Last night I had the chance to visit a rehab center with my small group from church… As I sat on the cozy couch in the living room – surrounded by young guys who shared their experiences and struggles of going through rehab I had a few things running through my mind.
At first I was a bit judgmental. I started thinking about how these young guys had wasted the prime years of their life by being addicted to various drugs for so many years – dropping out of school or spending every penny they earned to support their habit. They could have been attending a college to earn a degree, doing things that would secure a good future for themselves… Instead they lived their life dependant on a substance that would satisfy them temporarily and always leaving them craving for more – leading them to a lifestyle focused on doing what it took to get another “high”.
But even though I initially “looked down” at these young guys for getting themselves to the place where they are at in life – I realized that instead of looking down at them for being at that rehab center I should be doing the opposite. Yes, their choices and habits may have taken away years of their life which they could have done something more worthwhile with– now they found themselves in a place where they want to change. They go to rehab by their own free will because they want to overcome the habit that would continue to destroy their lives if they didn’t actively do something about it. And addictions cannot be overcome in one day.
I respect people who are strong enough to admit that they have a problem that needs to be worked on and do what it takes to change their lives around. It would have been so much easier for them to stay on the streets and do what it was that made them feel good – but instead they chose to find a place where they could finally be free from drugs and ultimately create a better future for themselves. Yes, this would take enduring many sleepless nights, cravings, and urges to run away but in the end, they would leave as new people – free from the habit that held them back from living their life to the fullest.
I think the rehab center should be renamed a construction site – because it is in that place where broken people come after they have given up on living a life based on their own desires and pleasures — and now they are at a place where they are daily “worked” on by Jesus as he helps them battle their struggle with addictions.
So many times I find myself in the same place that they do — although not physically of course. I do things that I’m not proud of. I think negatively. I stop trusting God. And it’s during that time that I feel most like giving up, “hibernating” as I like to call it, and not deal with the things that bother me about myself – but instead I choose to come before God and ask Him to work on me, to convict me, to change me. And work on me He does. Just as He works on those young guys from the rehab center.
Often times I wish I could just stick a sign on my forehead “under construction” – or “work in progress” as God’s unfinished masterpiece… and although one day I hope I become the best “ideal” person I can be I know that for the most part, a work in progress I will be. And what better place to be than in God’s workshop? It’s not easy. It’s not fun. It’s easy to stick with old habits. It’s easy to continue thinking the same way. But I’d much rather have God continue working on me and changing me for the better.
I remember my pastor once sharing a message about how many times God – as a potter, breaks vessels and begins re-constructing them again from the beginning to make it better than it was before. And although being broken is painful – and being worked on and re-constructed may take time and not be an enjoyable process- there’s no place I’d rather be than in the hands of God.
Visiting the rehab center this week was a great reminder for me. A reminder that just like the guys there, I am a work in progress in God’s hands and after He’s done with all of us we’ll be the best vessels we can be, ready to be used for His glory. 🙂 I’m far from being a perfect person — but I am so happy to be in a place where the ultimate perfect person is daily working on me – helping me renew my mind – and transforming me to be more like Him every day.
“Under construction” I may now be… but in the end — more like Jesus I shall be. 🙂
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new has come” -2 Corinthians 5:17