Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THE DECISION - from OUR JOURNEY HOME
















The Decision


“If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow Me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find it. What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?”
Matthew 16:24-26


“To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything.”
-Bernadette Devlin





We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.


It has been said that everyone will have their Waterloo. In addiction we have found ours, too. We can no longer deceive ourselves, or anyone else for that matter. Our addictions have been profound. We know it, and other people know it. Because of this, we just don’t have the energy to go on the way we’ve been going. Physically, mentally, and spiritually we’re done. It’s all over. It’s the end. It seems that we’re as good as dead. But here, when we’re at the end of ourselves, there is a calling for us. God, the giver of life, is calling for us to accept the loss of our own lives in order to accept the life that He has to give us.


The decision to surrender ourselves to God’s care is far more personal and practical than religious. We surrender our will and life to God because if we continue to live as we have, our addictions will destroy us. We’ve simply come to understand that God is a life-or-death decision for all of us. And today, each of us decides whether we are willing to trust God or continue our journey alone. Failing to trust leaves us spiritually alone and unprotected against our own progressing addictions. This is a potentially fatal mistake for anyone who has an addiction.


When we decide to trust God, we are not making a religious decision, although many religions encourage us to do this as well. You see, it’s not religion that we need. If religion was the answer for our addictions, those of us who came from religious backgrounds would never have had the addictions that we’ve had. What we really need is intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is far more personal than religious. It is an intimacy that transcends all that we are as human beings. Intimacy with God puts God inside of us. It makes us bigger than what we could ever be on our own. We call it a surrender because we can’t be exactly sure how this intimacy with God will affect us. But while we may not know exactly how God and His goodness will play out in our lives, we do know that it will be far better than staying in our addictions.


Ultimately, all of us will stand before God with their future literally in their own hands, making their life decision for themselves in their own personal way. Some recovering addicts, when they made their decision to trust their life to God, experienced immediate and profound gratitude with dramatic emotional outbursts. Others experienced only a quiet sense of relief that their life would change. Whatever the experience is for us as individuals, each of us must understand that it is far better to make the decision to surrender and trust than continue on the way we were going. We know that we must have God’s help and we have decided to ask for it.


As we make the decision to surrender our lives to God, let’s pray in ways that are personal and intimate. Let’s pray like this:


Dear God,
Only You are God and I am not. You are the Maker and Fulfiller of life. As for me, I know that I originate from You, that I exist because of You. Today, I make the decision to give myself to You, the best I know how. You own me, as far as I am concerned. I am Yours. I give You my old life and I ask for You to give me Your life. You can do with me anything You want to do. Now there are times when I get deceived and I become distracted from You. When I do, I feel that You are far away and I am hurt, from the inside out, when I sin. But, according to Your Word and Your promises, I know that You are always with me. Only You can save me from my addictions and my sins, renewing me in the center of my soul, my will. You protect me, You save me, You transform me. I thank You for the changes in me that You have promised. I want to be more of Yours. I seek You, and by Your grace I am finding and knowing You. It is my desire to know You more intimately and to more effectively live out the life You have for me. Amen







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BECOMING AWARE - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY








Becoming Aware
 
One suggestion I found helpful was to refer back to my personal inventory and review the journaling I produced after I admitted the exact nature of my wrongs to another man. When doing this, my journaling showed me how my beliefs resulted in patterns of actions and reactions. The more I understood these patterns, the more my character defects appeared in bold print. These questions helped me:
 
 
  • Have I had difficulty admitting to others my need for help?                                Pride
     
  • Have I been in debt or preferred my desires over someone else’s?                                      Greed
     
  • Have I gotten mad because someone else was more privileged than me?                              Envy
     
  • Have I lived out my life in a fearful way?                                Trusting more in myself than God
     
  • Have I compared my insides with the outward appearance of others?             Self-objectification
     
  • Have I looked at outside appearances, ignoring the feelings of others?     Lust & Objectification
     
  • Have I felt compelled to please others more than God?                                     Approval seeking
     
  • Have I been frustrated when others have not lived as I wanted them to?               Codependency
     
  • Have I feared to be alone?                                                          Emotional dependence on others
  • Have I or my family suffered from my work schedule?                                  Being a workaholic
  • Have I felt the need to keep certain facts about myself secret?                                    Dishonesty
  •  
  • Have I had habits of unhealthy eating?                                          
    Personal self-abuse
     
  • Have I procrastinated doing things I know should be done?                             Laziness
     
  • Have I believed my life would change without me changing?                          Fanciful Thinking
     
    Facing our character flaws in this manner shows we are seeing ourselves in a more honest way. Appreciate the deeper level of personal self-honesty you are capable of. You are heading in a good direction!






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