by Stasi Eldredge
The following is an excerpt from bestselling author Stasi Eldredge’s new book “Becoming Myself.”
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why here and not there?
I remember well the laughter of an older friend over my inability to lose weight. It wasn’t cruel laughter; it was lighthearted. With delight in her eyes and a deep sense of knowing, she asked me, how hard did I think it would be for God to take care of that struggle for me? With a snap of her fingers she demonstrated how quickly he could remove all compulsion to use food to comfort myself, numb my pain, or simply escape.
Well, then, if it would be so easy for him, why wasn’t he doing it? I certainly had asked him, pleaded with him, cried out to him for help here. So it’s his fault, really. That’s how I felt.
The thing is, I have experienced change—miraculous change. Shortly before becoming a Christian in my early twenties, I had wanted to clean up my act. I’d become acutely aware of my dependence on drugs and alcohol, how I was using them every single day in order to endure my life or at least keep the pain at bay. I decided that I would quit cold turkey. I wouldn’t smoke pot, do any drugs, or drink alcohol, and while I was at it, I’d stop eating sugar, too. I didn’t make it twenty-four hours. On any front. Dang.
One night, in desperation and hope, I gave up trying to fix my life and collapsed into the waiting arms of Jesus, responding to his invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30). I had finished reading the verses and fallen on the floor. I was weary beyond words. My life was a shambles. My heart was shattered, and I had done much of the shattering myself.
I confessed my deep need to God and asked him to come for me, if he would have me. I gave
my life to Jesus, mess that it was, mess that I was, and he did come for me. My little salvation prayer worked.Two weeks later, I realized that I had not smoked any pot, taken any drugs, or drunk any alcohol since my prayer. Two weeks. This broke all records from the previous ten years. This was a true blue, bona fide miracle. God delivered me from even the desire to use anything. I didn’t want to,
and I didn’t need to. I was awakened to my soul and to the presence of God and to hope. And yeah, baby, there were hard days in that season, but the myriad of stories I have of God’s miraculous coming for me in the nick of time are glorious.
Back then, food wasn’t a huge issue. I wasn’t overweight, and I wasn’t inclined to binge. That came later. But when it came, it came with an unyielding power that all my prayer and efforts, repentance, determination, and willpower could not budge.
God delivered me once. Why wouldn’t he snap his fingers and do it
Many women feel like a failure as a woman. I know that oftentimes I do. A failure as a human being, really. It has affected just about everything I have done and everything I have been kept from doing. But I am not a failure as a human being or as a woman. In some core place deep within, I know this. I fail, yes. But I am not a failure. I disappoint. But I am not a disappointment. Yet when I find myself again in this place—losing the battle for my beauty, my body, my heart—I can sure feel like a failure in every way. And isn’t that true for every woman? Don’t we all have secret places where we are not living in the victory we long for, places that color how we see ourselves? Doesn’t it go on to become a barrier between us and the people in our lives? A wall separating us from the love of God?
Or is it just me? I didn’t think so.
Sometimes we feel hopeless to ever change simply because our personal history is filled with our failed attempts to change. Where was that angel who was supposed to be guarding our tongue and preventing those harsh words from lashing out at our children? What happened to that fruit of the Spirit that was empowering us to be self-controlled and pass by the donut section? God has not given me a spirit of fear, so why am I so consumed with worry over my children, my finances, my future? If the fear of man is a snare, why do I still find I am terrified of exposing my true self and then being rejected? My bondage to food has been revealed as a liar and a thief, and yet in the moment of pain, too often I still turn to it.
He has not turned his face away. The very fact that we long for the change we do is a sign that we are meant to have it. Our very dissatisfaction with our weaknesses and struggles points to the reality that continuing to live in them is not our destiny. Read those two sentences again. Let hope rise. Why are you struggling with the things you do? There is a reason. It is found in the life you have lived, the wounds you have received, what you have come to believe about yourself because of them, and not having a clue how to bear your sorrow. It is also because of who you are meant to be.
It is not too late. It is not too hard. You are not too much. God’s mercies are new every morning. There is mercy in his eyes even now.
Excerpted from Becoming Myself. © 2013 Stasi Eldredge. Published by David C Cook.