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Thoughts From Julie Garmon

Dear Friends,

I like like stories that have a twist which catches you off guard! You think it's heading in one direction, and you end up in a place you didn't expect, nodding in complete agreement. For me, that was today's entry. It's by Julie Garmon, and is found in "Daily Guideposts for 2018." Enjoy.

Letting God Be God
“I am the LORD; there is no other God. . .” – Isaiah 45:5 (NLT)

Twenty years ago, I told a close friend about some family members who had DUIs, court dates, and jail time. She insisted that I needed help and recommended Al-Anon. “I’m doing just fine,” I said. “The rest of them are in trouble.” However, I agreed to go. By the end of my first meeting, my own addictions were undeniable: people pleasing, perfectionism, trying to play God. My temptation wasn’t alcohol, but the “high” that comes from control.

After all these years of working my program, I had a relapse. My brother was living in a homeless shelter, and I had the powerful urge to fix him. After days of research, I located a hospital that treated the shelter’s residents free of charge, including counseling and medications. If my brother would simply follow my plan, we could turn his life around. I vowed to do whatever it took – weekly visits, lunch dates, and driving him to his appointments. All I needed was a few minutes to explain it to him.

The shelter manager arranged a phone call. When the number appeared on my caller ID, I felt the familiar adrenaline rush, the high that comes with control. I talked quickly, not sure how long my brother would listen. I offered to take him for an evaluation that very day. Holding my breath, I waited for his response. “Julie, I appreciate it,” he said, “but I’m doing fine. I don’t need any help.”

I couldn’t believe it. I had reverted to my addictive habits. Once more, I started all over again with step one: “I am powerless over. . .” Lord, help me to remember there is no other God but You."

Sin sometimes catches us by surprise. Most of us can probably point to an instance (as Julie does above) where we thought it was the other person who had a problem, only to realize later that we ourselves had a significant problem. And the one she points out is as old as our race! As a former professor of mine once pointed out: "A surprising number of Christian's have a 'Savior Complex.'" They see the world is a mess. It needs to be fixed. And they feel they're called to help straighten it out! But they often forget that a major part of straightening anything out begins with admitting one's own problems and short-comings and addressing one's own issues, faults, and sin-addictions. Like Julie above (who must be commended for her great humility, transparency and vulnerability) it begins with being brutally honest with ourselves and coming to the point where we could also confess such problems as, "people pleasing and perfectionism" and the sin of "trying to play God." Not an addiction to drugs, or alcohol, or our jobs, or social media, or porn, "but the “high” that comes from control."

Though we are called to be like an oil lamp (a dim light) and salt that savors, we can sometimes forget there is only one Savior. And His name is not Bill or Sandy or Jill or Jeff (yes, we pastor's can be especially apt to fall prey to such notions) or... (fill in your name) - it's JESUS the Christ. And, yes, though the lines can sometimes get blurred (and churches are notoriously susceptible when it comes to thinking it's Ok) there is a big difference between guiding, helping, encouraging, or setting healthy boundaries, and trying to play God by seeking to control people and situations.

Lord give us the grace to know the difference. Then let us be content (contrary to our nature) to never try to take your job from you, and simply let you be you.

Help us, LORD, to remember: there is no God but You, Pastor Jeff


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