here during this time.  Choose your words wisely, choose unity over division and relax in the Lord, knowing that He has this all planned out.

No comments:

Post a Comment