Learn a new habit…

“I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” (Psalm 139:11-12)

I start every morning by making my bed, drinking a cup of warm lemon water, and straightening up the apartment. I do these things every single day without fail. It has become my daily routine, its automatic. But these little tasks didn’t become habits overnight and they didn’t become habits just by thinking about them. No, it took weeks, months, even years of consistent and conscious effort.

God wants me to make trusting Him a habit. He wants me to think about who He is in all His power and glory, and to ponder the depth and breadth of His love for me. And not just every once in a while, or during my devotional time in the mornings, but in all of life’s circumstances—big or small. For the longest time, or at least since I became a Christian, I thought this whole God thing would just come automatically. It never occurred to me that I would have to work at developing a lasting and consistent relationship with him. See, God never changes, we are the ones who change. We are the ones who stray away. We are the ones who turn our backs. But God is gentle, caring, powerful, and just. We are his sheep and He is our shepherd, he will never lead us astray.

“Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” (Isaiah 40:10-11)

Even in my depression and addiction I can’t hide from God. There is nothing I can do to make him love me more and nothing I can do to make him love me less. He knows every single thing there is to know about me, yet he has never turned away. He watches me as I sneak into the liquor cabinet. He watches as I drink myself into an abyss far away from his loving embrace. He watches and waits. And when I finally come to, like a wounded animal broken and in pain, he offers his hand. I hear him whisper, Come to me Kirsten, Let’s try this again. Come, let me help you. It’s going to be okay. 

My life is black and white. I’m either trying to do everything right or everything wrong. I haven’t been able to find the balance so many of us are searching for. Like this photograph, it seems as though I’ve been hiding in the shadows, too scared to come out into the light. Although I can’t take credit for the photograph, I can understand the perspective of the photographer. If I close my eyes I can picture myself slowly moving out of the darkness and into the light, as I have many times before. I know the light exists, I know how amazing it feels to live in the light and how miserable it feels to live in the dark. I know that God is the only way to reach the light, but the question is, how do I stay in the light? So I pray…

God, I want to stay in your light. I want to experience night and day, the peaks and the valleys as you do, with an uplifted spirit. Even with sobriety I know my days will bring trials and sorrows. I want to make a habit of looking to you during these times. I pray that you send me little reminders to help develop this habit so that it becomes an automatic part of my thoughts. I pray that I can become consistent in my dependence on you. I pray that I can resist the temptation to crawl back into the dark forests of my mind. Although I know you will find me there, time and time again, I know I was created to shine. Help me shine. Help me be a light in this dark, dark world.

In Jesus name, Amen.

photo credit: michaelmueller410 the shortest day via photopin (license)

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