Overcome

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.

Addiction & Mental Issues - Coming Out of the Dark

The creation story from the first chapter of Genesis tells of God creating light out of the darkness. Light is a symbol of hope and of new life throughout scriptures. The Gospel of John proclaims,in John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. The foundation of our faith is with God's victory over darkness. Darkness can be terrifying for those experiencing uncontrollable and unmanageable urges.

With God's victory, love comes out of that darkness and this love gradually draws us back into the light of this world and it's realities. For people experiencing a fixation on negative behavior, we can be instruments of God's love by extending care, compassion and hope to those who are still in the grip of darkness and despair.

Unfortunately, in Matthew 16:21-23 we are told how easily, even a disciple of Christ can become the means of communication from demons. Peter hadn't realizedthe purpose of Jesusministry as he spoke out, but, Jesus knowing Peter's words, spoke to satan, who was influencing the disciple's action. His verbal outburst was against God's will that Jesus should suffer and die, and without recognizing it, Peter permitted himself to become a willing tool for satan!In v23 Jesus rebukes Satan, who is darkness.

When dealing with addictions, there may be demonic influences that cloud the inner "voices of reason" and try to convince you that wrong is right, and that evil is good and pleasurable. These are Satan's dark angels at work. I have coined the phrase "The Addictive Mental Process" -- that process of thinking is constantly with us. Some of today's most respected theologians can help you better understand the dangers, but it is Jesus Christ that diagnoses and prescribes the correct action. The rest is up to each one of us, (free will) that will govern the behavior that follows. This is the only way that we might take back control of our thoughts.

Male Body Image and Eating Disorders

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..."

Being Happy in Spite of Circumstances

How do you ignore someone's attitude instead of letting it bring you down? How do you handle living with someone who can be really negative a lot of the time?

All are valid questions.

I find that I take everything very personally, even though the situation does not warrant all the energy that I give it. I give the excuse that I have tried to resolve this or that relationship, but I just end up complaining about how useless it is to even try because nothing will change any way. I've tried to explain to my self of how it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Grabbing Hold of Jesus: A Key to Overcoming

In Colossians 1:9b-14, Paul says the following glorious prayer for the faithful believers at Colosse:
"We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins." [NLT]

What brings me great joy in sharing this prayer is the knowledge that it is for each and every one of us who love the Lord Jesus, and for every one who decides to reach out and take His hand and invite Him into our hearts!

What an awesome God I have! For if not for Him, where would I be? These past few days have really shown me more than ever the power of my Lord to raise me up above my own self-will-run-riot.

Trick Images of Self

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.

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

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