Judas

I’ve realized something new lately as it relates to different biblical characters. Mainly Eve, Adam, Peter and Judas.

When I was growing up, reading about these people, I had a kind of prejudice against them. I thought I would never do what they did. You might be laughing because you realize what I’ve come to see, that we are just like those people. We would do exactly what they did.

But, maybe you relate to Adam, Eve, and Peter even. Maybe you think you would take that fruit, or deny Christ under the right conditions…but you would never be a Judas.

I’ve come to see that every time we sin, we betray Christ. We sell him out very cheaply. For things we don’t even want.

During the 1960s there were some experiments conducted in which a participant was told to administer an electric shock to another participant who was in another room, if he or she answered  series of questions incorrectly. What they found was that the vast majority of people would continue to administer the shock even when they believed the person receiving the shock was being gravely injured.

This experiment was documented in the movie ‘Experiment’ which I highly recommend.

People don’t like to think they would do this, but the experiments were meant to mimic Nazis who worked in concentration camps and did what they were told even to the point of killing other human beings.

You might think you are different, but you are not. You are Adam, Eve, Peter, and yes, you are Judas.

 

Judas

Regretting the Past

I don’t know how you get completely past regretting the past. When I look over my life, there is a lot I wish didn’t happen. Many bad choices that compounded over time. I hurt my kids.

So, how do I reframe this? Gratitude. The truth is that I have gratitude for everything I have today. A place to stay, the chance for a new life. Even my relationship with my kids. I treasure their participation in my life. I might not have had that without the concept of grace.

Grace is that the Lord knew my path and my choices. He knew what I was missing out on. He brought me to a place of complete brokenness, and then he changed my life and healed me. The healing is ongoing.

I might have written before about my hand tremors. It was so bad, the kids had to fill out forms at the doctor’s office for me. I couldn’t sign a credit slip at the grocery store. I couldn’t do anything that required hand dexterity. I didn’t know why.

Earlier this year, I complained to my doctor that it was really bothering me. Because I’ve lost a lot of weight, he felt my medication might not be appropriate, so he adjusted it. Wow, the difference was amazing. While I do still have a little bit of a problem, I am able to write, turn pages, put on earrings, and I have hope that I can wear contacts again.

You probably aren’t grateful to be able to sign a credit slip at the grocery store. But I am, and I hope I always will be. It’s a gift.

That’s what grace is for me. God restoring what the locusts ate. There are many small things in a day that we can be grateful for. But unless you take the time to acknowledge them, you miss out on all that grace.

In AA, we are told often to make a gratitude list. Heck, even Oprah touts gratitude journals. Take a minute and say thank you. I guarantee there is more there than you realize.

Regretting the Past

Companionship

I’ve learned a lot about myself these past few years. Some good, some not. I’ve written here a lot about being single, and trying to make a life for myself that is happy and fulfilled whether there is someone else in my life or not.

I’m blessed to say the Lord didn’t require my singleness permanently. In the future perhaps, but right now I’m in a relationship, engaged to be married to someone I didn’t know existed.

I could recount all of the blessings he has brought into my life, but you would chalk it up to being on a pink cloud. You might be right, but it doesn’t nullify what he is to me at this time.

He thinks I’m beautiful and smart, and I think he sees something in me that I haven’t seen in myself for a long time. We seems very spiritually compatible, and in other ways. I have every hope that things are going to go along fine for some time.

The thing that I love most about being in a relationship is sharing things. Thoughts, ideas, jokes, movies. I’m definitely the type of person who values a shared experience. I had so much inside me, I think I virtually flooded him with my thoughts, plans, ideas, information. It feels good to be interested in another person’s life. Things that happen at work or home.  You don’t share like that with a girlfriend or your parents.

I still have a piece of sadness, and I always will. But the pain has dissipated vastly. I have power over those thoughts when they come to me. I didn’t have the power 3 years ago. But in life you get scars. That’s just a fact. But in AA we say ‘we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.’ I’m not quite there, but I’m getting there. More on that later. Stay tuned.

Companionship

Second Thoughts

I have been thinking about what I said last time about confrontation. Confrontation has a place when dealing with an addict, and also as Christians, there is a time to confront someone about their sin.

Confrontation, I think should be rare. You have to really be sure of what you are dealing with. Judging another person isn’t something to be done casually. But protecting yourself and others from the effects of someone’s abuse is paramount.

I have a cousin who is an addict, and has been for probably 30 years. His family has just about disowned him. They had to do that, he just has no sobriety at all. I listen to his Facebook posts, and his mind is going. He messaged me drunk the other day. I wrote back ‘get help.’ He said ‘do you still go to church?’ I said ‘I just care, that’s all.’ He was asking about church because he knows I’m a Christian. He blames a lot on the fact that he was hit by a car and can’t walk properly anymore. He said he’s been hit 5 times. I don’t know any sober people who have been hit by a car at all.

I write this because I think this guy has had confrontation out the wazoo, and it hasn’t helped. So his family doesn’t enable him anymore. Do I judge him? Not really…..getting sober is the hardest thing in the world, especially if you have no Higher Power. I stay in touch with him because he isn’t without hope, and I’ll be around if he ever asks for help.

So, I hope that presents a little more balanced view of confrontation.

 

 

 

Second Thoughts

Remission

When I left my doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago, I happened to  read the printout they gave me. It listed my current medical conditions. Next to Bipolar Illness, it said ‘Remission.’

I didn’t know I could be in remission. I didn’t realize I might not have to suffer with this illness every day.

It turns out, I haven’t had a mood swing since last July. If you go a certain amount of time without an episode one way or the other, you are considered to be in remission.

I still take my medication. They reduced it slightly, but I take it to continue to be in control of the illness.

In control…..being in control of the illness has led to being in control of a lot of things. Eating, drinking, medications, drugs….whatever it is, I’m not currently struggling with anything of note. That is to say anything that is unhealthy.

I don’t know if this is permanent, but I’m treating it as if it is not. I exercise, take vitamins, eat healthy, limit caffeine….anything that adds to my health. It is as if I don’t want to jinx it. Since I don’t understand it, I do what I can to prevent it.

I do have to say that I think this is the culmination of being around people who are loving and accepting of me, flaws and all. It is healing, and I’m thriving because of it. I know that it’s the kind of love I want to give others. I think I’ve had my fill of being judgmental. I hope that’s the case.

People sin. They commit grievous sins. Some of those sins are self-harm. Confrontation and ultimatums rarely work in my opinion. Not to say they don’t have their place. I think boundaries should be defined, but lovingly, not with condemnation. But that’s just me.

Remission