Let me begin by saying I’m trying my best to follow where God leads me here. I have no desire to put myself first (ok, maybe a little) but most days I’m content to stay in the shadows. As I look back over some of the very ugly, stupid choices I’ve made in my life, I feel the need to place blame. Unfortunately, it lands on me.
I was a drinker for many years and I’m sure you can use your imagination as to what kinds of choices alcohol and its addiction brings about. God protected me in so many ways, but also let me screw up. We are given those choices to make, based many times on where we’ve placed ourselves, and we have to manage the consequences. I have thoughts of pure shame regarding the hell I put myself through. I suppose I literally brought hell into my life. It was chaotic and confusing and our God is not one of either of those.
I remember wanting to quit drinking but was unable to picture my life without it. It’s a really strange place to be now as I have people tell me they can’t picture me drinking or smoking. That statement in and of itself is a testament to how powerful my God is. He showed up HUGE in my life when I needed Him the most. He loved me when all I could do was ask, “Where in this hell are you?? It’s too much for me to handle and you’re nowhere to be found. I knew I couldn’t count on you. What do I have to do to get you to do what you said you would?” (Notice no capital ‘y’ as I wasn’t exactly showing much respect at that point. I can’t turn the “editor” in me off so I had to explain myself.) Looking back, I realize I had to let go of His hand before I was able to throw my hands up in the air and ask where He was! How ridiculous is that?
He was there the whole time, waiting for me to have that “Hmmmm…AHA!” moment. Thank You God for being merciful and forgetful!! New mercies and no memory of past faults are like a big, fuzzy blanket. They wrap around you and warm you until you think you get it. Then the next time you forget and get chilly, they wrap around you again and you’re reminded of that comfort that only He can provide.
Our past can be the cause of those chills I think. I shudder not only to think of some of the things I’ve done, but all the things I haven’t accomplished because of my chosen track. “Where could I be? If only I had…” Regrets. See? God tried to save me from those regrets but I chose to head down that wide path. We try to throw the blame someone else’s way but it boomerangs back and hits us in the forehead. That’s when we need to get up off the ground, acknowledge that we were wrong, and repent. Eek! “Repent.” That word scares so many. I personally think of the guy holding the sign while standing on a busy street corner. Nonetheless, repenting simply means “to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. To feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent. To remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition: to repent one’s injustice to another. To feel sorry for; regret: to repent an imprudent act.” (Thank you Dictionary.com!) Um, that’s me, fer sher.
My prayers today are for those that feel they can’t get themselves out of that muck that they’re stuck in. And to you, as I pray you’re reading this, I say, don’t even try. You’ve probably already tried before anyway and you’re right back where you started, most likely even deeper. Apologize (aka repent) and let God fix it from there. There is nothing He can’t handle, especially when you’re in a place where you feel as though you can’t handle anything. I’ve been there. I thought I’d never leave there. But I did and you can too. God pulled me out of the muck and is using my background to help others. Nothing is wasted.