How Did I Get Here?
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. Luke 6:12
How did I get here? That’s what I asked myself in the disaster of my addiction. I hadn’t planned on the destruction. I’d planned on a comfortable life as a respectable physician, husband, and father. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Where did I go wrong? It was a question I needed to answer if I was going to find my way back. My failure was no random occurrence. I got to where I was for a reason.
I’d been living accidentally, not paying attention to where I was going. I just lived impulsively, not purposefully. In today’s passage, Jesus’ conduct gave some insight into the purposeful life. The story tells how Jesus prayed, not just for a few minutes before bed, but that he went out on the mountain and spent an entire night in prayer.
In my misunderstanding of faith, I once thought that God did all the heavy lifting and that I could just sit back and follow my appetite. If God wants me to live a certain way, he’ll make me want that life. If he wants me to be sober, he needs to change my desires.
Jesus’ actions dispelled the myth that I don’t need to do anything. Closer to the father I’ve ever been, he still expended significant time and effort connecting with God. I think a long prayer is 30 minutes. I have yet to spend all night seeking God.
I’ve expended most of the time and energies of my life seeking myself. That’s how I ended up in treatment – by simply following me instead of God. The lesson of Jesus on the mountain, is that if I want my life to be on the right path, I only get there by desperately pursuing that path.
This is a daily practice and if we don’t purposefully do it, it’s simply our nature to take the wrong path. God may provide a special grace, miraculously removing some of our destructive desires, but most of the time, he asks us to obey him, even when we don’t feel like it. Then, through our obedience, we experience beautiful transformation. If we want a new life, Christ provides us the freedom, but we must make the effort to follow daily.