I was encouraged by Michiko’s bold, vulnerable, faithful writing. So I asked her to appear as a “guest writer” on my blog this week. Here is her revelation:
It’s easy to look at the world right now and think that maybe there is no God.
On a personal level, as I’ve watched my son descend into addiction, I’ve at times wondered what God was doing. Where was Jesus – when was he going to wake up and talk to him and bring him out of the hell he, and I were in?
Now that he’s going to NA regularly, I’ve started going with him.
Yesterday I was witness to the kind of love that I only see at Circle. One young woman freely admitted her brokenness. She was in full relapse, of food disorder, substance abuse disorder, and starting on the self-harm scale. She also said she was apathetic. She didn’t care.
One by one, the group acted as one. It was one huge encouragement through many voices — One saying “You’ve done great to be here.” Another saying, “Push through; you’ll be OK.” Another saying, “We love you and are here for you.”
The diversity was amazing — every walk of life: burkas and backpacks, ties and sweat suits, the un-educated and the over-educated, all equalized by addiction.
It made me think that God is indeed at work here.
Consider that the work of the devil is to tear us down — to make us think we can do it all on our own, that we don’t need anyone, that we should be individuals who SUCCEED!, that we should push ourselves into some obscene success model that’s all about only us. We are good to the extent that we “overcome” our weaknesses. If we are weak, we are bad. If we need others, we are bad, even “co-dependent.”
The brokenness of that message is revealed in that most of us fail to achieves its demands. And the devil, as crafty as he is, then provides an instant-gratification scheme for the sadness and failure that we feel: smoke this, sleep with this person, drink this, shoot this…you’ll feel better.
So first we follow the broken message and then we get into life-breaking substances that keep us in hell.
Interestingly, in this very broken place, after we’ve failed, something in us knows there’s more. And we try to find help and eventually land in a place like N.A.
By the time we’ve gotten there, all the stuff the devil has urged us to do, we’ve failed at. So we no longer care about the world or what it thinks. We have been broken by a broken model. The individualist, do-it-on-your-own, be perfect, be strong, don’t-rely-on-anyone, its-all-about-the-money model has failed us.
So we walk into N.A. and everyone else is having the same realization. Its as if we’ve emerged from a battleground, taken off our heavy armor and said, “Dammit, that’s not my freaking war anymore.”
In N.A., addiction, which I guess the devil thought was his great tool, has now become God’s revelation.
Because what happens is that the identity of addict transcends all the names, categories and cultures that the broken world tells us we have to adopt. In that transcendence, people start to work on relationships. They realize that they need to work on relationship with others every day. They realize that relationship with others is good medicine. They realize that it’s OK to not be perfectly strong, that God never said we had to be.
The enemy said, “Rely on yourself only. Don’t be co-dependent.”
God said that we should rely on him. It’s OK to depend on others.
The enemy said, “Get a big house for yourself. Have your own things. Let other people do their own thing. Don’t get too close or tell them what to do.”
God said we should live in community. Our community should be about how we can live lives of love, sharing, and relationship with God and others.
The enemy said, “Figure out what’s wrong with you. Fix it on your own. You have to be calm and logical and rational and be successful and make money. Take a substance if you’re not that way so you can be that way.”
God said we are always going to be broken. Nobody is without sin. He can heal us — and its free!
The enemy said, “Be successful. Get a degree. Get a good job. Be as outwardly successful as you can.”
God said live a life as a body wholly filled with the light of Christ. Does he even say be successful? I don’t think so. I think He says, “Rely on me. I’ll supply you with what you need.”
So on a societal level, trying to kick addiction kicks you out of the devil’s mainstream, but broken and ready to be healed. It brings people back into community and levels the playing field. There is no playing field; there’s just relationship — first with God, then others. That is what I think God wants for us – simply live in community, have your relationship with God, and reflect that relationship with others.
Its hard to think that this is probably the way humans should be living because we are so far away from that. When we look at tribes deep in the Amazon, or something, they pretty much all live this way. They do things with each other, all day, everyday. They are aware of the group. They are aware of the Holy Spirit in the group. They are not perfect. They usually don’t force any kind of perfection at all.
My son goes to an N.A. meeting every day, sometimes twice a day. I understand it. It’s really comforting to be open with people, to be broken and loved at the same time, to not have to do it all, to allow just being content to be a life goal.
I’m comforted and trusting the Plan.