Life and Death Decisions
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Romans 5:12
In one of the few upsides of Covid-19, my son had an extended college break over the holidays. During the last several weeks, we got used to having him be part of our daily lives again and so, taking him back to school this week was bittersweet. I’m grateful he can be in college, but sitting at the hotel that night, alone after dropping him off, was all kinds of sadness for me.
I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small stressor, but I was down, and I just wanted to feel better. This is natural. When we’re stressed, sad, hurting, or anxious, we all turn to something to relieve the discomfort.
In the past, I’ve dealt with my emotions in unhealthy ways. I’ve used drugs, I’ve eaten junk food, and I’ve poured myself into unhealthy pursuits to distract me from life’s stressors. I’m in recovery now, but still, those memories persist. In the hotel that night, I had thoughts of turning to alcohol or food. I knew how I could make myself feel better momentarily. I was on my own and no one would know.
Because I’ve been pursuing recovery though, I was able to think before acting impulsively. I was able to realize that, even though I could find some comfort in instant gratification, that would only make things worse. Drinking would mean relapse. Junk food would just make me feel remorseful in the morning.
So, I picked up my Bible. I talked to God. I listened to him and I meditated. I wrote down my thoughts, some of which you’re reading here. I dealt with my emotions instead of running from them. I didn’t get the instant gratification of alcohol or food, but the next morning, I didn’t have the hangover and remorse of indulging in self-destructive behavior. Instead, I had the joy and peace that comes from choosing life instead of death.
How we respond to our stressors, even if they’re minor, isn’t trivial. It’s life and death. When we refuse to deal with our emotions, turning to drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, pornography, social media, or even shopping, we compound our problems, creating an addiction. Addiction always kills our joy and peace. When, however, we abandon our destructive impulses, dealing with our emotions, we’re free to pursue authentic life in Christ.