I knew when I started this transformational journey that this post would be written at some point. I hoped later rather than sooner, but the intensity of my conviction has officially reached a level above what I can tolerate. That means I can't ignore or hide anymore.
To say that I am a "smoker" seems a little harsh...I mean, I don't really identify with that term. I am more like a person who takes a little break a couple times of day to be alone and de-stress who just happens to hold a cigarette. That sounds better right? This is what I have been telling myself for right around 18 years. Sure, I have had periods where I have removed the habit from my daily routine; during pregnancy, periods of extreme fitness, etc., but smoking has been one constant in the background of most of my life. It's been my little "secret" that I've relied on to right the scale of checks and balances in my life. To escape my reality and provide calm in my ocean of chaos.
Since I'm a "good person" I justified my selfishness. Does my "smoking" actually matter in the grande scheme of things? I mean I tithe, give to Goodwill, offer rides to strangers in need and pray for people I don't even like for goodness sake! Surely, this little habit isn't hurting anyone...or is it?
This seems like the right spot in this conglomeration of words to talk about the health risks associated with putting harmful substances in my body. To quote 1 Corinthians 6:19 and discuss how my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and as such I should take care of my physical body as well as my spiritual being. I acknowledge those facts, but this decision is more than just a positive health choice. It's more than just a longevity of life issue. It's a choice to be pure in heart. It's one of trust. To put all of my chaos and stress and out of control-ness in the hands of God. To say to him with all honesty, "I don't like how this feels. I want a sense of peace and calm. I have tried so hard in my life to find the answers myself, to substitute actions and habits and create tranquility. But even with my best efforts I have only achieved peace temporarily. I am tired and I've made myself sick in the process. Please forgive my weakness and my arrogance for trusting myself more than you."
This is a pouring out of myself. The end of me. Where I give the last shred of what I have been holding onto for security away as an offering and stand bare and vulnerable in front of God. This place of mourning for my past, hopeful yet overwhelmed with my future. A place where I want my inside to match the shiny outside that I have so carefully crafted. In Matthew 23:25 it states, "For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!" May this no longer be said of me.
This is day 100 in the quest for an unfake life, but day 6 in living a life of abandon for God. He honors sacrifice, and what better way to show my love for Him than to give up that which I have desired and loved so much in my life. I'm only embarrassed that it has taken so long for me to arrive at this point.
To end this post I would like to borrow a passage from Kyle Idleman's book, The End of Me (which btw is highly recommended):
I want to suggest something a little unusual. Go to a sink and take a moment to wash your hands. As you see the water trickle through your fingers, cleansing away the simple impurities, ask God to cleanse your heart, to show you where you can be more authentic. I can't think of a greater blessing than seeing God. To authentically know him and to be authentically known by him is what my soul was made for. He will see you--just as you are, without the pretense, without the performance--and you will see him. Can you imagine an offer better than that?