On Monday, we talked a little bit about burning bridges. We have to eliminate all options besides recovery if we are to recover from an eating disorder, or any other addiction. It’s the same in our walk with Jesus; we have to forsake all other options, burn all bridges to the past, in order to follow Him.
The example we looked at first was Elisha in 1 Kings 19. Elisha had been plowing in his father’s field, behind 12 yoke of oxen, when Elijah threw his cloak over him. In essence, Elijah was commissioning Elisha to become his disciple, to follow in his footsteps and to become like him. The interesting part is that Elisha didn’t simply say, “Okay,” pack his bags and leave. First, he slaughtered the oxen and burned the plows. He had no alternative now, all that was left was to obey Elijah, all of his past life was destroyed.
When we accept God’s free offer of grace, to follow Jesus and to submit our lives – including our addictions and disorders – to Him, it is essential that we burn all bridges to the past. There is no plan B.
Now, I want to take a quick, hypothetical peek beyond Elisha’s story and meld it a little bit to my own. I wonder, if Elisha ever wanted to go back? Certainly, there were tough times ahead. After Elijah was gone, Elisha bore a heavy burden as a major prophet to rebellious Israel. I wonder if he ever walked past his old home, visited his parents and wished that he could return to simpler, familiar days? Did he feel loss?
Recently, I have felt the bare knuckle punch of rejection. It’s worst when no one intends to hurt you, but invariably everyone does. And, it’s because I can’t go back.
When we moved back to Columbus, GA, I was excited because this time I already knew people in the area. Unlike so many previous moves to places unknown, there were familiar streets and places and people in this southern town. Most of my friends were from the running club. I used to meet them four mornings a week for runs up to 21 miles. We also celebrated a few birthdays together, organized local races and got pedicures for our swollen, post-run feet. But since I have begun walking full-heartedly in recovery, I had to forsake distance running and in a sense, burn my running shoes, a bridge to the past.
Right after we arrived in Georgia, I met one old running buddy for coffee. I chatted with a couple on Facebook, bumped into two downtown. I have been politely dismissed. And it hurts. You see, each of them invited me to join them for a run, asked if I was still doing races told me of upcoming running club plans. I cannot go. You see, I burned plan B.
My only viable option is anything but returning to old habits that fueled my eating disorder. For me, one of those was compulsive, extensive exercise – especially running.
If you give up your eating disorder, or other addiction, what bridges, shoes, plows will you have to burn? Will it cost you something? Will you ever have the opportunity to look back and then realize there’s no way to go back?
If you have decided to follow Jesus in all that is His best for you, including your health, physical body, habits and heart, burn everything else.