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Don't, Don't, Do!

“…’Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’ … Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom … but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. … Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 2:21-3:2 NIV

I grew up in a church with a lot of don'ts: Don’t dance, don’t wear make-up, don’t play cards, don’t drink tea, don’t go to movies, don’t eat pork. I have don’ts in my life now too. A big one is Don’t feed my fantasy life; don’t make contact with Pearl; don’t do anything that would stir up my desire for her or for any other woman.

There is nothing wrong with rules; we need them to have an ordered society but do the don’ts above stop me from doing what I shouldn’t? Do they stop the desires? Not really. Those come unbidden. In fact, when I first walked away from Pearl and tried to follow those rules I could not. Instead, I found my desires increased. It seems to be human nature to want what is forbidden and I’ve had that in big doses.

So what is the solution? How does one restrain oneself from the things she knows are wrong? How do we do what is right when all that is wrong is so appealing? “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The more I focused on overcoming my sin, the more I fell into sin. But when I began to make Jesus my focus, when I stopped worrying about what I shouldn’t do or have and instead began to continually bring my thoughts onto the things of God, my life began to change. It didn’t happen overnight but, gradually, what was important to me shifted and instead of teeth-grinding determination to stay away from that which is wrong, I found myself more and more in God’s arms, resting and at peace.

No, I don’t have it all together yet. I still struggle. I still kick myself for doing what I know I shouldn’t. I’m still in process. But I think I’ve found the key: “Set your minds on things above.”

Father, I want to be so wrapped up in you and your presence that nothing on this earth has the power to pull me away from you—not even my own desires. Remind me of this when I forget and keep me focused on you alone.

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About the Author

DEBBIE HAUGHLAND CHAN
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

Memories of Mikael Vincent Tien Doe Chan

Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at debbiehaughland@gmail.com or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …