That sounds prideful, it isn't meant to be. It is simply truth. Let me give you an example: I began smoking when I was a teenager. (Don't ever do that, it is a really stupid thing to do.) I was smoking for about six months, give or take. I should have been addicted. I knew others who had smoked less than I had and couldn't stop. However, one day I was running low on funds for the month and I had to make a decision, I could get a cup of coffee or a pack of cigarettes. I didn't even think twice, I wanted coffee much more than I wanted the cigarettes. So I bought the coffee. And that was it, I was done smoking. I think I've bought maybe two more packs of cigarettes over the course of ten years.
Another example is coffee. I know lots of people who are seriously addicted to coffee. I would drink about 3-5 cups of it a day during my college years, but when I changed environments - moved and began working - the habit vanished. I still enjoy a cup most mornings, but if I don't have it, it's no big deal.
I could give a few more examples like this, but I believe I've made my point. So when I begin thinking about addiction, I don't really have anywhere to go. That is until I read this...
Humans have an amazing ability to get addicted to just about anything—food, shopping, people-pleasing, and self-pleasing.
~Derwin Gray, Limitless Life, p31
Oh, I can be addicted to people-pleasing? That one hurts.
I always thought this trait of putting others in front of myself was a good one and what it meant to "lay your life down for your friends" (John 15:13). Honestly, it only made me depressed, insecure and unfulfilled. I felt worthless and stressed. I became too busy with too many things I couldn't get done. I had no time to fill my own heart so I was lacking when trying to help anyone else. I felt overwhelmingly ineffective.
This was a really hard lesson for me to learn, I am still having trouble with it. I slipped up again just a couple days ago by making lame excuses for simply not wanting to do something. Even though I've been working on this recently, I never thought about it being an addiction. I didn't do it for the pat on the shoulder, like I said I didn't realize I did it at all. It doesn't feel like addiction, it simply feels like my way of life. I have been learning the boundaries of this and where to draw the line. It is a constant balance of remaining kind and gentle to others, but also being true to myself.
The reason for our addictive appetites is that we were created for worship. Worship has a powerful impact on us in that we draw our identity, worth, and purpose from the object of our worship. Identity tells us who we are. Worth gives us our value. Purpose gives us a reason for waking up every morning.
~ Derwin Gray, Limitless Life, p32
We want things that make us feel good. When you have a bad day, do you go to God? Do you worship your Creator that only produces good? No, probably not. I don't. I go to the show that I recorded on the DVR, a friend who will make me laugh, a glass of wine, a good book, or sometimes just to sleep hoping that tomorrow will be better. But those things are just idols. They are examples of things that we look for to make us feel better when all we really need is a good dose of positive energy from the One Who Created Us.
Things make us feel better for a little while. Our job, our title, our hobby, and our possessions give us identity and worth within our society. They can even us a reason to get up in the morning, but how do you feel at night? How do you feel in those moments where it is just you, with no walls up? Do you feel free?
I hope you do. But if you don't, you can. Worship God. Bring light to darkness. Bring innovation to familiarity. Bring color to gray. Bring creativity to routine. Bring courage to fearfulness. Bring song out of silence. Bring forgiveness out of resentment. Bring love out of hate. Bring freedom out of addiction.
God can do those things and so much more!
You are without limits because of the unlimited God who lives in you.
~ Derwin Gray, Limitless Life, p41
Be you. Be brave. Be free. Live a limitless life!
This article is inspired by a Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries
while reading Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray.