General Recovery

Casting off the Burden of Self-Indulgence

Proverbs 18:1 NRSV
The one who lives alone is self-indulgent,
showing contempt for all who have sound judgment.

"Prayer opens a whole planet to a man's activities. I can as really be touching hearts for God in far away India or China through prayer, as though I were there. Prayer puts us into direct dynamic touch with a world. A man may go aside today, and shut his door, and as really spend a half-hour in India -- I am thinking of my words as I say them, it seems so much to say, and yet it is true -- as really spend a half hour of his life in India for God as though he were there in person. Is that true ? If it be true, surely you and I must get more half-hours for this secret service. No matter where you are you do more through your praying than through your personality." ~ S. D. Gordon

There is living and then there is living. In other words, there is existing, having our physical bodies be in a certain space and time, and then there is the purpose and focus for our living where our thoughts and priorities dwell. One can live alone physically and be in touch with the world at large through prayer and focus and concern. And one can live in the midst of the largest metropolis and be solely centered on her own agenda and concerns.

Practicing Self-Control

Proverbs 17:27-28 NRSV
One who spares words is knowledgeable;
one who is cool in spirit has understanding.
Even fools who keep silent are considered wise;
when they close their lips, they are deemed intelligent.


A truly wise person uses few words;
a person with understanding is even-tempered.
NLT

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain

We talk too much and we feel too much. Period. End of story. Somewhere, somehow, in our culture, the idea began to permeate that one who says a lot knows a lot. But you only have to listen to people through the media to know that's not true.

In Times of Stress and Struggle

Proverbs 17:24 NRSV
The discerning person looks to wisdom,
but the eyes of a fool to the ends of the earth.

These are dire times. In most cases, regardless of the time of life or the circumstances surrounding us, these are dire times. There are few days of rest and relaxation, many days of concern and emotional buffeting. And in those times of stress and struggle, we often wear ourselves out looking for solutions to our problems rather than simply laying those problems at the feet of our Savior. In illness, we search for medicines and doctors and treatments. In financial distress, we search for jobs and loans and money. In emotional distress, we search for friends and relationships and happiness. Scripture tells us that "the discerning person looks to wisdom."

Getting My Eyes Off of Myself

A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NRSV

We visited a church with our kids on Sunday. The pastor, in trying to make a point about honesty, addressed the dynamic that occurs when friends meet together: "How are you?" "I'm fine." He concluded that often the "I'm fine" is actually a lie because we aren't fine.

But are we?

As Christians should we have any opportunity for griping or complaining, moaning or groaning? Or are we actually stating a truth when we say "I'm fine," a truth that perhaps we really don't embrace but which is a truth nonetheless? Paul wrote:

Should We Strive for Perfection or Effectiveness?

As a recovering eating disorder sufferer, I'm keenly aware of the perfectionistic component to the creation, maintenance and challenging treatment of the disease. It's often an uphill battle. Perfectionism, fueled by deep anxiety and pressure, can kill. According to statistics...

  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
    (From South Carolina Department of Mental Health: http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics)

So, the word "perfect" is not just a word; it can be a threat.

The perfectionistic person, in recovery or not, is therefore, left to grapple with its meaning for his/her life. How important is it?

When Prayers Seem Unanswered

This was written by an unknown Confederate soldier

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for help, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

Listening More and Talking Less

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.


Proverbs talks a lot about, well, talking! I think that we often confirm who we are (whether we want to be that person or not) when we talk. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." And yet, we still talk. We talk in person. We talk (and text) on cell phones. We talk on the Internet. We talk, talk, talk. And a great deal of the time, we are "expressing personal opinion."

The Need for Repentance

...repentance is the ultimate tipping point. It is the mechanism that puts genuine change into action in our lives and in our culture. It is what enables us to move beyond the past-and all of the mistakes of the past-and into the future with bright hopes and new dreams. Repentance is the fulcrum upon which transformation turns.

One of the central messages of the Scriptures is a call to repentance. It is not to predict the future. It is not to offer new moral mandates. It is simply to declare the "words, statutes, and commandments of the Lord" that the people might "be overtaken and repent" (Zechariah 1:6). It is that they might "put on sackcloth and lament" (Joel 1:13). It is that they might "repent and turn" from all their transgressions "lest iniquity be their stumbling block" (Ezekial 18:30). It is that they might "return to the Lord" for "healing and restoration" (Hosea 6:1). This is the constant refrain of hope in the Scriptures:

Hallmarks of a Healthy Support Group

Simply stated, a support group is a regular meeting of individuals who have joined together to offer one another support and encouragement in order to overcome a shared problem. In informal, small group settings, participants, in turn, share their own experiences, feelings and struggles

Ideally, a good support group is, first, a place where recovering addicts will find true acceptance and a sense of what unconditional love is all about. It is a safe, non-judgmental setting where they can express struggles, thoughts, ideas, and feelings without fear of rejection. Hearing the stories of others with similar difficulties and how they overcame them, gives the struggling addict great encouragement to go on in a life of sobriety.

Submission or Rebellion?

Evil people seek only rebellion,
but a cruel messenger will be sent against them.
Proverbs 17:11 NRSV

Rebellion: opposition to one in authority or (one in) dominance

In other words, rebellion is the antonym to submission.

As Christians, we need to stop claiming who we are and start looking at what we do.

Submission is a huge thing. But I think that submission may be more (or different) than we think it is. And I'm beginning to think that submission is tied to judgment in a way we often don't consider.

The apostle Paul wrote:

Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace

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