It wasn’t that long ago I unearthed an old journal of mine.
Journaling is something I’ve attempted at several points in my life, but it never took. So it was no surprise when I opened it and saw only three entries dated 2002, 2004 and 2006. They included phrases like “real hope,” “please give me real transformation” and “God help me!” You see, 2001 was the beginning of an almost-decade battle with the horrors of prescription drug addiction, but it was born out of a much deeper problem.
I couldn’t have known how our perception of life’s experiences, good and bad, shape much of how I saw myself. At an early age, I had come to the conclusion that I was simply not good. Even after responding to the relationship that Jesus initiates with all of us, I battled a darkness within. It just seemed like I could never overcome the deep sense of worthlessness. I concluded that God’s grace only wipes sins away, but offers no power over the emptiness that causes the sin.
Reading those three journal entries, I painfully remembered the desperate optimism that filled them. I was hoping for a quick fix. When it never came, however, it caused only resentment and self hate. Was the God of Abraham real? What happened to the God I read about in the Bible? And if God is real, am I just too far gone? Like many, events in my youth had given me a distorted view of God and myself.
I remember seeking help, but all loving people could tell me was to try harder. Reading countless books on addiction and recovery seemed to point to behavior modification and often left me frustrated. I knew the breeding ground for my duplicity and negative behavior was much deeper.
I remember finally accepting that Jesus must have no power in this realm, and only came to help me avoid hell after my body dies…which I often longed for.
As years went on and the struggle took many forms, my emptiness and thirst for Jesus’ healing continued to increase which has lead me to where I am today. Living as a New Creation in the Power of Jesus Christ. So what did I discover? Well here is a start.
I began to ask, what did God create in Eden and what was different that walked out of the Garden? What I discovered was a God-crafted person in perfect symphony with his Creator. This God-crafted person was the result of the fully sufficient community that existed before time itself, the community we call The Trinity–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A divine community in perfect harmony with each other, adoring and loving each other. It is out of this Love that all of God’s creation was made. At the height of his creation were the God-crafted persons who would serve as His images within the world he created. God’s commission to his human creation was to receive, reflect, and multiply his glory to all the rest of creation.
In giving His breath of life into mankind, an intimate connection was established that exceeded any that God had created before. As humanity walked in the power of that connection, harmony reigned as God’s Shalom filled His creation. The very breath (or Spirit) of God guided mankind’s spirit, flowing through His soul (thoughts, will and emotions), and the flesh responded in perfect symphony. This is what it means to be whole.
Dr. Brene Brown suggests that humanity’s greatest fear is disconnection. And that from this fear deep within all of us, all forms of behavior are birthed. I believe that fear was birthed the moment Adam disconnected from God. And from that divorce forward, the deep intimacy that inspired that symphony was fractured.
What emerged was a person whose spirit was fractured…no longer in harmony with his Creator’s Spirit, animating his spirit, flowing through his soul and acting out through natural obedience. The God-given person was now fractured and what feels like independence and freedom is the result of that death. Now disconnected from the source of life humanity was designed for, all creation begins to groan.
I know the smell of that death. The death which allowed me to be born disconnected from the intimacy I was originally designed for. And no parents, no matter how loving they are, can replace what we were originally designed to receive from God Himself. No, as Scripture reveals, we are born of Adam. And whether humanity realizes it or not, that reality is nothing short of traumatic.
That trauma creates a space where even a baby will show a lack of trust and innocence. We do not like to think of babies or children in these ways, but the effects of the fall are traumatic and their lack of innocence is quickly evident. In short order an infant will discover that he or she can cry when they aren’t physically in need of food and be fed. This deception is born out of our selfish independent nature.
Yes, we are born fractured and it doesn’t take long for the evil one to begin to manipulate that trauma. And it’s in that space that Satan’s forces work quickly, manipulating anything they can throughout our lives to serve as barriers to healing and bonding with God, the bonding that is so essential to healing and so essential to experiencing the New Life Jesus has made available to everyone through His resurrection.
Before long a child will begin to seek ways to receive what they are not getting from God. Activities that seem to shore up what is lacking in the depths of their heart. “Things that make me special” which births all types of false self beliefs that serve as a breeding ground for artificial fillers and the establishment of strongholds.
These fillers are temporary fixes for the deep hole which God created for Himself. From personal beliefs about God and His nature, to
“My value comes from good grades.”
“I’m the bad boy.”
“I’m the good girl.”
“I’m just not good.”
This list can be endless as an individual’s perceptions and the enemy’s creativity collide.
But at some point we realize it’s not working inside, and we need something more. And because we sense our own brokenness, we seek something that feels like we are in control. And it is out of this deep pain/darkness and need to control something that addiction is born.
And although addictions are manifested in many ways, from religious legalisms to mood altering substances, they are birthed in humanity’s deep need to control and cope with what they perceive to be reality. From children sucking their thumbs to a 70 year old addicted to prideful gossip, they both emerge out of our brokenness and need to feel better. Whether consciously or unconsciously, our sin addictions are birthed from our own independent and selfish nature.
Until people can be brutally honest with themselves, those boundaries prevent the healing that Jesus has made available by reversing the curse of sin and death. And unlike Satan, God honors our boundaries.
All people are victims of that early trauma which fractured our intimacy with God and within ourselves.
So you may ask, If our fractured experiential intimacy with God is the problem, and Jesus heals our brokenness, why aren’t churches places people can go for healing?
Why do so many believers in Jesus struggle with all kinds of addictions to sin?
What did Adam have?
What did Adam lose?
What did Jesus take back?
Where is it today?
Good questions to consider with other honest seekers of truth.
It was great to find out I was not terminally unique. The Bible describes all kinds of hearts: hearts of stone, hard hearts, divided hearts, and even a man after God’s own heart. As diverse as people’s hearts are in the Bible, there are also multiple examples of God changing those hearts. But not the magic I was hoping for, which wouldn’t need much effort, obedience or true vulnerability.
Many today say that if they saw the Red Sea part or any other miracle, then they would believe. The work of God described in this article is a miracle that no one can fully grasp but is available for all.
You see, much to my surprise it seems God is restoring my broken, divided heart. It didn’t happen in a flash or at the end of a desperate prayer. It didn’t even happen as an immediate response to a new belief. It is coming as the result getting real, dropping the religious mask, seeking truth above all else, coming clean about my own brokenness, and honestly inviting the wholeness of Jesus Christ into all of my life.
God wants the same for all His children.