Step 3, Bible Studies

The Valley Called Decision

One day a man walked into his place of worship and to his surprise the devil was at the altar weeping bitterly. When the man asked him, "Hey, what's wrong with you?" His reply was, "Everyone blames me for everything!"

This fictional story serves to remind us how easy it is to point fingers. We, like water, seek out the easiest course to follow. You see, it's so much more convenient to blame everyone rather than to look deep into ourselves. Not until I began to honestly take inventory of my own personal life, was I able to admit to myself that I was in dire need of a total spiritual and emotional make-over.

It's a humbling experience for anyone to look into the mirror and say, "I have met the enemy and the enemy is me!"

But, like a master sailor uses the contrary wind to get him to safe harbor, we too can use our imperfections as a driving force to relearn and refocus on our true self and mission on earth. Be comforted in knowing that because of Gods amazing grace, He is able to draw a straight line using a crooked stick.

If we will fearlessly open up the chapters of our past, I think we will be surprised to see that many of our hell-on-earth experiences have been caused by the inability to make right decisions. Never forget, we are the very ones who chose alcohol and/or drugs as a solution to life's problems. (Some may say, "Alcohol, drugs? That's not my problem!" That may be true, but take a good look into the cup from which you drink, is it filled with fear, pride, unforgiveness, greed or guilt?) If your answer is yes, then we welcome you to join us as we seek for the solution.

The 3rd step in the big book of A.A. reads "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

The word decision means: The act of making up one's mind. When a person lacks this ability they are likened to a double minded (doubting, hesitating) man who is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8 paraphrased). One never builds a mansion on a unstable foundation, much less will a marriage built on sand (unstable people) survive the storms of life.

But wait! There is a better way. For He who has all POWER says to us,

"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

But for us to enjoy the fruit of this better way we must pass through the Valley called DECISION.

Many of us have missed out on excellent opportunities in life, due to the inability to make up our own mind. You see, when we doubted and hesitated, another came and snatched up all that was dear to us. In the twinkling of an eye, family, friends, careers and even our own self respect was gone.

Weary? His Tender Touch

All of us have times in our lives when we grow weary because of difficult situations and all of the struggles and conflicts of our lives. We need Jesus to renew our enthusiasm and our energy. We can depend on Him to restore our determination, our strength, our joy and our enthusiasm with His tender touch of compassionate love. Our Saviour really cares about us and He longs to see us happy. He is waiting for us to come to Him so that He can once again tell us how much He loves us and how precious we are to Him. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us.

Procrastination > Addiction and Disorders

I have a friend who insists on never saying "goodbye." Instead, she utters, "Later" at the end of our conversations.

This word started me thinking. And the first thing which popped up was another word, procrastination. Its definition being...

"... the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the "last minute" before a deadline."

Where Does Your "Precious" Lead You?

The character, Gollum, in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," is a study in addiction and its pitfalls.

This creature was obsessed with the powerful properties of a much-desired ring. Transfixed, he often referred to it as "my precious." This preoccupation, over time, led to his changed, grotesque form; it also contributed to both his torment and his tragedy.

The story portrays Gollum as a struggling being who had "come to love and hate the Ring, just as he loved and hated himself." His unfortunate fate inevitably followed. Upon finally seizing the ring, he fell into a volcano's fires. Both he and his "precious" were destroyed.

Now, how's that for a cautionary tale?

Learning and Coping in Recovery

There's a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:

    1) to learn
    2) to cope.

Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.

The First Job: To Learn:

Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition...

The Serenity Prayer: A Weeble Lesson

While sifting through my childhood toys, I happened upon some Weebles.

What are they - and what do they do?

"...an egg-shaped Weeble causes a weight located at the bottom-center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravitational force brings the Weeble back into an upright position... The popular catchphrase, 'Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.' was used in advertising during their rise in popularity..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeble

As I was reunited with these toys, I remembered how, in my playtime, I often tried to put my Weebles to bed, lying them on their sides, only to watch them quickly spring to their vertical stance again. There was no keeping these suckers down.

"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

You better believe it.

Therefore, reacquainting myself with them in my adult life, I now view them through the recovery/struggle context and the famous Serenity Prayer:

Life Choices: Thermometer or Thermostat?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of "The Daily Show," recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:

"My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature."

Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.

And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.

So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.

First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn't require much work. You just let your feelings rip.

Conquering Worry

When you are inclined to worry -- don't do it! That is the first thing. No matter how much reason there seems to be for worrying -- still, there is your rule. Do not break it -- don't worry! Matters may be greatly tangled, so tangled that you cannot see how they ever can be straightened out; still, don't worry! Troubles may be very real and very sore, and there may not seem a rift in the clouds; nevertheless, don't worry! You say the rule is too high for human observance -- that mortals cannot reach it; or you say there must be some exceptions to it -- that there are peculiar circumstances in which one cannot but worry. But wait a moment. What did the Master teach? "I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear." He left no exceptions.

What did Paul teach? "Don't worry about anything!" He did not say a word about exceptions to the rule -- but left it unqualified and absolute. A good bit of homely, practical, common-sense wisdom, says that there are two classes of things we should not worry about -- things we can help, and things we cannot help.

Evils we can (correct) -- we ought to (correct). If the roof leaks -- we ought to mend it; if the fire is burning low and the room growing cold -- we ought to put on more fuel; if the fence is tumbling down, so as to let our neighbor's cattle into our wheat field -- we had better repair the fence than sit down and worry over the troublesomeness of people's cows; if we have dyspepsia and it makes us feel badly -- we had better look to our diet and our exercise. That is, we are very silly if we worry about things we can help. Help them! That is the heavenly wisdom for that sort of ills or cares -- that is the way to cast that kind of burden on the Lord.

Is Your Finger on the Feelings Button?

Years ago, there was a popular song, "Feelings."

As the lyrics go, "feelings, nothing more than feelings...whoa...whoa...whoa..."
(It's bad Karaoke, let me tell ya).

Anyway, I've been giving some thought to the feelings factor. I've seen how it has done some damage in my own life. Temper tantrums, crying jags, meltdowns of epic proportion- whatever you want to call them - feelings, let's be real, rarely lead us to make great decisions which improve our lives.

But wreck our lives? Well, that's a different story.

For those of us in recovery, for those of us coming from abuse, the feelings thing is a tricky course to navigate. In my case, because feelings weren't safe in my home, growing up, I learned to suppress, stuff, until...boom! Explosion happened. Not a good coping mechanism.

And so, a girl of extremes, when life moved on, I was determined to fully express my feelings whenever I had them. Oh yeah. This was fun and games. No one was going to control me!

Hence, I was OUT of control.

The cliché in life is true: it's about balance and moderation. And that was NOT something I was good at. I was not good at dealing, in a healthy with my emotions.

Scripture tells us, like it or not, we all need to do this:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Years after the immediate damage of both my eating disorders and my childhood abuse, God has patiently- and gradually- led me into honestly looking at my heart, the factory producing all of these blessed feelings in the first place.

Urgent? Why??

I must admit, my favorite question is "why?"

I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.

And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.

Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.

"Urgent? Why?"

It's not merely a question; it's a statement... about the significance of urgency.

And this is right up addiction's alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?

    Why is this my answer?

    Why will this solve things?

    Why will nothing else do?

    Why must I be instantly healed?

It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.

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