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Focus: Facing Reality
Acts 1:8 (NIV) (Jesus said) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I have two sisters—one older and one younger. When I was around seven or eight years old we saw the movie Peter Pan on television. It wasn’t animated. It was the one with Mary Martin. It seemed so real. After my sisters and I saw Peter Pan, we thought we could fly, too. Except, we didn’t have a bedroom with windows as big as doors that you could ‘throw open’. We just had a normal window–not the kind large enough to stand in while we were thinking beautiful thoughts waiting to fly away. We lived in a little house in the country.
We had a big silver propane tank in the back yard. We loved playing on it. Sometimes it was a horse. Sometimes it was a UFO. It was whatever we needed it to be. What we needed it to be this time, was a launching pad.
We had a tractor tire filled with sand for a sand box next to the propane tank. In Peter Pan they had magic dust. We didn’t have any of that—but we had sand. So, we got in the sand box and sprinkled some sand on our heads and climbed up on the propane tank and started thinking beautiful thoughts. We thought about our birthdays—and Christmas. We were ready and waiting to ‘take off’, but nothing happened. So, we tried harder—thinking of every wonderful thing we could imagine—but still, nothing happened. I don’t know how long we were up there trying—but we never did fly. We were so sure we were going to—that we had taken rope and tied one end to our waists and tied the other end to the propane tank. So that once we got ‘up’ we’d be able to get back ‘down’. Ah, the faith and fantasies of a child.
As the years went by, life took some unhappy turns for me. I learned another kind of fantasy. For quite a few years—running from reality was my way of coping with the mess I had made of my life. I kept myself medicated with various prescription tranquilizers, speed, marijuana, cigarettes, and lots of alcohol. If I stayed numb—things didn’t seem quite as bad—except they weren’t getting any better, either…far from it.
Surprisingly, I had a good career. I owned a couple of businesses and traveled all over the world. I had plenty of beautiful jewelry—five closets full of nice clothes, shoes, and purses. New cars. Fabulous homes. I had ‘everything’ materially speaking.
After several years of combining drugs and alcohol, my insides were raw. I was in and out of the hospital with ‘knife pains’ in my abdomen. I always carried a large bottle of Maalox in my purse. One doctor told me if I didn’t do something drastic, I was going to lose four feet of my intestines. I continued to drink and take drugs for a few more years. Prescription muscle relaxers ‘for the pain’ were added to my tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and alcohol.
My lungs were in terrible condition. I had serious respiratory problems and had to use inhalers all the time. Another doctor said if I didn’t quit smoking it was going to be disastrous. He said he had never seen such a bad set of lung x-rays for anyone my age in his life. He said I should not smoke one more cigarette. I was 24. I smoked for two more years.
I was in a lot of pain and hemorrhaging frequently. I didn’t seem to be able to help myself. I tried all kinds of things, but I just didn’t have the strength to quit on my own.
One day, in desperation, I was at the end of myself. I said, “God, fill me with Your Peace and with Your Spirit.” God had to have given me the words to say—because I had no idea what I needed. When I prayed that simple prayer, meaning it from the bottom of my heart—He came into my life in a whole new way. The heavy weight of all of the sins of my addictions and wrong choices lifted. The Christ I had accepted at the age of six in a salvation prayer became real to me in a way like I had never known before.
That day was the beginning of my life as an overcomer.
Declaration: I will find new strength and the ability to face reality as an overcomer by being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Peace.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.