Who Me? An Addict?

Call it passion, drive, ambition, even obsession. But I don’t like the word addiction.

Tobacco is an addiction. Alcohol can be an addiction. Smartphones and game systems can be addictions. But exercise?

God called my intense focus on exercise an idol. “Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” Philippians 3:19

I called it training. Every morning, before anything else, I tied on my running shoes and slipped onto the lamplit street. If my schedule got too tight and something had to give, it was anything except my workouts.

Once I skipped church to get in a long run. Often, I rolled out of bed on a Saturday morning leaving my slumbering husband to wake up alone. I had goals, no time for relationships.

Many modern addictions have become socially acceptable, even applauded. The workaholic is rewarded with raises. The compulsive exerciser is congratulated on being so thin. The shopaholic is envied for her good fashion. If we finally admit that we might have gone a bit overboard, rather than confess and abandon our idols, we demand a placebo. Or perhaps we are willing to reduce our obsessive pursuits but we fear to forsake them.

Recently, I spoke with a friend who was concerned that she might be drinking too much. “Is there something I can eat or do to cleanse my body?” she asked. She wanted the glass of wine, but she didn’t want the consequences.

When my health came to a critical point, I was forced to give up running. I looked fearfully for something to take its place. As I tried hours of weight lifting, swimming, spinning and fitness DVDs, peace remained elusive. But I continued to wonder, how can  something intrinsically good, like exercise, be sin?

James 1:14-15 says, “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Christ is the power that removes our addictions. “And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:2-21


4 thoughts on “Who Me? An Addict?

  1. Some very good points, Abby. I was just contemplating this verse a few days ago: For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1Tomothy 4:8
    It has always intrigued me as to its meaning.

  2. Charles, that verse has been an echo behind me all my life. The one that should be my mantra, my life-verse and one that scares me too. I truly want Jesus to be my only addiction, why are other things so appealing?

  3. Hi Abby,

    I’ve had many problems keeping technically connected lately, so this is the first post of yours that I have read in a while. It really hits home!

    My mother is a terrible hoarder that I have battled all of my life. It is a TERRIBLE addiction! An idol is anything that takes God’s place in our lives, and she keeps some of the most ridiculous, meaningless things, but you cannot reason with her to let go of them. It is frustrating beyond description!!!

    Also, I dated a guy for two and a half years a few years ago that was a terrible workaholic. You could not break him away from his job for anything! He is self-employed as a triaxle truck driver, and when he was not driving it, he was washing it, or greasing it, or tinkering with it or searching online for other money-making ways to utilize it, etc! When we’d go out to eat, all he talked about was work and making money. UGH!

    His first grandchild was born in October of 2008. I was at his house when the phone rang, so I went to his garage to tell him that his son-in-law called to say that his daughter went into labor, but he (unbelievably!) kept right on washing his truck! He finally called him several hours later to see if she had the baby yet.

    I was with my daughter the entire time the following year when my first grandson was born. I was so excited! Some people have really screwed up priorities! It’s very, very sad.

    1. I see what you’re saying. It’s hard to take a close look at my own priorities though. I often act like others’ priorities should be the same as mine.

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