Step 4

Self-created Hells

Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40

Internet surfer that I am, I recently came across a meme which could be described as a drama queen's motto:

"I don't want to be overdramatic. But today felt like a hundred days in hell."


Yes, within the faith community, it is often agreed eternal torment is some kind of reality, even if it is beyond our finite minds.

Nevertheless, we do ourselves a large disservice to ignore our own self-created and contained versions of this most unpleasant torture. For indeed, even those pious Christian versions of us need to admit something hardly "Christ-like" or flattering. Sometimes we like to create our own little Hells. And then we further enjoy tossing others - and ourselves - INTO them.

Reconciliation A Process of Re-Connecting With God

A PROCESS OF CHANGE
The word "reconciliation" refers to the process of recognizing that we have the desire to do what is good, but we cannot carry it out and the process of recognizing that it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. The bottom line is that it is not our process but God's process. He can do a much better job of changing something thoroughly and He can adjust everything to His standard.

12 Step A.A. History Review

Research in the last twenty years has made available lots of new information about where each of the Twelve Steps came from, so far as its language and ideas are concerned.

Therefore, if you put these and other thoughts together, you may find why the rapidly disappearing spiritual roots of A.A. are important. The reflections in this article, however, are just designed to remind us all of some principal historical roots of the 12 Steps. And to show how they can help you, as they did me, to see what the Twelve Steps are really about–or at least were, when Bill Wilson first penned them.

Where They Did Not Come From

Prayers for Each of the 12 Steps

~First Step Prayer~

Dear Lord,
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.

I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.

~Second Step Prayer~

Heavenly Father,
I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity.

I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought and
addictive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.

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Arrogance as a Stumbling Block

Psalm 19:12 NRSV
But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.

Romans 12:14-18 NRSV
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."

Is Your Fruit Lasting?

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit?.
Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Matthew 7:18, 20

I know I've mentioned this saying before, but I was thinking of it this morning and decided it bears repeating. It is actually a question, and it goes something like this: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

17 Ways To Wear Yourself Out

treadmill
Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill—lots of activity, not much progress?

One of my big personal issues is confusing busyness and productivity. I often reach the end of the day and realize that I’ve done a lot, but not much has gotten done. Am I the only one?

I also recognize that passionate productivity energizes me while busyness wears me out. I’m trying to do better at setting goals to direct my efforts, but I’m also recognizing that a number of personal attitudes contribute to the energy-draining side of my activities.

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and the 12 Steps

Charles Dickens' 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol is the famous tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by spirits representing the past, present and future. The novel, while set during the Christmas season, is a story of redemption. It's a wakeup call. It's a lesson on making amends. And it has the Twelve Steps all over the place.

Steps 4-12 heavily involve the "other" of wronged people in our lives, hurt by our destructive choices. They speak to our rebellion of the changed life we need to experience.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Twelve Steps: Feline Resemblance

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good." Proverbs 19:8

As with most families this time of year, my husband and I commemorate the season with holiday decorations. That décor, however, is threatened by two factors: our cats, Gracie and Glory.

And, it is in this holiday decoration/feline context where I started thinking about the power of negative consequences.

The Book of Proverbs is especially loaded with helpful warnings for particular behaviors. It comes down to wisdom versus foolishness, pride versus humility, willingness to learn versus stubbornly and repeatedly making the same poor choices.

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20

Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29

Like it or not, we live in a cause and effect world. Many of us who battle with addiction, disorder and compulsion have already felt certain unpleasant consequences like lost jobs, wrecked relationships, health issues and excruciating moments of embarrassment.

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