I didn’t want to talk about myself much in my blog posts anymore, but I think that if I give my story it might help someone get hope in their situation. I am writing about faith in this blog post in the perspective of overcoming obstacles to living a blessed life. I did not always used to be as close to God as I am now, as I had to have faith to overcome obstacles hindering my relationship with Christ. Not that I couldn’t get closer to God now but in my days of darkness I thought there was little hope. I used to think it was a good idea to be pessimistic or to not expect much good in my life. I thought that if I didn’t expect anything good I wouldn’t get let down. While I didn’t get let down much, I didn’t see much change in my life.
When I decided to get my life more in line with Christ, I had to have faith to overcome obstacles to my relationship with Him. One change that needed to be made was to quit smoking. I knew in my spirit, and from the requests of my children, and from my health problems it was wrong. I had asthma since I was a child and smoking was really not a good idea. I had asthma and was diagnosed COPD as a young adult. The cigarettes were going to kill me if I didn’t quit. I kept getting bronchitis and I had already had problems with pneumonia. I used to get pneumonia the same time every year, sometimes more than once.
I no longer get pneumonia or bronchitis and I am off the inhalers for COPD, praise God! I still struggle with asthma sometimes but nothing like I used to. While this may be another topic, I need to say that if you believe you are healed and say “by His stripes I am healed” and believe it, it usually works. After I started writing this part a few days ago I started getting sick. I am taking vitamin C and drinking honey green tea. I am also believing for the Lord to meet me with fighting this because by His stripes I am healed!
I smoked for at least 15 years and I must admit I enjoyed cigarettes. I started smoking at as a teenager. I thought it was cool to smoke and oddly I actually craved cigarettes. As smoking became a habit, it began to kill me. It was not easy to quit. I did not quit because I didn’t want to die. I did not quit because cigarettes became expensive and tasted terrible from the carpet glue or fire retardant in them. I did not quit because of horror stories on commercials, although they may have helped a little. I enjoyed singing and I did not want to sing from a voice box. While these are all great reasons to quit, For me, the main reason I quit was because I wanted to get closer to the Lord. I knew I had to quit to go all in. Quitting smoking was one of the most difficult things I have ever done: but it was possible with the help of God. In Matthew 19:26 Jesus tells us that “with God all things are possible.”
Anything you decide to do that is within the will of God is possible. You have to take that first step and keep moving. As I mentioned in my blog post Step Into The New we have to take the first steps toward our goals. Now this sounds like a twelve step program but hey whatever works. I think the first step for me in my situation was realizing I needed to change if I wanted to have a blessed life, or any life at all. I am sure most of us can think of something we can overcome. I am actually battling sugar addiction at this time, which is not good because diabetes runs in my family. Sugar can become an addiction. I once wrote a research paper in school about how sugar can be addicting. I have PCOS which contributes to my struggle with weight and insulin resistance so I need to cut out sugar more. I realize I need to overcome this problem. We have to decide we want to overcome a problem or obstacle before we can make a change.
I made a list of the pros and cons of quitting smoking. Maybe I should make one for cutting down on sugar. Not everyone has to take it this far but it did help me. I knew I wanted to go all in with God at that time so this was my primary motivation to change. Ok, now I really have to cut out sugar more. I knew I needed help from God to quit smoking. I had to ask for that help. Ok, now I realize I need to ask for help with the sugar addiction. I like this scripture in the bible that explains why we need to ask for help “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-16). It takes faith to overcome problems and obstacles. We are told to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
At first I thought I could never overcome addiction. I couldn’t see it. I had thought about it in the past and didn’t think it could ever happen. But I knew I wanted to be closer to God so I knew I had to change. It took faith to change. Even when we don’t see it we can have faith to overcome obstacles. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith was my evidence for what I couldn’t see and it can be yours too.
Faith comes by hearing, and by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). We get faith with the word of God. That is how I got my faith. We have to sow the word of God into our lives to benefit from it. Jesus said that if you sow the word and your heart is right you will bear fruit (Luke 8:15). The word is our seed and it works!
I listened to the word and gained more confirmation that I needed to quit smoking. God gives people the ability to preach the word in a way for us to receive revelation. When I was smoking I listened to sermons that included information on quitting smoking. These sermons helped me gain some revelation on how to quit. I needed to have faith to quit smoking and the sermons I listened to helped me gain faith.
There is power in the word! As I mentioned in the blog post Surviving The Storm, God can give us strategic directions to do his will if we ask him to. I received instructions from the Holy Spirit and from the teachings of people of God both online, in church, and on television. We need to read the word but we also need to hear it. People of God please never stop preaching on correction or change, because I don’t think I would have quit smoking if I hadn’t heard people teach me how. I know people have itching ears but sometimes, even when we don’t know it, our heart’s ears itch for the things we need help with. That sentence before this one sounded deep but I hope it made sense. Maybe I should have said spiritual ears but I’m going to stop being silly now and go back to quitting smoking.
I knew I had to start somewhere to quit smoking. I have heard of some people going cold turkey and that is awesome but it was not that way for me. I heard people preach about starting out with cutting out a certain amount of cigarettes. It was not easy but I did it. The hardest thing for me to do was to go down to one cigarette a day. I had to repeat “I can do all things through Christ” many times per day, but it worked! After two years I quit, at least for the most part.
I noticed that when I drank I had to have a cigarette too, which made we want more cigarettes the next day after. I had to also quit drinking because I associated drinking with smoking way too much. I didn’t want to risk it. I had to break this association. I am not saying everyone needs to quit drinking; it is just not a good idea for me, especially at that time. Jesus said that if your eye causes you to sin pluck it out (Matthew 18:9). Alcohol was that eye, so to speak, that caused me to smoke. Sometimes we have to break certain associations that cause us to be weak.
I feel so much more free after quitting smoking. I don’t have to worry about non smoking areas. I don’t have to worry about feening for a ciggarrette at the worst possible time. Also I no longer have to worry about my health or the health of my children in result to smoking. I use to smoke outside but I didn’t realize smoke got into the house a little under the door until I cut way down on the cigarettes. I started realizing this because I started smelling smoke in the house after cutting down. I did not know that after people quit smoking they begin to smell it.
Now the smell is terrible to me and it makes me sick. I thought the pediatric doctor who told me third hand smoke was harmful to my children was insane, but now I understand what he was saying. Just the smell of cigarettes now makes me sick. If you smoke and continue to smoke please smoke far away from children or people who don’t want it around them. I understand if you don’t care though. Honsestly I didn’t care much because when we live a life of sin we are selfish. Please don’t think I am condemning anyone. I know what it is like to be tempted and have little faith or motivation. I just want to help someone have faith to get free from an addiction they may have.
Please don’t think that faith only works with overcoming smoking. It can work to overcome any hindrance! Maybe there is something you think God wants you to do. Don’t think you can’t do it: with faith you can! That might sound like the Little Engine That Could but hey if it works it works. I had to think I could cut out some cigarettes before I could.
I also think some of us need to believe we are saved to be saved. When I was in sin in the past I believed Jesus Christ was Lord and that he came here to earth and died for my sins. While I did believe Jesus was real and came to earth to die for my sins and rose again, I truly did not feel in my spirit that I was saved. I did not believe in Christ enough in the sense that I really acknowledged that he saw everything I did. I did not realize how much my sin grieved Him. I also did not realize that my sin grieved Him because He loved me.
Now more than ever I know God loves me and wants me to have a blessed life. I now love Jesus enough to try to be as close to Him as possible. I am not perfect but I know that if I died right now I would go to Heaven. As I said I did not always feel that way in the past when I was in sin and that is probably because I did not have much of a relationship with Jesus. I am not the judge so I am not saying someone will go to hell if they died while smoking. I did far worse than just smoking cigarettes. When I say I lived in sin I mean that I sinned in many ways that I don’t anymore, but maybe that is another topic or two for another day. I am just sharing my experience of how I felt because I want someone to get free. I also want someone to get saved.
I believe that saying the salvation prayer is a good start to becoming free in Christ. In John 8:36 Jesus tells us that if He makes us free we are free indeed! If you want to be free please say this with me: Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins. I confess with my mouth that you came to earth and died for my sins and rose again so that I can be forgiven. I thank you for the faith you are giving me to overcome obstacles to my relationship with you. Thank you Lord for your Holy Spirit that guides me and helps me change so that I can be free indeed. I praise you and love you Jesus!