Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 130: If You Can't Stand The Heat....

I decided to make some iced tea today, to take to work tomorrow. For those that know me personally this is a deviation from my norm. I am an avid Diet Coke drinker and have been since I was 14 years old. I do have other drinks from time to time, but it is usually because a restaurant only serves Pepsi products or something similar, not by choice. So, why ice tea for tomorrow? I am out of Diet Coke and all the stores have decided that they are really proud of their stock on hand and are showing that with high prices. So, me, an avid Diet Coke drinker, will now be without until some store decides they would like to sell more than they keep on their shelves.

Over the past 18 months I have seen the low price of $2.00 a 12 pack go up to a "normal" price of around the $4.50 mark. Yes, the $2.00 was sale pricing, but it was done in a very consistent way and usually when one store would take them off of sale prices another would put them on. Now the "sale" price is 3 for $10.00, which is still above the former shelf price 18 months ago.

So, while I am not officially boycotting Diet Coke, I am boycotting the high prices. I will drink tea until they run my favorite on sale again. It may be a good time to just stop drinking the sodas all together and try to switch over to water. I know it would be healthier, but it would be a hard thing to do. Addiction may be a little harsh of a word to use, but it is close to that.

I have had addictions throughout my life, with smoking being the most notable. I had begun to puff away at the age of 14 and continued until I was 38. So, for 24 years of my life I inhaled toxic fumes into my lungs only to blow it right back out, by my own free will and choice. I used to think about smoking while I was smoking, about the actual process of what I was doing, but it didn't phase me enough to make me stop. Even seeing pictures of smoker's lungs wasn't enough. How did I quit? Actually I didn't quit, God took that vice away from me.

Shortly after I was truly converted God delivered me from that nasty habit and addiction. I asked Him to and admitted I could not do it by myself, set the last few cigarettes I had down and never picked them up again. It's been a little over 4 years now and I have no desire to even touch a cigarette. Actually the smell is really nasty to me and I can discern a smoker by their smell at 10 paces (just guessing).

Another addiction I had was to nose spray, the kind that opens your sinus passages. I was not able to breathe unless I was using the spray. It would last for about 2 hours then my sinuses would clog right back up. I knew it was bad when I was at my corporate office in Rhode Island and out for dinner with associates and I had accidentally left the spray in my hotel room. Needless to say I was not really able to eat that night and had to take a bite, chew, open my mouth the breathe, chew some more, swallow and repeat. Not a fun evening for me and I am sure my colleagues did not like seeing my abc food.

When I returned home from that trip I once again asked God to take this addiction away from me. I did not hear an audible voice, but remembered that when actual trust is placed in God, believing He will deliver, then He will deliver. So I set down the nose spray without using it that night before bed and have never had to use it again. Sure I get stomped up sometimes now, but it is a normal kind of thing and it passes as it did before my body became addicted to the spray. On 2 occasions God has delivered me from some very gripping addictions.

I believe that God uses things like this to show us His power and to gain glory, but also to show us that He is trustworthy. He has proven Himself over and over in my life and each time I see His hands at work my trust and belief in Him grows. He uses the "small" things to help prepare for bigger things to lean on Him for. He does not do this to punish us, but to wean us from our dependence on things other than Him. The path is usually gradual so we can grow in trust, similar to exercising. With each day that one exercises their body gradually becomes stronger, it doesn't happen overnight and a lot of the times it hurts. But in the end, the pain is good because it is evidence that the exercise is working and we are gaining strength. This is the same with trials and valleys as we exercise our faith, put it into action and believe in God and His promises, which makes us stronger and also more dependent in Him.

I have actually thanked God for allowing me to smoke for 24 years. Why? Because it has opened doors so I could relate to others that smoke and enabling me to share my testimony with them. This happened at a concert one time, a group of kids were sitting outside smoking and God allowed me to break the ice with them talking about my previous addiction to cigarettes. From that it went straight to God's goodness and grace in my life as I shared His gospel.

I have learned, but not completely yet, to allow God to work and trust in Him through difficult situations. Next up for me will be weight loss as I have became the heaviest I have ever been. I can blame several things, but will not place blame anywhere but on myself. I will also not put the ability to lose the weight on myself, but in God and His grace to conform my spirit to be able to conform my body to a more God honoring and exalting state. He is Lord of all and we must trust Him in all, even for weight loss and even for breaking addictions.

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