“It’s Only Natural”
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 25:11, 12: 25, 13:12, 15:23, King James Version
Something very exciting and wonderful happened to me last night and I felt like I was going to explode with happiness but there was nobody around that I could share it with so I lost some of the joy and excitement that I was feeling. It was like someone had taken a pin and pricked a balloon and some of the air went out of the balloon.
While it is important that we listen to people when they are hurting, I believe it is just as important, if not more important to listen to them when they are excited. If we stay on the mountain tops of happiness, excitement and joy, we will spend far less time down in the valleys of despair, hopelessness, depression and discouragement.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it is impossible to stay on the mountain tops because that is a lie straight from the pits of hell! Yes, we will have times of discouragement, loneliness and despair due to difficult circumstances, heartaches, criticism, ridicule, scorn and sarcasm. However if Jesus lives in our hearts, He will be faithful to once again refresh our hearts with His understanding, joy, unconditional love, happiness, mercy, grace and kindness. Indeed, Jesus is able to keep us on the mountain tops.
Two years ago, I received an email from a pastor who was very discouraged and hurting. He told me “I preach my heart out and nobody says “Amen,” smiles or laughs at the humorous points in my sermons.” He said that he had been the pastor at this church for five years and no one had ever invited him and his wife to dinner. The pastor told me “I love God and it is my desire to serve Him, but I am human and sometimes I get very discouraged. Would you please pray for me?” How my heart went out to Him!
“Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit.”
This sobering statement recently came to my attention. I don’t know who originally said it, but it resonates, all the same.
It has personally factored in heavily as I have learned, firsthand, who was a part of my healthy support system…and who was NOT.
Indeed, this concept plays a MAJOR role for each of us as we navigate our addiction/recovery journeys. It is usually not too long in life, before we encounter the all too common cliché dysfunction of co-dependency, narcissism and/or exploitation.
Ten years ago, few of us would have considered chemical dependency, sexual addiction, or eating disorders suitable topics for polite conversation within the church community. These were among the “silent issues” in the church. Today, however, addiction, compulsive behavior and abuse are widely recognized as problems of enormous personal and social significance. Consider these statistics (Washton, Bundy, Willpowers Not Enough, Harper Perenial, 1998).
- At least six million Americans are addicted to cocaine.
- Between five million and ten million are addicted to prescription drugs.
- Ten million Americans are alcoholics.
- More than 50 million Americans are addicted to nicotine.
- Countless more are addicted to television, shopping, exercise, sports, and even cosmetic surgery.
- It is estimated that every addict directly affects at least ten other people.
- Divorce impacts Christian families as often as secular couples.
- Abortion is the choice in 1 in 5 pregnancies, since 1973 Roe vs.Wade over 25 million performed.
The Christian community is not immune to these difficulties. Many life-long Christians struggle with addiction. In addition, many people come to Christ hoping to find freedom from the bondage of addiction. Often these new Christians expect their problems will immediately disappear as a result of their conversions. Eventually, however, many discover that true healing requires a lengthy process of righting the wrongs of their past. Some of these people who suffer from addiction, compulsive behavior, or abuse find it difficult to be part of a church community. They may find that within their church, self-defeating behavior is denied, ignored, or minimized by those who use religion to shield themselves from life’s realities
Pastors and church leaders are becoming
How Christians in Recovery can Help You:
- Pastors, Recovery Professionals and Group Leaders need help and encouragement too.
Christians in Recovery provides information, resources and community to help you. Network with others working in the recovery field. Get the help and support you need.
Psalm 61:1-4 KJV
Hear my cry, O God;
attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a SHELTER for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever:
I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
Funding for faith based programs comes from many resources. Some of those include, in kind gifts, donations and funding from grants. Funding from a grant is an important source of income for start up not for profit organizations and for organizations that have plans to expand programs or services.
For most Christians, this is a special time of joy and celebration. Yet, it can be an extremely difficult and stressful time for those who are just beginning to recover from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Spending Christmas in a shelter or residential recovery program is hard.
Here’s a few simple thoughts that can make the experience a little more tolerable:
A. Remember the spiritual significance of the holiday
- This time of year is a major commercial event for America’s retailers. It is also a time for special celebrations of family and goodwill. Still, we must remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season . Above all else, we are celebrating God’s sending of His only Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. Keeping Christmas as a spiritual celebration puts all of our other expectations for the holiday season in proper perspective.
B. Don’t isolate
- The holidays can be the loneliest time of the year for the recovering addict. One one hand, we are reminded of all the relationships we’ve messed up. Some will spend Christmas haunted by memories loved ones and friends they’ve alienated with destructive and manipulative behavior. We know, too, if we want to keep our sobriety, we must avoid people who are still using alcohol and drugs. What’s the solution? Take advantage of the new sober acquaintances God has brought your way. Reach out to those around you and use this holiday season s as a special opportunity to get to know them better.
Satan has managed to convince many unbelievers, that he is not real, even though he has been influencing their every day lives abusively, in all manner of ways. Satan is a material, emotional, mental, and spiritual abuser. And if you have experienced abuse on any or all of those levels, he is at the root
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
Confronting and facing up to evil, is never easy. As humans we are inclined to go into denial, rather than confront evil for what it is. This is why so many addictions, addictive behaviors and systems continue relentlessly; enabled by ordinary every day people, until the pain brings them to their knees.
I find it a little sad that we humans still need the use of pain and suffering, to remind us to worship the living God!
Those of us who have experienced abuse and addiction, can testify to the truth of the Bible, that Satan and his demonic influence are indeed real, because we have experienced and witnessed his effects in our lives.
I have found it helpful
I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live
by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody
that stands right, and stand with him while he is right,
and part with him when he is wrong. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Compassion is defined as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
Compassion fatigue is a form of burnout that manifests itself as physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion. Clinically it is defined as a more user friendly term for Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder which is nearly identical to PTSD, except it affects those who are affected by the trauma of another, perhaps a family member, friend, acquaintance or client.
Caregivers and therapists/practitioners who serve others are particularly prone to this condition. In the broader picture, I believe that many of us are experiencing compassion fatigue as it relates to the world at large. We are assailed by the news
of war, crime, disease, famine and natural disasters. Reportedly, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocents are being raped, kidnapped, brutalized, tortured, sold into slavery or the sex trade, forced to leave their homes and livelihoods, renounce their religions or be crucified and as is becoming more common, beheaded.