Growing up I was always the small guy. Not necessarily the short one, just the skinny one. The one who looked weird. Feet too big, shoulders too narrow, arms and legs like twigs… you know the drill.
That was me.
I would look at other guys who seemed to naturally bulk up as they got older and burn with envy. It wasn’t fair. It was so easy for them. Why couldn’t I be genetically gifted? Life would be so much better if I were just…
Well, I wasn’t naturally built like a linebacker so it became my goal to shape my wiry frame into something beefier. Something I thought would be better. I started spending time in the gym when I could, trying my best to add some weight.
Before too long, I found myself living my life around my gym time and how I looked rather than more important priorities. Everything in my life centered around me and my selfish desire to be bigger, stronger, and more powerful than the next guy. My attitude was mostly negative and confrontational. I thought I was making up for the years that I had been the little guy. Now I was the strong guy. It became a high for me, seeing the gains in size and in strength. Hearing the complements and getting attention. I was addicted.
Addicted, you ask? Addicted to what? The supplements?
I was addicted to myself. I was consumed by selfishness. It came to the point where not much else matter to me but me, my body, and how others viewed me. Me, me, me. Can this really be an addiction? One definition of addiction is:
…a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance.
That summed me up. I had a persistent, compulsive dependence on working out and the attention that came from it.
Since that time, God has definitely helped me with my priorities. I still enjoy working out but it is comes after God, my family, and other important duties – like playing with our daughters. I even miss an entire week of work outs here and there. Do I ever still struggle with image? Sometimes. But I find the more I focus on God, the less I focus on me. And the less I focus on me, the less I care about what others think about the way I look.
An addiction does not have to be the typical drug, alcohol, porn style addiction. While those get the much of the attention, there are others that will ruin us just as easily. It could be spending. It could be your career and your drive to make it to the top. It could be the image you try to portray. It is whatever you find yourself dependent on for your day-to-day life. The biggest problem with addiction is this:
Whatever you are addicted to becomes your god.
You serve it. It rules you. You do not control it, it controls you. Greed? It’s your god. Your career? Your god. Your desire for bigger better things? It becomes your god.
The first step is to identify any addictive behavior in your life and then take it to the Lord. Ask Him to purge you of these desires, to change your heart, and renew your mind. No matter the addiction – power, drugs, alcohol, image, career – whatever it is, God is able to break those chains that hold you hostage in your mind. He can and will bring freedom to your life. Then get with an accountability partner. Someone you trust that will hold you to your commitment.
Then do this. Become addicted to Jesus.
Phillipians 4:13 – You can do everything through the strength that Christ gives you. He will see you through the toughest of times.
Galatians: 5:1 – Stand in the freedom that God gives us. Once free, do not return to your past sins and bondage.