For those who missed yesterday's post, Dr Pepper - Part 1, you may want to read it before this one.
For those who don't want the long version (which I ALWAYS give), skip to the part highlighted near the end.
For those who don't mind the long version:
Have you ever had that one thing that you just pray for deliverance for over and over? For me, it's been a myriad of issues, mostly having to do with food.
Anyway, now that Dr Pepper isn't an option, life has been better. I don't have the option to drink it (since I'm still fasting), so my poor over-caffeinated-prayer-life has become much more free to pray for other stuff. It's kind of neat. And...I've been able to notice some other problem areas in my life (sigh...stay tuned to the end of this super-long post).
The addiction is gone. It makes me think of the verse:
Matthew 18:8-10 (NIV)
8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Now that the addiction is gone, I feel such freedom. I cut that part out of my life, and I'm better off without it. Plus, a lot of the crummy foods I eat only really taste good with high fructose corn syrup, carbonation, and caffeine. So, I'm eating healthier, too. Btw, I have substituted sweet tea when I eat pizza or hamburgers or stuff, but I'm DEFINITELY not addicted. I just get sick of water after a while, and I'm really not a juice person (usually).
**Disclaimer: Dr Pepper-drinking is not sinful. My heart attitudes were. You happy Pepper's out there, you keep on enjoying yourself. Unless God has convicted you that you have issues, too. I'm not condemning anyone here.
|I did show some moderation during my pregnancy. This is at Sea World. I spent lots of time both in this T-Shirt and in bathrooms by this point in the pregnancy. (3 wks. before she was born.)|
One issue for me was a lack of moderation. Over-doing it was the primary sin. Part of the reason why I would over-do it, though, was simply because I knew I shouldn't. I was rebelling. (More on that in a moment). Rebellion and gluttony are both sins. Oh, and I valued it above everything else. It had become a stupid, sugary, delicious idol.
Since giving up Dr Pepper and also becoming a stay at home mom, I've removed a major addiction/idol in my life and replaced it with lots of free time. Free time/space where there was once a stronghold invites a replacement. Or a deep, internal-house cleaning. Or both.
Luke 11:24-26 (NIV)
24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
Fasting tends to help highlight issues. This has been a really-long (but tiny) fast. I'm discovering some serious issues. I don't think my issues have moved in since Dr P. moved out (like in the verse above), because they've been there all along. I do think, though, that if I'm not careful, something else could slide into that coveted spot in my heart.
I was always extremely busy before E was born. I never stayed in one place long enough to reflect on my deeper-heart attitudes about anything. Now, with more free time, I am finding quite a bit of time alone with myself and my thoughts. I'm kind of a jerk.
Here are the main issues I've discovered:
1. I am rebellious. If I argue with Matt (not that my feisty self would ever do that, but hypothetically, for the purpose of this post...), my immediate response is to act out. I will eat fried food, pout, stamp my foot, etc.
In fact, If you called me and asked me to do something crazy while I'm in this state, I'd probably do it - if it's not too expensive or painful - no tattoos or shopping sprees. (Tantrums have their limits before my common tendencies take back over.)
This is a little scary for me, because it's new. The oldest, "perfect" child persona isn't usually prone to temper tantrums designed to make people I love angry. Usually I want affirmation. So, to want to go be a punk and start tossing all of my usual self out the window is mortifying. Now, I know I have an anger problem, and none of this is really new, but I've always been too busy (or attributed flare ups to stress) to realize that I have a seriously corrupt heart going on! Plus, I'm realizing that it's actually rebellion against Matt as my authority. If I willingly rebel against Matt, when I can see and touch him, what would I do against God? Hmm. Plus, I'm not perfect.
While everyone else - possibly even my younger sister - already knew this, it's still kind of shocking for me. I had myself pegged as practically perfect with some quirks.
2. I want my best interests over all else, and I don't really want to serve people. I just want them to think I'm nice and like me. This particular trait was demonstrated at a Christmas party white elephant exchange where I nearly sacrificed some friendships for a wallet. Sigh. No recovering there. This issue was less surprising to me than the fact that I couldn't control it. I was mortified. (As was the poor hostess...)
3. I have allowed disorganization and lack of discipline to prevent/ruin some pretty great relationships. How?
Well, thank you cards for one. I immediately write a thank you card the moment I receive something. Then, I set it aside until I find a stamp, or look up an address, or buy a thank you gift. One particular thank you card was lost (twice) and mailed a year and a half late and I'm pretty sure the friend will never speak to me again (mainly because I told her repeatedly that I had a thank you card but couldn't find it - and she moved twice, so I had to ask for her address a ton and never got in in the mail until a few weeks ago.)
Our house is so crazy unorganized and generally messy, that we've not been entertaining new friends in our home for quite some time until recently. God has given us the gift of hospitality, and our lack of discipline has squelched it.
All of these are issues keeping me from living like God wants me to. All of these are slowly being dealt with. Many of my friends have been on the receiving end of my issues. I deeply apologize.
Here's what I would say to sum all of this up:
1. I was addicted to Dr Pepper. I prayed about it all the time, but I was an otherwise decent gal (I thought).
2. I stopped drinking Dr Pepper as part of a fast.
3. I began to spend more time just being quiet and still.
4. God answered many prayers as a result of the fast.
5. Nearly 6.5 months later, God began to reveal other sins in my life.
Sabbath rests and fasting are HUGE tools God can use to really focus your prayer life and lend a new perspective to your situation before him.
If you are constantly praying for something that is a stronghold, I'd recommend fasting from it for a time if at all possible.
Satan is a master at distracting us from the real stuff.
Here I have a self-centered, undisciplined, rebellious heart, and I've spent the last seven years praying for God to help me be disciplined with Dr Pepper. It's definitely an issue, but it's not the only issue God wants to correct in my life, nor is it the biggest.
It's just a straw-man argument, put in place by the enemy to keep me from serving God.