My Addiction

I’ve been having a hard time getting over my addiction. I’ve been fighting this ever since I was born. Some days I just feel like I won’t ever kick this, no matter how hard I try. I just can’t shake it. Recognizing it is half the battle, right? At least that’s what I tell myself.

The fact is, I am addicted to me. I am addicted to the idea that everything on this planet and every little incident that occurs must have something to do with me. (And if it doesn’t, then it’s probably not very important.) Did you know that there are 6.7 billion people on this planet? In fact, I hear we’re about to hit 7 billion soon. Yet I don’t live as though they matter or even exist. I spend most of my days focusing on things like what movie is next on my Netflix or what I would like for dinner. I say I care, that I lend myself to good causes, but every minute 15 children are dying around the world. Some from issues correlated with poverty like disease and hunger, some things we could possibly prevent.

As of this moment, I am doing nothing to help them. Is there something wrong here or is it just ME?

ME is a monster. It’s very subtle at first, in fact, he really begins to rear his ugly head only when you’ve become aware. But when you allow this monster to grow and take hold of you he can make you think things and do things that are not very noble. Even in the good I attempt, like feeding the poor or mentoring kids, this monster wants to steal from it and make it about me. Look at how virtuous you are, he whispers, you deserve a pat on the back. But I like to hear that, don’t I? That’s the hard part in fighting this addiction. One hand is ready to slay the monster while the other hand continues to feed him.

The solution is not to stop thinking about yourself. When I try to tell myself to do that–well, that’s called irony. Rather I’ve been praying lately that God the Father would give me his heart. I’m asking for a vision or passion that is much greater than my own glory or fame or comfort. Maybe something that will allow me to die to that monster so I can truly live. I am asking for a life that would impact people around me, to give to them, to help them make a difference in this generation for now and unto eternity.

I ask this from a desperate place and I hope it is granted. For this monster is greedy–it’s never satisfied. There is no removing him, only replacing him with something better. And it has to be Christ–there’s no other way. He’s my only out.

Terrible Twenties

I never thought my twenties would be this hard. I never thought I’d be complaining about a time when I would have the most freedom to do whatever I wanted. A time when I was old enough to go where I wanted to go and rich enough to buy whatever I wanted to buy (not that I make a lot of money…I just don’t have a need for the “finer things” in life). A time when I wasn’t quite responsible for my own wife and children, yet had no obligation to tend to my mother and father (who might actually enjoy having an empty nest after all). The twenties–a decade that screams “It’s all about you! Enjoy it while it lasts.”

So, why are my twenties so hard? Why are there so many days like this, when I would feel utterly lonely, entirely spent from a third of my day at work, restless with whatever evening I have left to spare? Why are there so many days that I feel like I’ve wasted? That I wish I could take back? Why do I feel like I have so much catching up to do? What am I even trying to catch up to, or with?

Perhaps I feel like being in my twenties should entitle me to automatic-fun days every day of this decade–and the problem is that I’m not. Perhaps a part of me feels a little slighted, a bit indignant. I know and hear about people living like there’s no tomorrow–boozing it up, sexing it up, not giving a care about anything beyond their five senses. These people waited all their lives for the twenties. They’ll even try to extend it into the thirties if they can help it. They’re having fun. They’re reaping the benefits of their fleeting youth. I get it.

But I don’t get it at the same time. Because if it were that simple then I don’t know why I’m still miserable whenever I am out “where the people are” or when I see a friend get hammered. I haven’t fully bought into the seductive lie that it’s about me–and I can’t. This small part deep inside of me–perhaps more, who knows–knows that there’s got to be more to my life than this. But I guess I haven’t fully turned my ear from it either.

In spite of it all, there is something inside me that tells me to hold on, especially on days like this. It tells me to keep waiting. To keep praying. To keep giving. To keep counting my blessings. To keep walking, even when I feel like sitting down and raising my flag. It tells me that even when it doesn’t feel like it, I am still living it right.

I am reminded that there is a cost for everything in life. The greater the prize, the bigger the cost. Sacrifices are demanded. Athletes give up certain foods and habits to train their bodies to compete. It’s no different from writing a good story. The best stories always take the most time, creativity, and effort to complete.

I suppose then it is no different with life. The lives worth living, and the obituaries worth reading, are the ones that tell of the sacrifices made to give, reach, teach, and love. Stories like these are being written everyday, and they are the ones that will be remembered forever. But they are often overlooked or go unnoticed, and maybe that’s what makes it so hard to buy. But I should know better by now–didn’t they always tell me not to judge a book by its cover?

I believe I will get through this one day. I hope one day I will look back to these times, when my neurosis was on full drive and misery as my only company, and appreciate them for what they were worth, and how they made the ending that much greater.

Letter of Hope

From my friend:

So after having a talk with one of my friends, I wrote this. It was late at night and I couldn’t sleep. The conversation was intense and I just had to get it out. It was hard to hear about a person so close to me thinking something like that. It struck me hard. You can post it on your blog or whatever. I’m hoping it will help encourage people.

*****

Dear Best Friend,

I’m glad you’re still here. You told me about your childhood and all the crazy things that had happened. You told me how you had no hope. You told me how you tried to take your own life. I have to say that this is the one time I’m happy to hear you failed.

Best Friend, you have been a huge part of my life. If you had succeeded, you would have killed a part of me back then, too. I thank God for you and all He is doing through you. I wish you could have seen yourself now, back then. Maybe you would have realized sooner just how meaningful you are. Best Friend, I’ve never been great with words, but I really want to say I’m glad you’re still here.

Sincerely,

Anonymous