if your heart gets thirsty, don’t grab the vinegar

my thirst for life/insightfromawoman'sheartdesire. a strong feeling of wanting or wishing for something.

desire fuels dreams. it ignites the heart.

Beethoven’s 5th symphony resulted from the desire sparked in the heart of the writer.

Sir Edmond Hilary conquered Mt Everest driven by his desire to overcome.

my aunt and uncle are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary soon because desire sustained their love through the years. (70 years…wow…amazing…beyond amazing)

desire believes the possibility of action. action believes achievement worthwhile.

emotionalguage/insight from a woman's hearti’ve said before that feelings are like a gauge in life. understanding their purpose and potential helps me harness my energy in the right directions. it requires developing skills so that my feelings are a working part of the system toward functionality. feelings, like anger and frustration, are labelled as negative but are intended as a warning that something is not working properly. giving my attention to the warning and taking action to fix the problem keeps my overall system/goals on track. suppressing or misusing the emotion often produces adverse effects.

desire is an important part of our system controls. it was designed to motivate us. carry us through difficult times. press us toward goals.

however, a wounded heart can grab desire and pull it into a cycle of addiction. addictions serve as relief from the pain of the wounds the heart is experiencing. our desire for wholeness and self preservation is strong. addiction is like being thirsty and trying to quench the thirst with vinegar instead of water.

broken/insight from a woman's heart

i gained some wisdom on this point from John. in his writings, he shares a memory about a Samaritan woman. Jesus was getting out of town because the religious leaders were jealous and on another rampage. tired and thirsty, he sits down to rest and meets this woman. culturally, He should have dismissed her. her wounded heart grabbed His attention. compassion moved Him. He was physically tired and thirsty. she could help him with that. she was emotionally thirsty and He could help her. there is something very powerful about meeting someone who knows nothing about me yet is able to recognize specific details of my life. it gets my attention. it got the Samaritan woman’s attention, too.

conversation/insight from a woman's heart

basically, the conversation began with the reality that “thirst” is a reoccurring need. a need that can not be ignored. quenching physical thirst is easy. emotional thirst is challenging; therefore, my natural inclination is to reach for a physical solution (easier because i understand my physical world better). this woman had done this. i don’t think Jesus was labelling this woman the way everyone else did. her actions were a symptom of a deeper issue…a wounded heart. a woman in search for significance and love. a woman searching for relief of her pain…loneliness. in that light, can you see yourself in her shoes? can you look inside your heart and see times when you were so thirsty. the temptation for grabbing vinegar (addiction) appearing to be a reasonable solution? her desire for love had sent her on a journey. when disappointed, that same desire changed her path. she was a long path of failed relationships. when one relationship didn’t work…thirst drove her to the next…and the next. i can only imagine her emotional journey. i can understand it because along the way i have reached for physical solutions to the cry of my own wounded heart.

the advice she received was this:

  • unless you deal with the root issue, you only perpetuate the thirst.
  • physical solutions applied to emotional /spiritual issues result in addiction.

during those days, people were looking for “the messiah”. he would change their world. i think Jesus was saying that He came…He was there…in human form. however, the answer was not the fact that He was in their midst. humans eyes see value so superficially. the plan was not to come and set up His kingdom and taken over. people felt like that would have made “the world right” and as “it should be”. i think He was showing us that we were created with all the resources required to live healthy, successful lives. i think He came the way He did to demonstrate how to use this “being” He had created. you know, tell me and i learn in part…show me and i understand the lesson better. He created mankind as an intricate being with great potential. that creation combined with His wisdom was intended to guide the journey called life. in the garden, God came and walked with man. He left the living to the man. man was given everything he needed to exist, including wisdom and guidelines (healthy boundaries). He left the details of how it was walked out to the man. i think Jesus did the same. He demonstrated how it worked.

pathways/insight from a woman's heart

He told us that His kingdom could be summed up as:

  • righteousness (doing things the right way; using the wisdom provided )
  • peace (freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquillity)
  • and joy (delight, gladness, pleasure-not dependent on circumstances).

He also said that all the instructions in the Bible were about relationship and summed them up as:

  • love God.
  • and love your neighbour (the people around you).

you know…the bottom line…as simple as it gets. equation for success? actioning wisdom the right way + peace + joy + love (for God and man) = successful living.

sounds simple. yet, vinegar (addiction) as distasteful as it is, becomes the alternative we reach for even when we know water (the success equation above) is the refresher.

addictions are a trap. they bring temporary relief. however, they also bring shame. shame brings more pain (the reason we turned to addiction in the first place). increased pain brings increased desire for blocking the pain causing us to reach for the addiction again. except, a principle called diminishing returns applies next. the relief acquired is diminished requiring more of the addiction to satisfy. around and around the cycle goes. physical solutions to a spiritual/emotional issue is always temporary at best…requiring that you repeat those solutions over and over while remaining as thirsty as before.

there are many addictions….some obvious….some culturally acceptable…some not so much. the easiest to recognize and judge (because we tend to be a bit judgemental) are things like alcoholism, drugs, self harming, over eating, outburst of anger, or sexual addictions. the ones more difficult to identify are co-dependency (helping others or a good cause), sports achievements, business success, and even things like ministry or charity. maybe you could add to the list. all designed to distract from the real issue and bring temporary relief. vinegar instead of the real thirst quencher (real solutions).

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so, here is the wisdom is i see in john’s story:

  1. be honest. see the problem for what it is: no more hiding, blaming, or denying it. face up to the truth of how i am living.
  2. find a safe atmosphere of acceptance. Jesus didn’t treat the Samaritan woman like the other people in her life who kept her bound in her shame! He was honest but accepting (which she longed for) and gave her a safe place to open herself up to honesty.
  3. adjust perspective. i need to work through “why i do the things i do”. define the “junk” that i have come to accept as “right” thinking and action. mutual ignorance (enablers) won’t assist in gaining the correct perspective. i need to be challenged.
  4. allow time. i need time to allow change to take place. it’s not quick! i must apply deliberate, consistent action.
  5. ask for help. if appropriate support or medical assistance are required…be humble and meek enough to ASK FOR HELP. humility does not come naturally. it’s a purposeful action. i also pray and look for wisdom as i’ve said before.
  6. be compassionate with “me”. compassion is easier given than received. i need to give myself the break i ask others to give themselves.
  7. don’t give up. deal with the pain. feel it. then challenge it. overcome it.

i get thirsty. i always will. the key is to learn the skill to quench the thirst. my momma taught me to reach for water when i am physically thirsty…not vinegar. i have that one down pat. when my soul and spirit are thirsty…there is an appropriate thirst quencher that won’t leave me perpetually thirsty and cycling in the disgusting taste of vinegar i call addiction.

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before you go…maybe you can help me with my next post. was this helpful? would you like to hear more about the addictions i cycled around in and how i was able to use the above steps to get out of the addiction cycle? if so, stop by and leave me a comment. i’d love to hear from you.

walking/insight to a woman's heart

it was nice to have you stop by,


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