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All of us have times in our lives when we grow weary because of difficult situations and all of the struggles and conflicts of our lives. We need Jesus to renew our enthusiasm and our energy. We can depend on Him to restore our determination, our strength, our joy and our enthusiasm with His tender touch of compassionate love. Our Saviour really cares about us and He longs to see us happy. He is waiting for us to come to Him so that He can once again tell us how much He loves us and how precious we are to Him. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us.
The character, Gollum, in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," is a study in addiction and its pitfalls.
This creature was obsessed with the powerful properties of a much-desired ring. Transfixed, he often referred to it as "my precious." This preoccupation, over time, led to his changed, grotesque form; it also contributed to both his torment and his tragedy.
The story portrays Gollum as a struggling being who had "come to love and hate the Ring, just as he loved and hated himself." His unfortunate fate inevitably followed. Upon finally seizing the ring, he fell into a volcano's fires. Both he and his "precious" were destroyed.
Now, how's that for a cautionary tale?
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...
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
Hug Me! Do We Fight Our Help?
I love this adorable cartoon post.
Dinosaur number one pleads, "Hug me!" to Dinosaur number two, who responds, "I'm trying."
I immediately thought of the "fighting your help" principle, both on the recovery front and the much larger spiritual playing field.
Many of us struggling with addictions, disorders and vices often employ a lot of self-sabotage when it comes to interaction and, yes, actual help.
We reiterate such statements as...
"I've made too many mistakes."
With those statements, we push others away; we fight our help.
And, of course, we do this with God.
Living in Minnesota right now, I am in mourning... and its color is purple.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard the news that singer, rock star and lightning rod of controversy, Prince had died. On April 21st, 2016, he was found dead in his Paisley Park home... in the elevator. He was 57.
It was an enormous shock to the world. Just imagine what the experience was for Minnesotans.
You might be wondering why I'm writing about Prince, of all people, in this Christian recovery forum. You, perhaps, may believe he was a creator of "the devil's music," encouraging all kinds of sin, debauchery and strange behavior.
I ask that you please stay with me for a few moments.
Something struck me within minutes of hearing the news of his discovery in the elevator. It was later confirmed by American record executive, musician, songwriter and record producer, L.A Reid. He revealed a private conversation he once had with the artist.
Prince asked him, concerning his lyrics to the song, "Let's Go Crazy,"
- "You know what the elevator is, don't ya? It's the devil."
Yes, these lyrics...
There is a great contrast between love and lust. Lust is more of a sexual or greedy feeling, while love is more of a secure and content filled feeling we get from giving and receiving. Lust does not have to be something sexual, it can be a greedy desire for more money and power, etc. But for this article, I am using it in its sexual context.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 sums up the common traits and variances of love and lust.
LOVE is kind = considerate, caring, giving, thoughtful, understanding
Lust is envy = jealous, greed, spite, resentment,
LOVE is not proud = humble, submissive, meek, modest
I love Winston Churchill's sentiment:
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Life is tough. Sooner or later, we'll experience a trying situation which feels like hell. It isn't actual hell, thank God. Nevertheless, the power of that notorious situation/trauma makes us feel tortured with pain, despair and hopeless evidence. Eating disorders, addictions, compulsions, loss and grief are just a few examples of things which can feel like hell, if, indeed, torture is its calling card.
It's painful and almost impossible to see future, life, possibility or God. We can, instead, much more easily see ourselves as failures, weak, forgotten and ruined. It's, therefore, inevitable we come to a screeching halt; we stop in the mire and can only feel ourselves sinking…down to where? Greater depths of hell and torture?
But that's not God's truth about us. Even in the middle of hopelessness, God is there… living… loving… working…
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27
It can be tempting to believe that
"...and that's when I became a warrior!"
I recently caught this statement trending on social media. It's no surprise why it has caught on. With so much suffering in the world, taking on a fighting perspective can be empowering.
No matter what we've experienced in our lives, God has placed within each of us a warrior spirit. He knows full well of our challenges, setbacks, relapses, pain and loss. He also knows of our mighty purpose as well.
And it is precisely that reason why the warrior emerges. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It's that kind of thing which attaches itself to our every breath. It's that thing which does not give up, no matter how many times we feel we cannot go on.
Whatever you have survived in your life - loss, trauma, addiction, abuse, extraordinary pain- God wants you to do something with it, in spite of it.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9
He wants to turn those ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61:1-3).
But He doesn't stop there. He doesn't just want you to fight for fighting's sake. He wants to give you the Victory as well!
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
God wants you to experience overcoming that enemy. He didn't say it would be easy, instant or painless. But He has assured us that Victory is ours.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
And that is often what awakens the warrior within us, often, without our own awareness. Some call it "instinct." But again, it's "that thing" which keeps going when everything and everyone else tells us to give up. It's God given.
And because it is God given,
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
Artist, Gerald Moira, creator of the 1898 piece, "The Silent Voice," is a haunting image. In it, we see a young woman with an ethereal creature whispering in her ear.
To me, it calls to mind recovery from addiction as it relates to silence and the voice. Personally speaking, my restrictive abusive childhood discouraged any use of my voice which was considered displeasing. "Children are to be seen and not heard." That's how the saying goes.
And that sentiment had its oppressive hand in my eating disorder development and thought processes. Things "innocently" started out as a desire to lose weight and be thin. But it wasn't long before the disorders, in all of their different forms, became about control and exerting my declaration of independence. In short, disordered eating/image became my voice screaming against the silenced abuse, inequity and toxic environment I endured.
But, just because I've been removed from that confining time and space, does not mean my need to deal with those triggering voices is over. Quite the contrary, in fact. For whispers still come from unexpected corners.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
And these whispers are certainly not affirming. In the context of disorder and self-destructive tendencies, the whispers go more like this instead…
Remember when things used to be so great...
Remember how in control you were...
Remember how much better you looked being thinner...