Addictions. We all have them.
Some addictions are healthy … some are benign … others are devastatingly harmful.
Have I lost you already? Let me explain.
I am addicted to unsweetened iced tea with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon in it. I imbibe this beverage every single day of the year … winter … summer … spring and fall. The wind can be wailing … the temperatures dropping … and a multitude of snow particles can be in the forecast … but I sit at my desk with a tall glass of lemon-graced unsweetened tea poured over cubes of ice. I do, indeed, drink more than one glass a day … but who’s counting?!
My addiction to unsweetened iced tea is benign … it doesn’t hurt me and it doesn’t help me. It does, however, make me very happy.
I am not bold enough to reveal my harmful addictions, although if you think of things like sugar, carbs and butter … you might be in the right area of addictive and harmful behaviors. The truth is … I have never met a carb that I didn’t like. ‘Nuff said.
My friends will also tell you that I am addicted to college basketball, Christmas music, grandchildren, the beach and reading. I will let you discern which of those addictions belong in the healthy or benign categories!
Addictions. We all have them.
What drives us toward the things that we love? Who selects the things that we allow to take up a permanent place of residence in our hearts? Who determines what dominates the stuff of our daily existence?
Who decides whether a person loves shopping or hiking?
Biscuits or cucumbers?
Books or football games?
Solitude or the party life?
Are we pre-wired for these addictions or does life somehow program us for the things that we like and dislike?
All I know is this … I didn’t like professional football until I married Craig McLeod. As far as I was concerned, football was just a bunch of sweaty, muddy men chasing each other and a ball while grunting. And then, because I loved Craig, I began to love the things that he loved. BC (Before Craig), autumn Sunday afternoons were spent taking long walks among rustling leaves, enjoying rejuvenating naps with large doses of classical music thrown in. AC (After Craig), autumn Sunday afternoons became a time of raucous behavior in front the television while eating pizza, wings and ice cream. “If you can’t beat ‘em … join ‘em,” became my wifely motto.
I didn’t like college basketball until Matt and Chris were about 6 and 8 years old and the battle of Duke vs. UNC began in our home. I was hooked. March Madness has become a national holiday for us. I kid you not.
I wasn’t much interested in anyone’s grandchildren until I had some of my own. Now … I can’t get enough of other women’s grandbaby stories and pictures. If you share yours with me … I will probably laugh, cry and drool. I am addicted to grandchildren. Guilty as charged.
My healthiest addiction began when I was just a little girl hanging out with my Dad in the early morning hours before dawn. I would meander down the stairs while the rest of the house was still snoring in their respective beds. Even the family cat was not awake yet to rub her white, furry softness against my little girl legs.
Dad would always be sitting at the kitchen table with a steaming cup of coffee, laced generously with milk, in his left hand. Open in front of him was his Bible and to the right of the Bible was a red pencil with which Dad underlined verses in his Bible. He also made notes, written in that same red pencil that always seemed to need sharpening, on those computer cards of the 1960’s. I still have some of those computer cards to this day … they are among my earthly treasures. I have them stashed away in my Bibles.
When I snuggled up to Daddy with my long blonde hair all tangled and my wrinkled pajamas still on, he would begin to talk about the Bible to me.
He would tell me the stories of David … and Abraham … and Noah … and Esther. He would quote to me some of his favorite Psalms and encourage me to learn those precious verses in the early morning darkness.
Dad would tell me the about Paul’s missionary journeys and of the bravery of Peter. He would then write out a verse or two on a computer card and hand it to me so that I could memorize the verses that he had selected. It was a delight that Dad actually trusted me with the Word of God!
When the rest of the house began to stir, I would quietly slip away from the table and begin to get ready for the day. But a need in me had been filled … I had spent time with my father and with my Father in the Word of God. I felt like the richest little girl in the world.
I am most proud of the addiction that I developed when in the company of my earthly father. I learned to love the Bible.
Although nearly half a century has passed since living in the same home with my dad, I still can’t begin a day without valuable time spent in the Word of God.
There is an emptiness inside of me that the only the power found in the Bible is able to fill.
I feel that I have cheated myself, and the world in which I live, when I haven’t spent time reading in the Psalms or in the Book of John or in one of the Epistles on any given day of my life.
The addiction that I have to the Bible makes all other earthly addictions seem cheap and distracting. The mornings … the minutes … the days … that I have spent with the Bible open in front of me have been the most fulfilling days of my life.
Nothing else satisfies my soul like time spent in His presence reading His love letter that was written just to me! Nothing!
Now … I know that Jesus doesn’t begrudge me my glass of iced tea … nor does He frown upon the laughter that happens in our home during college basketball season … and He even encourages me to spend time at the beach in the sunshine and sand that He created … but there is something about a Father and His girl spending time together reading the Greatest Book ever written.
I come to Him just as I am … sleepy, wrinkled and tangled. He looks at me with love in His eyes and calls me away from the temporary pleasures of this earth. He longs for me to invest my life in the things that will actually count for all of eternity. He knows that it is in the place of choosing Him and all that He is where I will at last discover fulfillment, purpose and rest.
Who needs carbs anyway?! I have Him!
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”