"You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant you don't even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don't even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant. It happened to me." - Life as a House
I had a realization the other day. Well, I've had it several times, growing over the past few weeks, but it seemed to really get into my gut today, and I'm marveling at it.
Something's missing in my life.
I don't know when it went missing. Maybe it slowly withered away. I certainly didn't notice it go, but I've noticed it now that it's gone.
Let me back up and say first that while I've enjoyed the victory over addiction I've had the past few months, I'm by no means cured. I don't think you can be cured of addiction. I think it's a bit like cancer. Addiction springs out of the part of us that is longing for something good, something right, and it begins to devour the rest of our lives, destroying all it touches. Same with cancer cells. Same with sin. As a metaphor, it's not perfect, but it works for me, so I'd say I'm healed, in remission, and living life with that in mind has helped me to realize what's gone missing.
Part of what makes it easy for me to give in to addiction is that I'm prone to fits of depression. I've not been medically diagnosed, but I can say with certainty that I get depressed. I know because when I come out of the cycle, and that dark place it takes me, I can look back and see it for what it is. Depression. Living my life in darkness.
And that's missing. That darkness. Even when I was out of that headspace of being depressed, I knew that was there, waiting for the next time. It was familiar, and as much as I hated it, I'd embrace it as I slid back into a fugue. It was like a friend, in a way, the kind who tells you what you want to hear, rather than what is right. Only it told me everything to make me stay in darkness, to keep hating myself. It LIED to me.
And it's gone. Or at the very least, like cancer cells, so diminished that I don't feel or see it's effects. It's powerless, and I'm in remission. Because I've been healed. From the depression, from the lies, from everything that fed into my addiction and made it oh so easy to not just fall off the wagon, but to fling myself off into a pit of despair.
I realized something else, too. In it's place is gratitude. Overwhelming and absolute. God's done a huge thing for me these past few years, in bringing me face to face with my failures, my inability to help myself, and He waited patiently for me to let go, truly let go of trying to fix myself, let go of the pain, the anger, and everything that was like puppet strings pulling me back to a dark place that brought death to my heart.
Now, there is life. In my heart. In my eyes. In my soul. Walking with Jesus, walking to God, it's not the fear-riddled thing it was for so long. I couldn't tell you why I feared it. I feared everything. God's bringing my fear to light and showing it to be the powerless thing, strings made of cobwebs. It holds me only as far as I let it. And instead of wrapping myself up in it, I'm taking Jesus's hand, and he's pulling me out of the darkness, past the spiderweb, and into the light.
Maybe I shouldn't say missing. It's not something I want back, after all. It's something that's been excised. Been cleansed. It's the part of me I've longed to have God change, and after so long, I've gotten out of the way of him changing it.
I've come out of Egypt, long ago. I've been freed from captivity. But I gave myself over to fear and doubt, and spent too long in the desert. Now, I'm at the shore of the River Jordan. He told me to put my foot in, and the waters will recede. After dithering on the banks for I don't know how long, My feet are in. And they're dry. I'm walking forth, in His promises, into the Promised Land. Full of all God has for me. Leaving all the rest behind.