I been catching myself stopping to notice the small things in the hustle and bustle of life: A full moon illuminating my backyard, the setting sun painting a masterpiece once a day at dusk, and the laughter of my Mawmaw when I visit her. It’s in these moments that we can find beauty. Whether it’s hustling to pay the bills or having a jam packed schedule, stop. Look around and notice where you at. Notice how you have grown and changed from all the crap you had to go through. It’s awesome isn’t??! Who wants to stay the same?
In these past two weeks finalizing money, dealing with visa stuff and family… let’s just say I’m surprised I didn’t kill anybody. The amount of spiritual warfare and emotions I have experienced is crazy! I have heard from God a hell of a lot better, but other times I even contemplated smoking again. At the end of all the craziness I realized this was just a storm. It’s shameful how God blesses me and our relationship grows, but when times get tough my flesh wants to leave Him and run back to the idols. How we… I… forget this. Like foolish children we need to be reminded of this:
“Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” — Galatians 5:2
N.T. Wright says it best:
“When human beings give their heartfelt allegiance to and worship that which is not God, they progressively cease to reflect the image of God. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch.
Push aside the fact we are destroying our souls, remaining as slaves to things of this world, but think about those lives around you. I will speak only of my own story since I don’t know your own heart and situations. When I was chasing my own desires, weed, alcohol, etc… I was short with those closest with me and who love me the most. I have to say sorry to Sandra Illin, my mother, for the VERY short fuse I had during the first three years of college. Chasing things other then God or not having God at the forefront of your life, is destructive to you and those around you. It’s like smoking cigarettes. Secondhand smoke is real. Shoot, I remember when I got secondhand high. Ha! I had no right to be an A-hole to you; furthermore, I’m sorry mom.
Your identity becomes engulfed in that thing other then God. And you know deep down it’s true. I was a stoner. I saw myself as only a stoner. My identity as a stoner led me to a point where I couldn’t go anywhere not high. I hated to be sober, because I thought I wasn’t living or experiencing life. When I was an alcoholic, my friends gave me the nickname, The Horse, and it foolishly fueled me to drink more to the point of blacking out.
If you think you have to drink alcohol to the point of black out, then you are blind. I know that is the college norm; unfortunately, it is moving now to the norm of high schoolers. Take counsel my brother or sister: Getting drunk or blacking out doesn’t equal a great night. It leads to more stupid actions or worse. I’m very lucky and by the grace of God my dumb ass is still alive today and able to write this! My friends have saved me too many times, and I had even gotten to a point where sometimes I needed “Divine intervention”
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” — Matthew 6:24
I was raised with the knowledge of God from a young age and even followed Him when I was younger. But like a rebellious child, I chose to throw Him the middle finger and say, “I will run my life.” At the age of 21, I realized the life I was living had no direction or purpose; therefore, I turned back to God and asked Jesus to forgive me and redirect my life. Now my life has purpose and a remarkable warming peace.
As Christ followers our identity should be children of God. Yet our flesh want to keep fighting that truth. Our enemy wants us to ignore that fact and remain in bondage. 2 Peter 3:9 says:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
“Whatever you feed grows; whatever you starve dies.” What do you need to starve?