Several years ago, I gave up drinking caffeine. I didn’t even wean myself off it. One day I was drinking it; the next day I was not. Consuming caffeine was causing me some pretty scary health issues, most notably severe headaches, so I came to the conclusion that it was harmful enough to me that I had to cut it out completely. I went through three days of headaches that actually seemed worse than the headaches I was trying to get rid of, but eventually this new pain subsided. Now I feel so much better that I don’t want to drink it ever again.
It would stand to reason that I would be able to kick out everything in my life that is harmful to me with just as much resolve and swiftness. If only that were true. I have habits and hang-ups that have plagued since my teenage years that I still wrestle with today as a 40 year old. I have thought patterns that lead me down rabbit holes to nowhere. I sabotage myself on a daily basis in one way or another. It should be easy for me to want to put these things down; it isn’t.
There are certain times in our lives when we feel like we are on the threshold of a breakthrough. That if we could just step off the ledge and believe, we could fly to the places we’ve always wanted to be. These are also the times when we realize we have to surrender something to get to those places. Oftentimes the things we have to give up are so ingrained in us that they feel like a part of us. We wonder how we can even exist as a person without them.
So, instead of giving them up, we hold onto them. And we don’t fly.
It doesn’t make any sense to hang onto things that hurt us, whether they’re behaviors or thought patterns or relationships. We do it all the time, though. These things become who we are after a while, and we feel as if letting them go will be like cutting off a part of ourselves. I keep saying “we,” but I really mean “I.” I run back to unfruitful relationships. I am so afraid of failure I don’t try new things. I don’t change the habits in my life that lead me down paths of sin because, well, maybe I don’t want to change all that much.
So I’m back at the threshold again, and I’m feeling that fear of flying again. I know if I go back I’ll regret it, but the old places are comfortable and familiar. They don’t require change. At the same time, they always eventually make me feel bad. I always think they won’t, and they even deliver good feelings for a while, but they inevitably let me down. Giving them up will cause pain, but just like the post-caffeine headaches, that pain will eventually go away, and I’ll wonder why I ever tolerated them in the first place.
I’m weak, though. I need prayers. I need support. I need encouragement. I need Jesus to step in and move things supernaturally out of my way and out of my life. For what feels like the millionth time in my life, I’m standing at the edge. Will I actually want to step off it this time?