Not Alone in Our Bent for Self Destruction
Confession time: I have a propensity toward the dark and unhealthy things in this world. When I was younger it was obvious in how I dressed and the music I listened to. I have always been drawn to macabre but as a follower of Christ, I knew I needed to focus on things that glorify Him and bring me life. So growing up I often found myself hanging out with and drawn to people who I often didn’t have anything in common with as far as lifestyle choices, but stylistically shared similar interests.
As I got older I learned that for someone with an imagination like mine, I need to seriously filter what I watch and listen to. It affected where I went and what I did, and to be honest, for years I felt like I was in limbo. I wanted to listen to certain music because I enjoyed it and would get caught up in the rhythm of it all, but knew I didn’t need to expose my heart to the F word, or flippant sexual remarks so consistently. I would babble to God a lot about not feeling like I had a place to fit in and He eventually showed me how that it would come in handy one day. He also used it to get my heart excited about heaven because there I will fit in and not stick out. All that to say, left to my own devices, I don’t choose the Godly things. In fact I naturally lean more towards self destructive actions that cause pain not only to myself but others as well. This has caused me to develop some pretty strict personal disciplines to keep my choices on track with where I ultimately want my life to lead. I rarely watch rated R movies and even avoid many PG-13 ones. I used to be the kind of funny that came at the expense of others and I am good at turning most comments into something dirty, but I don’t want to be known for this kind of humor. I want to make people laugh in a way that brings them closer to God. The Bible tells us to do everything for the glory of God, but when I watch a lot of crass movies, my speech ends up being anything but edifying. So in order to help make sure primarily holy things come out of my mouth, I censor what goes into my ears. I also like to surround myself with people who see the good in others. I have, in the past, had a bent toward the negative and critical, hence my humor at others’ expenses. Someone cuts me off and I don’t assume they didn’t see me. No I assume them meant to be a jerk and too quickly call them a name I wouldn’t say in from of my grandma. Someone makes a hurtful comment that reached close to a wound in my heart and I want to cut them out of my life completely. But I have found when I am around people who see the good in others, it rubs off on me. I’m less critical and negative and the nature of Christ more easily is seen in me. When I have these boundaries set, the remnants of my old nature, of my sin nature, don’t have as many opportunities to present themselves and over time become weaker. But to be honest, there was a time when I wondered if there was something wrong with me that I have to have such boundaries. These boundaries and others are nonnegotiables for me. I have friends who love Jesus and seem to have no problem with there mouth after seeing any movie they choose. Last year I heard Beth Moore say that she could only last about three weeks away from studying the Bible before she would ruin all that is good in her life. It was a teaching on affliction and she shared how she had to stay in the Word and connected to God or she’ll revert back to how it was before God changed her. Hearing her saying that she didn’t have the luxury to not stay in the Word comforted my heart in such a deep way. Like I said, I wondered if there was something wrong with me that I have to have my boundaries set the way I do. But here was an amazing woman of God saying she is wired the same of me. In life it is so great to know that we are not alone in something and that we’re not the only ones. Too often the enemy of our soul will bombard us with the lie that we are the only ones who struggle the way we do and try to make us doubt that things can change. For me it’s the lie that there’s something wrong with me because I must have certain boundaries in areas of my life that I don’t see others need. But praise God, it’s not just me. You may not have the same inclination toward dark things in the way I do, but because you’re human, there are other areas in which you tend to stray from the pasth of wisdom and redemption. What are those areas in your life?
Do you feel alone in it? Broken more than other people? Know today you’re not alone in your struggle and ask God to bring someone into your life who is farther down the path with Him to help you along the path.
And today know you're not alone in your bent toward self destruction and The One Who Loves You Most will redeem even the darkest things in your life.