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The 3rd Step of the 12 Steps reads as follows:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as revealed in the Bible.
We often confuse surrender with compliance. In compliance we grudgingly give in, hold back a part of ourselves. Our actions may appear to be going with the flow but our heart and thoughts are surely elsewhere.
Compliance leaves out the passion part. In surrender we have to be passionate about the surrender -- excited about it; having hopeful anticipation of what God can and will do when we actually surrender.
Surrender is not admitting defeat. It is not a bad thing in God's Kingdom. It is a great thing! God's economy and ways of doing things are quite often contrary to the World's ways.
In reality, we often are hypocrites -- saying or promising surrender -- but in reality not wholeheartedly "all in." And in essence we rob ourselves of the fruits of surrender. Surrender means surrendering one's entire being: heart, words, actions, emotions, thoughts, body, soul and spirit.
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...
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.
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?
If you're not familiar with
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
"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
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
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"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?"
I recently caught the 1960 Academy Award winning film, "The Miracle Worker." It portrays the relationship of Helen Keller and that of her groundbreaking teacher, Annie Sullivan.
Most of us know the basics to the story. Helen Keller was blind, deaf and mute and, before Sullivan's arrival, seemingly hopeless in her circumstances. If she could not see, hear or speak, how could she ever communicate, let alone, live in the world?
The situation looked bleak.
That was until Sullivan's arrival...