Next Man Up
You learn a lot when you are in a war, the many lessons come with pain, loss and agony, but they also come with understanding what the mission is. As long as you never lose sight of the mission then what happens in between the beginning of it and the end, though mentally challenging to say the least, is acceptable loss.
When I say that to folks who have never been at war they cringe and come back to me with the phrase "every life is important". Of course it is, but when you knowingly enter into war (and addiction is certainly a modern day war), then this all comes into the proper perspective. We win some battles, lose some, but the object is to win the war.
This phrase Next Man Up has become popular in the sports world as well, somebody gets injured, someone else has to step up to take his place. I learned this in Viet Nam and I understand this in our addiction recovery circles, that when we lose folks to relapse or death, we must remember we are here for those that remain, we cannot dwell on the losses lest another defeat comes along.
We lost two significant people in the last few days but we gained others who are willing to fight. If I know my brother or sister next to me is in the battle with me, not just showing up for the glory, but coming to face the battle, I feel confident that the war will be won. If we both experience the hardships of the ups and downs and stay with it, there is no doubt our resolve and our faith will win.
Jesus taught us this just before his death on the cross when he felt the weight of what he was about to do. His brothers actually abandoned him in time of need, but he never lost sight of his mission. Our mission at ATB is to help those in addiction to recover, that's it in a nutshell. But we can't pull the trigger for them, make them come to meetings or make them stay awake when adversity strikes.
What we can do, is stay in the battle regardless, be consistently diligent to go forward, to mourn loss, but to be exhilarated by gain because the ground we fight for is so difficult to gain. Imagine being Jesus, knowing he was the key to winning the war, knowing that so many of us would quit on him.
That's the way I try to think, we will always be here for the next man up, they may be the one who helps to change thousands of lives!
Yes You Can Overcome
What is it you are struggling with in life right now? Addiction, Anger & Resentments, Anxiety, Loneliness, any of these dominating your present situation?
Whatever it is, the answer from God is always, Yes You Can Overcome! One of the most frustrating parts is when we try to overcome by ourselves without the help of another overcomer. We may push back against this because we want to do it ourselves, and there may be times when we can, but there are things that master us that are impossible for us to do.
Have you experienced that? That is exactly why all the A programs are working, overcomers help others to overcome. What the A groups (AA, NA, CA, CMA, etc) have in common is that they all believe God is the key to overcoming. It clearly says "nothing is impossible for God" and "I can do all things through him who strengthens me" in scripture so why do we buck up against it when it is there for us to have?
A.A. adds "God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves". Tomorrow night I celebrate 36 years of sobriety and you know what the greatest obstacle that was overcome - ME! The common dysfunctional denominator in my life, ME! This is why I understand what is being written in this blog. God changed me from the inside out, an impossible task for me to do on my own.
Want help overcoming? Yes You Can if you place your situation in the hands of the one who can. After all, he is the only one besides you who really knows what is inside of you that needs to change.
Yes You Can Overcome if you really want to!
The Kindness of Others
I sat in my office in early December pondering the usual lament of lack of year end donations that was a repeat of 2019. As a non-profit, you always remain on edge in a start-up mode (two years now), and unless you are relentless about fund raising these dips just happen.
Well, I am not relentless about that, but I do it out of necessity. What I am relentless about is praying, planning as the Lord leads us, and believing that what we do is what He wants us to do. Therefore, I put my trust in Him to provide and in His people to provide it. So far so good!
The grant providers all want numbers, which I am happy to give them, but their numbers center around specific programs and time of service, which we are just now entering into that zone in our third year. But, there are individuals with uncommon hearts to give that have sustained our journey. And recently, as in the past 30 days they have blessed us with wonderful gifts. They wish to remain anonymous but what they are is not.
What they all have in common is that they love to give, they believe in what we do and they have a spirit of kindness that leaves you speechless when they give. Their confidence in us propels us to reach higher, go farther and it is not a coincidence that in these last two weeks our numbers have soared. One gift of kindness spurs another and then another, and like domino's falling it just continues to perpetuate on and on.
To you who have that uncommon heart, we thank you and we will do our absolute best to make you proud that you believed in us. And to the God we serve that directed this generosity toward us, we will become less of us and more like you each day we spread this message of hope.
It's all about showing them who you are, that's why it is all working!
It's Your Time
The clock magically ticks toward midnight and then all of a sudden, it's a brand New Year! New chances, new ideas, new friends, and a clean slate before we make the first mistake, or solve the first problem. It's a new opportunity and it's your time!
That's right, 2021 is your time to make amends, trust more in the Lord, go skydiving, skiing or just be a whole lot better person. Whatever gets you out of your comfort zone, brings joy to your heart and makes you feel alive, its time to do it. Love more, live more, not be afraid, and tell others good news as often as possible.
If this sounds like a motivational blog it is! You have survived a pandemic of medical proportions, an election of dysfunctional proportions and a year that changed the way we think for sure. But the one thing it did, is point out to us how valuable the time we have on earth is. God has given us a gift of life and we are meant to live it, so this year, some now and some later when the smoke clears, let's live with passion and purpose and make a difference.
In Ephesians 5 we are implored to "make the most of every opportunity", in Acts 20 Paul speaks about how he has only one task, and that is to "testify to the good news of God's grace". If we are down and out about quarantine's and pandemics, how is that any different than persecutions and being in prison? We are free, we can spread the word, even if it is in a Zoom call. It's not Zoom and gloom!
It's Your Time, it's my time, to step up in 2021 and show somebody hope and encouragement, and show them why we have such joy in our faith. We are survivors, we need to be thrivers, and prove that nothing can stop us from helping this world to be a better place to live in.
Yes, feel free to sing Kumbaya, but more importantly, go make it your time!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.