Exactly 1 year, 15 days and a few hours ago I quit smoking. My last cigarette was on February 5, 2005. I can still remember how smoking made me feel. I can still remember the lightness in my head and the physical release of tension and stress. I can remember how much I looked forward to a cigarette after dessert or with coffee. I can remember I started when I was in my 20’s and was out at clubs. It was the “thing” to do, have a cigarette with your drink.
I don’t harp on people that do smoke. I pray and hope my friends that smoke would quit, but I don’t harp on them. Very few of the people I was around harped on me to quit and I remember that was important to me. I had tried to quit many times before but it just didn’t “take”. Every once in a while I still crave that feeling of light headedness that comes with smoking. I’m not going to start smoking again. I quit out of obedience to God.
It wasn’t pressure from people I went to church with, or people I hung out with that made me quit. They understood this was one of my vices and I would only give it up on my own accord. I remember when God asked me to quit smoking. I was really feeling pulled in a direction that was so uncomfortable to me. God was prompting me and pulling me to serve. He was calling me to walk the truth that I was proclaiming to others. God asked me to quit smoking only out of obedience to Him, not for any other reason. I can see how the cigarettes had become an idol to me. They symbolized release and “freedom” from stress, a position only God should hold in my life, through Christ.
The strangest thing happened when I accepted this challenge from God. I assumed it would be much like every other time I tried to quit, successful only for a short term period. This was different. The cravings for cigarettes immediately left. I didn’t go through the withdrawals I had previously. I didn’t crave the feeling or sneak out to 7-11 and get a pack of cigs…I just didn’t desire it anymore. Sure, occasionally I wanted to go back to that time, but it wasn’t the physical urge I used to experience, it was more out of anger with God, and just absolute disobedience that was pulling me. It was much like a spoiled child: “Fine God, if I can’t have MY way, I’ll just start smoking again…so there!”
Thankfully I haven’t succumbed to Satan’s temptations or to my own weak flesh. Plus, I am SO grateful He hasn’t asked me to give up Chocolate, that the cigarettes are sometimes a walk in the park.
There are some times when God’s desire for us to obey, result in only the act of love that is obedience. But sometimes the obedience results in the opening of a door of blessing on our lives. I would only ask you to listen to God and what He is asking you to do today. It may not be to quit smoking; it may be something relatively simple like opening a door for someone you don’t like. I would only ask that we all work to fine tune our ears to hear and fine tune our hearts to obey.