“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh….” —Galatians 5:17
When I was a young girl, I dreamed of getting married and having children. As I grew into my teen and young adult years, that dream faded. A new dream of an accomplished career emerged. I felt fulfilled by intimate relationships without marriage and no longer wanted children. Then I became a Christian, and the Holy Spirit birthed in me a desire for His will for my life.
I felt the Spirit redirect my life focus. God wanted me to remove the career from the lofty place it held in my heart and allow that original dream of marriage and children to re-enter. This was not an automatic shift in my heart! I was in conflict with God, but I prayed that the Holy Spirit would change me. I prayed for God to send me a husband and for a desire for children. Years later, my prayers were answered. I am currently happily married with two wonderful teenagers, and I could not imagine life without them. I should also mention that God has given me a distinguished career as well, but it is so much less important than my family. Now it seems hard for me to understand how I ever prioritized career so high in my life before Christ. God is good and knows our innermost desires. He delights in giving us good gifts. Our greatest joy will be found in His path for our lives.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” —1 John 4:4
Before I became a Christian, my goal when I drank alcohol was never to get tipsy. It was always to get drunk. I was not an alcoholic. I only drank on the weekends when I was out with friends, but I drank excessively when I did drink. I had a drinking problem because I could never stop after one or two drinks. I made poor decisions when I was drinking, and those choices really damaged relationships with the ones I loved.
Shortly after I became a Christian, I felt like I should give up drinking since I could not do it in moderation. I wrote a contract promising God I would not drink. I kept the contract perfectly for years, but then I began to backslide and would sometimes drink. However, it was not the same as before. God had done something amazing in me over those years when I did not drink. He gave me the ability to drink in moderation and not become drunk.
Shortly thereafter, God delivered me from my backsliding ways. I decided to give up drinking again. This time it was not because I had a drinking problem, but it was because I know I make the best decisions for myself and my family when I am completely sober. My relationship to God seems so much closer to Him when there is nothing between us. I feel truly grateful to God for delivering me from the cycle of a drinking problem as well as the negative consequences such as destroyed relationships with loved ones. Thanks to God—I am free!