Almost 2 years, ago I wrote a blog post about how all of us have different struggles and we need to be careful about not causing others to fall back into captivity because of our neglect (One’s Freedom, Another’s Captivity). This week, I am reminded of that same idea. I don’t think we mean to be hurtful or sound “churchy”, but sometimes we can push people away with our well-polished answers to their larger than life issues. When a person is struggling with major life problems such as addiction, the last statement that they need to hear is, “Just give it to God and He will make everything better.” If it was that easy, I can guarantee that me and any other person who has struggled with an addiction would have done that a long, long time ago! Don’t get me wrong-Christ MUST be at the center of any recovery process, but rarely is it the “magic genie effect” and POOF!, all of the strongholds, habits, and bad things just disappear. Yes, we must give it to God-every second, minute, and hour of every day. Each moment requires a conscious dependency on Him for the next breath, the next choice to indulge or not, the strength to keep fighting even when we aren’t sure what this new life may look like. Yes, giving it to God is great, but as Christians, we must be careful not to portray that giving over or surrendering means a life of sunshine and daisies. It simply doesn’t always work that way.
Freedom, true freedom in Christ, comes at a cost, and for most addicts, it’s a hard price to pay. Whole lives must be turned upside down, new ways must be learned, old habits replaced with better ones, friends have to change, relationships are lost, and careers are even sacrificed; not to mention the toll that all of this change takes on a person physically,mentally and emotionally. Recovery is a process, not just a moment in time. Addiction’s roots are deep and the talons are not pulled out easily, quickly, or by ourselves. We must surround ourselves with support and usher in new ways of doing everyday life. We must depend on God’s Word for everything. We must talk to Him about it all. And, yes. We must give it to God-again, and again, and again, and again. We must realize that God will hold our hand every step of the way, but we have to reach out to Him and want to be helped! There must be a shift of dependency from ourselves and what we think is right, to God and trusting that He knows better than we ever will. In this shift, we have to come to know that apart from Him, without His strength, we will never beat ourselves. We may have victorious moments in our own strength, BUT we will never have a victorious life apart from His power breathed into us.
So, yes, our “churchy” answers are on the right track. Yes, we have to “give it to God,” but that is only the beginning of the rest of our lives spent in constant surrender, swallowed up in His compassionate grace, swimming in His sea of peace,and breathing every breath with the knowledge that apart from Him, we are nothing. Recovery is a journey and Christ is ALWAYS at the center; He helps us with every hard and difficult step of the way-the way to freedom.
“The Spirit of the Lord is with me. He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin and the restoring of sight to the blind, to forgive those who have been shattered by sin.” Luke 4:18 (God’s Word Translation)