We became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
If you will throw away your detestable idols and go astray no more, and if you swear by my name alone, and begin to live good lives and uphold justice, then you will be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people will come and praise my name.
Jeremiah 4:1, The Message
"To admit discontent and hunger for redemption requires that we face our part in the problem and compels us to yearn and dream of more."
- Dan Allender, PhD
What We Really Need
Very often we get confused about what we really need because we are obsessed with what we want. As addicted and self-centered people, we tend to have distorted perceptions of our own personal needs. One of our great challenges is to understand that our God-given instincts for intimate love, relational security and eternal acceptance are all that we really need, and that only God can meet these needs. Part of the psychological insanity of any addiction is that, at least at some level, we believe that we need, rely or depend on things that are unreliable and destructive. In almost every case, we’ve been at fault for either denying our needs, or for demanding that our needs be met in ways that are inappropriate, given God’s design for our lives.
Our destructive reliances blind us in such a way that it makes it very difficult for us to see how our self-centeredness is the cause of all our character defects and all of our sins. Worrying and feeling sorry for ourselves will destroy us. Self-pity and self-idolatry are deadly. Self-centered thinking gets us into trouble because self centered thoughts tend to be prompted by fear, even when we are not aware of what we are feeling. Because of this, it is very important that we learn not to impulsively act on our first thought. It is important that we learn to think through things in order to think clearly and act appropriately. Part of recovery is learning to think faith-fully, not fear-fully. Just because our head sits on our shoulders does not mean it is our friend.
Feelings of personal inferiority or superiority, grandiose beliefs of entitlement, self-centered motives and priorities are all symptoms of the deeper problem of self-centeredness. When we believe that our demands must be met, or if we believe it’s bad or wrong to feel discomfort or have difficulty, or if we believe that others are here to make us happy, we reveal ourselves to be the selfish center of our own lives. In recovery and faith, God allows us an ever-increasing abundance of choices for goodness and personal prosperity. There is only one true wrong, and that is to make ourselves the center of our own world. God has never shared His position of authority with anyone, and He won’t share it with us. All of our character defects and all of our sins come from our silly attempts to rule our own “kingdom.” On the other hand, as we learn to focus our mind, our heart, our desire and our intention on God, we will find the willingness to let go of our character defects, to let go of our addictions and even to let go of the habitual sinfulness that has held us back in life. Even the smallest example of faith, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, pleases God. Once the seed of readiness and change is planted inside of us, (no one can do this for us, we do it for ourselves) our recovery partners and fellowship will help us to identify, nurture and grow these seedlings of positive change. “Faith as small as a mustard seed”( Matthew 17:20)
At the end of all things and considerations, only God will prove to be completely reliable. Only God will prove to be completely healthy and life-giving. Any reliance that is not centered on God is potentially idolatrous, destructive and addictive. On the other hand, a healthy reliance on God can never be idolatrous, it can never be destructive and it can never be addictive.
Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer and The Men and Women of Operation Integrity
Chapter Six Segment Four
Copyright David Zailer, 2008
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