Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Healing By Confessing

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

About ten years ago I got into my minivan that was parked on the street (we live on a hill), put it into reverse (by mistake) and drove it right into my husband's car - which then popped his car out of gear and rolled down the hill.  I had no idea how bad it was until I got out of the minivan. I saw my sweet husband running down the road after his car before it smashed it into someone's house. And what did I say? "Oh my gosh - I think there is something wrong with the minivan because I know I put it in drive and it just felt like it slipped."

After I said those words I almost slapped myself but I kept with my story. This is not one of my prouder moments. I stuck with it until later that week we went to church and was about to receive communion. And then it hit me - how awful a thing it was that I did. I made a mistake and then lied about it  (and really stuck to my story too).

It is so hard to admit when we are wrong. Sometimes, I think I might die before I admit I was wrong. And I've wondered, why should I do that in front of others? I tell my kids all the time it's OK to say that "I was wrong and I'm sorry" but then when it comes to me - my pride rears it's ugly head.

Let's all agree that admitting we are wrong is hard. If it wasn't, then I think the admission step of recovery would just be a bunch of words. And, I think it's easier to admit to God when we are wrong - (and this is my opinion) because we are not face to face. I have considered this before actually. If I was before God, would it be as easy to say "I screwed up!"?  

James is telling us to confess our sins to another righteous person. He's not saying to go out and look for the holiest person you can find. But rather, he is saying someone that is doing what God and man wants. 

It's why in Celebrate Recovery and a traditional 12 Step program, the 5th step involves that we admit to not only God and ourselves AND another being that we are wrong.  If we can find this type of person (and often it's someone who has gone before us such as a sponsor) usually that kind of righteous person isn't going to judge you - but rather understand your journey.

Personally, when I admit my sins I tend to feel a whole lot lighter - almost with a spring in my step because I know the ugliness is behind me. I'm not going to look back and dwell on it but look ahead and learn, knowing that I've admitted I was wrong.

I hope that I don't have anymore runaway minivans in my life and my prayer is that you too go get the "minivan" in your life and admit to someone so that you can embrace God's healing power.

recoveryBox can help be a daily accountability tool during your recovery journey.

Monday, November 20, 2017

What's Your Plan When Your Triggers Happen?

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me that God really does have amazing plans for me and that I need to let go of my agendas and submit to his.

BUT, this does not mean that there should be no planning going on in our lives. This verse refers to long term - where the direction of your life is going. When in recovery from an addiction, habit, hurt or hang-up, you must plan because part of recovery is identifying your triggers. And that's great - but then what?

We must then figure out what we will do when trigger occurs - and that takes planning! If we continue to do what we have always done then we get the same results. If we say "God will handle it now that I've admitted to him I'm a sinner" then we are being foolish.  God wants us to make our own choices not because he makes us or says so - but because he wants a relationship with us. And by making the right choices on our own we are declaring that we have let the old ways past and desire a new life.

So what do we do to combat our triggers? I can't tell you that because everyone's lives and circumstances are different.

Perhaps think about the yellow lights in the recoveryBox app and how they connect to triggers.

Yellow lights are based on being with a person who can lead us to acting out, a place that can lead us to acting out or a thing that can lead to acting out.

For example, if you know that going to a mall will tempt you to overspend, then don't go there. Perhaps in the past you would go to the mall when you got stressed out at work. The trigger of stress in our lives won't go away - so substitute where you will go when you feel that stress. Instead of the mall, perhaps go work out or go for a walk. Change the routine. Make a plan to handle the trigger of stress.

It's Friday night and you feel so alone at your apartment by yourself. In the past you would turn on the computer and start surfing for porn. What can you do? We aren't meant to be alone in life (which is why God created Eve for Adam). Find something to do in place of the computer to combat the isolation. Enroll in a cooking class or find a group that meets that has similar hobby interests to yours.

Planning is not something that we evaluate once and then say - OK, I'm good. This is what I'll do. No, planning to change what we do when we face triggers is a life long exercise that must be evaluated for it's effectiveness. And that's where your sponsor or accountability partner can help.

Recovery from an addiction is not easy - but with some planning and support we can succeed.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Be Still!

Psalm 46:10

New International Version (NIV)
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
Be still! Goodness, it's something I must say to my kids at least ten times a day. Maybe it's just boys but mine are always on the move.  I joke around (sometimes) and tell my husband that they must get this desire to always be moving or doing something from his side of the family. But then he quickly tells me it's gotta be my side of the family.

This morning I drove my youngest to school as I normally do. As I pulled into my driveway I realized I couldn't remember how I got home. In fact, I don't remember any of the driving part. But the sad thing is I remember the entire conversation I had in my head. I remember telling myself I need to go start a load of laundry before I practice for tonight's practice at church. I told myself to start the dishwasher. I was envisioning what I was going to code today. I was thinking about this past weekend when I was so bored out of my mind just sitting on the couch resting my foot still in a cast.

Whoa - how in the word did I have time to think/plan all these things (and more) on my short ride home from school. I know we live in a society that is just screaming at full volume about all things that we have to accomplish in order to be successful. And then I realized - yes I am just like my kids in that I am never stopping myself to "just be" and "rest".

Perhaps, if I rest I am worried about what will happen if boredom sets in? I know for me, boredom leads to me being cranky and then I start to get involved in everyone's business and - well, let's just say I'm not going to even allow myself to think down that CoDependent route!

As I was driving I could hear this voice in my head saying - "Be Still! Be Still!" Over and over. I knew it's that voice I hear when God is speaking to me. So today, I choose to be still and reflect on Him. I know I'm a doer - but sometimes we need that time to reflect on our lives and our recovery journey and on Him. And sometimes we need to allow ourselves to be still - just so that we can overcome.  Can you be still today?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Grow In Faith

Many Christians urge fellow believers to, "Just believe!" but it's not always as easy as that, especially when the storm clouds close in around you.

Fortunately, through the grace of God it is easy to develop a mature and sincere faith. Recall an incident in your life when something out of the ordinary happened and thank God for it. It might not be something big or significant, but when you recall the incident it strengthens your faith in a wonderful way.

Make a habit of remembering small answers to prayer, and your faith will gradually grow to the extent where you will receive bigger revelations from God. Immediately the boy's father exclaimed 'I do believe. Help me overcome  my unbelief!". Mark 9:24

-- When an addict decides to stop the insane life that revolves around that next hit, or drink, or whatever the addiction is, hopefully it is a decision to be kept for life.  Staying in a 12 step program or Celebrate Recovery will help maintain that sober life because of clinging to God. Yes, I know it's hard to say 'Well, where was He all those times I cried out and nothing happened?'  Goodness knows we all have a million of those types of questions. But as the author points out, believe in the little things and you will begin to have eyes that are able to perceive the bigger things that God does for us each day.

I find for me, counting my blessings each day makes a huge difference.  I used to have a small list that started with thank you for the sun today, my kids, my husband to later much more mature thoughts such as thank you for opening my eyes to the unhealthy relationship that I needed to severe, etc.

It takes time but it is worth it!

Grace For Each Moment

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hero Over Sin ~ Our Daily Bread

Hero Over Sin - from Our Daily Bread

Thursday, November 16, 2017

God IS In Control

Everywhere you go you will meet pessimistic people - people who see no hope for the future and carry an atmosphere of gloom around with them.

Rather than give in to despair, consider the greatness of God. Look back over the years and you will see many examples of the wonderful ways in which God transforms despair into hope; sorrow into joy; and defeat into victory.

When things around you appear dark and terrifying, hold onto the promises of God. Remember the mighty deeds that He has performed, and continue in confidence and with the certain knowledge that He is wholly in control.

Job replied to the Lord, "I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted". Job 42:1

-- I must say, for me the idea that no plan of God can be thwarted is such a promise.  The Bible also says in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." With those two promises how can we go wrong. Who are we to doubt God?

Yes, when on is in the depths of an addiction it's almost impossible to see these truths - but when that moment comes and we decide enough is enough and it's time to let go of the old ways - trust in these truths. Because the life that God planned for us is about to begin.  And It's gonna be a good one!

Grace For Each Moment

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Courage to Change the Things That Should be Changed

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Those who attend any Celebrate Recovery meeting or traditional 12 step meeting know that the Serenity Prayer is often said together as a group. If you want to read about the history behind this prayer, check out this blog post  http://recoveryboxapp.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-serenity-prayer-history-behind-it.html

I'm not going to say exactly what you should feel or think when you pray this prayer because your circumstance are different than mine - and prayers are personal.  But yesterday when I had my cup of apple cider and I saw the "Courage Mug"  (see yesterday's post if you are not up to speed) it reminded me of this prayer. 

"Courage to change the things that should be changed." The first time I ever read this prayer was at my grandmother's house. I didn't understand what it meant then being only 12 years old. Later in life I came to understand that my grandmother was an alcoholic and struggled a lot..perhaps that's why she had the prayer in her house. It's a shame because I can't ask her  what the prayer meant to her because she suffers from Alzheimers. So I can only speculate.

The line I find intriguing especially as someone who wants to solve everyone's problems is "the Wisdom to distingush one from another".  That's what I need to work on. I have got to figure out what is mine to change and what is mine to leave for others. Perhaps it sounds so easy but not for someone who deals with CoDepenedency. 

So today, there is no verse but rather I pray the Serenity Prayer and ask for the wisdom to know the difference.