I am an Addict and an Idolator...

Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. - Psalm 6:2

“Hello. My name is Brian and I am an addict and an idolator.”

Those of you who know me might be surprised by this statement.

But first, let me introduce you to Jerry, one of our guys in our long term discipleship and habilitation program at The Shepherd’s House (TSH).

One morning I greeted Jerry and asked him how he was doing. He said, “I’m in luuuvv.” My first thought was, “Really, who is the lucky gal?” He said, “It is no woman.” I thought, “Uh oh...a house of 30 guys living in close quarters with one another...what is Jerry talking about?” Then Jerry let out a gitty laugh and said, “I’m in LUUUVV with Jesus.”

Jerry’s comment got me thinking....am I in LUUUVV with Jesus? Or...am I an addict and an idolator?

One of the quickest ways to determine if I am an addict is to ask myself...”if I am NOT an addict, then just stop what I am doing.” “But, I don’t want to stop...besides, I’m not hurting anyone else by my behavior.”

One of our goals at TSH is “to walk alongside people to effectively address life-controlling issues...” Addictions are “life-controlling issues” and one of the things we talk about as staff is that we are one step or one choice away from being in the same place as many of our guys in our program.

Not only am I an addict, but I am also an idolator. What is an idolator? Well, an idol is anything we believe we can’t live without. I wish I could tell you that I am in LOVE with Jesus and that I have no other gods before me, but unfortunately, that is not true. I do love Jesus and he is my Lord and Savior and I will be spending eternity with Him in heaven, however, I still struggle with my addictions and idolatry.

What are my addictions and what are my idols?

Right now, my biggest addiction is money. I believe I cannot live without it. I also worry about it AND it is hard for me to stop worrying about it. I am addicted to it.

One of the processes that addicts, and many of us, go through is something called “hitting bottom.” There are events and/or circumstances in life that bring us to a place that is a bottom emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially or relationally. Many of us hit a bottom before coming to the realization that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life...I did 23 years ago.

Today, I/we are heading toward another bottom. For the past several months, we have been spending more money than we are bringing in both at TSH and at home. At home, this has been going on for more than just a few months. In our current economy, many of us could say “big deal, join the club.”

For me, through my filter system, and through my “idolatry and addiction,” this sets off all kinds of thoughts in my head...”I’m a failure.” “I don’t/can’t trust God.” “How is God going to provide if I don’t do it myself?” “We will never be able to change our spending habits and the way we live.” “It was a mistake for us to go into ministry.” “I have to do something to change this.” “I have failed.”

Satan knows this is where my mind goes. Perceived financial insecurity is a deep fear for me and it is a way Satan can render me ineffective. Rather than being in LOVE with Jesus, my thoughts are consumed with when, where and how we are going to be able to pay our next bill, whether it is food, gas, insurance, school or a doctor’s bill.

While I am paralyzed by my fear of financial insecurity, I fail to see how blessed we truly are. I fail to see how God has provided each and every day, week after week, month after month, year after year. I fail to count my blessings and rejoice in the goodness of my Heavenly Father who loves me, who loves my family and who walks with me and talks with me.

So obviously, this is a prayer request...not that we will be financially secure, but instead that I will be in LUUUVV with Jesus.