What Draws You Away from God?

Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction. Job 36:21

 

Jan* was on her way home from the trip of a lifetime. She and her mother had just spent ten days in Tahiti, courtesy of Jan’s job with a major airline. As her mother snoozed in the seat beside her, Jan broke into desperate tears, realizing that she remembered astonishingly few details of the natural and cultural beauty of the island. Woman in depressionInstead of reveling in her experiences, she had escaped the stress of being with her mother by living almost entirely in fantasies inside her head. For Jan, this moment of despair was the beginning of real change because she finally realized that she had an addiction.

 

What is it that draws you farther from God? For some of us it is a frantic schedule which keeps us moving from one urgent situation to the next. For others it is disappointment with our circumstances or our panicked attempts to change them. Perhaps it’s the negative voices which tell us we aren’t worth God’s time or that we haven’t yet racked up the necessary bonus points for an audience with the Most Holy. But for some of us, it is the allure of an addiction.

 

Addiction comes in many forms, some of them classic, and some of them much more subtle. In addition to the obvious culprits like drugs, alcohol, food and pornography, a person can be addicted to romance, to social media, to exercise and to a myriad of coping mechanisms which help us escape from stressors inside and out. Ask yourself right now, “When I am feeling really insecure, when the world around me seems to be attacking, what would I most like to go off by myself and do?” Then ask yourself how often you do that thing and whether it might not be drawing you away from God.

 

When you escape from pressure by using the same method over and over again, it becomes an automatic response which shuts out the rest of the world. Indeed, that is part of the appeal. When you shut out the world, is it to pursue God or to shut Him out, too? Do you rely on something other than His grace and goodness for your well-being? Please understand, I am not saying that reading a biography or watching a movie is cause for alarm. But if you read to replace real relationships or if you watch so many movies that you are short on sleep, then you might have a problem. Which would you rather give up – your prayer life or your soothing habit?

 

I’m writing this post to introduce a new handout called Do I Have an Addiction?, so if you are the least bit curious about the process of addition, please take a look. (If you are not aware, we have many other free handouts available on our Resources page.) This new handout will guide you through some diagnostic questions, explain the addiction cycle and give you a few suggestions if you find yourself where Jan was a few years ago. I’m happy to report that she is now a vibrant, happy woman who has not missed a day of her own life for a long time.  And it all started with that one good cry.

 


* (Details disguised to protect confidentiality.)

Old Habits

Conquering Addiction One Step at a Time


Syringe and drugs with out of focus female addict

Dear Christian Counselor,

 

I’ve asked Jesus to be my Savior, and I have the Holy Spirit in my heart. But I still give in to my addictions daily. Is it possible to be a Christian and a drug addict?

 

Bird


Dear Bird,

 

I am not at all surprised to hear that as a new believer you are giving in to your addictions. I did. It is a process, and being born again is just the beginning. You already are a new creation in Christ, and now you are in the process of living that out. Jesus Christ is a joy greater than our addictions. He is our Creator, our redeemer, someone who, by living in us, makes us righteous. He has already started you on this path. He is our greater desire, and He is able and faithful to give us what we need. As humans we were created to be dependent so that we would become attached to God. However we settle for lesser gods that do not satisfy or have the power to deliver. Ed Welch says in his addiction workbook called Crossroads, “Addicts know the deeper reality that life is set up according to kingdoms. Addicts know that there isn’t one square inch of neutral territory. Everyone is on their way to one kingdom or the other: for God or against Him. The central question is, Who will I worship? Who will I bow to?” Romans 6:19 says, “I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.”

 

Change will come, and you may be tempted to give up. If you take yourself out of the battle, the addiction will win. So start asking for help. Find someone in the body of Christ who can disciple you or a good Christian counselor who understands addictions. Find a group like Celebrate Recovery where you will find an accepting community of fellow strugglers. I’d also recommend reading the first nine chapters of Proverbs. We all will continue to sin as believers; however, God is doing a new work in you, changing the desires of your heart toward Him and not toward your addiction.

 

I personally know this road well and know how hard it can be; but I also testify that every inch moved in the direction of Christ is so very worth it. You will find the satisfaction and purpose in life with the Lord that you are looking for.

 

~Karen


Related Articles:

On Being a Struggler

Why Christians Make Miserable Addicts –Huffington Post

Our Free Handout, “What Do I Do Now?”

The Loneliness of Addiction

Dear Christian Counselor,

My husband and I recently lost our home and cars due to his drug addiction. He went to rehab for four months, and he was doing really good.  He got a job and was supposed to be giving me all the money he made so I could save it up. Well the excuses started, and I forgave him. He bought a car, lied about the price, then confessed to me the truth. I went to see him, and he has breakouts all over his face (from using, I’m guessing), and he has been trying to get loans from loan companies on the internet. His mother is enabling him by letting him stay there for her own selfish reasons. My question is what do I do? How do I hold him accountable? I told him I would file for child support, and he said, “Do what you have to do.”

Here We Go Again


Dear Here We Go,

The very nature of addiction is that it isolates those involved in it, both the individual and their family. There is shame tied to addictions, so we want to hide or disappear.  To begin the climb out it is helpful if we come out of hiding and begin to include others. However, we need to be sure that the people we include are mature and Godly.  The Bible tells us, “to bear another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)  We provide wisdom for each other, pray, share and support one another.  I don’t see anyone else involved in this story, and I would encourage you to get involved in the body of Christ.  You should also seek some advice to protect yourself financially. This means talking to a pastor and/or a counselor and being in the local church so that you can move in a direction that would be most helpful for you and your husband. Most churches can also refer you to things like lawyers, financial advisers and support groups. God will provide direction for you, and He does have a plan for your good. Sometimes, it really does take a village – don’t walk through this story alone. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:23-24)

—Karen