• Mary Grothe

Feed the Spirit, Starve the Flesh

It is for freedom, that I am set free. I love the opening of Galatians Chapter 5… But I am still human. Does anyone else have this inner battle between feeding your fleshy desires versus feeding the Spirit?

I was saved at 29 years old. Later in life than most. That means I had nearly 3 decades of giving into the worst temptations and living by way of this world.

The “rules” of this world were everything to me. I was addicted to success. I worked hard and played hard. I climbed the corporate ladder… fast. I raced to the top, only to find myself standing there by myself.

I was insecure and unsure of myself on many days… but I woke up, dressed the part, worked hard, and produced results day in and day out. I had 4:45 am wake up calls and 10 pm bedtimes. The world gave me a playbook for success and I felt as though I had mastered it. I was the #1 sales rep. I made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Then I went on to be a VP of Sales & Marketing, quadrupled the company’s revenue in less than a year, and I started my first company, all by age 28.

I had it all. And people were jealous. And that felt good. Because of my broken upbringing, I STILL didn’t feel worthy or good enough, even with all this “success”. I was so empty inside, nothing could fill me up. I just consumed, consumed, and consumed everything this world had to offer me, but it never filled up my heart or satisfied me. I just kept going for more. And I wasn’t a very nice person. My ego was disgusting. My mouth was nasty. My partying behavior was unnecessary. I was so broken and I had no idea. Gahhhh my poor heart. Thinking back to these days makes me cry. The world had it so wrong but I let run my life and tell me what to do. And I was a straight-A student.

I bought friends through rounds of drinks and fancy trips. I really believed they liked me. Maybe they did, but they liked taking advantage of my insecurities and couldn’t wait for me to fund the next excursion. I had 2 houses and 3 cars… yippee… I also had a broken heart and there was no life inside of me. In fact, my eyes were even a different color back then. The light inside of me had burnt out.

I was lost. I was tired. I was broken…

I hit rock bottom. Maybe one day I will feel comfortable enough with all of you to share what really happened, but let’s just say God put a firm stop to my behavior and nonsense, for which I am so grateful because I didn’t even know who He was yet. But He jumped in and saved me before I was willing to be saved. He stopped my life on a dime… everything came down. It needed to. My life was headed down the wrong path and only He could pull me out of the waters. I was drowning.

I spent 6 months cleaning up my life. And on a fateful Christmas morning, I said yes to Jesus. But I didn’t know how good He was at first, as it took me a few months of learning how to trust Him (yes, I had major trust issues, people) and learn about a different way of life.

Spirit versus Flesh.

Spirit versus Flesh.

Galatians is my favorite book in the bible. The words describe every battle in my life. I had to unlearn all the ways of the world. And emotionally separate from them. God had to help me. My identity as I knew it had to die. My obsession with being #1 and making a lot of money had to die. My insecurities had to die. My bad behavior had to die. My potty mouth had to die. My temptations had to die.

I died so I could live.

I gave it all up. I surrendered to Him. I gave Him my life as He had given me His… we formed a relationship in those early months of getting to know each other.

I started to learn what REAL love was for the first time. Every time I sang a worship song or prayed, tears streamed down my face… sometimes to the point where I couldn’t even sing. How could anyone love me like this? How could I go 29 years without this kind of love?

Starving the flesh became easier and easier for me. The Spirit felt so good. His love felt so warm and it made me whole. God didn’t waste any time changing my life… when I said yes, everything changed.

Am I perfect? No. Is choosing to starve the flesh a daily decision? Yes. Is saying yes to God a daily decision? Yes… sometimes multiple times per day. My focus this year has been feeding the Spirit. I have done more reading this year than I ever have. I take notes… I’d never taken notes previously. I let God speak to me through His word, written and verbal. I talk to Him all day every day. I am so thankful I do not have to live this life and fight these battles on my own.

But like the rest of us, I have seasons… seasons where I give in. Seasons where I don’t fight as hard as I should as the enemy begins walking down well-worn paths and stealing my joy. I have seasons where I am tired, burnt out, and don’t fight the way I should. The way Christ fights for me. I hate those seasons but have noticed that committing daily to God helps lessens the temptations and gives me the strength to say no to my flesh and yes to Him!

Praise Jesus for his unconditional love for me and His willingness to guide me through my earthly life. I am not perfect, but He is. And for that I am grateful.

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