The Morning After
Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:13
One of my greatest life problems is that I’ve often impulsively followed my appetite without considering the cost. In high school and college, I’d overeat because I wanted to, and then I’d struggle to make weight for wrestling. I understood that overeating would be a problem, but my desire for immediate gratification overrode my ability to make a sacrifice for the sake of tomorrow.
Nowhere has this been more obvious than in my drug addiction. From the beginning, I experienced guilt once the high wore off the next day. Through repeated use, I became addicted, risking greater and greater consequences. I knew it would catch up with me eventually, but I couldn’t make healthy choices because I couldn’t see beyond my immediate desires. In one part of my brain, I comprehended that my actions would have terrible repercussions, but in another part, I was able to completely ignore that reality for the high I wanted right now.
Recovery then, has been a process of learning to stop and count the cost of an action. In getting sober, I began to look further than five minutes into the future. I started to consider the consequences that I might experience tomorrow for today’s corrupt behavior. This may sound obvious to you, but it’s been an incredible step of growth for me to begin to think this way. Now, if I have some urge for a drink, I’m able to quickly look forward to where that may take me. Through practice, I’ve gotten quite good at doing this – at least when it comes to chemicals.
I still struggle with this in other ways though, most notably with eating, which is likely the way that many of you can identify with impulsive decision making. We honestly desire to eat healthy. In three months, we’d like to be down 15 or 20 pounds. Tonight though, while watching football, we just want to eat the chips. The problem for most of us is that we’ve conditioned ourselves to respond to our appetite so many times that it’s tremendously difficult to disobey our impulses. It’s hard to consider stepping on the scale tomorrow when today’s chips are staring us in the face.
Recovery and spiritual growth occur when we begin to make choices based, not our appetite for immediate gratification, but rather on the healthy choice for tomorrow. Our actions have consequences. If we desire growth and change, we must continually consider them.