Sydney Patrick gets real about her struggle with alcohol and the realization that God wants more for her. This is her story:
Instant gratification comes at the cost of your joy…
Ephesians 5:17-18 says, "Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."
To a college student, this just sounds like another rule to follow from a book that was written thousands of years ago. When I drink I don't drive. When I drink I'm not a mean person. When I drink people like me. When I drink I have fun. When I drink I'm more confident. When I drink I get attention from boys. So what's wrong with being drunk?
As I progressed through college, my drinking habits only strengthened. When it moved from being a habit to more of a longing, I knew I needed to stop. I began praying that God changed my heart because I knew what I needed, but I didn't want to stop. God answered my prayers in a unique way through a drunken fall that really knocked some sense into me, literally.
I really needed a wake-up call and a broken jaw and 4 implants gave me that call. But what I didn't realize was the WHY behind my needing to stop drinking in excess.
I recently heard Timothy Ateek (Breakaway Ministries Director, Texas A&M) speak when I was an adult leader at our church camp. And yes, they let me on staff at a church camp, and I am grateful that God uses the imperfect to help lead and share His word. It was on this trip, my WHY was answered. My hope is that you can take this and apply it to something in your life if drinking isn't an issue for you, whether that may be difficulties following any of the Ten Commandments, judging others, your sex life or all of the above.
I realized that all the "rules" that I was supposed to be following to avoid sinning were not just rules, they were blessings and instructions from my Heavenly Father. They were guidelines to keep me safe and on a path that both allows me to walk alongside Him and ensures that my future is promising. My problem was that I didn't think about how destructive my drinking habits were, because I thought I was being relatively safe. But when I realized this week that my current struggles stemmed from the excess drinking that I partook in 3 years ago, I finally understood WHY I was instructed to "not get drunk on wine (and) instead be filled with the Spirit."
As a 22-year-old college student, I am struggling both with building relationships with people and commitment. I have never been in a serious relationship (which is ok, don't get me wrong) and I consistently push people away and keep my issues to myself. I would rather others come to me for help than me feel like I am a burden to others. Which is absurd because Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble."
I thought a broken jaw was a wake-up call…try realizing that something you've been struggling with for years could have been avoided had you listened to the very simple instructions laid out by your Father. Looking back, my story looks a lot different than when I was living out my story at the time.
When I drank I wasn't myself. When I drank my memory faded. When I drank I got sick. When I drank there was a wedge between God and me. When I drank I lost sight of my sober confidence. When I drank I lowered my standards in relation to men. So, what was ever good about being drunk?
If I wasn't struggling with building relationships with others, I could more easily live out God's word and shine more love on others. But because I didn't follow his precious rules to keep me safe, I am now having to work harder to enjoy the joy that one is intended to have as well as work harder to be the person He created me to be.
As John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly."
Don't let the devil steal your joy; instead, follow the rules our Heavenly Father set out for us. Both your current and future joy is YOURS, don't give it up for instant gratification.