When was the last time you were truly at peace with the world? Has substance abuse limited the appeasement of your desires? Believe me, the use of drugs and alcohol is directly related to our contentment.
Compass Point: Peace/Serenity
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8,14
Christmas Eve more than 2000 years later, it’s fair to ask, “What happened to ‘peace on earth’?”
War. School shootings. Terrorism. Racism. Death. Families torn apart. An observer might wonder if Silent Night is anything more than a song.
A few years later the baby born that night would teach His friends about a different sort of peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
It’s the peace that doesn’t depend on circumstances. It’s peace that sustains like the eye of a storm while life’s chaos swirls around it.
This time of year is all about the “too much.” There’s too much food, too much temptation, too much decoration, too much noise, too much spending and too much stress. Anything which is already an existing reality, this time of year, is seemingly placed on steroids.
Ho. Ho. Ho. Jolly times.
A few years ago, an interior designer appeared on a morning talk show. She was there to offer helpful holiday décor tips for our homes. So, I was anticipating glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel and every kitschy decoration known to man. I awaited pointers on how to transform each home into the Las Vegas strip.
So, it surprised me when she had some atypical advice…
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… Proverbs 23:7
Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of “The Daily Show,” recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:
“My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature.”
Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.
And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.
So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.
First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn’t require much work. You just let your feelings rip.
Spinal Cord Injury denotes varying degrees of damage to the nerves in the spinal cord. The body’s amazing design incorporates a number of protective safeguards, and often this extremely serious injury isn’t immediately medically life threatening. Even when paralysis prevents most voluntary movements, life-sustaining automatic functions continue. Injuries high in the neck sometimes create breathing issues and cause dependence on a ventilator, and comprehensive treatment addresses a long list of other potentially critical concerns. But SCI is primarily chronic and forces adjustments to just about every aspect of life.
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.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… Proverbs 23:7
We can really do a number on ourselves with our faulty thinking.
How many of us have said the following things to ourselves, about ourselves?
…never good enough…”
And then, if we’re plagued with disordered eating and body image issues, it gets amplified even further.
I don’t know who said it, but there is a quote which goes something like:
“You either embrace the pain of discipline or you embrace the pain of regret.”
Yes, I know, it’s a festive one.
Nevertheless, it is a reality check, especially for those of us in recovery from any particular thing which has seized our pleasure centers, all in an effort to escape pain. We desire pleasure to soothe, numb or obliterate our pain. We believe the lie it will happen. Furthermore, we also believe there can be no good thing which comes from denying our indulgences for it.
Therefore, as we stumble and relapse, we often choose to embrace the pain of regret concerning our addictions and the harmful consequences which can follow.
It’s not to shame anyone. Rather, it’s, again, to provide the reality check that none of us are immune from relapse and bad decisions. We are all vulnerable.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalms 103:14
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23
It’s acknowledged in the first two Twelve Steps:
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12
Autumn floods me with childhood memories of locusts inhabiting our farm and caterpillars on twigs, kept on mason jars, just waiting to become monarch butterflies.
And, with that flooding, often comes the tinged bittersweet feelings that accompany a childhood innocence of long ago.
I recently caught a funny post on the internet. It read: “Memories: Ouch!”
They say humor is humor because it is unflinching truth. And that certainly was the case with this post.
Never again will I confess, “I can’t”
For I can do all things through Christ which Strengtheneth me Philippians 4:13
Never again will I confess lack, for
My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory
by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Never again will I confess fear, for
God has not given us the spirit of fear,
but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for
God hath given to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
Never again shall I confess weakness, for