Healing

God Expects You To Be Better By Now (Resistance to Recovery)Premium Content

See: Part 1 | See: Part 2

(The third in a three part series on resistance to recovery.)

In the first of this series of articles I emphasized that the most difficult form of resistance to recovery is our own resistance. Recovery is not easy. It is a difficult process. Telling the truth, acknowledging our need, accepting help, making amends - these are some of the difficult tasks of recovery. It is understandable that we resist such a difficult process. In addition, recovery involves change. We have spent many years practicing our dysfunctional ways of living. The path of least resistance for us is to keep doing the same old things. Change is difficult and it is understandable that we resist it. In the second in this series of articles, I emphasized that in addition to our own internal resistance to recovery, recovery also often takes place in a hostile environment. For a variety of reasons, not everyone in our lives will welcome the changes which recovery brings.


Many of us, unfortunately, have experienced some distinctively Christian forms of resistance to recovery and it is this kind of resistance which I would like begin to discuss in this article.

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Criticisms of Recovery - Part 1Premium Content

See: Part 2 | See: Part 3

Let's begin with the obvious. The most argumentative, tenacious, illogical and misguided criticism of recovery comes not from other people but from me. When it comes to my own recovery journey, I am the person who resists the most. Like many of us, I have always been my own worst critic. I can think of 50 reasons, easily, why my recovery is just a pop-psychology, navel-gazing, trusting-the-wisdom-of-men-instead-of-God, self-pity-party.

I do not need any external hostility to recovery in order to remind me of how I should be better by now, of how I should be able to just pray about it and trust God, or of how I should spend more time helping others rather than selfishly focused on my own needs. I have yet to find a criticism of recovery that I haven't already internalized in some way. I have recently finished reading a series of books highly critical of the recovery movement and there were few surprises for my personal Inner Board of Critics. This distinguished panel of Judges has left few stones unturned in criticizing my own recovery. I suppose there are some obvious reasons why we resist our own recovery so tenaciously. Let me mention just three.

Resistance to the Truth
First, of course, we experience denial as having such tangible benefits. Denial has a lot of appeal - it always seems like it's going to be less painful than facing the truth. I've gotten along so far without having to face this, why should I have to deal with it now? The truth, by contrast, always seems like the worst possible thing. So, we resist recovery because it is less appealing than denial. This is, of course, why few of us choose recovery just as a kind of personal enrichment activity - most of us don't begin the recovery journey until our pain becomes so intense that we are forced to take measures that in ordinary circumstances we would resist if at all possible.

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What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?Premium Content

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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Nurtured by the Right QuestionPremium Content

Wrong questions are the breeding ground of doubt, despair and unbelief. I know; I've asked the wrong questions for almost sixty years. But, in the midst of those questions mercy, grace, atonement and the answer burst its way into my darkened questions. Tell Me Why is the most foreboding of all wrong questions.

Don't miss-hear me; questions are natural and a part of our God given DNA. But: to end up at Why? That wrong question is not a part of the likeness and image of God that we are all endowed with. It is the epitome of our fallen, darkened condition! So, how do we approach these unanswerable questions?

Before there are answers, there is a relationship you must have your heart opened to. There is a knowing that paves the way for sufficient answers. Here it comes! You must know that God's plan is God; revealed in a "baby wrapped in old dirty clothes", a Son of Man, a life lived exemplary for all generations, on a Cross-disfigured and murdered by His own and in an empty tomb. He is not a program, or an impersonal idea.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

We resist getting help

In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

Fear

It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3

The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

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UncondemnedPremium Content

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

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Are You Taking Advantage of Kingdom Synergy?Premium Content

Historically, no outpouring of God has lasted very long apart from intentional Kingdom Synergy. What is "synergy?" Synergy happens when two or more entities decide to join their visions for the purpose of an agreed upon outcome. They realize that doing this greatly enhances the outcome they could ever achieve alone.

Many places in the New Testament, believers were instructed to be of one mind and heart. As a matter of fact they were told to do nothing but pray together in the Upper Room until they came into oneness-'Kingdom Synergy'.

After His death, he (Jesus) presented Himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, He talked to them about things concerning the Kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together He told them they were on no account to leave Jerusalem, but must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon. Acts 1:3-5, Msg.

If you can be patient with me for a moment, I'll share a bit of "Ron's" (loosely held) theology. My experience is my experience. I'm not saying any one has to agree with or mirror mine.

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The Role of Ignorance and Want in Our LivesPremium Content

One of my favorite holiday stories is "A Christmas Carol," the timeless classic, written by Charles Dickens. I've seen many adaptations of it; there have been numerous stage and screen versions, rolled out each December.

One of the constants in the story, however, is that of the boy character, Ignorance, and the girl character, Want, introduced to the Scrooge character via the Ghost of Christmas Present. They're portrayed as creature-like, snarling, hissing and clawing for attention. They make their dramatic appearance, hidden underneath the Ghost's robe.

And, the drama queen in me loves that poignant, uncomfortable scene because it's a wake-up call reality check for humanity. According to the literature classic, here's the exchange between Scrooge and the Ghost:

"Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

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The Reservoir of Christ in MePremium Content

The longer I walk with Jesus; my Elder Brother, Lord and Savior, the more I need strengthening from the inside out! "Out of our innermost being flows the river of life." This flow of life is more than abundant and it is always and only experienced from the inside out. And it always has its origin and power in the reservoir of Christ in me! So why do I seem to persist in my veiled attempt at living from the outside in?

16I desire for you to realize what the Father has given you from His own limitless resources, so that you may be dynamically reinforced in your inner being by the Spirit of God.

17 This will impact your faith with capacity to fully grasp the reality of the indwelling Christ. You are rooted and founded in Love. Love is your invisible inner source just like the root system of a tree and the foundation of a building. (The dimension of your inner person exceeds any other measure that could possibly define you.)

18 This is your reservoir of super human strength which causes you as saints to collectively grasp (come to terms with, make one’s own) the limitless extent of His love in breadth, in length, in height (rank), and the extremities of its depths.

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