Wasteland Kings

In a recent post, I talked about my thought life. One of the questions in my 12-step book made me realize my thoughts stood in stark contrast to the clean appearance of my life. While my actions seemed to worship God, my thoughts worshipped idols like dating and success.

Thoughts are powerful. They can impact our hearts, emotions, and motivations. Some of my thoughts are filled with bitterness and the poison me.

These thoughts have been making my heart sick for many years.

The love of Christ has been battling back for some of those years. It’s been a fierce struggle though and bitterness has won more than it’s fair share of battles. My part in the struggle has been the deciding factor in many of the battles.

I indulged in bitter thoughts. I dwelled on them, enjoyed them, and let them become take shape into possible scenarios. Even though I didn’t recognize them as bitter thoughts at the time, this didn’t change their true nature.

My life has had some low points. Growing up overweight and lonely was the first part of the one-two punch. Losing my parents was the second.

During those low points, I started to day-dream about a future circumstances which were much more fun. The problem didn’t come from hoping for a more fun future. It came from concluding that I deserved it.

Those daydreams seemed innocent enough at first. They still seemed innocent when I assumed one of them had to come true. I continued to justify them until I believed it was okay to place my hope in them instead of God.

Indulging in those daydreams was the fun way to cope with my difficult circumstances. The problem was I carried my frustration, heartache, and bitterness into these daydreams. Those things fueled my daydreams until I felt like I deserved their eventual fruition into reality.

The longer I delved into those daydreams, the more important those dreams became to me. This meant I was more and more upset when they didn’t come true.

I felt more than disappointed and frustrated at those points. I felt indignant, betrayed, and particularly bitter. This trio of negative emotions came from the entitlement of my daydreams.

I assumed God owed me for the hard times I’d experienced. This was the problematic thought which lay beneath my daydreams from the start. I fed this thought each time I daydreamed about better circumstances.

This daily diet made my entitlement grow well beyond my imagining. The negative impact of my entitlement grew along with it. There are some strong similarities between my thoughts of entitlement and bitterness and my porn addiction.

Every indulgence of porn increased or renewed my chemical dependence on it. Every indulgence also made a subtle and powerful impact my on thoughts about women, relationships, and sex. My bitter thoughts and daydreams poison me the same way.

I now feel a dependence on those bitter thoughts and daydreams. Giving them up feels like giving up a part of me. I felt the same way when I started to give up porn.

They also pull me out of the present and direct my thoughts to the past or possible futures. This steals a great deal of my daily peace because I worry about what will happen if I don’t get the future I want. An entire host of negative emotions and thoughts tags along with those worries.

Your daydreams could be devoid of guilt. You might not struggle with bitterness. I still call you to be wary of your thoughts.

They can be a poison or a medicine. Whether you experience healing or sickness on this side of Heaven may depend on your choice of the former or latter.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

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Owning My Recovery
The Hope of Our Past

Matthew Rial