If you haven’t noticed, I was on a small hiatus before the last post. It has not been intentional, though. I had writer’s block for about two months before that and I have been trying to dig myself out of that hole. It’s not fun to be there and as you expect, it happens to everyone. It’s an interesting story about how I found myself in it, too. It started by God testing me without realizing it until many weeks went by.
Over the last couple of months, I tried to seek God in a very selfish way. For someone who isn’t far in their walk or is simply looking into Christianity, they will not understand this. You see, I wanted to find God where I experienced him intimately and where I felt like I was on top of the world. What happened was that I was seeking a “spiritual highness”. Call me crazy, but this is something that I was really obsessing about. I wanted to feel God’s presence as some may experience Him during an altar call or while at a retreat/conference. It may come at a point of conviction or simply when you are at a point of concentration that you lose sight of all things other than God and His spiritual presence. I had a good run where I was reaching this state of mind and I felt as if my relationship with God was wonderful. Looking back, I can’t necessarily say that it was, though. I was not seeking God. I was seeking this experience. I began to lie to myself thinking that everything was alright.
I was addicted (and still am)
When I realized what I was doing, I could say that I was addicted to the wrong things or ideas. I was addicted. When we think of an addict, we have stereotypes of what one may be. For the most part, we see an addict as someone outside of our own experiences and as someone who we always look down to. We don’t realize how close to home the addict really is. The addict is not always a criminal. The addict is not always doing evil or mischievous acts. The addict is not always the crazy man who is taking some form of substance or drug. The addict is simply someone with any form of addiction. Yep. It is not rocket science. Merriam-Webster defines an addiction as “to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively”. If we look into each other’s lives and our daily routines, we will notice that there is an act or substance that we always turn to. Something that we admire, regardless of what it is. If I call you out on something, you will, for the most part, disagree, because you gave the source a sentimental value. We don’t comprehend that we are surrendering ourselves in an obsessive manner. Someone who is addicted to a substance or alcohol feels that same way, though. There is a sentimental feeling or reasoning to justify why any addict should be able to continue their actions. We justify it because we don’t want to acknowledge that we are doing anything bad. We don’t want to be at the end of the pointed finger.
Let me tell you a short story on how we can try to justify anything; during my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college, I found myself in a small addiction to watching YouTube videos. Well, it wasn’t really small. I watched about 4-5 hours of YouTube videos a day. At the peak of this addiction, I was subscribed to over 200 channels, giving me enough content to watch videos all day if I wanted to. This caused me to do poorly in school and I ultimately lost a good scholarship from the university that I attended. I slowly began to un-subscribe to multiple channels and the allotted time that I spent watching videos dropped to 3 hours, then 2 hours. I began to realize the issue. I didn’t want to let go, though. It took about two years after the peak for a friend to tell me that I was addicted. I didn’t believe him. I was trying to justify those hours in front of an illuminated screen. He then told me, “Do you know how you can tell someone is an addict? The one thing that all addicts have in common is that they will deny their problem.” I couldn’t disagree as I knew I was the subject of this statement.
It isn’t easy to analyze your life and see that you may be in the wrong. I bring this up because I have been realizing that I am now addicted to something different. I am still addicted… just to another substance. I am having to realize that my experience with God can be taken advantage and can be led by bad intentions. We all need to come to a point where we wonder if we have an addictive problem with a person, an object, an action, or simply the idea of something grandiose. Coincidentally, there is a video on YouTube by “The School of Life” that I watched recently. It goes more into detail with this topic.
Going back to my current issue with my “spiritual highness” experience, I noticed that the source of the issue was that it always led back to conformity. It is nothing surprising, especially because it is a common struggle amongst many of us. Yes, conformity is a struggle in our path to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus. As someone who seeks comfort, I can be considered and compared to an addict. If we take this into consideration, there are more addicts in our world than you may have ever thought. Seeking comfort is the idea of wanting the easy way to accomplish anything. We don’t learn anything if we don’t learn to take a risk. In my case, I only sought God because I wanted the experience and, honestly, I only did the “par” amount of work in my relationship with Him. I don’t think I really pursued a real relationship with Him, because of the little effort I put in. I don’t believe God appreciated that, either. He wanted me to try a little harder to reach Him.
If you play video games, think about it as if you are earning experience to reach the next level. There is more effort needed to gain more experience every time you reach a new level, making it more difficult the more you play the game. This is not a bad thing either, God wants me to want Him. He wants me to put more effort every day that I follow Him. God may test everyone differently, yet, He chose to see how much I would pursue him, even if I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere. I was pursuing God with selfish and comfortable motives, which in the end was not helping me. I would tell myself and others around me that I was fine and that I had a strong relationship with God, simply because I thought I was putting in the work, when, in the end, I was putting in “just enough”. I was obsessed and it was just a routine or habit to have my devotional time or go to church just so I can feel good. Don’t pride yourself, because you are not doing what the stereotypical addict does. Any type of addiction is hurting us in some way and causing us to form a false identity of ourselves and of what we want.
Character over Comfort
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” – Psalm 119:1-5
In moments like these, we forget what God asks of us. If we read what God commands us, through the writers of the Bible, we can dictate that he doesn’t ask us for comfort. He doesn’t ask us to kick our feet up onto a desk and relax until Jesus makes his return. HE wants something greater. He ultimately wants more of your character. He wants more of what makes who you are. He wants your character over your comfort. The character of one’s self is defined by the choices we make every second of every day. It is formed by the habits, motives, thoughts, and anything that is concerned with our integrity. Look at your moral structure and see what you do that God doesn’t approve of. That means more analyzing!
The author, William Stratton Bruce, talked about character in one of his writings, stating, “To produce character it must be brought under discipline, and organized into the structure of a true moral being… Above all, [character] includes a choice, a settled habit or bent of will, so that it can be seen in its outcome in conduct.” God wants your character to develop over time. It can’t happen overnight. Like I said, it is defined by our choices. The challenging part about this is trying to be faithful even when it doesn’t seem easy, comfortable, or possible. We need to be faithful even when it’s not sexy. I need to be faithful even in the times when I am not comfortable at church or during my time of devotion. How am I to realize that simply because I don’t have that spiritually high moment doesn’t necessarily mean that I am far from God?
God was testing me Faithfully and He wanted to work with my character. In that same way, He wants to mold us into better people where He uses us to better do His will. Being comfortable will not cause us to step out into faith. Being comfortable has not brought me to begin writing this post. It’s all about risks that help us seek God. “Will you still seek God even though you don’t feel/do what you want?” Ask yourself that. Realize that being comfortable is only hurting you?
I’m also curious to know your opinion. Why do you think we seek comfort? Why do you seek comfort? Let’s have a conversation.