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Let’s Get a Dog, they Said

Let’s Get a Dog, they Said

And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. Genesis 12:4-6

Several years ago, my kids decided they wanted a dog. I wasn’t a dog-lover, but I wanted my kids to have the dog experience. My wife was unconvinced. She tried to tell me how much work it would be. I’m sure you’re right – Let’s get a dog. We got a dog and of course everything my wife predicted has come true. The dog is a lot of work. Additionally – and I really didn’t think this one through – the kids have grown up and moved out, leaving us with their dog. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a kind, smart, and loving dog. It’s simply that I didn’t count the cost. I just thought it would be a fun little addition to the Abrams’ household. I didn’t realize how much it would change my life.

I initially approached recovery the same way. I just wanted a little change in my life, cutting this one little flaw out. As I came to understand just how much of my life would need to change to find sobriety, I came to fear it. Change my job? Embrace radical obedience to God? Go to treatment? Tell my wife? Attend meetings? I’m not doing any of that. As I counted the cost, it was simply too high. I wanted recovery, but I wasn’t willing to pay the price. So, I prayed for the miracle, thinking that God was my easy way out. God didn’t grant me the easy-way-out miracle though. He wanted me to obey him, changing my entire life.

This change-your-life obedience was the kind of obedience Abram displayed. In today’s passage, God told Abram to pick up his life and move to a foreign land. So, Abram did. Obedience to God didn’t just mean going to church on Sunday. Obedience to God meant that that when God commanded, Abram changed everything about his life.

This is one concept that I try to communicate to those who’re newly seeking faith and recovery. Count the cost. Understand that you must be willing to change your entire life. As our addictions have permeated everything, our entire life must change if we desire freedom. Faith and recovery aren’t once-and-done, singular events. This is a new way of life, and it must affect everything. Living in faith and recovery means daily abandoning the old existence for the new one. This may be intimidating, but it’s the only path to find the life, joy, and peace for which we were created.

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