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In James 5, we’re told to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so we may be healed. Here’s my confession.

Last night I went to the ancient worship service at my new church. It’s an acoustic, antiphonal service by candlelight. The first hour was lovely. After that, all 100 ish people were called around the table for an Upper Room feast of grape juice, bread, meat, cheese, olives, fruit for communion.

I stood in the back of that group and realized that there was no one I knew well enough to stand by. The Music Man stayed home with the kids because my Radiant One is teething and clingy and miserable, and he wanted me to enjoy the service and not worry about my little love. It was hard to see everyone go off in groups and pairs to chat, celebrate the eucharist, and love on each other. I sat in the back and watched.

If I’m being honest, I went this year as a yardstick. I don’t want to forget what this feels like, being an alien. I felt like the Lord spoke that next year at this service, I’ll be well attached, and I’ll be the one looking for new people who aren’t connected. Let it be so. And since I’m being honest already, I went into the service with a heart that’s bleeding because of the things going on in my life. That said, I wanted to worship because it’s the only thing that makes hard times better. God is still God, there is always a reason to worship Him.

But as I was leaving, I thought my heart was going to break right there in front of everyone. I actually pressed my palm to my chest to keep everything inside of my from shattering and tumbling out, to keep my own blood from pouring out right there in the lobby. It’s messy, this feelings business.

And so there’s the 300 word introduction to my confession. Here’s the good stuff. I came home and had a glass of wine. Then another. And half of another to finish the bottle of moscato. So I opened the shiraz and had another glass. Four full glasses of wine in under an hour. For the second time in my life, I drank enough to get pretty tipsy, and I liked it.

Now, for “normal” people, that might not be a problem. But when you’re in some pretty deep water, in intense counseling, working on FEELING (boo, hiss), and have alcoholism in the nearest branches of your family tree, drinking to get drunk and actually enjoying it is not ok. I confess that it’s not ok.

None of the therapizing, please. I know things are hard, and I was coping, and God is not a teetotaler, and what have you. I screwed up. I own it, and I don’t want to do it again.

After all, “confession is not saying ‘I did it and I was wrong,’ it’s saying, ‘God said it and He is right!'”

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” –Eph 5:18, NASB

Updated to add: This was my devotional from Max Lucado today. Apples of gold in settings of silver…

“Before the nail was pounded, a drink was offered. Mark says the wine was mixed with myrrh. Matthew described it as wine mixed with gall. Both myrrh and gall contain sedative properties that numb the senses. But Jesus refused them. He refused to be stupefied by the drugs, opting instead to feel the full force of his suffering.

Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too.

He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands.

And because he understands, we can come to him.

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