Welcome back to my Sunday morning blog. I have an exceptionally powerful message, as I am suffering through a recent temptation that left me emotionally raw and with consequences this week. I felt very vulnerable and the experience left my heart aching, and my tears flowing, but I felt more prayful than ever. I shall overcome!
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – Hebrews 2:18.
In my last 3-part series I just wrote about “temptation” and how we as humans fall prey to the temptations of this world. And in the middle of my attempt to tell you how important it is to be watchful of worldly temptations and always be prayful of this sinful nature, I fell into the trap of temptation myself. I had previously shared with you to always be aware of the possibilities of temptations and the damage it can cause in our lives. And the past few weeks I found myself in the exact same place in my life. Temptations come from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. – James 1:14.
So here I am with two open arms, courageous but vulnerable, wanting to help you who are also tempted to “watch and pray” through your sinful nature. Watch means being watchful, being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to the subtleties, and spiritually equipped to fight the fight. Prayful means keeping your eyes on the Lord, and His strength to fight off temptations since we can’t do it on our own. If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” – Proverbs 24:10.
Because temptation strikes when we are most vulnerable, we cannot resist the temptation alone. Prayer is essential because God’s strength, not our strength, can build up our defenses and defeat Satan’s power of trickery and temptation. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will always provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Rewinding my life in the last three weeks, I realized I have learned so much about myself after having gone through the gamut of what I never saw as an addiction. I have an addiction to puppies, specifically Yorkshire Terriers (tea cup) puppies. Yes, that’s right. Some of you are rolling your eyes right now and some of you are thinking this is absolutely ridiculous. That’s okay, go ahead. I’ve learned I am extremely sensitive and vulnerable to wanting to own and love this species of animals.
For years I have surfed the Internet for these puppies, falling in love with them and not really ever understanding the meaning behind the obsession or addiction or even that it was a problem lurking in the weeds waiting to attack me. Is a fixation the same as an addiction? Of course it is. And the Internet is a playground where it can happen to any of us.
A few weeks ago, all I could do in my passtime was follow Yorkie Clubs on Facebook and re-post pics of the most adorable fur babies alive, at least in my mind’s eye. Looking back, it was an obsession, an addiction, a temptation, an online fixation that I’ve had for years. I fell prey to online marketing, temptations that I thought would bring joy to my life and to those around me. It was my drug. Just like any drug, we get a rush, a fix. It makes us feel good, therefore we keep doing it.
My friends continued to comment that I have an addiction to these puppies. In fun, we laughed and joked but in reality, it has been a very damaging behavior in my life that just became a real consequence to me this past week.
There are many different types of temptations and addictions, none of which prove to be a healthy behavior in anyone’s life. I am no different than my readers. I am human, I am vulnerable, falling prey to temptations too. One afternoon three weeks ago I purchased a very expensive fur baby, solely based off her online photos. What snagged me was the tag line, “Ready to come to her new home” on my birthday date. How could anything appear more perfect for me. Of course, in my mind I justified the actions I took that day. There was no thought to consult with others first or to think about what this life changing purchase really meant for all involved, including the puppy. I rationalized the entire temptation as the right thing to do and so I did it. I had the mindset that I wanted a puppy and I wanted it now. Nothing was going to stop me or get in my way from having what I wanted. I purchased what I thought was the most adorable online fur baby to satisfy my craving, my addiction once and for all. It’s the “I want it now” decisions such as this that come with serious consequences.
From the outside world this experience was nothing but a sugar coated, wonderful and joyful event for my family and me. Everyone was so happy for us. But what the world didn’t see was my vulnerabilities, my sensitivities to Satan’s trickery. He uses temptations to lure us into sinful acts, wrong or bad choices. He knows the desires of our heart and he plays with them. He knows how to “dangle the carrot” so that we bite even when the time is not right.
More important than anything, I’ve since learned so much about myself, conditions that I may not have chosen to see before or refused to admit to myself. I’ve learned that the “true me” is not equipped to raise a puppy. I do not have what it takes to raise a newborn puppy and care for them for the next 18 years of their lives. As much as I’ve tried, and God knows I’ve tried. I know now what I lack in being a good parent to a pet. It takes an extreme level of patience, unconditional love during house training years and hours of dedicated time to be with the puppy in the first few years of his/her life. I’ve learned it’s not loving the pet that I lack, it’s the ability to be consistent and patient with them. I know without a doubt I have a huge amount of love to give to a pet, but I don’t have what it takes to teach and train a young puppy the right way. This doesn’t make me a bad person. This realization just helps me understand that just like having children, not all of us are cut out to do the job. I have learned that it’s okay to admit that I am not a person who can fulfill this job.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5.
I’ve also learned in this experience temptations don’t always present the reality to us. Addictions do not reveal the truth to us. When we are in the wilderness we will be tempted and not even know what hit us before the truth or facts have hit us and then it’s too late.
Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” – Matthew 26:41.
Sadly, I must confess that I have since surrendered the little puppy to foster care with a family who can provide a much better life for her than I can. I know the family and I wanted to ensure she was going to a loving home that had other puppies and playmates for her. My long work hours and the dedicated time it takes to train her were not an option for me. I’ve always struggled with this, as I’ve always believed “If there is a will there is a way.” In respecting her life, as much as it has broken me, I have surrendered her to a wonderful family who can be devoted teachers and parents and can give her a better life.
One-day Jesus said to His disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!” – Luke 17:1.
I hope you realize by now, as I wrap up this week’s blog, that I’ve been truly raw with you by sharing this very painful, heart-wrenching story to help you see that addictions and temptations are real and come in many different shapes and forms. By example, you can see how each of us can easily become Satan’s prey and fall into his trap if we are not “watching and praying” at all times.
Blessings until next week,