“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2: 22 NIV
I’ve had this particular article on my mind for over a week. The title has changed a little, the outline reorganized, and I’ve struggled not to put icing and sprinkles on top. God put this topic on my heart and continued to show me it is needed, especially at this time in life. He has been faithful to show me through scripture, prayer, and also, reflection.
It’s that time again, high school and college graduation days are here! Last Sunday, I sat in worship and held the “2017 Seniors” program in my hand. Clenching tightly, tears filled my eyes as I glanced over all the beautiful smiling faces. Their WHOLE future is ahead of them! Full on their way to being independent adults. I kept clenching, and the tears fell down my cheeks.
All I could pray was, “God, please don’t let them do what I did.”
I could have prayed for their school choice, career choice, sports and activities choices, for their friends and families, but I just kept thinking, “Please, God, don’t let them do what I did.”
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Okay, so you got caught up in a relationship and had an unplanned pregnancy at a young age?” I wish I could say that was all I’ve had to reflect on. I wish I could say that decision, at that point in time, changed my life and that my daughter immediately made me see who God wanted me to be. But that is the least of my past sorrows.
You see, what I did, is snowballed.
“Metaphorically, a snowball effect is a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger (graver, more serious) and also perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous. (A vicious circle, a spiral of decline)”
The snowball effect of sin is literally insane. It gains so much weight that it speeds off straight down a slope, picking up more weight and more speed and before you know it you’re 27 years old, reflecting on life and thinking, “How the… well how the hell did I get here?”
My 15 year old me wouldn’t know me now or even remotely want to.
Growing up in church, saved at a young age, I pretty much knew who I wanted to be as an adult. You have this visual of what life will be like, I’m talking white picket fence type of stuff. I never really knew realistically what I wanted to do as far as a career, but I knew my Christian choices would remain firm, or so I thought.
Throughout high school and college, I made decisions that I thought were a one time choice. I made “Christian Boundaries” for myself, but broke them often through peer pressure, society views, or just down bad choices. Those boundaries and limitations became wider and wider, the lines became thinner and thinner, now looking back my sin snowballed into mass chaos and hopeless guilt and shame, as it ALWAYS will.
Exhibit A: My parent’s never drank alcohol. I’m talking ever. That was their decision as parents, so of course, I grew up having no idea what alcohol actually was. For example, around the age of ten, I was at a friends house and her father offered us a cup of Ginger Ale. I legit thought it was alcohol and immediately felt seriously uncomfortable. I was always uncomfortable around alcohol until I convinced myself to try it… “just once”.
In high school, I went to some parties, but I didn’t partake in much of the activities. I can remember two specific times I drank and was not a fan of the after effects, aka: the hangover. Yet, somehow my decision to “drink just one” snowballed. One drink turns into too many, too many turn into too often and before you know it your seven year old child knows the visual difference between red wine, white wine, champagne, beer and a margarita.. and occasionally asks to smell your breath when friends are over. *insert eye-roll*
Now, is it absolutely terrible that a parent has alcohol around their child? No. But is it who I wanted to be as parent in my Christian faith? Not at all, not for a second.
My alcohol consumption snowballed, and before I knew it the sin of it all affected my entire life.
It doesn’t matter what particular sin it is, just once or just one WILL snowball. The constant thought process of, I can have just one, or I can try this just once, is a trap from the devil, he is exceedingly skilled and manipulating. I know this to be true with every sin, physical or emotional; alcohol, drugs, sex, to pride, jealousy, and bitterness. One choice will affect the rest of your life. It will snowball faster than you can imagine and you’ll look back and wonder how you got where you are.
Currently, I’m looking back and seeing mounds of snowballs higher than the pyramids, but I know this God who is the best snow plow-er EVER! He’s cleaning up my mess, melting my snowballs, and moving me to a much dryer land where the snow crunches underneath my feet.
I serve a God who has overcome my snowballs of sin, and I serve a God who loves you and wants to help you prevent your snowballs, or crunch them underneath your feet as well. Be careful with your choices, be careful with where you place yourself in this world. One decision, one place, one drink, one human, one pill, one time… it can all change your life, it can all snowball.
Please don’t do what I did… don’t give yourself a snowball to look back at, I promise you, from the depths of my soul, “just this once” is not worth it.
“We shall overcome, we shall overcome. We shall overcome some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall overcome some day.”