The importance of having someone we can talk to in any circumstances cannot be underestimated. Maybe it is more than one, but the key is to have one or more people in place who will listen, understand and give us the feedback or encouragement we need to handle whatever it is we needed to talk about. Like a potential relapse.
I got called and texted twice this week about how those folks were getting drawn in by the presence of where they were and the presence of using paraphernalia that triggered thoughts of drug use. If they did not have me, or someone like me to call, where would they be today? Making a call or seeking someone out to talk to in person about our problems is not a weakness, it is a sign of growth. It is a sign of trust.
And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:15
Asking God to listen is our usual first option, and if we have done this before and received his feedback, we become confident that he understands and will provide an answer. But, having flesh and blood around that confirm the presence of Him through one of his people makes an enormous difference. And knowing that our request to process any storm of internal combustion will be answered by words of calm and potential solutions, gives us that peace that passes all understanding to endure.
It also helps when we decide we can let our guard down and quit trying to be Superman or Superwoman, pretending like we always have it together. None of us who have been through the battles will ever think someone is being weak when they seek help. That's why all of us need to let others know that we do struggle so they feel confident we can be someone they can talk to.
Sonny and Cher sang I Got You Babe, and it may have only been for awhile, but it may have been for that particular time when they needed each other most. Let us always help others know that about us!
There is some controversy over the Winston Churchill, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, "Never Give Up" speech given in 1941. Some say he never actually said those words but instead "never give in". So being curious, I did some research. What I found in the text of that speech is worth repeating this week as we contemplate why we feel so defeated by our addictions, sins and choices. Here is an excerpt:
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our school history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.
Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure we only have to persevere to conquer.
And as I watched the film "Pearl Harbor" last night I realized that things could be so much different today without the resolve to Never Give Up. Just think, as Christ sweat blood in the garden before the task he had to face, how much courage and faith is required to just not quit when things get too tough, when everyone else thinks the battle is lost, we must remember that heroes like Churchill and Roosevelt stood in the gap for us, but none took a sponge and erased the slate of our defeat like Jesus did on that cross.
When we think the darkest moments are at hand, the hand of God Almighty brings a miracle of healing. Regardless of the actual interpretation of what Churchill said, the meaning is clear: Never, ever, ever, not ever, give up!
Wouldn't it be great if we got paid for every time that we promised to lose weight, go on a diet, and step away from the fridge? We would have a million dollars in promises and unmet expectations. And then we could pay for that operation to remove the excess fat instead of cutting back on calories. So much easier.
In my quest to stay in shape, I now workout with weights three times a week, do exercises for the abdomen and love handles every day, and walk on a treadmill five days a week. The result: I feel a lot stronger, but that waist hasn't reduced. And when I asked a PT at the gym what other exercises I could do for the mid-section, she said step away from the fridge!
There is of course another kind of weight we carry around, the guilt and shame of our past, the disappointment of failure, and the general feeling that we could have done much better. It can certainly drag us down and be just another reason to drink, drug, or get in more trouble. There is a solution, but it is often our last resort, unfortunately, and does cost us much. It costs a lifetime of built up bad habits.
The answer is this: Come to me, all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30
There is so much to talk about in that powerful passage of scripture, but here is the bottom line: this is the best and most thorough way to lose the weight of our internal burdens and demons. Not the South Beach Diet, but the Yoke Is Easy weight management system that teaches us not only how to Step Away From The Fridge proverbially, but teaches us how to keep the weight off permanently.
Those who grasp this word may also take heart in these excerpts from the Promises of A.A.: That feeling of uselessness and self pity will slip away. And, Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. As well as, We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
In Him we find rest for our restless desires.....sounds like a sure way to keep the weight off!
There are days when we wake up and wish we could just stay in bed under the security of covers and a nice warm place to relax. The road ahead for that particular day seems filled with obstacles and temptations that we often struggle with and lose. In the words of the Beatles, it is "A Hard Days Night".
What motivates you to get up to get ready for the challenge? Having to doesn't always work. Wanting to doesn't always happen. Hoping things will work out is not a strategy. What works is finding the Will To Win deep down within our soul and that only comes from preparation.
We are not often born heroes. We usually have to be forged by the fires of battle to withstand the pressure to succeed, so it comes a test of faith for those who believe. The best example outside of Jesus I can find are those ordinary Apostles who did so many extraordinary things. Their motivation was knowing what the presence of God himself among them did to transform them from cowards to courageous. When filled with the knowledge of who He was and with the Holy Spirit, they were unstoppable.
Simply, they had The Will To Win planted in them through years of faith building. As the Bible says, they were "unschooled, ordinary men" except for Paul who found his courage and strength from a personal encounter with God. This will is rooted in doing God's will which is the greatest purpose anyone of us could have. It is living life on the mark, not missing it.
When we know our leader and our purpose and our game plan, we too are unstoppable. So that will becomes a courageous approach to life that says even if you think you have defeated me, think again. Because, no matter what happens, we win in the end.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
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.