Encouragement

Overcoming Self-loathing

I am astounded by the number of young people who approach me with such intense self-loathing. I frequently hear them say things like...

    "I hate myself; I'm so ugly, disgusting and stupid."
    "I hate myself. There's nothing good about me."


When I ask them, however, why they feel that way, I usually get this response:

"I don't know."

For what I am doing, I do not understand..." Romans 7:15

Statistics show...

"One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly."

Perseverance: The Race Set Before Us

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen origin which means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity". The term is generally translated as "perseverance" or "patience."

And, within Scripture, this principle is, indeed, a faith focal point.

... we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36

I don't know about your physical education experience when you were a kid, but my class always participated in the annual presidential physical fitness test.

Is anyone out there groaning yet?

As part of that test to assess kids' fitness levels, things like pushups, sit ups and pull ups were measured. But the thing which caused me the most dread- and the least success- was the 600 yard run.

Now, is anyone out there groaning?

If you're not familiar with

People Who Fail (No other kind around)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

I recently came across this little inspiration ditty circulating on social media:

    "God uses People Who Fail (No other kind around)."

That's become more of a revelation to me in the last few years, especially within the context of recovery. It's not a one-time, flawless thing. It's day in, day out, with some days being better than others. It doesn't sound glamorous or rewarding. Nevertheless, it is reality and embracing the process of life itself can be liberating if we, perhaps, give ourselves permission to fail. Part of that requires we not disqualify ourselves at the first -- or the one thousandth -- mistake; God doesn't.

"I have chosen you and have not cast you away." Isaiah 41:9

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

I often encounter people who are perfectionists -- and I get it. Among all the things I'm recovering from in life, perfectionism is, indeed, right up there. And, again, in the recovery context, it is

One Day at a Time to a Better Life

"As your days--so shall your strength be!" Deuteronomy 33:25

One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life, is to live one day at a time. Really, we never have anything to do any day--but the bit of God's will for that day. If we do that well--we have absolutely nothing else to do.

Time is given to us in days. It was so from the beginning. This breaking up of time into little daily portions means a great deal more than we are accustomed to think. For one thing, it illustrates the gentleness and goodness of God. It would have made life intolerably burdensome if a year, instead of a day--had been the unit of division. It would have been hard to carry a heavy load, to endure a great sorrow, or to keep on at a hard duty--for such a long stretch of time. How dreary our common task-work would be--if there were no breaks in it, if we had to keep our hand to the plough for a whole year! We never could go on with our struggles, our battles, our suffering--if night did not mercifully settle down with its darkness, and bid us rest and renew our strength.

We do not understand how great

Silencing the Inner Critic

You did it again. You messed up. You’re doomed to failure, why even try? These words of condemnation ring often in the heads of those on the recovery journey. Recovery from an eating disorder, addiction, trauma or other life-altering behavior is imperfect, fraught with difficulty and pitfalls. No one wakes up one morning “cured.” There’s no quick fix, and the road to healing and sanctification is often long, hard work, and requires deep spiritual transformation.

One of the most enduring challenges when fighting the battle toward wholeness is silencing the inner critic: the condemning voice that threatens to undo all our progress as we continue our march. It holds an unattainable standard of perfection in recovery over our heads, so that when we do make a misstep or give in to weakness, we see ourselves as utter failures, rather than beloved children of an understanding Father who holds our hand each step of the way.

Accepting God’s grace, even when we fail, ignites within us

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.

World's Worst Transgressor

I am the world's worst transgressor

I have murdered millions

I have made people failures

I have made millions of homes miserable

I have changed promising people into hopeless social parasites

I have driven untold millions to despair

I have wasted the weak

I have snared the innocent

I have caused starving children to know me

I have made the hair turn gray on many parents

I have ruined millions and shall seek to yet ruin multiplied millions

My Name is Addiction

World's Greatest Benefactor

I have given life to millions

I have made failures successful I have made millions of homes happy

Self-sabotage: "Hug Me!" "I'm Trying"Premium Content

Hug Me! Do We Fight Our Help?

I love this adorable cartoon post.

Dinosaur number one pleads, "Hug me!" to Dinosaur number two, who responds, "I'm trying."

I immediately thought of the "fighting your help" principle, both on the recovery front and the much larger spiritual playing field.

Many of us struggling with addictions, disorders and vices often employ a lot of self-sabotage when it comes to interaction and, yes, actual help.

We reiterate such statements as...

With those statements, we push others away; we fight our help.

And, of course, we do this with God.

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What is "Normal?"

Normal is a setting on the dryer.

We're obsessed with labels. Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist—it seems that we're intent on placing ourselves in neat little boxes and pretending that everyone in a particular box is identical.

The big problem with labels is that they obscure ideas and individuals. Then we demonize, bash, and attack the label, and forget that behind the generalized, standardized label stands a real person.

I encounter labels a lot as a wheelchair user. Handicapped, disabled, physically challenged—what should people call me? Personally, I prefer "Rich."

Had a Slip? Is Your Recovery Failing?

"I will love them freely." Hosea 14:4

This is a condensed version of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. It hinges upon the word "freely." This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love us as we are.

The text is a death-blow to all sorts of conditions: "I will love them freely." Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, "I will love you freely."

We complain, "Lord, my heart is so hard."
"I will love you freely."

"But I do not feel my need of Christ as I would like."
""I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely."

"But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I desire."

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Friday November 24, 2017

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