I saw this on a website I was reading the other day.
IF GOD SEEMS FAR AWAY…WHO MOVED???
This is interesting to me in the simplest, but the most complex of ways. I can relate to the question on so many levels and see the answer to it from the many different seasons my life has been through, thus far.
As many of you follow along in my personal recovery journeys and read the heartfelt words I have to share, you know I normally turn to Scripture for comfort and guidance. This was not always the case however.
I originally had a King James Version of the Bible. I found it very hard to read and understand, so I did a common thing. I just didn’t read it. I didn’t say it was the smart thing.
As time passed I felt drawn back to the Bible and bought one I could understand, one written in normal words to me. My New International Version was great. I could read it. Understanding was a different story though. Sure, I knew some of the stories… but seriously what was with all these names. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why God changed people’s names either, but I continued to read. The more I read, the more the stories came to life. This wasn’t so bad, I thought, but I still didn’t understand some of the messages hidden within those written words. Frustration crept in a bit at a time and again I quit reading. I mean I still went to church, heard the sermons and sang the songs…that was enough right??
I began to further damage my relationship with God. Bad things were happening. I thought I was being punished for not full-heartedly giving God the time He deserved. I still didn’t feel comfortable doing so. I started drinking here and there. I had the attitude I wasn’t learning anything, going anywhere and was a nobody. As I sat and listened in church, the words started to fall on deaf ears. I was there in body, but little else.
I felt farther from God than ever before. I would pray demanding prayers, thinking God would come to my way to thinking. I had rationalized all the pros and cons… surely He could see I knew what I was talking about and how it could benefit me in the long run.
My drinking increased, as did my demanding prayers, and things went from bad to worse. I got to the point of telling God, “You don’t listen to me anyway, and I don’t care. I know me better than anyone, but why can’t you just let this one thing happen?” I rationalized with God more. “I’ll try harder and won’t drink quite so much.” Again, I was met with silence. For months I prayed the same prayers, ones that ran in my head but not my heart.
Time passed rather quickly, we were already into a new year. Thoughts consumed me, the bad thoughts. I questioned everything, including my own reasons for living. “Where was God anyway?” He was suppose to love me, but still wasn’t listening. I become angry with myself for bothering and with God for leaving me. I quit praying for things. I simply thanked Him for the day, but I didn’t even mean that. I was sick of being in pain and forgetting things and working for next to nothing. Again my drinking increased. I thought I was still in control however, I only had a few drinks a day. God still wasn’t listening, to my way of thinking, so my promises to Him didn’t count. I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself anyway.
Jim and the boys started riding me about my drinking. I started making excuses. I tried compromising by splitting them up with water or coffee. I realized I was thinking more and more about the bottle and less and less about God and my family.
After one particularly bad argument, I went to bed early or rather passed out in bed. I woke the next morning feeling the aftereffects of my drinking. Washing my face was even a chore that morning. As I peered at myself in the mirror, I realized I didn’t even know this person who reflected back. I was a hot mess. I looked at myself and in no uncertain terms told myself I had a drinking problem. The admission was hard, but everyone had been telling me for months this was the case. I wasn’t listening to them, but I knew I had to listen to myself.
I started attending meetings, but was still drinking on the sly. It wasn’t as much, but drinking just the same. I knew full-hearted I had a drinking problem, but still couldn’t quite accept that I was an alcoholic. I recited the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, but still was angry with myself and with God.
I listened to people share, I shared some myself. My heart slowly softened. My ears were opening and my willingness to accept reality that I was in fact a full-blown alcoholic sunk into my head. Now I just had to completely quit drinking. I wanted to but couldn’t seem to.
I started to open up my Bible again, but changed how I approached the process. Instead of reading big chunks at a time and confusing myself; I picked a book and read a section, then flipped to another book and did the same. My prayers began to have a purpose. I asked repeatedly for God to remove my desire for the booze. I was doing good, I had almost a month sober, but things were happening…bad things in my head. “God, are you there?, I’m trying.”
More bad thoughts, a missed meeting… then two. “Why aren’t you talking to me, God?” Wait there was a whisper… “Is that you?”
Silence…then the whisper… I listened intently, waiting for my answer.
Just a drink…the bad thoughts will go away.
I knew in my mind this was not the voice I should be listening to. It only increased in volume. The nagging was there, and suddenly the desire to have a drink was strong. I’d love to say on that day that I won the battle of the devil’s voice, but I did not. The cycle repeated itself over and over again. I couldn’t understand why, but the more I drank the less the the bad thoughts filtered into my mind.
Ashamed and feeling defeated I proceeded to drive home. I was pulled over. I didn’t care at that point. They drove me home after a while. Words were exchanged and I fell into bad. I’d failed. I never did say my prayers that night.
This evil whisper continued to plague me. The cycle repeated itself. James had to come pick me up. His embarrassment was at an all time high that night, he barely spoke on the way home.
I reached out the following morning. I would get professional help. I needed it and knew it. I prayed with my heart I would get the most from these people and my time with them. I read, learned and wrote letters. I was growing. I was safe. I reached to God more. I was back into reading my Bible daily, sometimes more than once a day. I was forming a routine that included daily quiet time with God. I was finally on the right track. Meetings were back into my life big time and I took something from every one. I was well on my way with my recovery. I was beating the devil down.
Homelife became different. I was guarded with my emotions but open-minded enough to talk about my alcoholism. My family and friends were beyond supportive. Life had a different meaning. I was unsure where it was going but I had a strong foundation that I was building. The tools were all there, I just had to decide which I would use.
A month or so passed. The whisper was back, I fought to ignore it. Life was in an uproar. My emotions were off the map, my mental stability still crumbled. Farther and farther I pulled back inside. I went through the daily routine, making it seem like I had it together and was good to go on all levels. I was quite the actress, but doubt I fooled them entirely. I quit reaching toward my family and toward God on my behalf. I prayed for others repeatedly knowing He would answer for them, but I again doubted He understood the mess my head was in. I slipped yet again. I wondered what was wrong with me.
I sat in the car contemplating my options. I drove to my counseling place. I talked and cried and talked some more. I’d never hit this low before. My thoughts scared me. I talked more. They wouldn’t let me leave. Jim and James came. I knew I was a danger to myself. The whisper was strong. It combined with so many other made-up voices in my head. More talking. I just wanted the mood to stop. I wanted to end the noise in my head. Somewhere deep inside I heard a different voice.
Come to me, you are weary… I will give you rest.
We rode home in near silence, I didn’t feel like talking anymore. I just wanted to sleep away this mood. Sleep I did. When I woke the thoughts were still screaming within my mind. I reached for my phone. I was advised to go to the ER, and we would proceed from there.
As I answered questions and reflected on this choice, I wondered if it was the right one. I wasn’t nuts, I was just not in a good frame of mind. I was in a self harm state. As I waited for the ambulance to transport me my mind still flew. I wanted coffee, food and a cigarette. Why couldn’t I just be normal???
Come to me, you are weary… I will give you rest.
I crawled into the bed in the wee hours of the morning. I was exhausted on every level. Sleep came hard that night, but I knew I was in the right place. I woke early, in search of coffee. I was locked in and all they had to offer was instant decaf, again I questioned if this was the right place for me.
Committed…It seemed like such a harsh word, but I’d done it myself. I had to get well, I knew they could help me. I thought of the drink, then I thought of the havoc it had caused and the place it played in my being where I was. Suddenly it was an enemy, one to be destroyed.
Come to me, you are weary…I will give you rest
I attended groups, talked with the shrink, talked with the patients. I could have visitors and while I was locked in, I didn’t feel alone and I didn’t feel sick, I was just messed up a bit. These people knew what I was feeling and facing in my head. I made friends and started getting to the root of certain issues. I was healing. My bible reading again became a daily thing. Journaling took a different turn too. My prayers were focused on recovery, not demands. The thoughts of suicide were a distant memory. I had things to live for.
Home again, I had positive thoughts and an interesting outlook on things. I was back to work and moving along. Life was still happening at a quick pace, but time was running down. I would soon face the consequences of my previous actions. The devil’s whisper came back, God smashed it down.
Suddenly I was deep into my head again. I called off from work, and sat and thought of the upcoming events I knew would transpire. I listened to the battle inside my head for hours. Good vs. evil. Rational vs. irrational. Time to go home. I missed work again, and was advised I should get myself together and reapply once I did. I sat and cried for a job wasn’t even sure I liked. A paycheck that I wouldn’t be getting and for the future I couldn’t control. Devil Whispers in my head.
That weekend was mostly uneventful but did have awesome 1 on 1 session, and great woman’s group. Monday and the task at hand filtered into my mind. I tried to think of anything but cleaning out my desk. I asked God to be with me. Repeatedly I was told by people I talked with that when one door closed another opened. I knew this is be true, the past had proven it time and time again. I did what I had to do, and came home. As I pulled into the driveway a calming peace came over me.
I began planning a list of to-dos for the week that lay ahead. I still began each day early and my routine varied little. I managed cleaning I hadn’t done in ages and getting caught up on laundry. I also managed more self care and more reading. I began letting go of the emotional baggage that led me to drink and become so mentally unstable. God was working in my life and I was working for it. Recovery became a true real priority.
As I continue to grow, learn and retain my sobriety I find each day has many hidden blessings within. When I focus on those blessings the temptations are gone but never forgotten.
Our pasts form us, our presents are meant to be lived and our futures are out of our control. As I continue to read my Bible, I find things that once made little sense are beginning to. If I take the time to listen fully, God is talking. As I face this next chapter, I can indeed do so willingly but only through Christ, my families and my own belief.
When I ask myself that question now, today, I can say God and I are moving toward each other and we are both doing something to do so.
So if you every question God and His seeming far away…Ask yourself
I thank God for my sobriety, my family and friends and the lessons I’m learning as well as the ones I have yet to learn.
Blessings To All