The Old Fashioned Way Suits Me Just Fine

Last week I received an unexpected call from a dear friend. I hadn’t heard from her in almost six years. Our families had been friends years ago and as it happens when we moved cities we lost contact with each other. We chatted away for a few minutes going through all the politically correct conversation when two people haven’t talked or seen each other for some time.

I finally had to say, “Janice (not her real name), I know you didn’t call out of the blue to talk about the weather, what’s on your mind”. She laughed as she knows me too well. Get straight to the point is my middle name.

“You’re right” she said, and went on to tell me about a self-help program that she had been using for about a year and how much it had helped her and her family and even friends that I also knew well. She was adamant it could be a blessing to me also.  She reassured me that she still believed in God and Jesus but this program helped her so much she just had to share it with others and thought of me.

If you know me you would know that I should have chosen to be a detective or prosecuting attorney as a career path. I opened up my investigation by asking, “what’s in it for you Janice?”.  She told me nothing. She just wanted to share some good will. The next ten minutes she must have felt like she was before a grand jury or worse under the spotlight being coerced  into a confession to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I know Janice and her husband and I know the type of people they are. Honest, of good character and I know she would never offer me something if she didn’t think it would be good for me and Rhonda (my wife).

I have had my own experiences with self-help programs, one I was fully into for a year. AT the time I felt this particular program could help me in certain areas I was having difficulty in so I made the decision to commit to the program lock stock and barrel for one full year. This I did and I threw myself into reading, learning, researching, listening and watching everything I could get my hands on and it wasn’t cheap.

When I completed my year, precisely  to the day I had a good look at my progress, where I was at in my life compared to a year ago and I had to admit this particular program had been a blessing and had helped me in areas that I had been quite weak in. It hadn’t changed my life radically but I got enough out of it to feel satisfied that the year was well spent.

Weighing up the pro’s and con’s on deciding if I should continue the program was a blessing in disguise. It made me look at what I had in my life that brought me to where I was before committing to this self-help program and where I could go if I continued.

The scales seemed to be evenly balanced but I eventually decided to let the program go and not continue. What tipped the scales for me was this; I had realized that this program was so much like a religion in itself. Everything outwardly was working some good in my life but I was becoming dependent on this programs doctrine. I knew it was starting to become like a religion to me and I had no room in my life for two religions.  My beliefs and commitment to the Lord over the past forty years of my life were in jeopardy as I could see that this program albeit very good outwardly was eroding some of the basic fundamentals of my relationship with the Lord that I had painstakingly built up over the years since I was a young man.

I had to think about why I felt I had to commit to this self-help program in the first place. I wasn’t happy with my life, too many ‘bad things’ were happening to me, my personal struggles seemed like they would never go away  and I felt God was not working for me any longer. God seemed distant and unapproachable. I was starting to doubt God’s place in my life and my place in the world. I was looking for another way to find truth and purpose.

It was a wakeup call, I decide against continuing the pursuit of happiness with this new way of thinking. In plain english, there was no room in my life for two religions, two beliefs, two God’s. The one who had worked well enough throughout my life, He could just as well work well for me the rest of my life. I just needed to get back to basics.

I did look at the material Janice gave me via the programs web site but I already knew my answer. I communicated with Janice that this particular program was not for me. She understood and we promised to keep in touch. We said our goodbyes and I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to reaffirm my faith and love in a God who although sometimes seems distant and unavailable is always there either right next to me, walking in front leading the way, a step behind to make sure I don’t stumble and fall and then there are times when He even has to carry me because I am to weak to make it on my own two feet.

Trusting God has a lot of merit, its been tried and proven over countless years by millions of men and women of God. It’s the old fashion way and it suits me just fine.

(Footnote: I want to make it clear that self-help programs can help in areas of our lives that need work on.  Medication can help, it takes away the pain, even if for only a short time to give us rest and peace of mind. A good movie helps keep our mind off our troubles if only for a few hours. Helping those in greater need than us is also rewarding. Laughing is a great way to feel good. Talking to someone who understands is encouraging. Reading a good book takes us out of our world for a short time. The list goes on but most of these things do not cure or heal the greater need. Trusting God does.)

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Posted on May 4, 2015, in Faith and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. See… you smiled. Now I’m smiling 🙂 It works every time!!!!

  2. In a weird, twisted sense I saw my eating disorder as THE thing to get away from the world. I knew in my head that it would be a form of self-help. A way of fixing all my problems. How wrong I was!!! Because it became my god. I worshipped my eating disorder by being obedient to it 24/7. When I finally did come to my senses to see that it was not the god I needed, I realized that this form of self-help (that so many girls and women, and some men get caught in) can never really help the way our God can. Like you said, Sammy, “most of these things do not cure or heal the greater need. Trusting God does.” Sadly, though, it can be a hard and sometimes deadly lesson to learn.

  3. Really good point LIzzy and you are one of the fortunate ones to survive. Maybe its time to tell others how they can too. Although you may have allowed yourself to look to other means to try and fulfill your needs you did come to your senses like you said. Many don’t and there are many who are teetering on the edge that can go one way or the other. I believe that we all go through these things for a reason. When we can see clearly like you have now maybe its time to share your story with others who may be suffering the same way as you had. It sounds like you have a story to tell and someone needs to hear it. 🙂

  4. Yes, we do go through things for a reason only known to God. I have shared my story of recovery from my eating disorder on numerous occasions. Back in May of 2011 I shared my testimony of God’s healing grace in my life at Recovery Night at Linden Oaks Hospital in Naperville, IL. It is a monthly event hosted by the hospital and ANAD. I also shared a short testimony the following year at the ANAD Candle Light Vigil. You can read my story at http://faith.lizhannah.net/2011/05/03/my-recovery-night-speech/ . Perhaps someday I will share more of my story. When the time is right.

  5. Good for you Lizzy.

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