The past few days I have been greatly encouraged by those around me. I have had emails and phone calls, conversations with others about my story that I am in the process of sharing. My story that I don't like to share. I don't take joy or delight in it, it is painful for me. It's a shameful part of my past that I would rather just forget and keep out of my mind for the rest of my life. As I write I remember the fact that this is out there and my friends, parents, in-laws, pastors, anyone could read this. I cannot tell you how many times those thoughts have come to mind these past few days. I cannot tell you in how many ways I have been attacked by the enemy. Thoughts of depression, weariness, loneliness (in the midst of being called/loved on by others)... lies from the enemy. Doubt and fear, all of these things. It's interesting how strongly and terrifically the enemy flails in his attempts to beat me down. I'm amazed. But I am in awe of God. Of His power and His leading through His Holy Spirit who lives in me and guides me through the valley of the shadow of death. I am in awe of the truth of the Bible and how it pierces like a double-edged sword. I am amazed by the power of music and how when it is sung over a place my spirit is lifted and the enemy is silenced and when I dance before the Lord (yes, in my living room with Levi and David Crowder singing Only You) I can dance in freedom and truth that He has my life, all of me. He has bought and paid in full all of my sins.
To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
"He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth."
When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24
My sacrifice of my pride is small in comparison.
The other day I was thinking about what pulls you into this stuff. Why is it so appealing? Am I a freak of nature that I would be drawn to stuff like this. I think there are a couple of things. Yes, I am a sinful person. My heart is drawn to sin, it's the marring of my ancestors Adam and Eve and our fallen race. It's my own heart and mind that pulls me towards this. Sin is a perversion of good things. Things that God created good: sex, food, other things, Satan has twisted. Maybe just a little bit at first, but over time it becomes a little more and a little more. It might have been a passing thought at first, somewhat shocking, somewhat curious, but it becomes a little more familiar to us. That first shock, feeling is gone, so we need to go a little further. I think this is how it goes with drugs and alcohol as well. You just have to start out with the little drugs like marijuana, but after that becomes too familiar, it's easy to take a step up. (I don't know this, I am only speaking from speculation and what I have heard, and honestly I think I would have been into drugs if the Lord had not protected me from it, I find that I'm drawn to escape my circumstances and alter my feelings, so ... yeah).
I also feel like the enemy doesn't come just crashing in on the first try. That would be easy, we would be turned off immediately, not a problem to say no to. But he likes to do stuff when we least expect it, drop a thought in here or there, hear something on the radio, see something on the TV. It would be almost impossible to remove yourself from anything that could ever be a temptation. That is also pretty legalistic and living by man's rules instead of God's. I want to remove and flee from temptation as much as I can in my life. I know how bad sin messes me up. One thing the Lord has taught me to do is to "bounce" my thoughts. Here's how it goes: I am walking along one day and an image from my past drops into my mind. As soon as I realize it's there I stop and look or focus on something else. If I'm outside I can look at a tree, inside I might look over at my fireplace or something silly like that. I pray the scripture of my life "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, stand firm then and do no let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." If I can I will remove myself from that place and go to a new place. I'm thankful for my son, that he is a good distraction from sin. If anything, I don't want this to be a part of my life for the sake of my marriage and family.
In all that I am saying I don't want to be formulaic. If you blink one eye, jump around in a circle for 45 seconds and say this thing twelve times then you will be free from this, NO! In everything we need to be going to the Word of God, listening to the Holy Spirit, asking others to help us in our repentance. Oh yes, the Bible says in James to confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed. If we will confess, we will be healed. Wow! But then we need to repent. To repent is to turn away from, to walk the other way. Many times I have not wanted (in my flesh) to repent and turn away because I knew it would involve pain on my part. I didn't enjoy what I was doing, I wanted to stop, but I didn't want that awkward stage that's in the middle of those two things that involves struggling, being tempted, doing something else besides that sin... Now, I am so grateful for my freedom. The sin is not the first thing I think of to do when I am bored. Now I do things like paint, listen to music, clean my house, read a book, play with my son... That middle ground is the hardest part, but it is worth it.
If you remember, please lift me and my family up in prayer. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12) But he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. :)