“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4 NIV
Life has been harder than usual the past few weeks; financial hits I wasn’t ready for, deadlines that came too fast, and equipment breakdowns in my husband’s business have brought questions, tension, and weariness. It seemed that as soon as I handed over one issue and let God completely have it, I was blind-sided by another.
I’ll be honest, all I’ve wanted to do is run and hide. My mind has entertained thoughts way longer than I should have and I found myself easily tempted. The struggle for purity has been a lot harder lately.
After several days of feeling utterly defeated, I asked myself why I was struggling so hard. I got my bible out, journaled, and thought about what I used to do when I was first trying so hard to be free from addiction. As a result of reflection, I came to realize that I used to have a specific plan in place and for some reason I didn’t have one in place anymore. I also recalled that early on I had regularly confessed my struggles to God and to an accountability partner. I also had other specifics that I did to make sure I didn’t fall off the wagon. If I was alone or it was late at night, I’d get a book, bible and journal out. If I was still battling after spending time in each then I would turn on Christian radio or play CDs until I could peacefully fall asleep.
In reflecting on these things I realized that I always had a plan when I was struggling the hardest, but because there have been seasons of less struggle over the past couple of years, I have dropped my guard and also dropped the plan. What I realized through rehashing my early struggles was that in order to eradicate an addiction, we can’t just stop doing something-we have to REPLACE it with something better. This replacement process is the PLAN that I had in place.
So, after this realization, I reinstated my plan. I put a notebook by my chair and bed, devotionals, books and bibles scattered around in different places, and I intentionally changed my mindset from defeat to victory. It doesn’t matter if I get less sleep because I’m up reading or writing; in the long run it’s better than entertaining sinful thoughts during those nighttime hours that lead to sinful actions during the day.
Take some time to think about the things in your life that you want to get rid of. What can you replace them with? Physically write out a plan. For the first few weeks it may be hard to implement, but after a while it will become second nature. It’s important to keep a check on yourself because, like me, old habits have a way of sneaking back in a little at a time. No matter how far along you are in the recovery process, you will never be immune to sin, especially past, habitual sin. My plan may not work for you, so ask God to help you figure out one that fits your life. He will help you have the strength to make the plan a reality if you allow Him to step in. He is faithful to help us when we need it.
God, I need a plan. I’ve removed the sinful actions from my life, but there is a great void there that Satan uses to torment and tempt me. What can I replace this time with that used to be spent in sin? Show me ways that I can give this time to you and honor you with it. Maybe I need a hobby or I just need to spend all of that time getting to know you better. Whatever it is, I’m willing to set it up and put it into motion. Help me, God, to honor you with my time.