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Trusting others has been difficult for me. People have hurt me over the years and trust did not come naturally for me as a result. My husband, Patrick, never gave me a reason not to trust him, but still I questioned him in my mind. After he stopped drinking over a year ago, I wasn’t sure I could trust he would continue to abstain.
This lack of trust carried over into my relationship with Jesus. Could I trust Him? Could I take His Word for truth? Could I believe He loved me despite the past I carried with me? I worked against God’s way for so many years, how could He possibly love me?
Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40
Internet surfer that I am, I recently came across a meme which could be described as a drama queen's motto:
"I don't want to be overdramatic. But today felt like a hundred days in hell."
Yes, within the faith community, it is often agreed eternal torment is some kind of reality, even if it is beyond our finite minds.
Nevertheless, we do ourselves a large disservice to ignore our own self-created and contained versions of this most unpleasant torture. For indeed, even those pious Christian versions of us need to admit something hardly "Christ-like" or flattering. Sometimes we like to create our own little Hells. And then we further enjoy tossing others - and ourselves - INTO them.
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
One Day at a Time
I have a confession to make. Sometimes I worry. I worry about big things and small things. Worry will plant a thought in my mind that my husband, Patrick, may start drinking again. Worry will throw a dart of doubt at me about a job loss. Worry will creep in about something happening to one of my children. My days are not consumed by worry, but there are times that it threatens to steal my joy.
"Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit."
This sobering statement recently came to my attention. I don't know who originally said it, but it resonates, all the same.
It has personally factored in heavily as I have learned, firsthand, who was a part of my healthy support system...and who was NOT.
Indeed, this concept plays a MAJOR role for each of us as we navigate our addiction/recovery journeys. It is usually not too long in life, before we encounter the all too common cliché dysfunction of co-dependency, narcissism and/or exploitation.
The Lord calls us to be "transformed by the renewing of [our] minds" (Rom. 12:2). One of the most powerful ways we can do this is by praying the promises of His Word back to Him, since He has promised that His Word would not return void, but would accomplish its intended purpose (Is. 55:11). By God's Word we can defeat the accusations and the temptations of Satan, as Christ did while tempted in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11).
The following prayer is one that I wrote over some time as I meditated on a number of promises from the Scripture that the Spirit called to my mind. What I mean by "meditation" is not that I repeated any verses as a mantra, as if they had power in themselves, but that I considered deeply what they meant, that I weighed the meaning of the words, that I waited to see if the Lord brought to mind other verses that touched on the same topics, and that I related all of this to what I was experiencing in life.
As a result, I was able to see something in these words that was greater,
Recovery-from much of anything - is often not done in the steady hum of encouragement. It's frequently done in intimidating quiet. Even with support groups, sponsors, treatment centers, churches and any number of "support structures," we are still left with our true selves. And, no matter what affirmations we have heard and learned, we alone are left to apply them. There is no uplifting outside cheerleader. There is just our decision.
I know this comes across as negative, especially concerning "the Higher Power" factor.
As a person of faith, I'm not dismissing the role The Most High plays. Rather, I see how the Divine shows up in disguised forms, one of those being the unanswered quiet.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.James 3:17
The Serenity Prayer is believed to have been written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr sometime in the 1930’s. Although at the time it was written, it was not directly related to alcoholics, later it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as the prayer stated at each of their meetings. It would then become a regular prayer at many other recovery meetings, including that of adult children of alcoholics.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Colossians 1:16
Day six of this eating disorder awareness week focuses on the dangle carrot of our potential. This wish seems to be the unspoken, secret, lurking wish, just below the surface of our more tangible physically manifested options.
Yet, make no mistake about it, this wish is potent; it longs to be fulfilled - and it goes beyond the physical appearance.
It speaks to our purpose and our unchanging value.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Psalm 139:14
And, sadly, it often befuddles us with anxiety and fear, stating the lie, "We will never achieve it; it will never happen."
All the more reason why we need to own our part of being a good steward of our lives.
Notice I did not say a "perfect" or an "all-knowing" steward. There is much to learn; mistakes and flaws are a part of that education.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. Because we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:29-30
"I wish I looked like..."
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:16
In day two of this national eating disorder awareness week, we turn our attention to appearance. Indeed, wishing, coveting and image are right there in our lives. The outside world displays some aspirational form of aesthetically pleasing and powerful messages; beauty,
especially within the definition of a rigid, thin beauty, becomes its dominant depiction.
This hierarchy of human value, intensified with its dangled promises of untold perfection, happiness and a problem-free existence, can often find us is a position to covet, to envy and to further exemplify less than positive character attributes in the process.
A sound heart is the life of the flesh:
but envy the rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30
And it stems from a place of fear: we fear we are inadequate as is. Scripture, however, negates that concept...
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
Once I admitted my issues with control, trust, retail therapy, and co-dependency, I found the love of God waiting for me. Since I had not previously walked the Christian walk, I had a lot to learn. I am an overachiever and a perfectionist by nature, so naturally I wanted to know as much as I could in a relatively short period of time.
I dove in head first into studying God's Word. I prayed without ceasing. I thanked Jesus on a daily basis for saving me. I did everything right, right?