I was in a triathlon on Saturday morning. I had broken 2 ribs in August, so I had not trained. I had kept walking daily throughout my recovery, and tried swimming and biking in the last couple of weeks and found it felt OK, so I did the race. I knew I would be slow, because I am not running, just walking, and I hadn’t really trained. But I did finish, and did not come in last, and wasn’t among the 20 people who did not finish, so I felt good about it. Imagine my surprise yesterday to see some race photos where I am smiling and look happy! So, that is what is above. Me, walking along, feeling happy.
I think lately I may be doing a little bit of comparing my insides to other people’s outsides. As an alcoholic, it seems there is always something that is there to fill that hole in my soul. First it was alcohol, then drugs, then back to alcohol, then absolute abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Then I had coffee and cigarettes, and I used both of them to wretched excess. At seven years of sobriety, I was able, by the grace of God to quit smoking. And as a result of that, my coffee consumption fell precipitously. I really did like men an awful lot and relationships and dating take a lot of time and energy and sometimes make you absolutely ecstatic. And then miserable. In the end, that was something that I realized I would need to give up if I were to follow God as I wanted to, and felt called to. That is difficult. It is an entirely different lifestyle to live alone and not have any desire to have a “special someone” in your life. Aside from God.
Through a great deal of time spent in prayer and meditation, I have realized I still am clinging to a major defect. I like to buy things. I like to get things. I like to have things done. I want what I want when I want it, pretty much. In my working life, I could convince myself this was all OK because I worked hard for every cent I had and thought that as long as I was tithing and paying my bills, I could do what I wanted with the rest. Sometimes that had led me into debt. A few years ago, I was able to pay off the debt, and now I avoid it like the plague.
Recently, my neighbor and I decided to get our houses painted. We got two different painting companies to come out and give us estimates. Her house is much smaller than mine, so her estimate was approximately $3,500. while mine was over $5,000. It would be absolute folly for me to spend that much money right now, even though my house needs to be painted. I had to say no.
It hurt me to say no. I want a happy shiny freshly painted house like my neighbors! Thank God I do love her enough to be happy for her. But still pretty miserable for myself.
Then I thought about the fact that she wears jeans and men’s t-shirts every single day of her life. She wears sneakers every day, for every activity. She bought her house when it cost less than $100,000. and has just stayed there. She has no debt. She saves money. She does not take trips to Europe and Hawaii. She eats things like bologna sandwiches and hot dogs for dinner. She doesn’t spend a couple grand on a bicycle just because she wants to.
This feels like the final frontier in recovery for me. I just need to sit still and be satisfied with what I have. I must stop thinking the next thing I purchase is going to make my life complete. I know how untrue that is.
One day at a time. Seriously, just like early recovery from alcoholism. One day at a time. And doing things like unsubscribing to all the e-mails notifying me of SALE!s on everything I ever clicked on. I can live very easily on what I have.
And I can eat soup. And my delicious sour dough bread. Simple.
It is time for me to knock off the acquisitiveness and covetousness.
By the Grace of God.