So many of us have this idea that we are independent, free… and that pursuing freedom is doing whatever we want, whenever we want, with whoever we want (remember people, places and things?), but all it got us was chaos.
You see, each and every one of us was made to follow something, to have our gaze fixed on something. Somehow, that gaze fixing leads us around. The gaze fixing can be drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, and any of a number of other things- there seems to be no limit on what we can get our gazed fixed on.
And then the thing we fix our gaze on- the thing we loved- started to become a bad lover, an enemy- and took on a life of its own. And perhaps we realized we were addicted, or perhaps we blamed the struggles on other things. Things grew hellish, because we didn’t realize that the thing that we thought was our friend was slowly poisoning us. We felt sick all the time, so we took more drugs to make us feel better – without realizing the drugs were making us sick to begin with. We took drugs to help us relax – not realizing that God could teach us to be more relaxed without the drugs, and even happy.
Slowly it dawned on us that the problem might be the drugs. Or perhaps the courts forced it on us. Either way, quickly or slowly, we stopped. Perhaps it came to us in a flash of insight, as it did for me, when God told me himself because I wouldn’t listen to anyone else- or maybe it was a gradual process. Either way, we quit the drugs.
But it seemed as if the drugs still led us around, since we thought about drugs so much. And slowly, we learned to turn our focus to God. Perhaps we started to pray and meditate, even though we weren’t sure there was anything up there. We realized that our life really was unmanageable, and that we had to rely on God. We really had no choice. Slowly, we started to realize that God really had been caring and protecting us, and we began to give ourselves over to a loving God. The gazing fixing began to move from drugs to God. And something incredible happened. We began to have some clean time, to collect chips and medallions, even though we didn’t quite understand how it happened. And, quickly or slowly, we realized that we were happier than we’d ever known we could be (for some of us that took some time).
And even if sometimes it felt as if the rebel had become part of the establishment, life was something new altogether. We began to wish we had gotten clean or sober sooner, even if occasionally we missed the taste of drugs or alcohol. We learned to enjoy the little things – the beach, the sound of the waves, birds tweeting – and realized how thankful we were that God even gave us so much to enjoy. Suddenly we realized that even though getting clean and sober had changed everything, we loved it.