I had a colonoscopy.
It’s one of those things you start to hear about in your 40’s from your older friends and you store it away in the “that’s a long time away for me yet” category. You turn 50; your doctor tells you to make an appointment. You come back at 51 and they schedule it while you're standing there. You cancel the first one and are then told canceling again is not a good idea.
You block it out of your mind until a few days before and then figure you'd better read up on this. That’s how I roll. I’ll-deal-with-it-when-I get-there type of attitude. Mine was going to be on a Monday, so on Friday I read the instructions and realized there was more to this than what I thought. There was going to be fasting and let's just say a time of isolation. I mean I’d heard rumors, but really? Don’t eat after Saturday night? Fine, I’m going out for my last meal like I’m not going to eat for days! Dinner out was my choice on Saturday.
I chose Fricano’s.
I’m here to tell you that is not a wise choice for reasons I won’t divulge - just use your imagination. Yup, that's it.
For me, that's where I thought the weekend would end. To me, Sunday was going to suck no matter what.
Sunday I couldn’t eat. All day. Sundays at the Hoppen’s are steaks and corn pudding. Pizza at night. I drank water, black coffee, and this disgusting chalk cleanse. I was a beast by the end of the day. I pretty much isolated myself from the kitchen (and my family, they were scared) and hung out in the bedroom (and near the bathroom.) I worked on some projects to make the the time go faster. I just had to work around a lot of “interruptions.” Stay with me, there is a reason I feel I need to share my colonoscopy experience with you.
Dealing with things later instead of attacking them in the moment is a bad habit of mine. Putting things aside when I should deal with them right away.
I “tabled”my drinking problem for a long time, that I would deal with it and slow down, or “cut back” until the day I realized that would not ever be an option for me.
In the book I’m reading, The Seven Promises, I highlighted this:
“What will you have to give up to get what you want? Will it be time? Will it be petty habits or limiting beliefs? Will you have to give up your fears? Remember, thoughts don’t change anything until they are acted upon. Action changes everything.”
Giving up my fears.
Acting on my thoughts.
I find myself allowing all of the above to rule my mind instead of just good ole trusting God in so many things each day.
What about the times in life I obeyed and took action on those three things and moved forward?
As always, I think about drinking and when I quit. I had tried to quit for so long and nothing worked until I did things differently:
Believed in myself and what God could bring me to √
Gave up, or rather chose to ignore my fears √
Acted on my thoughts instead of tabling them for later √
Looking back, when I'd hit rock bottom, those things were rather easy to do. I had no where else to go. I’d like to be noble here and claim that I intentionally did all those things, but I didn’t exactly tick them off in my head.
Those things were happening though. Slowly, and without me being aware.
When my drinking hit an all time low and there was no where to go but up, I didn’t believe in myself at all. I had NO IDEA where God was bringing me. It might not even have made a difference in the moment if I could see how good life today was without booze. In the moment, you don’t care. The drink matters right now more than the future. That’s the addiction talking.
I had to put all my fears aside about what life would like without alcohol, and just keep going forward. When those thoughts would enter my mind I had to push them away and just say, “God take it.”
“What if I fail again? What if I’m not fun? What will people think when I refuse a drink?”
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” - Luke 22:42 (NIV)
I started following the ten second rule. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I look back and see that I definitely was following that rule. I learned to make up my mind fast. Instead of just don’t. It became just do. Don’t drink, don’t drink, don’t drink, became just do it, just do it, just do it but positively.
Things like, if I had the thought run through my head to pick up that drink I quickly came up with something to do instead. IF I tabled it for later and didn’t deal with it, I would drink. I had to act NOW. Usually the first thing that came to mind was put my shoes on and just walk. It was winter and usually those cold, snowy, quick walks had my head on straight by the time I walked back through the door. Sometimes I would be putting my shoes on 20 minutes later, but it worked. My mantra in my head - always just do the next right thing for everyone even if it’s not what you want right now, it will happen.
So how could you apply these things in your life? With a relationship? An addiction? Believe that God is bigger than any obstacle you can ever imagine.
Whatever you're tabling for later, it's better to do a little homework and come up with a plan of action using the three suggestions above. It will take time and action, but it’s worth it.
Have you noticed the rewards of hard things come slowly but there are little gifts in the journey? Look for them - they are there to encourage you along the way.
Now, about that colonoscopy. If I had not tabled the information given to me until later, I would have read ALL the instructions instead of just what I determined I needed to know when the time came.
Maybe I would have paid closer attention to the line that said, “Greasy foods are not recommended as you prepare for the cleanse.” If you know Fricano's, you know there is grease. Like I feel shiny when I walk out of there. So good, but so greasy. No doubt I should have followed that suggestion and read the directions ahead of time!
Write down today what needs action right now. It’s usually the thing that’s on your mind the most. Try and follow the three guidelines we talked about this week here. In doing this, the big things become smaller and immediately seem more manageable. When you don’t and just put it aside for later, the little things become bigger.
I choose the first option whenever possible.
Thanks for listening!
Peace on your weekend,