“To turn head faith into a personal possession is a fight always, not sometimes. God brings us into circumstances in order to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make its object real. Until we know Jesus, God is a mere abstraction, we can not have faith in Him; but immediately we hear Jesus say — “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” we have something that is real, and faith is boundless. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” – Chambers
Faith is a fight. That’s something I don’t often think about. I think faith in God is more like faith in a chair, that it will hold me up when I sit down. But spiritual faith is much different. It is the only means we have to be rightly related to God.
Faith is not something we can conjur up when something big comes up that needs our full attention and resources. Faith is a bit by bit proposition. God brings us into circumstances we cannot control to educate our faith. Then our mind goes to work to figure out how to get us out of this jam.
But herein lies the fight, to turn our thinking, not off, but into something that touches our heart. It is not a matter of thinking ourselves out of trouble, but by faith, believing God has the solution if we turn our lives over to Him and give him full control. We don’t turn our minds off when we do this. Neither do we avoid the issue by running away to hide from the pain. No, instead, we think ourselves into moving through it, into getting our gut to follow our mind, into having faith that the object of our faith is real.
God, in this moment, you have my full attention. I know I am self-centered and self-serving. I have faith in your power to remove lust from my heart. I unconditionally surrender myself to you, and to walk the path of sobriety you have made known to me for today. You have the power to restore me to sanity. I believe in your ability and desire to help me, help me in my unbelief.
I’m powerless over lust. I don’t want to be powerless over anything because it makes me seem weak. To be without power is to lack control. To admit I am powerless is the first half of the first step towards freedom and recovery. I am not free to be myself; I am free to follow God’s will for my life. He makes known to me the path for today. I surrender my will to choose a different one and commit to follow him. Lust is toxic for me. I think I have a physical problem, but first and foremost, the problem is spiritual. This is why a change of attitude is the critical part of the first step.
My life was unmanageable. I was out of control often taking half the hours in a day or more to hunt for my next encounter. I was as addicted to searching and looking at the images as I was to hooking up. It was an endless cycle ending each time in shame, guilt and fear. But I still couldn’t stop. I was desperate but couldn’t really admit I had a problem that I alone could not solve. The first step was complete honesty with myself. I had to admit I was same sex attracted. Then I had to be honest with another human being.
In the beginning, I wouldn’t say my burden became light or easy but the weight lessened to a manageable amount. I was no longer on my knees on the trail with a hundred pounds on my back gasping for breath. The funny thing is that I don’t think anything got taken out of the pack, at least not at first. It simply became manageable. Now some of the baggage I was carrying has gone so the burden is actually lighter. As I understand and work on my character defects, they don’t completely go away but the trappings that attach to them disappear, one by one. I’m less lonely in my loneliness and my emotions are indicators that I need to pay attention to and talk about what is going on inside. My inside is slowly matching what people see on the outside. I am becoming one, whole person.
May I do thy will always.
Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!” Psalms 69:18 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.69.18.esv
“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalms 73:21-23, 26 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.73.21-23,26.esv
Addiction is as much a spiritual condition as it is a physical longing. When I long to take a drink of lust, I should realize that I need to seek God more intently. My flesh, the temptation that ensnares me, and my heart, the center of who I am, may fail, but God is the strength through which I keep my sobriety.
Even when I respond from instinct, when I’m drawn to look with intent at people or pictures to titillate my craving, God holds my right hand. He does not forsake me even when I make a selfish decision that sends me down the slippery slope. My heart is pricked with the longing to act out. I become like a starving animal hunting for food. I am brutish, carnal and sensual. I choose to be ignorant of that which I know will help me overcome temptation. My mind plays tricks on me with the intent to trap me in the hunt. My heart pounds in my chest. My breathing is fast and shallow.
I sip the salty nectar of the pleasure that haunts me. Even now it is hard for me to stay calm and focused on God. I yank my hand away to break the trance. I inhale, hold in the life giving air and exhale deeply to release the grip that lust has on me. I must turn toward God and receive his life giving will. God grant me the serenity to accept myself as you accept me. God is my portion. He is just the right amount of everything I need to stay sober.