In the first two devotionals we talked about praising God during painful circumstances and praising Him for second chances. Today, it’s all about uncertainty.
As you all know, I’m about to go to treatment for an eating disorder. For those of you who have little or no exposure to an ED or the healing process, I’ll break it down for you. First, you have to cut off the bad food behavior, which means when you step into treatment, the immediate concern is getting you to eat. That is HARD to do. When you have an addiction (and yes, an eating disorder is an addiction) your first step is to enter sobriety so that you don’t die, even when you feel like you might just die from giving up your addiction. However, while that is priority number one in recovery from an addiction, it is probably the easiest.
No really, I’m serious.
The thing you’re addicted to is an outward manifestation of something entirely different. Nobody picks up bottle of whiskey and starts chugging it daily just because it seems fun. No, they do it because something in them is broken. My eating disorder is a reflection of my desire to control my circumstances and numb pain from a childhood that did not go the way it should have. Most people have a catalyst moment – the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, the end of relationship – that catapults them into the downward spiral. This means that even after you kick the habit, you’re still sick. If I began eating regularly right now, I would still be sick, because my underlying problem is not being addressed or treated, and that is where it gets really, really difficult.
Next in treatment, you spend a lot of time talking and “unpacking” your issues. You have to reopen old wounds and dig deep to find the root of your behavior, and then you have to acknowledge it and stare it in the face, toe to toe, and fight it instead of medicating it. Relapse generally occurs when a triggering situation comes up and those old hurts swoop back in. It’s a lot like cancer in that aspect: you have to cut it out, and then you have to do chemo and radiation to kill every last cell of it. It takes time and it takes courage to willingly do something like that…
but you have to.
In 2 Timothy 1:7, it says that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power, love, and self discipline. That means that even though it is hard, the Lord has ALREADY EQUIPPED YOU TO DO IT. He wouldn’t ask you to do something without preparing you. You may not realize during your “preparation” that you’re training for an obstacle you will later face, but it’s happening, and because of that fact, you need to answer the call when God places a battle before you.
Two great examples of this are David and Goliath and Abraham. Nobody thought David was capable of making a difference on the battle ground, but God had given him the ability to slay a giant by fighting off animals in the wild while looking after his sheep. I highly doubt David killed that lion (1 Samuel 17:34-35) and thought, “Cool! Now I’m trained to do battle with a giant!”
Abraham (then just Abram) had a much more difficult journey that resonates more with me, because it required him to give up control and follow God blindly out into the desert. God literally said, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;” (Genesis 12:1). No map, no compass, not even the name of the place he would eventually reach. God called him to do the most absurd thing on earth, and he did it.
It’s like that in therapy for addiction. They sit you down and say, alright, let’s talk about this problem, knowing full well that if it were that simple, you wouldn’t need their help. The hardest part of recovery is walking away from your old life into a scary desert place with only the promise of healing somewhere down the road.
God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen. He has made the way for you to come out from under whatever you are clinging to that holds you back, and He is patiently waiting for you to begin to let go so that He can catch you and put you where you need to be. In times like this, the only thing you can do is praise Him. Go gladly, as impossible as it seems, and rejoice that you have within you such a great power from such an awesome God.
What is holding you back? If you’ve been looking for a sign, this is it. It is time to take a leap of faith, singing as you fall, and become free. He’s waiting there to catch you. It will be hard, but YOU ARE CAPABLE, because He Himself has said so!
Praise Him in your uncertainty, and watch what He does for your life.
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21.