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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...
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:
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.
One of my favorite television series, "Mad Men" offers up a scene in which one ad mad conveys this message to another character:
"Stay out of it."
Hmmm. Sometimes, that is sometimes spot-on spiritual advice, isn't it?
Meddling or helping- which one is it each of us are doing at any given time?
This becomes an especially valid question concerning our own self-interest. And, c'mon, be honest, most of us are EXTREMELY self-interested.
The entertainer, RuPaul states it this way:
"Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business."
What is a pandemic? According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, a pandemic is an "outbreak" occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. I would consider adultery to be of pandemic proportions considering the high rate of marital suffering, divorce, sickness and disease among a high proportion of the world. What do you think? Let's take a closer look and examine this issue.
If you knew of a dangerous virus going around in the city where you lived that caused fever, chills, nausea, severe diarrhea, and vomiting, and death to those with a weak immune system, you would probably stay as far away from the city as possible? At the least, you would wear a hospital mask over your face to avoid the harmful germs, right?
Adultery is like a virus but much worse. It spreads from person to person like a virus and if a person is not spiritually well, it will entangle them within its insidious hold and cause much spiritual and mental anguish, not to mention, in many cases, physical illness, deterioration, and death.
As with any pandemic that we learn about we always go out of our way to avoid the offender, lest we too become sick. Viruses become a pandemic only because people do not take the needed precautions in the beginning of its destruction. Sometimes it is because of filthy conditions or lack of knowledge but once we figure out the cause we avoid it like the plague, no pun intended.
Do we avoid sex outside of marriage? Why not?
When you think of an eating or image disorder, what springs to mind?
If we're honest, often our knee-jerk characterization is female. A lot of us think disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are a "women's issue."
But what about the male gender?
"In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). For various reasons, many cases are likely not to be reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, and the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction." www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Unfortunately, both the male and female genders suffer from distorted and disordered image messages and practices. Perhaps, males don't always possess the same behaviors as those of their female counterparts. Nevertheless, the obsession and self-destructive evidence is there. And, at some of its most extreme, it often manifests in the bodybuilding arena.
"...The onset of disease in males is typically triggered by a concern with bodybuilding and sport training..."
Matthew 24:10 KJV
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Another stop on the road to recovery takes you to the intersection of people and who I said it to. There many warnings signs, directions, instructions and other signpost to consider as you travel the path to self enlightenment. The foundation of this healthy spirit filled life begins with the journey within.
This journey into self teaches many things about who you are and who you are not. It might be the first time in a long time you realize that some of the things you said in order to belong to the group came back to hurt you and you felt you were betrayed. How did this insane way of getting attention affect you? What can you do to protect yourself in recovery? Addiction and alcoholism are about confusion and deceit. They are based on the smoking glasses and half truths about everything in your life.
I recently came across a souvenir my mother received from her British pen pal in the 1950's. It's one of those trick images of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; who you see depends on the angle of the portrait.
It brings to mind the following scripture:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
And it made me think of my distorted image issues:
"...I stood in my bedroom, in front of my three-way mirror. I’d seen so many versions of myself. I’d been fat and thin, feeling both unworthy and worthy. Yet I was never satisfied..."
(Excerpt taken from Cruse's book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder")
Images and mirrors don't delve into great detail about each trauma, milestone, issue and phase of our lives. They don't accurately depict things as they are. Smudges and warps can alter what reflects back at us. And these images and mirrors certainly don't predict the future or explain the Most High completely.
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
"One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly."
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?
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