You wouldn’t think it from looking at me. I look like the person with the perfect life, the one who’s got it all together. I look like that because that’s how I want you to see me.
But on the inside, it eats me alive. I used to keep it locked up in this tiny compartment, all dark and hidden. I thought, “Oh, it’ll be fine. I’ve got it all under control.” But here’s the thing about addiction: it grows. Sure, it starts as one pill that one time, one drink every now and then, the occasional click on that pop-up in the browser when you’re alone. But it grows. You give it that tiny bit of space in your life, that tiny little piece of yourself that you strive to keep hidden, but soon, that space is no longer enough. It eats at you, gnawing the edges of the cage you built around it until it hurts so much that you let it loose a little.
It’s no longer something I can control.
That gnawing ends up consuming you until you’re a shell of a person. Because addictions come in pairs: one is that secret thing, the thing I keep hidden. The other is convincing everybody that I’m okay, that I don’t have a problem, that I’m perfect, because I don’t want anybody to know how truly rotten I am. So the time I’m not spending satisfying that addiction, I’m spending covering it up, polishing my outside presentation so there aren’t any cracks to let light in, so I can keep prying eyes out. It became the most exhausting thing in the world.
It doesn’t really matter what my addiction is, what yours is.
Anything can become an addiction. It’ll start small, but before you know it, it’ll consume your thoughts, your time, your life, as it’s consumed mine.
But here’s where the bigger problem lies: I never told anyone.
Because that facade I created, everyone else has too. I thought everyone was perfect, so they couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through. I thought that they would judge me if they only knew what was inside of me. But that girl who I thought was perfect, isn’t. That guy who I thought never struggled, does. So I stopped believing the lie that I had to be perfect.
I used to keep addiction in this dark place that no one could see. Yet in my struggle to keep everyone from seeing, I also kept any light from coming in. Now, I’m free. I let people see. I let them in. I let them know that I’m messed up, so that they understand that it’s okay to be messed up.
Christ didn’t come to find the perfect people, to give them a pat on the back and say “Welcome to the club!” He came to heal the sick and mend the broken. He came not to tell us how to be perfect and not sin, but to give us his perfection as a free gift and take away our sins. So I stopped trying to be perfect, because I can’t be. I stopped trying to make other people think I am perfect, because I’m not.
Christ loves broken people, and I am a broken person.
So if you’re a broken person, an addict like me, Christ loves you. You don’t have to hide anymore. You don’t have to feel shame anymore. You don’t have to project perfection anymore. Be broken, and let Christ fix you. Tell people your story, that you were broken and Christ fixed you, so that they can understand that it’s okay to be messed up and they can receive the healing grace that only Christ can give. Let people see, not that they may judge, but that they may see the greatness of our God.
“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” – Mark 2:17