The smoke from the gentleman waiting outside his car, blew across my face like an old friend. It smelled wonderful. Smoking had not crossed my mind in a long time. I walked into the convenient store we have stopped at over the years taking mom to her treatments and doctor appointments. We are making one more trip today, because we are unsure where we are.
I look to my left as I walk in. There they are lined up along the walls behind the cashier, an old flame waiting to go home with someone. I look around the entire store searching for the restrooms. I see the lower cabinets protecting the cashier lined with those last sweet impulse buys and easily accessible to anyone.
I turn away from the wall that is telling me one will not hurt you. I have been down that road and that smokey thinking. One will turn into a pack, give it a week or two. I look up to see behind the frosty glass doors those day drinking girls and late night party drinks. I need to find what I had come in here for.
These convenient stores have been a part of my life since childhood. Dad stopping for beer, we get a treat too. Mom stopping after school to get us all a treat – coke and candy. I am not blaming or making excuses for myself, I allowed the habit to become an addiction. It is the comfort I have turned to in the past to help numb, improve and change my mood or emotions. If it wasn’t nicotine, it was sweets.
I am your typical Enneagram 9 mixed with a dab of everything else, I think. I still learning about this and this is not what I am writing about. Growing up as the peacekeeper who hid from conflict I learned how to also avoid emotions by squishing them down. I didn’t want to cause more problems.
Over the last ten plus years, as I have matured with Christ and slowed down to learn about my personality, flaws, beauty, triggers, emotions and vices that have been running around inside my creative, kind, non stop pretty little head of mine, it became clear, God already knows me. He loves me for me. Why am I trying so hard to change or improve what is already good in His eyes.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NLT
2020 was the year of being nicotine free without cheating. Cheating, let’s walk back into that convenient store. We are all on our own journey. You may have given up the Cokes, Dr. Pepper, candy, icecream, junk food, processed food, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sex, whatever you use to numb, comfort, change your emotions can usually be found at your local convenient store.
I am not writing to tell you these comfort items are totally off limits. These all can be enjoyed if you control them, they do not control you. When these vices become a need and it becomes before your family, your health, your physical, mental and spiritual well being, you have a problem. The habit is now an addiction. When you begin to use your vice to hide from “how you feel”, “to help you loosen up”, when you think, “I can have just one”,”it will fix this feeling” and “calm my nerves”.
It will not. You will smoke it, eat it, drink till the bottle is empty. The problem or emotion you ran from is still there. You are left empty and then you have more problems to deal with. You have to deal with YOU, your mindset.
How are you feeling? Any other emotions now creeping in? Did it fix your problem? You are still in the same boat surrounded by your thoughts, your feelings, your LIFE.
I found it to the restrooms in that convenient store. As I stepped out, I looked around one last time at all my old friends who I thought where helping me, but don’t really know me. I felt strong for the first time in a long time.
The real me breathed in a long deep breath and exhaled. Knowing the battle was over. I was no longer fighting against Him, running from Him. I was leaning into Him for strength, for my weakness and my growth as a child of God.
(v8)Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. (v9) Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (v10) That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10.
Keep walking your walk to improve your health; mentally, physically and spiritually. It is one day at a time, one hour, one small step, one minute, it is you knowing when you are weak, He is strong. Keep searching and working to your purpose, your why. Keep progressing each day and it will propel you to not giving up on yourself. You will find the courage and strength to break that habit, that addiction and yes that comfort you have turned to for so many years.