I've done a lot of reading in the past week. I'm finally opening books I received for graduation and ones I bought for myself during bouts of clarity. All I can say is, wow! Holy geez people I wish I'd have cracked these puppies open straight away. But, and here is the kicker, I wouldn't have been receptive to what they are saying. Nope, not one lick. That often happens when you turn off your listening ears and put on your own way of doing things. I think what is most tragic is that over the course of several months I had heard what I knew to be truth, yet kept on keeping on. We do that, don't we. We tend to want what we think is best, most especially when it makes us happy and makes our heart smile. I'm having a hard time now with negating the truth and fully accepting it. But what I do know is this, I made a mistake. Hear me out.
We all know I run. I use my time while running to clear my head and open my mind and heart. I use it to run from things and at the same time run to the answers. I use it as the time when I have no distraction other than what is in my head and what I can physically accomplish. Many times this past summer, on my runs, I sought guidance. I actually talked to God about what I knew and what I wanted. I talked to him about where I struggled and where I needed His help. His response - first and foremost, I needed to put the bottle down. Yes! I get myself into A LOT of trouble this way. I can't blame the 'proof' on the choices I made, but I can say it helped me to make them. (Which was the second thing.) Alcohol tends to dull the senses and most definitely quiets the "still small voice."
And that is what I did. The more I quieted the still small voice the more I did what was against God's will. The more I did what was against God's will the more I quieted the still small voice. I literally drank the problems away. I drank through the wrong which caused an internal hurt. Then, I drank myself through the hurt. I sought more and more for what I knew was wrong to fix what I knew was wrong. I knew! Bless it all, I KNEW! And in that knowing I kept on keeping on to justify the knowing. Now here I sit, in front of my keyboard, telling all of you. Oh, I don't want your sympathy, I know you won't give it anyway. What I want is to help someone else NOT do this same thing.
We all make mistakes. We all fail to do the right thing at some point. We all fail to do God's will perfectly. Heaven's we are imperfect beings! But when we purposely rebel against what we know, and refuse to listen to His voice of correction and direction, things can quickly turn into an epic mess! I got there, people! I was there! I spent 3 weeks at the very end of July and beginning of August, running in circles, pulling my hair out, not eating, drinking more, searching more, pushing more, breaking myself more because the mess had finally blown up. Sadly it wasn't me who made the connection, it wasn't me who was able to listen. But it was me who was left picking up the pieces of my own broken heart because I failed to listen. Jim Cymbala says in his book The Life God Blesses, "where we see failure, wasted opportunities, and heartaches, is in the fatal flaw of having to have our own way."
And that is what I did. I had it my own way. Me. I stood in the way. I stopped standing for what I knew was right and gave in. I caved into the pressure. I thought I could make it right, but it wasn't. It wasn't right. I couldn't drink it away. I couldn't run it away. I still can't pray it away. It happened. However, what I do know is that God forgives. He gives second chances. He makes all things new again. I know that He doesn't want me to hurt like this and to take on this pain. I know what He wants more than anything is for me to stop running from Him and stop quieting His voice. He wants me to run to Him with open arms, open ears, and an open heart.
In another one of the books I'm reading, it shared a statement by John C. Maxwell: "our mistakes have value; we can learn from them." OH.MY.WORD. here people - AM I ever learning!!! I am learning so much. I am learning that we can't take back what we've said or done. I'm learning that forgiving myself is a lot harder than being forgiven by God. (He actually does that lickity split like when we are truly asking for it in all sincerity.) I'm learning that my friends were, in their way, telling me all of this then, but what I needed more than their words was perhaps a 2x4 up against my flipping skull. I'm learning that God is a God of second chances and I pray that someday He will answer the desires of my heart, because the truth of the matter is - no sin is too big and no one can fall too far that God can't pick them up and turn their mistakes into messages.
One last thing from John C. Maxwell, simply because I like what it says:
M - essages that give us feedback about life
I - nterruptions that should cause us to reflect and think
S - ignposts that direct us to the right path
T - ests that push us towards greater maturity
A - wakenings that keep us in the game mentally
K - eys that we can use to unlock the next door of opportunity
E - xplorations that let us journey where we've never been before
S - tatements about our development and progress