What is that one thing stopping you from freedom?

I’m human. I’m attracted to things that destroy me. And if you’re a human who is reading this, you’re probably addicted to something that destroys you too.

It’s just in our fallen nature to be this way. Some classic examples of this are turning back to an ex who’s bad for us, getting drunk, doing drugs, and committing sin. It’s a desire we know is low for us and is contrary to reason. This “thing” is subordinate to God and we don’t want it to be.

We all have things, memories, and experiences that get the best of us–I’m sure you can identify yours. These “things” were probably shaped by the appetite of your former self, the self that chose to live outside of God’s grace and submission to His will and in submission to your own will.

And when choices are made outside of God our self-will is motivated solely by gratification of our senses; not our intellect. We’re addicted to things that destroy us simply, because they stimulate a strong sense of utilitarian selfish gain, strong feelings, or personal gratification– all to feed your ego.

These desires, contrary to the real good and order of reason, rise in the flesh and totally rid the power of our mind. Our rational will (our mind) is able to resist certain desires but sometimes we refuse to act with our mind. So if  the will resists, a temptation is tapped into, and the sensuous appetite “rebelliously” demands its gratification, your emotions win and feelings of enslavement surface. Because, keep in mind, the will is not capable of crushing emotional responses. For example, your decision to strive for chastity does not mean sexual desire goes away.

Because, sure, our desire for this “thing” can be justified in many ways and felt great at one point, but through God-given intuition, we intuitively know it is holding us back from interior freedom.

I remember when I first realized my “thing” was bad for me, I didn’t want to believe it so I suppressed the ache and ignored the truth. I  kept aiming for that emotional “high” my thing gave me and I didn’t want to let it go. And that realization ended up showing me a hard truth; my thing controlled me.

Actually, worse, I was enslaved by it.

(Ugh, disgust).

The second harsh reality I faced was realizing I was only capable of lasting a short period of time when I decided to give up my “thing.” I wasn’t well-equipped in self-control and a lot of my everyday decisions were motivated by impulse and emotions so naturally I couldn’t give up my “thing.”

(My decision to stick with this determination allowed me to practice self-control).

I felt a strong feeling of sloth, more accurately described as depression. I wanted God to take over in place of this “thing” (and I gave it up for Him) but I felt empty. My emotions were so sluggish because I mentally did not know how to function without it (which sounds awful, right!?) This emptiness was interior proof that I was free. I was not enslaved by my “thing” anymore. So what did I do? Asked God fill His love in place of my “thing.”

Truth be told, considering how long you kept your “thing” around for, and how long you delay God’s grace could affect how long you’re able to feel alive again. Thankfully, by the grace of God, we can be made new very quickly.

Pray, Pray, PRAY

The point of the cross is redemption–to resurrect the parts of us that are disgusting and identified in everything but God Himself. The cross resurrects God’s love and nature in us.

Every time you feel the depths of this “thing” offer it up to the cross for the grace to be redeemed. In other words, use the pain as a prayer. Ask God to change your heart, see the situation through His eyes, and abandon yourself to His will through the holy sacrifice of the mass. Christ will redeem you.

Be patient. This grace may not be tangible the moment you pray and temptations will arise to go back to it every single day. The consequences of letting go are often worse than the “thing” itself and it would seem more acceptable to go back to it than do this. Don’t give up.

The graces you ask God to give you are being given to you (if not, then the whole Bible is a lie) therefore; the graces have to be acted upon in the will. You have to put God and His will before yourself. This takes obedience and cooperation. One cannot ask God to crucify the desire for a “thing” and then spend hours caught up in memories or lingering around it.

God’s doing your part, do yours.

Face it. Own it. Heal it. Carry the cross.

Seek Good Friends

After prayer, find a good friend, parent, or role model to express your feelings with. Don’t annoy this person every day, but when the pain gets too unbearable, text, call, or meet up with that person and ask them to motivate you. This helps because it’s often in the depths of our loneliness you go back to your “thing.”

It’s all going to sting, but it’ll be worth it and you’ll be victorious.

And if you don’t have a thing, be a prayer warrior for someone who does.

Be stronger than your “thing,” pray for your strength, and have the courage to let go. God has an AWESOME plan for you and I want you to find it. God wants you to be a saint–what’s stopping you from being that?

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