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we thank You for Dvora who has put so much work into this workshop....
we ask Your mighty blessings upon her and her teachings today....
open our hearts, spirits and minds to the Biblical truths you would have us learn.....
Bring healing to everyone who comes here today.....
in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
We can get addicted to anything.
I say that to spotlight the trophy's importance. This was recently brought to my attention as I came across a humorous social media post:
"Ironic that every trophy store looks massively unsuccessful…"
The power, the lure, the snare of the trophy…
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:16
With all of the disordered beliefs and actions I have been mired in, an underlying common denominator existed. It was achievement.
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.
Karla Downling is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, Bible study teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, scriptural misunderstanding, and emotional pain personally and relationally. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues. She also desires to equip ministry leaders and lay counselors to reach out more effectively to those that are struggling with difficult relationships. Karla’s website is http://ChangeMyRelationship.com.
karladowning: Ok. Let's start off with a definition of acceptance. It is "taking or receiving what is offered, giving approval, believing, or accepting. It is putting out your open hand and allowing the thing or circumstance or person to be put into it and then closing your hand and pulling it toward you. The meaning of "accept" is "to receive as adequate; to receive with approval or favor; to take or receive."
The opposite of acceptance is refusal or disapproval. It is like putting out your hand and pushing it away. think about your life and the things you don't want; don't like; struggle with accepting. Are you opening your hand to receive them or pushing them away? I know for myself that I pushed them away for years and struggled with refusing to accept them. It took lots of energy.
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."
Years ago, there was a popular song, "Feelings."
As the lyrics go, "feelings, nothing more than feelings...whoa...whoa...whoa..."
(It's bad Karaoke, let me tell ya).
Anyway, I've been giving some thought to the feelings factor. I've seen how it has done some damage in my own life. Temper tantrums, crying jags, meltdowns of epic proportion- whatever you want to call them - feelings, let's be real, rarely lead us to make great decisions which improve our lives.
But wreck our lives? Well, that's a different story.
For those of us in recovery, for those of us coming from abuse, the feelings thing is a tricky course to navigate. In my case, because feelings weren't safe in my home, growing up, I learned to suppress, stuff, until...boom! Explosion happened. Not a good coping mechanism.
And so, a girl of extremes, when life moved on, I was determined to fully express my feelings whenever I had them. Oh yeah. This was fun and games. No one was going to control me!
Hence, I was OUT of control.
The cliché in life is true: it's about balance and moderation. And that was NOT something I was good at. I was not good at dealing, in a healthy with my emotions.
Scripture tells us, like it or not, we all need to do this:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
Years after the immediate damage of both my eating disorders and my childhood abuse, God has patiently- and gradually- led me into honestly looking at my heart, the factory producing all of these blessed feelings in the first place.
A friend of mine who is experiencing some painful family issues has repeatedly asked herself the "why" questions.
Why is this happening to me?
Why am I being treated like this?
Why is my loved one acting in such an ugly manner?
She has been blindsided by a situation and a relationship she never dreamed was possible, rife with betrayal, deception and slander. This was once a close, bonded relationship, one filled with unconditional love and trust.
So, the events over the last few years were a definite shock.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
How many times do we pray this portion of what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer" and yet fail to consider what we're asking? It is a petition, a request of God to forgive us - in the same manner and proportion in which we forgive others. Are you okay with that? Are you comfortable with receiving God's forgiveness to the same extent that you give it to others?
God has been teaching me His way concerning heart health. The condition of my physical heart mirrored the state of my spiritual heart. Through a physical and spiritual heart catheterization He exposed blockages, which left untreated, would be my certain physical and spiritual demise. He exposed areas of my heart that were still wounded and thus divided. I suspect I am not alone in this process.
According to the parable of the sower, Jesus teaches that It is from our hearts that we gain all spiritual guidance and understanding.
"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" Luke 8:15 NIV.
"All valid spiritual direction comes to us through our heart-the seat of true knowing and our "eyes and ears" in the spirit. If we discern the "will of God" it is through our heart. Knowing our true identity and destiny is achieved through our hearts as well." "Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You", pg.67, published by Shepherd's House, Inc. revised version 2000.
As a direct result of these remaining heart blockages, I was no longer able to fully hear, retain, or re-produce a good crop from the word that had been so wonderfully planted in my heart for decades. The ability to correctly discern, know and understand Papa's will or my true identity and destiny as Papa's beloved son were being robbed from me. In this state, my capacity for joy was weakened. Of course my loved ones were profoundly affected by my heart disease as well (which of course there has been profound mercy and the amazing grace of forgiveness).
When your heart has blockages, your core identity becomes at best skewed and can even lose touch with reality. You are less able to live from the new heart Jesus gave you as your birthright. You even can end up not behaving or acting like who you truly are-an adopted child of God. Probably the most devastating part of this condition is being blocked from enjoying Christ in your heart. He-of course, will never leave us or forsake us-but our intimacy with Him can be diminished.
I am being so transparent about this in hopes to impart the courage for you to ask Papa to search your heart and know truth in your inner most parts, as King David did. This is why he was "called a man after God's own heart."
The single goal of heart healing is to
I recently came across a little gem about the ego and the soul.
It's quite profound. It states things like:
"Ego looks outward. Soul looks inward."
"Ego sees lack. Soul sees abundance."
According to one definition of the word, soul is comprised of the mind, the will and the emotions. So, it stands to reason soul would be quite vulnerable to disease. Indeed, there is a battle going on.
And, let's get real -- a large part of that battle involves the toxic pride factor.
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16
And that pride rubs shoulders with rebellious foolishness.
The fool hath said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalms 14:1
And yes, that goes for even us Christians.
It's not about being a good little boy or girl in the pews on Sunday. Instead, it has everything to do with the very real, very rebellious, prideful and diseased thoughts which have ensnared us in affliction. Saying "no" when we should say "yes."
As is echoed in the "Ego Versus Soul" post...
"Ego rejects God. Soul embraces God."
And, while we may nod our heads in agreement with that statement, do we really examine any rebelliousness lurking in our tricky hearts?
After all, we're not above being deceived...
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
For, once upon a time, there was a certain rebel who let some audacious, prideful attitudes rip.
And he said unto them, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Luke 10:18