Years ago, during hockey season, my husband and I went on many bus trips to attend our son's hockey games. The bus was full of exuberant, loud, 8 year old boys and their parents. Week after week, we would hear this one particular Mom constantly yelling at her little boy, his name was Wayne. This little guy would completely block out his Mother's constant nagging by escaping into his own little world. He would withdraw into his own space and talk to himself, laugh, and play with his toy figures. My husband would jokingly say to me, "Let's jump into Wayne's world for awhile", and we would laugh.
This is not far from the truth of what many of us do to escape life's pressures, seeking temporary release from our responsibilities.
We all have a desire to step out of our day to day stuff and change things to enjoy a different scenery. Different strokes for different folks. Some work out at the gym, join a team, listen to music, play golf, go for a walk, read a favorite book, do a puzzle, go to a movie, or book a trip. I call these "Healthy Escapism", activities that relax our body and soul . "Habit Forming Escapism" can have the opposite affect on us. We can be overwhelmed with our circumstances and feel helpless, turning towards something that we think will ease the pain away or help us forget our problems, like alcohol, drugs, sex, and over eating, etc.. These solutions are counter productive because they start out to give us what we think we need, never being satisfied, only to find out later on that we now have become a slave to it, (habit forming, addictive). In Galatians 5:1 the apostle Paul wrote that "it was for freedom that Christ set us free". The Christian's state of being is to be alive and free in Christ. God has set His children free, but many are not experiencing that freedom. This freedom is worth the fight. Paul wrote, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.....and be thankful." How do we do that? We let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. We must fill our mind with the Word of God; there is no alternative plan. Trying to stop our habits on our own won't work. Going around rebuking all those tempting, accusing and deceiving thoughts and having unresolved conflict, will cause us to just tread water and eventually sink.
We are not called to dispel the darkness; rather, we are called to turn on the light. The not-yet Christians may believe that freedom is the absence of any master; but in actuality, they are not without a master, because they are servants of sin. Some of the conversations I've had over the years with people in these situations, I would hear them say things like:
Nobody understands what I'm going through
Work is so unbearable
I wish they would get off my back.....
I can't take this pressure anymore
The truth is we all have a lot of pressures in life.
Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them.
In order for us to find our freedom in Christ, we must assume responsibility for our own attitudes and actions. If we've learned something the wrong way, we can learn to do it the right way. If we believed a lie, we can decide to renounce the lie and choose to believe the truth. The growth process will be stopped, however, if we have not resolved our personal and spiritual conflicts through true repentance and faith in God.
THIS FREEDOM IS WORTH THE FIGHT!