How Not to Be a Me-Addict
Luke 1:46-50 My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… for he who is mighty has done great things for me… And his mercy is for those who fear him…
Addiction is being so enslaved to our own desires that we cannot say no. Despite knowing the consequences of a destructive behavior, we cannot stop engaging in that behavior. We most commonly think of this in terms of drugs, but we can be addicted to our own lust, pride, anger, appearance, need for affirmation or self-esteem. Addiction is being so me-focused that we cannot turn to God as we should. In our addiction, we may pray and we may want to turn to God, but our behavior is dictated by self. We do not want it to be this way, but we are enslaved.
For me, this led to spectacular destruction, which God used to shape me. God used treatment as a giant adult time-out to allow me to see what I was doing. I could finally see the disaster of following me. In that disaster, I realized that life needed to radically change. I realized that every day, for the rest of my life, I must do whatever it takes to assume this posture before God that Mary described.
In her Magnificat, Mary aptly expressed the focus that I must choose daily. Her cousin Elizabeth had just praised her for being chosen by God to deliver the messiah. Mary responded by proclaiming that the gaze of her soul was on God. My soul magnifies the Lord. She recognized that all she had was from God and she assumed the only appropriate posture before him. Mary had problems. She was unmarried and pregnant, but she chose to focus on God and what He had done for her.
This is the only adequate solution to my me-problem. It is in my focus on me that I become addicted to me. It is only in focusing on God daily, that I am delivered from me. I try to fill my needs by indulging in the desires of my flesh, but the only way to truly satisfy my deepest desires is to turn to God.
This is not easy and it is not a once-for-all decision. The more deeply addicted I am, the more violent the process may be. For my addiction to drugs, it was quite violent. I left my job and went to treatment. For other defects, it has not been quite so radical and of course, I am still working on some defects.
I now start every day by praying that I would deny self and follow Christ. I fail of course. Though I start my day focusing on God, I do not make it until 9:00 without trying to turn my focus back to me. It is a continual effort that does get easier with time, but I need to daily choose to turn the gaze of my soul to God. This is how God continually delivers me from my addiction to me.