Thursday, May 22, 2008

a break from drinking

A friend and colleague of mine recently posted something on his blog I thought was worth passing on. Here it is with my comments immediately following:

I stopped drinking at the end of April. At least for a while.


1. I really felt God was asking me to. Beyond any particular reason or explanation, I’ve had this growing sense that I must.
2. I have sensed that God is wanting to do something significant - in me? through me? Perhaps this is a bit of physical fast to reinforce the spiritual - a time of preparation.
3. I don’t want to miss ANYTHING - good conversation with a friend, opportunity to hear or see God, etc.- because I’ve been drinking. Although I never drink all that much anyway, I’d hate for that to be the reason I miss something.
4. Sometimes I look at people who have been drinking (either too much or too often), and wonder, “Am I like that?” Again, don’t think so, but I’d hate for someone to get a wrong impression or be turned off by that
5. A fair amount of our community drinks, and I guess I want to lead the way in moderation in this area.

The thing is, drinking isn’t wrong. But it sure is easily abused. And because this isn’t a black and white issue, it gets a little complicated when it comes to “how much.”

- When exactly has someone had too much too drink?
- When is someone drinking too often?

I often don’t know when it comes to someone else. I’m concerned that too many of us can’t answer these questions for ourselves. Perhaps a bit of what God wants to teach me is self-control, discernment, and moderation. I don’t anticipate this is a permanent stop, and don’t actually have a plan to end. I guess I’m counting on God indicating it’s ok to drink again as strongly as He told me to stop.

Good for you. I suspect God is nudging us all the time to change directions, to take a new path, to try doing more of one thing and less of another, or even to just try letting go of something to see what happens in us and around us. But most of the time I think we kinda just give God a non-verbal, barely conscious, “Huh,” and then continue on unmoved and unchanged. At least I do. So good for you for listening and acting.

I agree with you that there’s nothing inherently wrong with drinking, but I’ve thought for quite awhile, (and folks in our communities are probably tired of hearing me say it), that our casual and often cavalier attitude about the use of alcohol seems to reveal a naiveté about the havoc it’s wreaking all around us and sometimes an insensitivity to those in our communities who are susceptible to hurting themselves with it. I hope we’ll be different. I hope we’ll be increasingly wise, sensitive, loving, and as you’re demonstrating, attentive to the nudgings of God.


seanf said...

SO funny...I always seem to read your blog when it has something pointed in my direction!

Just yesterday we had our old neighbors over for a Memorial Day BBQ. We walked over to the Scottish Festival at the OC Fairgrounds...which was the midst of it, we HAD to get a pint, right?

THEN...with the BBQ, I had my usual glass of red-wine. Now, while I didn't drink that much...a pint of beer and a glass of the time we sat down to enjoy some eyes were at half-mast and I was struggling to stay engaged in the conversation.

All that to say, in regards to the prioritizing our enjoyment and engagement of conversation, I KNOW I've got to be more attentive to my drinking!

Thanks again, Rob, and your friend for drawing another line in the sand for me! As always...I LOVE your leadership!


Doah said...

Well, this comment is coming from someone who hasn't had a sip of alcohol since 1991. Ironically, it's because I don't have the self-control or will-power to have just a drink that I've had to settle for none. Of course, scripture says I do have a spirit of self-discipline which no doubt your friend can tap into also. Booze caused so much havoc in my life and I feel the only way I've avoided it is that I moved away from will-power to Spirit-powered and away from self-control to Christ-controlled. That said, I too agree that it's not in-and-of-itself a bad thing, you know a bottle of beer or something, no biggie. On a side note, I recently saw the film 27 DRESSES which is a "cute movie" but it really bothered me in this one scene when they are playing the great song "Bennie And The Jets" by Elton John. It's so funny and enjoyable on the face of it, but the guy and the girl are in the bar and getting really drunk and then they sing along to the song. It's all seems so "fun" but the message really is that getting drunk is a rip-roaring good time. Yet, even in the movie, here is a young woman that was "saving herself" for marriage, but because of the drinking she ends up having sex in a car! That's why I don't like drinking, it takes away so many inhibitions. Not to mention all the great concerts I saw in the 80s and can't remember because I was drunk! That's what your friend was talking about, "missing something." Good post.