Love and Focus

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Felt like going through some thoughts of 1Corinthians 13:4-7. Because I am using the Message Bible things will look a little different than other translations might. I will probably skip a few parts of some verses, right now, to just stick to how these verses apply to the journey to addiction to gambling recovery. “Love never gives up.” I try to live by these words: never give up and never surrender. I am not sure that this verse is talking about the same thing as I am when I think about not giving up all the time, but I am not going to give up my decision to stop going to the casino. I want to spend my time learning how to care more for others than for self. When I gamble my wish is to win more money than others win. I start by thinking how desperately I need it, but get jealous when the people next to me win when I am losing. “Love does not envy.” “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.” These verses cover that action and the thoughts that proceed them. My life should not always be about “me first.”

I want to be the person that “doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,” but “takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.” I think I already know how to put up with anything, but I do not think that is what Paul was talking about when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13: 7 and said that love “is not easily angered.” I have been a doormat. That is not the same thing. Maybe that is where some of the emotions come from that make me seek out the excitement of going to the casino. But that is not me “looking for the best” in God. He is a good God and I believe His Word when it says so. I am going to “trust God always!” I want to “never look back.” I will “keep going to the end.”

Maybe looking at these scriptures in this way is selfish. But that was not my intent. I am just trying to find my way to use the Word of God to help me become free from addiction to anything, but Jesus. That is the way I handled things when I did not drink like an alcoholic or take prescriptions like an addict or gamble in a casino. I was addicted to Jesus. I viewed everything through the eyes of a daughter of God. It was when I got to a point in my young adult life where I did not know how to cope with peer pressure and loneliness that I let my immaturity lead me to drink like a fish. I hid it well. I was not trying to live a dishonest or hypocritical life. I just did not know how to handle life. In many ways I am still learning how to be a mature adult.

Things are getting a little more intense than I thought they would. When that happens I start to shut down to avoid the anxiety attack. I know that I need to dig deep to get better. I am scared. Who would not be? No matter the reason or the means. Losing my money or becoming dependent on others. Going to meetings or studying the Bible. I am trying to get back to the rhythm I had going when I started writing “I’m Here.” Maybe I am not supposed to rewrite it or even repeat its popularity. The point is to be honest that I am a mess and only God can fix this mess. If I never publish a word, the important thing has to be recovery and a closer relationship with God.

I may be wrong to put a focus on my not going to the casino on 1 Corinthians 8 and the mandate to not do something that will cause others to stumble. But it is important to me to not hurt others. If the only way I can help others is to not do something that will lead them on a path away from God, then I will work on just that. I know that I should find other ways to serve others. I will be able to do them better if I am not stressing about my lack of finances or feeling sick from my loss of sleep.

I will not be basing everything on whether my actions will cause others to become addicted. The disease of addiction may be caused by being the adult-child of an alcoholic or the desire to just feel good in your own skin. Jesus can fill in all these areas. That is where my focus is going to be. Jesus. I may not be able to write every post about addiction or recovery, but I do know that I can write from my life experience and what I am studying about in the Word of God.

 

The Search for a Sound Mind

It feels good to know that I have not allowed disobedience and carelessness to make me ineffective in my purpose as a Christian by not going gambling. Gambling is a sin for me. It is a tough pill to swallow, but for me it is true. I completely understand that fact. I do not want others to feel condemned because of my choice of words. I do wish that my decision might free someone else from their addiction. Restraining myself when faced with the decision to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit is only part of my responsibility to be free of addiction. Whether it is addiction to alcohol or to going to the casino. The Word says that I do not have a spirit of fear or timidity, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7.) I can enjoy a sound mind when I refuse the invitation to go gambling.

I am still afraid for the world to see what I am reflecting in the rest of my life. Does that make any sense to anyone else. Time has gotten away from me again. I will try to come back on my lunch break or something.

Condemnation

I was looking for something about selfishness and gambling and had a few problems. The way that I act is not supposed to define my identity in Christ, but how do you recognize the sin and not wallow in condemnation? The disease of addiction has many selfish characteristics. I look back on the havoc I keep creating shatters any hope for mercy or grace. The hope that I had earlier today is shaking. All I feel is scolded. Not by God, but by life. I feel like I am always doing something that someone else does not like. I know in my heart that I am not doing it on purpose. No wonder I try to drown the feelings with something. Now is just not a good time to go into all of this stuff, but at least you know some of what has been going on in my head when I am not busy working.

Condemnation is the expression of very strong disapproval. To walk around constantly feeling it is contradictory for a christian. Romans says that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I know that I am a recovering addict (drugs, alcohol, gambling, overeating.) I take responsibility for that. I admit my powerlessness. That I have not managed my life like a forgiven child of God. I have been constantly trying. I feel like I have been trying all my life, but always failing. I guess as long as I start the conversation about my sinful nature, I am starting in the right place. I hate the sins that I have committed.

I also know that Christ offers His forgiveness. I am going to show how thankful I am to be set free from those sins. This will not be about what I can do, but what I will have the ability to do through His deliverance.

Between dealing with these emotions and computer problems I am going to have to go, sorry to disappoint today.

 

 

Whatever you do

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” When I go to the casino I do not believe that I am doing something for the Lord. I am doing it ALL for me. I may pray while I am there, but again it is usually for me. Sometimes I will pray for my roommate to win because I know she needs money as well. But there in lies the problem. I am praying for the gambling to be the provision, instead of God. I am essentially limiting the Lord in his means of blessing. Is winning when you gamble a blessing? I have thought so many times. When I lose it 5 minutes later because I am jealous of the person next to me, I am being just stupid.

Reasons to never go to the casino or gamble again!

Financial problems that cause me to depend on others. So many people have stepped up to help me get to and from work in the wake of my addiction. Not enabling me, but just making sure I am safe and not walking 3 miles through not so good parts of town.

My children. What kind of example am I showing them about generosity. My gorgeous grandson. I could be lavishing on him instead of wasting and losing money.

My mental and physical health. Staying out until 3 or 5 AM is not good for anyone. Restful sleep does not come under these kind of circumstances. Fibromyalgia does not respond well to it either.

Honestly, I have wanted to go in the last few days. But thank the Lord that I have not had the funds to do so. I have called my sponsor and that has helped a great deal.

Well, I have got to go for now. Hopefully I can come back later today. Or maybe at the doctor’s office.

 

I’m Here

He says that He will never leave me. Thank You Jesus that that is true. I know you are telling me, “I am here.”

That is my prayer and thanksgiving this morning. It has to be because I feel like a heel. Yes, I said it. If you cannot guess from my self-loathing, I am chastising myself for going to the casino and wasting money that I really needed to be saving. I have probably posted this before, but I am hoping that doing this in such a public way will be taking the responsibility necessary to stop this behavior. I have to call gambling sin. It may not be for everyone, but it is for me. I need help behind the decision not to go.

I am posting to help not only me, but anyone else that struggles with gambling or addiction of any kind. The scriptures are what I need to reinforce it all. To gamble means to play games of chance for money or to take risky action in hope of a desired result. Addiction means to be physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance or action, and unable to stop partaking without incurring adverse effects. Now gambling may not fit in that definition, but for my purposes I am saying that it is. It would seem I have a problem with feeling satisfied like a normal individual.

In the beginning, my search resulted in the following gambling related quotes in the Bible.

Mark 8:36 (NKJV), “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Hebrews 13:5 (ESV), “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”

Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NASB), “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.”

Luke 12:15 (NKJV), “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”

Looking at gambling in this manner shows it as the sin of covetousness spoken against in Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The more research I find the worse I feel about what I have done. This is explained in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Sometimes I have justified my going to the casino out of desperation for the funds to do things like buy groceries or toilet paper, this kind of thinking is covered under the sin of mistrust in God’s provision. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” The funds or rather the provision comes from God not anything that I do. I need to stand on Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus,” not my own understanding.

In Matthew 6:24 we are told that “no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” I am serving the enemy every time I make the decision to go to the casino. Not because casinos and gambling are totally from the devil, but because I cannot go without hurting myself and others. What kind of witness is that? The New International Version says 1 Corinthians 8:9 this way, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” I am starting to think of myself as a hypocrite because of all of this stuff. Not the scriptures, but my actions.

You would think I would learn that when I read Proverbs 13:11 and it says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow,” I would listen. The Bible is clear. I am going to lose my money if I gamble with it.

Proverbs 23:5 “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

Proverbs 28:19 “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.”

Even Proverbs 16:33 refers to the truth that “casting” lots is not going to work as well. “Every decision is from the LORD.” I am also relearning that I am powerless and that my life is be coming unmanageable because of my actions. Addiction is addiction. I believe that the urges have gotten out of control. The increasing and persistent problems in my life are proof.

I have to get ready for work, so I will have to cut this shorter than I really want to, but I will come back. Hopefully Monday. If not sooner.

 

Mornings 

Yesterday waa crazy. I left for work before noon and didn’t need to be there until 4:30 pm. I was so tired by the time my shift started. All I did in between was go to the library. I was planning to write my blog then. Oops. The roommate wanted me to checkout rentals close to work. 

I’m pretty tired now. Been listening to a few upset coworkers. Can’t blame them. Aa long as we all have the tools we need we can get our work done and help each other. 

Not writing much, except journaling. Lots of journaling. Have some books to read to help. I think a class would help but where would I get the funds. Need outside motivation to do so much. I hate myself for acting like a child in that way. 

My brother is doing good. So are the kids…at least at last text.

Too Hot

I didn’t think that there could be any obstacle that could stop me from writing today. Boy was I wrong. Pain in my lower back kept me in bed all morning. Then I had to do some cleaning. Taking the dog out wasn’t that bad. It was just too hot. Now that I am able to sit at the keyboard, I am sweating so badly that I want to take an ice cold shower. If it weren’t for the fact that I need to be finishing getting ready for work and not starting, then that would be a great idea.

Want to hear something hilarious? I just discovered that I had turned the air conditioner off this morning and forgot to turn it back on. Ha ha ha. LOL. Joke on me.

Now that the rant is over. I am not too hot to write, but my negative attitude is still lingering. I really have to apologize. But, is an apology enough from someone that always seems to be complaining? I know that God loves me completely and unconditionally, but He has to stop and say, “Really, Staci!” I just cannot seem to keep it together for very long.

I finally got to go back to the job that I wanted and everything seems messed up because of it. So what did I do? I called to talk to the manager that helped me and found out that everything is going to be all right. Imagine that. I’ve been obsessing about almost nothing. All I need is a full-time job and a few freelance writing assignments and everything will be going the way I thought it would by now. Someone suggested that I look for a job somewhere else, but I haven’t been able to make myself do it. Too much stress on an already stressful situation.

How to Know

How do I know that this is going to work. I’m trying to make an effort to write something. I do not know why I have had such a difficult time writing for publication. I do not have any real issues when I write anything else. I love to get on Facebook and my blogs. I get upset when I can’t at least say hello once in a while during a busy week. I feel a little pressure to get something today after making such a drama out of getting to the library with my laptop. Maybe I should have a plan. I spend so much time planning for work that I look for it less away from the workplace. Work has not been the same since I was taken back to my old department. My lease favorite place in the store. That needs to change. I cannot have that mindset. Yes, I would be happier in apparel, but I need to be content no matter my circumstances (Philippians 4:11.) I think that is where I will start today. Letting my character learn how to be content in her circumstances at least at work. Lol. One thing at a time.

Confusion

Confusion seems to be a state of mind that I visit way too often. I was so scared to go back to the bakery that I panicked and ran to food to stuff the anxiety. AGAIN. I wish there were some kind of road block into that state. Something that kept me from getting there so often. I am not as busy as most of the people I know and yet I am constantly forgetting things that I should know because I am sooooo confused and anxiety. I know that Jesus is the answer. One of my most favorite scriptures. And a scripture that I even have memorized in a song tells be not to be anxious. I have peace and not confusion if I just go to Christ in prayer. Peace instead of confusion. I feel better just talking about it.

I was trying to type after this scripture, but I do not know how to change font in this screen. So…I was just wondering. Oops, wondering is a form of worry and therefore a form of anxiety. Why is it that my compulsion is to worry and be anxious and confused instead of standing in faith and accepting the freely given peace that Jesus offers every moment of the day?

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Well my time here on the library computer is about up, so I guess I will cut this short once again. Sorry. I really wanted to share more. I will paste a few more scriptures.

Hebrews 13:5-6

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 23:4

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

Repeat

I promised that I would check in after I arrived at the library. So here I am. I am a little concerned that I may spend too much time here and miss the next trolley. I just remembered that I was supposed to cook stew this afternoon. Oops! Of course, I had the curtains draw and overslept this morning too. In light of that information I think that I should just cook tomorrow or Wednesday. I work tonight, so there really are no plans except to keep praying for my fibromyalgia pain to go away. It is just not letting up.

I told my physical therapist about the pain and she even gave me a little stretch work on my neck to help. Because I am there for my shoulder she only worked on that side. I am still having problems with strength, but this is probably my last week of therapy. I am really going to miss everyone. Especially Paula. She is so sweet and I now that she has a strong faith from the conversations that she has with all of us. I am thinking about sending a few cards to them as a thank you. Maybe even a missing you. The doctor may order a functionality evaluation since I am not as far along as I should be at this point.

I am scared of going back to the bakery. But lately I have been getting uneasy feelings about staying in the fitting room. It may just be that things have been so much easier on be because they are avoiding asking me to do more difficult work. My memory and lack of critical thinking caused me to panic last night at a time when a new person just took the time to think it through. It took a few hours, but she got it done. I do not think I could have finished it at all.

Getting back and forth to work has been a struggle and stress since my last. LAST trip to the casino. I had saved $60 and had transportation coming from friends. I was set. BUT then I went to the casino. I wasn’t satisfied with just playing the bingo type game. I went over to the machines that I have been winning on. I did okay for a long time. But I would try to bet max and lose. I would put another $20 in and the same thing would happen. I even won back all that I lost at one point, but a man sat next to me and won $200 in just a few minutes and I got jealous. Two sins in one night. I LOST IT ALL. Including about $10 in ones. So probably lost close to $70. I AM DONE!!!!! The hatred I feel at myself is consuming. I am crying out for God’s grace and beating myself up at the same time. I had to have a conversation with my roommate that was more than intense. I am still learning to grow up and I am not the only one losing patience with me in that area.

This entire time I have sat here I have been looking at my watch to not miss the trolley. I think I have. Guess I will read. What a concept at the library.