The spice box
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
One of the things that I notice more and more often as I continue to walk with the Lord is how often he rescues me from my own—well, stupidity is the word that comes to mind, but I will be kind to myself and call it “flaws of character.” How grateful I am that he has chosen to exhibit his strengths through my weaknesses! Paul was right on target as he testified that:
… He [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV).
Problem is, Paul was writing about weaknesses over which he himself had no power. Too often I find that in my own life it seems as if many of the personal weaknesses from which the Lord rescues me are those that I myself ought to be able to control and correct.
I am going to admit to something that anyone who has ever worked with me has long recognized. One of my worst personal issues (isn’t that a lovely euphemism?) is that of procrastination. In fact, one of my session mates, then Cadet Rich Love, used to claim that while the rest of the session was appropriately named “Proclaimers of the Faith,” I was a “Procrastinator of the Faith.” I have had a life-long addiction to putting things off to the last possible minute!
“Addiction?” Isn’t that too strong a term? I don’t think so. Consider some of the characteristics of addiction:
Failure to recognize the grip something has on you. I once participated in a weight loss clinic, where for
the first time I realized what a terrible, frightening hold food could have on a person. I saw individuals
whose addiction to food was so great that they suffered traumatic withdrawal symptoms when they tried to
go on the liquid diet: they couldn’t sleep, they couldn’t function normally, the craving for food so
dominated their every moment that the pain was evident in their tears and agonized tones.
The certainty that “I can stop (or change) any time I want to. I just don’t need to, because I am in control.” Not just the cigarettes, or the alcohol or the drugs, but other common, ordinary addictions reflect these attitudes. How often do we see persons who claim the ability to control an uncontrollable temper, or seem determined to look on the dark side of everything, to such an extent that it affects not only their own ability to enjoy life, but also affects those around them?
Fear—fear of success, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear that even God can’t handle an
overpowering, perhaps life-long problem so seemingly intrinsic to one’s nature or temperament. Often
seen in “passing the buck”—trying to identify causes beyond one’s personal responsibility. Maybe the
problem found its origin in society; maybe one can blame a family situation, or trauma in one’s personal
history; maybe it is God’s fault for allowing it to become a problem. Or maybe it is simply because I am a
“bad person,” incapable of control, undeserving of better.
I am not an expert on addictive behavior, but let me speak to it as one whose consciousness has been newly awakened to its personal applications. There are innumerable situations that may be blamed for addictive behaviors. These may include a damaged self-image, a feeling that “that’s what they expect of me,” abuse, and many others. One characteristic that probably applies in all addictions is loss of control and the humiliation that brings.
For some of us it is very difficult to have to admit, “I cannot do it.” How much we hate to admit that something we feel we ought to be able to control has control of us. But it happens. Addiction is not a thing that happens just to the worldly-minded. Too often it is a flaw existing in our own precious selves—a thing we want to believe is simply a “weakness” that is a regrettable but intrinsic part of our character.
He [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Someone who was for years a professional in working with addictive behavior said to me today: “If you feel you can’t really believe change is taking place, ACT AS IF! Take a step in faith, as if God has given you this gift, and you haven’t the right to renege on your part.”
I must admit that I have never felt confident that even God could (or would) help with this particular weakness, so I have been leery of turning it over to him, for fear that my concern will be justified. But—ACT AS IF…
So, with God’s help, that is what I plan to do. Pray for me, that God will take control of this thing that I cannot, and if there is a similar problem in your life, let me know, and I will gladly pray for you as well, that God’s power might be made evident in our lives.