Are you tired of life being so hard? I know I was. It felt like I was always swimming upstream even though it appeared that I was going with the flow. I could not figure it out. I never had enough money, time or people around to help me when the going got tough…and the going was always tough.

Life got so tough that I thought I couldn’t stand to live it anymore. Then, to make matters worse, I made more and more bad choices. I complicated an already overly complicated life and every day, when my head hit the pillow, I reflected on a day of regrets and dreaded a tomorrow of struggle.

I guess this is called hitting the bottom.

Hitting the bottom hurts. The free-fall ends and the impact is crippling. The pain is immense. Often the trauma emanates to the others around the fallen one and they just can’t take anymore as they are forced to walk away.

After hitting bottom, the blame game really hits its stride. Parents get blamed, friends get blamed, the church gets blamed and even God gets blamed. Sometimes there is blame to go around for other people. After all, they are human and humans make mistakes. But God doesn’t make mistakes. The blame I have placed on him is silly. Who among us can truly say that they have made their life choices based solely on God’s advice? Who truly has been obedient and can honestly feel they are exempt from the consequences of their choices? Jesus is pretty much the only one that comes to mind and there were times that things didn’t go all that well for him.

If a person chooses to recover from the fall, if they survive the fall, many don’t, they come to realize one thing. Ultimately the blame for their demise rests upon their own shoulders. That’s a heavy weight to bear. I remember the day that I decided that I was going to get out of my mess no matter what it took. I didn’t think I could do it. For a while, I blamed my depression for everything I did. It made the burden more bearable and it gave me an enemy to focus on.

But day after day, as depression lost its grip on me and went in to a sort of remission, the source of my troubles became more and more clear. The real enemy was me and the choices I made every day. The process of making choices was completely backwards from who I claimed to be. I claimed to be a Christian and serving God. In truth, I had asked for salvation and forgiveness but continued serving myself. I never trusted God at all. When it came to my time, I chose what I wanted to do and rarely if ever what God asked me to do. When it came to my love, I chose to care about myself more that God and my fellow-man and even my wife. When it came to my money, I chose to give God the leftovers and a dog couldn’t live off of my leftovers.

I chose myself first in my family, first in my friends, first in my job, first in every single aspect of my life. I served a god but it wasn’t the One True God, it was myself. I’m a lousy god. I fail over and over again. When things go wrong, they stay wrong. I offer bad advice and even worse support. Yet I expected God to fix things when I turned my back on him and worshiped the flesh.

Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

I can’t make good choices if I am ruled by my sinful passions and desires. We all have them. Tell me you don’t and I know right away what one of yours is. I have to be honest with myself and admit that I have areas in my life that need to be addressed. Pretending they don’t exist allows them to stay and have influence on my decision-making process. They have already proven themselves to be a hindrance to a quality life. I need to bust out the hammer and nails and put them where they belong. They may have deep roots and continue to sprout up now and then. I have to keep the hammer and nails close by and tend to my heart frequently.

Galatians 5:25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

That’s a little verse with a big message. Following the Spirit’s leading in every part of my life is a tall order. It requires putting God first and myself somewhere behind a bunch of other people. It is an adventure to walk in ways I have never had the courage to walk or the faith to venture. I find parts of my life I never knew I had and I have to go through the same process of letting it go to God. The things that were once so important mean little now and the things which once meant little are like a treasure to me. But this treasure is within my reach and something I can experience right now, today. God is so good to me.

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