Monday, April 28, 2014

THE EVERDAYNESS OF PROGRESS - from OUR JOURNEY HOME




We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.



We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.
Proverbs 21:2, The Message



"What helps at this point is to see your consequences as your teachers. You have been sent a lesson to learn. If you don’t learn the lesson this time, it will manifest itself again, and probably in a more painful form the next time." - Patrick Carnes, Ph. D.

The Everydayness of Progress
We need to practice our recovery principles every day. The daily monitoring of our motives helps us to have an honest view of ourselves and this helps to insure that we continue to recover from our addictions. God doesn’t tell us to bring our failures to Him just once. He tells us to bring our failures to Him continuously, day in and day out. For you see, recovery is a continuous process of character development. We can’t be what we’re not, but with practice we can make progress and move closer to the ideal example that God gave us in Christ. This means that we need to have a well-balanced understanding of our real needs and our most honest feelings. We also need to be ruthlessly honest about the health of our relationships, and the way that we live our lives when no one is watching. To whatever degree we have been guilty of playing to the crowd, so to speak, will be the degree that we place ourselves in jeopardy, risking a relapse of addictive destruction. We have to be real, everyday. We have to quit pretending.




When we lack character, we need to admit it to ourselves. We need to admit it to God and we need to admit it to someone else, too. When we lack integrity we need to admit that as well. As we admit our lack of character and integrity, we open ourselves up to an infusion of God’s transforming grace which is the most fundamental building block of character and integrity. This kind of construction is very personal. It is more intimate than anything we can ever do on our own, even with or without the help of other people. It is a gift from God and not something that we have earned on our own. The work we do is essential for our growth and recovery and we certainly need help from others, but in the end it is God who changes the condition of the human heart and mind.




As we continue to admit our wrongdoing and as we continue to correct our mistakes whenever and however we can - the best we can - we continue to live within the framework of God’s character. God’s character continues to be built into us and His character will help us to think and live more effectively in the future.








IT'S NOT ABOUT US - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY

It’s Not About Us
If we think our recovery and healing is ours alone, we have neither recovered nor been healed. When we believe our recovery and healing is to be lived to help others, we are recovering and healed already. There is only one choice to make and this choice never changes. We face it day in and day out, minute by minute, with every breath we take. Who owns us? Who will we live for? Will we live for God and others or die in addiction and shame? But, healing and serving others is not the end, it is just the start. All too easily, we compartmentalize our lives, gaining ground in some ways and losing ground in others, but it is our lives as a whole that really matters. We must be willing to give the whole of our lives to God the best we can or our life as a whole will not be His at all.



Carrying a hope-filled message to people who suffer insures that we continue our growth in sexual integrity and recovery. It is impossible for us to live our lives in true service to God and others unless we are willing to die to our own addicted agendas every day, one day at a time. We must be willing to do what others have done for us, to turn our lives inside out where they can be useful to someone else. We must be willing to do all that we can do every day, one day at a time, to insure that we are cleansed and healed deeply, so someone else can come to us in their time of need and find answers to their questions and be guided into their own personal experience with Jesus Christ through us.


This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only 


~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MAKING IT REAL - from OUR JOURNEY HOME




We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.



My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
I John 4:11, 12, The Message



"A critical component of recovery is recognizing and admitting personal responsibility in relationships." - Anonymous



Making It Real

We waste our recovery efforts when we forget our failures. Forgetting our failures can lead us into the most self-centered and insidious of all sins, self-righteousness. With a short memory and a little complacency, we become piously religious, self-satisfied and woefully unaware of the difficult world that we’ve created for ourselves and others. This is why one of the most critical components of recovery is to recognize and admit our personal responsibility in our relationships. And, this is why it is so important for us to acknowledge the people that have been harmed by our selfish attitudes and actions. We must, for our own sakes and for theirs, see how they’ve been affected by us. The opportunity and possibility to recover from our addictions compels us to ask for forgiveness, to help those negatively impacted by our lives and -- when it’s available -- accept reconciliation from them while forgiving others, so that we can all grow in freedom.



Let us set aside any remaining selfish or prideful motivations that we are aware of. Starting with our recovering fellowship, let us begin to make personal investments in others, working to expand and heal the world around us. Let us take this momentum of love to our families, to our communities, to our work places and to our churches. We want more today than to just have our lives and our circumstances improved. We want to see other people healed and their lives and circumstances improved, too. We are taking on a new ways of thinking, new personalities, becoming more concerned with loving others and honoring them as people who’ve been created by God to know Him and His love.



Name some people who would benefit from a healthier expression of your love.









POSSESSED BY GOD - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only



POSSESSED BY GOD

The gift of new life is not without a cost. I claim no ownership rights for this life God gives me — I am owned and possessed by God. Being aware of His grace gives me the gift of gratitude, which nourishes my new desires making every area of my life an act of surrender and worship. Through the grace of the Giver, I enjoy His gifts, and I become His as well. The gifts He gives to me are only mine to hold, to enjoy and to pass along.



For He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless He has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory pg 190

This inrush of God’s Holy Spirit heals us naturally – naturally. But it does far more than that. Indeed, as we pursue the spiritual life we lose sight of the physical benefits in our increasing vision of God Himself. We find after a while that we desire God more for His own sake than for ours.
Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light pg 60

"You can’t keep it unless you give it away."
Alcoholics Anonymous
What started with Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, two alcoholics helping each other stay sober, has resulted in a movement that helps millions of people recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. AA has also spawned the Al-Anon movement, which helps millions of codependents and addicted families worldwide. Just like Bill Wilson and Dr. Smith, in recovery we become a gift to each other and to the world one moment, one situation, one person at a time. The greatest needs of our day will not be met by counselors, doctors and professionals. They will be met by recovering people like you and me.

We are grateful leaders in pain suffered and humble leaders in recovery gained. We are men and women who have joined the fight for our own lives and for the lives of others as well. The great need in our world remains the same today as it has always been: godly men and women who display a quality of character and life that ignites a desire in others to know God in a way that changes them from the inside out. We have an important role to play and no one can live out this role better than we can. We call to anyone who is dead and dying in his or her struggles, problems, addictions and sins. We say to them, "Come with us, we are going to God. We are going to Life." Everyone needs what we have.


Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?" 
Romans 15:1 MSG


We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.
I Corinthians 10:24 MSG
This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only 

~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011


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Monday, April 14, 2014

HUMILITY THROUGH AND THROUGH - from OUR JOURNEY HOME


We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will is. Romans 12:2, NLT



“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.”
7th Step Prayer from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous



Humility Through and Through



There is a terrible fear that we will all feel at sometime in our life. This is the fear that we are alone and that no one will care for us in a way that will make us feel secure and meaningful. This fear, this aloneness, can feel spiritually fatal. This kind of fear cultivates and facilitates our addictions. It reduces us to shame-filled and fearful little boys and girls.



As we admit these intimate and painful feelings of ours, we begin to realize that God has been wanting us and waiting for us all along no matter how we felt or what we feared. We discover, through His grace coupled with our faith, that He has been working to make a transforming connection with us. Realizing this, we are better able to lay hold of a life and a goodness that was impossible before we admitted our need for His help. Pursuing this strength and freedom that He gives, we willingly let go of the character defects that have kept us from “knowing the measure and stature of Christ” (please see Ephesians 4:13).



Where we had once been ruled by our lusts, by our addictions and by other people, today we are becoming men and women who admit our character defects and, in the same breath, we are uncovering the treasure of God’s imminent presence in our lives. It is through humility and faith that we receive the transforming spirit of Christ. Christ empowers us with a love that is our only ruler today. It is the rule of God’s love.



Our relationship with God must always be more important to us than career, hobbies, church, even family and friends. Character building and spiritual values must come first if we want to continue to recover from our addictions. This is because without recovery nothing else will matter, because nothing else will survive our addictions. All that is good stays good only with God’s love and care coupled with our humble heart. Without Him, there is nothing worth having.





A NEW PURPOSE - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY



A NEW PURPOSE

As my recovery continues, gratitude for my addictions grows. I have learned to think of my addictions as preparation. I call them pre-recovery preparation. They have helped me become the kind of man who embodies the progressive prodigal experience of selfishness, disaster, desperation, hopeless cries for help, discovery of God’s gracious power to change, and a life resurrected. There was no better plan for me. Now today, having used up every resource of my own, I recognize my purpose in life is to seek, discover and experience God as Jesus Christ knows God, and as I receive the benefits of knowing God, I encourage others to seek, discover and experience God for themselves. We are all prodigals in one way or another, after all.

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
Frederick Buechner, Now & Then pg 87

I am humbly proud of my growth and the growth of the other people who share their recovery with me. We are well prepared to do good business with God and with other people. God has a future for each of us that is uniquely designed for us by Him. When following His plan, we are well equipped to give goodness and love to whomever we encounter.
Now I still consider myself a sex addict. And I need to admit that my brain makes a spontaneous wrong turn every now and then, creating a conflict of impulse and desire inside me. Recovery has taught me that temptation is not a calamity. Temptation reminds me that I am a man at risk and that I must remain diligent in my recovery work and spiritual disciplines. The only thing insuring my recovery is the maintenance of my spiritual submission to God. He alone has the power to keep me safe and secure from my own selfish nature.

Sometimes, the feelings and temptations I experience are uncomfortable; other times, they are miserable. Nevertheless, no matter how conflicted I feel, I continue to admit that I am powerless over my addictions and that it is only through the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, that I will continue recovering from them. Each time I feel the urge to chase after my addicted — and attractive — way of life but do not, the impulses and compulsions that accompany these temptations lose some of their power. New attachments for goodness are established inside me with each obedient moment, ultimately gaining strength over the old disobedient ways. Moreover, I lose interest in my own life compared to the expanding joy of sharing God and His life with others. I prefer taking the personal spiritual revolution God has given me, and blessing the whole world with it.

This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only 

~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

WHAT WE REALLY NEED - from OUR JOURNEY HOME


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.


DESTINY ARRIVES AND WE SHOW UP - from When Lost Men Come Home, not for men only



DESTINY ARRIVES AND WE SHOW UP


I never wanted to be a sex addict. I never asked for it, and I certainly never intended it to take hold of my life the way it did. In fact, getting addicted to anything was the furthest thing from my mind. But when I realized how serious my problem was, all I wanted then was to recover from my addictions, because I was afraid I might die. However, through the ongoing process of my recovery, I have received so much more than I ever wanted or thought I might receive. The healing of my addictions has been, and continues to be, an incredible journey leading me into a radical kind of personal transformation. I have changed and I continue to change, gaining wisdom and insight that I could never get from a book, in a classroom or from another person.


I once thought of myself as a physical being trying to have spiritual experiences, but now I think of myself as a spiritual being that lives out physical experiences in ways God designed for me to live. As a man who has been sexually addicted, and having offered myself to God, I have become the most blessed of all men.




This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only 

~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011


click this link to purchase