Saturday, June 27, 2015

Addiction - Part 1

Addiction. It's something that infiltrates all of our lives. It has an impact on everyone.

We've all seen it. We've all dealt with it. It's everywhere.

People with addiction problems think that they're only hurting themselves. They couldn't be more wrong. Addiction hurts us all.

There are so many forms of addiction. People can be addicted to all different unhealthy practices. Alcohol, drugs, porn, these are the heavy hitters, the major offenders. But there are others, the ones that seem small, that can quietly destroy us. Money, entertainment, food. If we give things the power to control us, even if they are perfectly innocent in small doses, they can tear us apart from the inside.

Have you ever cared about someone that was destroying themselves? Watching them suffer is as bad, if not worse, than suffering yourself. Standing by helplessly while they tear themselves apart, while they KILL themselves is heartbreaking. It's crushing.

Addiction kills. It destroys lives. Physically and psychologically. 

Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in our society. So many people drink their lives away, we've all come into contact with our fair share of alcoholics.

Too many of these people think that their choice does't have any impact on the people around them. They think they're the only ones affected by their actions. They don't realize what they're doing to their loved ones.

A woman I cared about deeply gave in to her addictions and it cost her life. For years it chipped away at the things that could have brought her happiness. Her unquenchable need for alcohol kept her from investing in relationships with her family. Her children that were once her life source were pushed away and left feeling unwanted. She kept them at an arm's length, gave up on having a relationship with them. It drove her from the things that once brought her joy.

She lost several jobs, she stopped searching for her purpose. She was content with drinking every day, to forget the pain of loss. She forgot how to live without a protective barrier of inebriation.

This continued for years, and eventually drinking took her life. Her death was caused by the very thing that had been chipping away at her. Her health deteriorated after years of drinking, and her untimely death came after a long weekend of bingeing. Alcohol stole her from us.

Addiction isn't a game of solitaire. It changes the lives of everyone around you. It tears apart families, breaks children's hearts, destroys livelihoods.

Look around you. Don't give in to the temptation. It's not worth it.


Jackelyn Stange

Monday, June 8, 2015

Find Your Calling

Some people confuse the act of sacrifice with the act of obedience. Obedience is following God's path for your life. It's discerning the will of the Lord, and following. Obedience is not simply giving up your time and money. You can volunteer all you want, but if you're not following the plan God has set for your life, you're not practicing discernment.

Doing something just because nobody else has stepped up to the task doesn't always produce the results God is looking for. In fact, immersing yourself in tasks that you aren't cut out for can cause distraction in your life. Spending all of your time doing something that isn't your calling takes away from the time you could be obeying God's will. 

Focus on what you are meant to be doing. Don't fill your plate with things that you aren't cut out for. Our purpose is to excel at our calling. To be the best that we can be. If our attention is divided and not focused on God, we're not serving Him, we're serving ourselves.

Sometimes we get so self-focused and self-important that we think things will only function if we're the ones in charge. Like the entire world will come crashing down in flames if we don't step in and take charge.

Guess what? There will always be someone around to step up, eventually. And maybe stepping up is what you're called to do. But if it isn't, don't get too caught up taking over everything for everyone and miss out on what's meant for you.

When we take over tasks that aren't meant for us, not only are we redirecting our own focus away from what we are meant to do, but we are also taking away opportunities from the rest of God's people. When I try to force my way into a leadership position in Kid's Ministry (which I am clearly not cut out for), I take that position away from someone who is truly called to be in it.

Spend time praying about what you're doing in your life. Make sure that you're following God's plan. His path is the only right path. He knows what is best for you. He knows what you're capable of. He gives you tasks that only you can handle.

His ways are always right. His desire is that you will follow Him, obey Him.

Do what you're called to do.