CONNECT (to God): Admitthat we are powerless over our addictions and compulsions and our life is unmanageable. Believethat there is a caring power greater than us who can restore our sanity. Commitour life and will to Christ’s care and control.
INTROSPECT (Myself): Inventoryour life’s good and bad actions. Admitto God, ourselves and another the exact nature of our wrongs.
Become readyto have God remove all our character defects. AskGod to remove our shortcoming.
CORRECT (with Others):
Make a listof people we have harmed, become willing to make amends
Make amendsexcept when it would cause injury
Continue dailyinventory; promptly admit when we’re wrong.
REFLECT (to the World): Prayonly to know God’s will and for the power to carry it out. Carrythis message to everyone and practice the principles.
CELEBRATE RECOVERY’S EIGHT RECOVERY PRINCIPLES
The Road to Recovery Based on the Beatitudes
Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Step 1)
”Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3
In August, I will have completed my 4th year in CR. This Thursday, I will celebrate 2 years continuing in my recovery for my eating disorder. My natural inclination is to hesitate before using the word ”Victory” in this area, because I have not and cannot do this perfectly. I see upward progression with longer periods of self-surrender to the Holy Spirit (instead of calling it self-control), and the creation of healthier habits and coping mechanisms, but at any moment, I can still so easily lie to myself and say, ”it doesn’t really matter if I do that, eat that”, and give in.
I have finally admitted to myself that the coping mechanisms of eating for self-comfort and pleasure that I have used for over 4 decades will not just go away in 4 years. I acknowledge that I am still spiritually poor in this area – I give in to the flesh too often instead of giving in to the Holy Spirit. It will take a long time of habitual obedience, surrendering to the Spirit’s control over me, and literally NOT feeding my flesh every time I feel like it before this will become more consistent behavior. I have therefore made it a point to do certain things that cause me to feel physical discomfort.
I practice intermittent fasting for 16 hours a day on most days, and exercise 4 to 5 hours a week, 5 – 7 days a week. The most important aspect of this is to learn to override my flesh’s laziness, and build healthier habits over the long run. Because I don’t WANT to exercise is NOT a good enough reason for me NOT to do it. And just because I WANT to eat a tub of chocolate fudge frosting doesn’t mean I should.
The scripture God has given me for this is 1 Cor 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
So run with purpose in every step. You are not just shadowboxing. Discipline your body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, it is possible that after preaching to others you yourself might be disqualified.
I have to train my body, and my mind as it burns new pathways, to do what it should. It will NEVER want to do these things naturally – I have to teach it to obey my will so I will achieve my purpose in God.
So my victories are that I haven’t given up, and I am still striving to surrender my will to the Spirit’s, and gain mastery over my flesh and mind. I have created good, relatively consistent (although not perfect) eating and exercise habits, but I have also acknowledged that I will NEVER be able to get it all right all the time, and will ALWAYS have the tendency to do the wrong, selfish, flesh-feeding thing.
Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)
”Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
Too often I forget that God is right there with me, offering power and guidance. But when I have tapped into His power, He has given me the ability to overcome my flesh, be patient and wait out cravings, and respond to Him in obedience by holding my tongue (or my fingers, if I am typing). Conversely, when I forget His presence, I instinctively fall back on my own coping mechanisms to either manipulate my circumstances, myself or those around me to help me obtain what I think I need at that moment.
I also forget about His love for me. I still yearn for love and acceptance from other people, and there is always the temptation for me to grade myself according to how other people see (or do not see) me. I forget that it is only His opinion that matters, and that He does not judge me on my outward appearance, and loves me unconditionally.
One of the great scriptures He has shown me for this issue is Song of Solomon 4:7. ”You are all beautiful, my love. There is no spot in you.” Isn’t that what we all want to hear? That we are acceptable and loved just like we are? Of course, we expect it from others, and are disappointed when they don’t give it to us – but we forget that we are basically incapable of giving unconditional acceptance to others as well.
Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step 3)
”Happy are the meek.”Matthew 5:5
I have a bad habit of wanting God to move according to my schedule. So one of the victories I have had this past year is the ability to wait, to be more patient, and not to run ahead of God. If He is holding something back, I now realize that it is for an important reason. Something else is not ready yet for His entire plan to be put into action. So I have committed my timeline to God, as well as my hopes and dreams for relationships and projects.
I have also had to remind myself that, at 52, the majority of my life has passed, and that there’s a good chance that I and my life will not necessarily turn out like I had originally hoped. I have to accept God’s plan for my life, and stop fighting for it to be something other than it is. He knows what is best, He has a plan for me, and He created me specifically to accomplish that plan.
And although that sounds kind of down, I have found a sublime, surreal peace in my life by accepting what is not and will not be. There’s a 99% chance I will never lose all of my weight and I will never be what others call ”beautiful”. I will probably never have some big women’s ministry, or sing my songs before thousands of people, or even get to teach Bible at a high school. I will probably never have enough money to just relax and travel around.
But instead of wasting time and energy thinking about what I do not have, I spend a lot of time in gratitude for how great the life I have really is. All members of my family are alive and relatively healthy, they all love me, and our relationships are now peaceful. Our house and vehicles are basically paid for, we have less debt than most people, our house is situated in the most beautiful place, and I have my own indoor swim spa. I have a circle of friends who actually adore me and include me in their life and recreation. I get to pastor, teach and preach, lead worship and recovery. I get to create with programming, I have a job with a great Christian company and everyone gets along with and likes each other. I have much more to be thankful for than I have to be down about.
But the one thing that has brought me more peace and freedom than anything is the feeling that I am right in the center of God’s will for me at this time. When I stopped fighting and accepted that everything I need He will provide if I just stay where He wants me, that’s when the peace descended, and has remained. He has given me the joy and peace I have always wanted, even though very little about my circumstances has changed. He can BYPASS all of those things you THINK you need to be happy, and just infuse you directly with happiness.
Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps 4 and 5)
”Happy are the pure in heart.”Matthew 5:8
Having share group, and more importantly, a step study group, has been invaluable in my self-evaluation. Speaking things out loud, having people hear and accept things that cause me shame, regret or pain, has brought so much healing into my life. But having to ask myself questions and answer them keeps me looking at my life and asking questions on a regular basis that I never would ask. I don’t think there will be a time in my life when I am not doing step study, and I’m looking forward to doing books 5 – 8.
Another benefit of step study is that, for the first time in probably 15 years, I feel like I can have friendships – like I WANT to have friendships, and would be willing to make the time and reserve the energy for relationships. I have avoided them for a long time for fear of being rejected and hurt again. But experiencing acceptance and love week after week, day after day, from women who even look forward to spending time with me brings me a joy I didn’t realize I could ever feel again.
I think I love most the ready availability of the friends I have made – they are always a phone call or text away. And they don’t hesitate to call or text me either. We have each others’ backs, and that is something that I haven’t felt from anyone else other than my KK and another person with whom I was close, but ended up completely rejected by. The love from my girls has been healing up the hurt caused by that one person’s rejection.
Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)
”Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” Matthew 5:6
This is the hardest part. Voluntarily surrendering all my protective coping mechanisms, and having to trust that God will be my protector and my comfort, is a real challenge. These character defects are partially my sinful, fleshy bent to just do whatever I want. But some of them are results of my trying to deal with my past hurts and protect myself from future hurts. However, the more I become healed of my past hurts and unafraid of future hurts, the less need I have for my coping mechanisms. So the more healed I get, the more willing I am to let Him change me.
My selfishness never ceases to amaze me. Granted, with those that express love and kindness to me, I want to express it back. But loving those that do not express love and kindness to me still eludes me. It is a struggle, because I still fall back into trying to force myself to feel good things toward them and be nice instead of praying in the Spirit and letting the Holy Spirit flood me with His selfless, giving love for those people. But I believe that He is not done with me yet in that area, and I am hoping that this next year in Him will show improvement in that area.
I have really gotten to know PAMI this year – PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT. He has been gently reminding me that people are more important than my tasks, my projects, my Netflix shows, my food, my hurts, my fears, and my desires. Because of PAMI, I have been able to enter into more intimate and trusting relationships with other people in my life.
Also, I have discovered all of the rules I have for myself, rules that allow me to feel ”good enough” in comparison with everyone else. I have had a list of things I had to do and be which would make up for all of the things I couldn’t do and be. I would list them over and over to myself when I felt insecure, or felt other people were rejecting me. But God doesn’t want me to make up and live by these rules. He just wants me to listen to, love and obey Him – nothing more, nothing less. He wants me to accept that He made me exactly as I am, with specific flaws and gifts, in order to accomplish my purpose in this life – so there is no comparison between me and others, because they don’t have my call on their life.
Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps 8 and 9)
”Happy are the merciful.” ”Happy are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:7,9
I keep thinking I’m good with this, and then something happens and I realize that maybe, just maybe, I have not really forgiven someone. Instead, I’ve just pushed them to the back of my mind, trying to forget them. But then you see them, like at a restaurant, and you feel pain you thought you were over. You have to dive back into the reason you hurt. But the good thing is that, this time, I am not alone or isolated when I do it. I actually have other people that are angry about the fact that this person hurt me, which brings about a type of healing in itself.
Forgiveness is a continual thing. You can’t stop the pain that you feel at the betrayal or rejection, but you can make a decision to not make them pay for the pain they have caused you, and in my case, also just finally stop running after them in hopes they may actually want to be my friend again. Their rejection of me, in this case, is their loss, as well as mine. I have friends that are better and more true than she ever was, and I need to accept the fact that we were just meant to cross paths for a season and let it go at that.
Reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)
So I realize that I need to continually be reminded of His presence, His power and His love for me. I know I talk about it all the time, but that’s why I created the Jesus Text Me program – because I need to be reminded about Him all throughout the day. Otherwise, He fades into the busy background of my life, and I try to go through the day in my own limited strength, with my own limited wisdom and understanding. I need Him continually tapping me on the shoulder to remind me He is there with me, and all I have to do is ask Him to provide me with the resources I need to get through that moment.
And as I said before, there’s nothing like Step Study to keep you honest with yourself (if you do your homework), and it re-centers and re-focuses you back to God.
But I have found a surprising result of my disciplining my body this year – I finally have a steady prayer time during my morning exercise. I haven’t had one for probably 20 years. But it is a habit I cherish, not just as having created a healthy habit of things to check off of my list, but it is the time I spend going through my gratitude list. That alone recalibrates my life and turns me back toward Him.
Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step 12)
”Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.” Matthew 5:10
I’ve always been a leader, someone who teaches, preaches, leads worship. But this time, I’m also bringing this good news by my example and my word. The healing I’ve received, I have found, is an inspiration to others who struggle. They see what God can do in a life that started out in a coma-like depression, and has resulted up to this day in a joyous, peaceful daily experience.
I’ve been told that my stark honesty about my flaws and failures has made others feel better about being a ”broken” leader. They realize they don’t have to be perfect to serve. They just have to be real, and try to live as obediently as they can.
This was the 2/16/16 Celebrate Recovery lesson on Forgiveness. We talked about Love and 1 Cor 13, and 1 John 4 – love and fear. We also talked about the need to absorb the penalty of the sins committed against us.
The Holy Spirit. That is the answer to every question.
How do I overcome this addiction? The Holy Spirit.
How do I become healed of this hurt? The Holy Spirit.
How do I become free from this hangup? The Holy Spirit.
Somehow, as Christians, we believe we needed the Holy Spirit’s help to become saved, but then think we can take it from there. How silly of us.
As we say every week at Celebrate Recovery at Ministry House, if we could have fixed ourselves by now, we would have. But we can’t. It is impossible. And God doesn’t expect us to white-knuckle it, and do it all by the force of our will.
Every time we face a temptation, our only hope is to call out to the Holy Spirit in prayer and ask for His divine intervention and power to rescue us from the situation, either by removing the temptation or giving us the ability to withstand it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
It is the habit that will SAVE you every time. But it takes breaking the old deceptive habit of self-preservation and doing things the way we’ve always done them. It takes being willing to feel emotions you have been avoiding, and experience pain and disappointment without covering them up with substances and distractions.
Yesterday, I had an “aha” moment that made me feel foolish. I am at the 11 month mark of successfully surrendering my eating disorder. The way I have had victory is by NOT doing any of the things I have done before – extreme dieting or starving or exercise, followed by stuffing and losing control, followed by extreme hopelessness and feelings of shame and failure.
The way I have done it is solely by crying out to the Lord every time I face a food or situation that has the power to trigger me, and asking Him to help me experience my emotions and the discomfort of this situation as it is, un-soothed and un-distracted by my drug of choice – food. I ask Him to rescue me AT THIS MOMENT from THIS TEMPTATION. And he has, every time.
So when I asked God why I was struggling with the next issue He has instructed me to deal with, emotional vulnerability, He showed me it was simply out of fear of being emotionally hurt, betrayed, or even attacked again. I asked how I can possibly overcome that fear. He said the same way you have overcome your eating disorder.
“Pray for my Holy Spirit to give you the supernatural power to experience and move through any negative emotions and disturbing situations without self-soothing. And I will do it.”
How simple. Why did I not realize that the same Holy Spirit power that has saved me from destroying myself with food is the same power that can protect me from the emotional pain that living in this world can bring?
So call upon the Holy Spirit, every time, over and over again, so you can get through each day, one moment at a time. The answer to every question is The Holy Spirit.
These are the notes from a lesson we taught at Celebrate Recovery last night on Co-Dependency. A huge thanks goes to Leticia Hall, the author of this lesson. Penny, Ronnie and Chad heard the lesson when they visited World Harvest Church Roswell’s CR almost 2 years ago, and the lesson is just as powerful today.
We are posting the notes here, because everyone who heard the lesson wanted them! That’s the sign of a life-changing lesson – thanks again, Leticia. You can download the lesson here: TheProblemswithCodependency
The Problems with Codependency
The term first came into professional language in the late 1970’s. It became a way of describing people who resist giving up their caretaker role as much as the chemically addicted person resists staying clean.
However, the reference is no longer limited to this. It is now used to describe people struggling with overreliance and control issues – whether or not they are in a relationship with an unhealthy person.
Codependency is an overdependence on others. The attempt to control the very thing/situation or person that is controlling us.
It is a matter of degree: to some extent…aren’t we all controlled by actions and opinions of others?
It is the “act of controlling” which characterizes those who are codependent.
What Does Codepency Look Like?
The Caretaker (not care giver)
Care “takers” try to do for others what they could do for themselves
They over anticipate what others need so they can help
They try to be the hero, eager to fix problems
The one who bails others out of the consequences of their poor choices.
They cover for others’ mistakes.
They protect and defend others by making excuses for their inappropriate behavior. They minimize the seriousness of a problem.
This is not the one trying to be considerate of others’ real needs & feelings.
Pleasers try to do or be what they think others want them to do or be.
They readily agree to avoid confrontation.
They control others by doing or saying anything for anyone at anytime.
The Helpless Victim
Choose to be weak unnecessarily. They don’t want to be helped, they want to be taken care of.
They manipulate others to feel sorry for them…controlling others through “weakness.
I Peter 5:3nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock
Intimidators get things done their way. They are pushy even without raising their voices.
They use knowledge to control. They are cordial & friendly as long as you agree with them.
What Drives a Codependent Person?
Fearof disapproval, rejection or anger. Have a nagging dread that something terrible is going to happen if they don’t stay in control.
Some worry about what others might do or think if they fail.
(Like a parent worried that others will view them as a bad parent for their adult child’s irresponsible behavior)
It’s appropriate to need and depend on other people and for family members to want each other’s love and acceptance. But codependents need and depend on others too much.
Codependents make others so important that their ultimate joy & fulfillment in life hinges on others’ love, approval and presence.
The “generational” sin. Sins passed to the next generation by parental example.
Codependency is a learned behavior.
Children have no control over their parents nor the example they set, but they are responsible for choosing to follow or reject it.
What is wrong with Codependency?
It doesn’t work
It creates more problems, such as:
Depression and Addiction
3. It’s Unloving
4. It’s a Sign of an Unrecognized Problem.
Recognizing signs – the attachment point:
An unhealthy attachment is when:
– we may become excessively worried & preoccupied with a problem or person (when much of our mental energy & emotions is attached)
– we may graduate to becoming obsessed with and controlling of the people & problems in our environment
– we become total reactionaries – instead of acting purely by our own will/choice
– we may become emotionally dependent on the people around us
Are you a reactor?
Reacting usually does not work so why do we do it?
Typically we are anxious and afraid of what has happened, what might happen and what is happening.
– we react because most people react
– we react because we think we have to react…we actually don’t have to
– sometimes we react because we don’t feel good about ourselves
1. We don’t have to forfeit our peace nor our power to think & feel for anyone or anything. Remember we have the same access to facts/resources when we are at peace as when we’re frantic & chaos. Our minds perform at peak levels when they are free of emotions.
2. We don’t have to take things so seriously (ourselves, events or other people)
3. We don’t have to take other peoples behaviors as reflections of our self-worth.
4. We don’t have to take rejection as a reflection of our self-worth
5. We don’t have to take things so personally.
6. We don’t have to take little things personally either.
Our reactions can result in a chain reaction that eventually causes everyone to be upset and nobody knows why. Then everyone’s out of control and being controlled. (The Perfect Storm for a Codependent!!)
Sometimes our reactions provoke other people to react in certain ways. We actually help them justify certain behaviors. (gives the addict their “out”)
1. Learn to recognize when you are reacting, when you are allowing someone or something yank your strings.
Recognize those feelings of anxiety, outrage, rejection, shame, worry or confusion
When you lose your sense of peace & serenity, you are caught up in a reaction.
2. Make yourself comfortable.
When you realize you are in the midst of a chaotic reaction, say or do as little as possible until you can restore your level of serenity and peace.
Go for a walk, clean the kitchen, sit in the bathroom, go to a friend’s house, go to a meeting – but do something safe. Don’t take a fast drive down the street…etc
3. Examine what happened. Sort yourself out, or discuss it with a friend to help clear your thoughts and emotions. Feelings and emotions go wild when we try to keep them caged inside. Talk about your feelings and take responsibility for them.
4. Figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself. Make decisions based on reality and make them from a peaceful state. Do want to let it go? Do you need to apologize? Do you need to have a heart to heart talk with someone?
Keep in mind what your responsibilities are:
You are not responsible for making others “see the light”, nor to “set them straight”. If you can’t get peaceful about a decision, then let it go. It’s not time to make it yet. Wait until your mind is consistent and emotions are calm.
Set yourself free: Let Go and Let God
People say codependent people are controllers.
Contrary to what copendents think, they are not the people “who make things happen”…they are people who consistently with a great deal of effort try to force things to happen.
– We control in the name of love
– we do it because we are only trying to help
– we do it because we know best how things should go and only we know how people should behave
– we do it because we are right and they are wrong
– we control because we are afraid not to do it
– we do it because we don’t know what else to do.
– we do it to stop the pain
– we control because we think we have to
– we control because we don’t think
– we control because controlling is all we can think about…..that’s the way we’ve always done things
Control is an illusion. People ultimately do what they want to do. They feel how they want to feel, think what they want to think. They do the things they believe they need to do and they will change only when they are ready to change. It does not matter if they are right or wrong, or if they are hurting themselves. It does not matter.
We cannot change people. It’s the cold hard truth. It is hard to accept. But as the saying goes “All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything.”
What a great time we had on New Year’s Eve! Karaoke, musical entertainment by Matt Pelt and John Knaves, great home cooking, and the kids made crafts. We sang and played past midnight, and the group voted to sing “Redeemed” while it turned midnight and we brought in the New Year (YouTube video below), because the thing we are most grateful for is that we have been redeemed from our past, our sins, our strongholds, our habits, hang-ups and hurts through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Thank you to the adults and kids who came and made this the best New Year’s Eve we can remember. Here’s to looking toward the victories and the blessings that this year will bring, and the empowering power of the Holy Spirit of God who will continue to change us into the image of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Resentment: a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.
Ever been “done wrong”? Sure, we all have. But we don’t carry every single wrong ever done to us, do we? (Yes, I know, some people try, but it is physically impossible for the brain to remember that much).
Have you ever asked yourself why some wrongs stay with us so long? I mean, think about it – you’ve been wronged many times, but they all don’t keep you up at night. Only certain ones do. Why?
I have a theory. I believe that we only get mad at things and people that we believe are standing in the way of us getting what we perceive we NEED. I didn’t say “want”, but “need”. We believe we MUST have something (or someone), and anyone who gets in our way incurs our wrath.
Now some things are healthy needs – like safety, security, significance. We need these things, and people who stopped us from being safe, secure, or made us feel insignificant did longer lasting damage to us than just low-key disses. If we were abused, that can really damage our trust that we will find safety and security, and even mess with our self-worth.
However, some things for which we hold bitterness and resentment are about “perceived” needs – things we THINK we need – but actually are more of a “want”. We think we need a better job or more money or a mate to be happy, but those aren’t needs – they are wants. Yet, we have developed resentment and bitterness toward employers or managers that have hindered our ability to move up the corporate ladder, or lovers who dared to leave us instead of staying and making us feel more important and significant. Some of us even resent partners in relationships that were unhealthy and we never should have been with in the first place, but that makes no difference to our perceived needs. They blocked us from getting something important, and for that, we will cling to our disappointment and anger.
The trick is actually looking at the resentments (and the longer the history of the resentment, the longer we need to look at it). Were these real needs that were stolen from us, or were these perceived needs? Did these people take from us purposefully, or were they just in self-preservation mode trying to do what was best for them at that time? Or were these simply hurting people who were lashing out because they were hurting?
As long as we cling to the belief that what they did caused us irreparable harm, we will continue to resent them. But if we find that we are ok without the things they either withheld from us, or blocked us from receiving, then we can let that bitterness and resentment go. However, it won’t just happen on its own. You have to seek peace within yourself and with others.
You have to be willing to offer forgiveness to those who hurt you. You have to desire wholeness in your life more than you want revenge. You have to earnestly desire to move forward with life and seek your happiness in God and your future. You have to let go of the resentment so God can take it from you.
Here’s a little lesson on temptation. The Greek word for temptation is Periazo, which means to reveal weakness within you. You cannot be tempted by something if the weakness for it is not already inside of you. If you are being tempted, God is using it to reveal TO YOU your weakness so you can pay attention to it and deal with its root.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” (James 1:13)
That is why one person can be around alcohol, drugs, food, shopping malls, people of the same or opposite sex and not experience temptation. Temptation does NOT come from outside of us – it comes from WITHIN us. Temptation is an extremely personal and individual experience, with each of us tempted in different ways by different things.
God does not tempt us, but He allows us to be tempted. It works in the same way your body coughs when you are sick – you cough to get anything that is not native to your lungs out of your lungs. The cough is actually not your problem – it is a symptom of your sickness. In the same way, temptation is not the problem – it is a symptom of your weakness (or for Celebrate Recovery people – your hurt, habit or hang-up).
We have to pay attention to our temptations. We cannot control the desires that rise up within us, but we CAN control what we do with those desires. We can choose to take our thoughts captive and not dwell on thoughts that feed our unhealthy desires.
1 Corinithings 10:23 says “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.
I have to remind myself continually that just because I have a desire to do something doesn’t mean I HAVE to do it. It is a choice every time. When I am self-soothing myself with food, it feels like I am out of control, but I am actually making a non-thinking decision to do it most of the time. When I confront myself with the truth that I don’t HAVE to give in to the desire and the temptation, half of the time I refrain. Now I just need to get the OTHER half under control!
God knows how much temptation we can handle. But like a good, non-codependent parent, He allows us to experience and also fall into the temptation that stems from our weakness. Otherwise, we would never have to come face to face with our issues – He would just keep rescuing us and we would never learn anything, grow or be healed.
1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
So the next time you experience temptation, don’t just automatically give in to it, or try to simply withstand it in your own limited power. Speak the Word of God to yourself – yes, you can have it, but is it beneficial and constructive to you, or will it tear you down? Ask God to show you the root of the desire, and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to stand and not fall. Remind yourself that having a desire and giving in to a desire are two different and non-related things. Look at the temptation as the cough telling you that you need the Doctor – the Healer – to remove the root cause of the weakness.
This past weekend, we had a recreational event – a cookout by the lake. Kids fished and played, adults talked around the fire, both roasted marshmallows. We broke bread together, fellowshipped together, prayed together, and listened to each other. New friends were made, and new possibilities began.
That is a perfect picture of what our Higher Power, Jesus, wants us to do. He wants us to be healed enough to build healthy relationships, stable friendships and secure confidantes. We need each other – mental, spiritual and emotional health does not occur in a vacuum. What happens to us in our lives makes us who we are, and challenges make us stronger and force us to define who we are and who we will be.
The more you fellowship with people who are going in the same direction as you, the larger the support group you will have on your journey to healing. When you open up to a safe group of people, the shame that comes from keeping sick secrets is cut off of you, and the power of the enemy is broken. Freedom comes from healthy families – something not all of us experienced – so Celebrate Recovery allows you to have a new, healthy family.
Everyone will not be perfect. They are human just like you. They will have good and bad hair days, sometimes be patient and sometimes be frustrated. Some days they will want to spend time with and talk to you, and some days they just want to be by themselves or others.
We just have to remember that we need to treat others the way we want to be treated ON OUR WORST DAYS, especially when we’re tempted to abort a relationship because someone freaked out on you once.
So join us at Celebrate Recovery. Rediscover what it means to have friends and safe fun. Find comfort in knowing you aren’t the only one struggling. Learn to love others as you learn to love yourself and to love God. It’s the best way ever to heal.
I ordered our new business cards for Celebrate Recovery and Ministry House last night. I spent HOURS pouring over them, trying to get them perfect. I ordered one set with our names on them, and another set without our names for CR members to use for inviting others. I was meticulous.
I put the first order in with our names, and then started working on the other cards when suddenly I realized I HAD THE WRONG PHONE NUMBER ON THERE. Yes, yes – I had mistyped 1 little digit. They read 458 instead of 459. I was able to correct the cards without our names, but I was frantic about cancelling or editing the other order.
So I looked to see how to cancel or edit the order, and realized that I had clicked an authorization stating that I understood that I could not cancel or edit anything once it is submitted. I thought surely there must be an exception, but no, there are NO exceptions to this rule. So I will have to change the number 8 to 9 on the front AND back of 250 cards, and the cards will look that much less professional. I hate that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when I do something like this.
Well, several things hit me.
When we make a mistake, we can’t change it. It is there and will remain in the past and become a part of history. No matter how much we wish and try and cry, we cannot change that. We just have to accept the fact that it exists, and just move on. This is part of the “things we cannot change” portion of the Serenity Prayer.
Perspective affects our emotions and our actions. The cards, including shipping, cost a whopping $26. This is a decent chunk of money, but will not get us thrown out into the streets. I had to step back and put this into perspective. Worse comes to worse, I’m out $26 (and I’ve thrown out good money on other things much worse than that). I can write on the cards, and although they will not look as professional, it really doesn’t matter. So it is not a total loss, just an aggravating loss. I don’t have to stay sick to my stomach about it, but can let it go. Realizing these things let me breathe again.
Things don’t always have to go exactly as I planned for a situation to work out. A handwritten number 9 will not ruin everything. The only important thing is that people can communicate with us. A perfect (but wrong) card is ineffective and useless, so I sacrifice perfection for simply making things work practically – and that is acceptable. What I have to offer is ENOUGH to get the job done.
God is NOTHING like Vistaprint. I may not be able to ring up Vistaprint and ask them to make sure that the finished product will be right in spite of my errors, but I can always ask God to take whatever mess I might have made of things and use them for His glory and my good. He has promised to make THIS finished product (me) completely “right” for communicating His Word, love, will and plan by promising that He will complete the work that He has begun in me, until all of my thoughts and actions reflect Jesus.
So if you are sick to your stomach about some screw up or failure from your historic or recent past, you don’t have to continue to wallow in the mire of icky feelings and thoughts of “what’s the use?” Bring those transgressions, those sins, to your Higher Power (Jesus), and ask Him to correct in you the things that cause you to act that way. Ask Him to “recalculate” your life so that you still end up where He originally intended you to be (His plan for your life).
Unlike VistaPrint, He CAN fix our cards (the outcome after our actions), regardless of what we have done. It doesn’t mean there won’t be earthly consequences, but if you are willing to go through the Lord’s discipline, you will be healthier and more Christ-like on the other side when you are done. And you’ll ask your Sponsor to “proof read” your life to make sure everything is looking as it should.