Tag: twelve steps

Carrying The Message

The Dead Sea.
Not only the lowest place on planet earth, it’s one of those places where for years and years it has been given to. It has been continually fed fresh, lively, healthy things from other rivers and streams from the mountains in the area that make their way into this body of water. An over-abundance of good has been provided. But there are no exchanges. No cycling, and no natural flushing.
Nothing, but receiving. And because of that nothing lives in the Dead Sea.

If the Dead Sea were a person they might live a somewhat isolated, desolate, life with imbalanced relationships, never realizing that they were holding the key to unlocking their own joy all along.

I believe that I am the happiest that I have ever been in my life. This very season. My small, imperfect, messy, perfect for me life. I see that to love means to get off my ass and take action;  to move and to do, and to let others in. To show love and to share what I have learned. To invest. To allow myself to receive, but also, to be vigilant about my own level of giving freely. A revolving door of the giving and receiving of love.

Both the Bible and The Twelve Steps place specific emphasis on the importance and value of carrying important messages to other people. It is obvious that we aren’t supposed to tuck these life-changing messages in our hearts, without sharing them with other people:

  • The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) 
    You do not have to identify as an Evangelical in order to share what God has done in your life, or to point other people to Jesus. For Jesus followers, we can do in so many colorful ways and just as many simple and subtle ways. We are all really just a bunch of regular people, doing spectacular work through the Grace and Strength provided to us, through Jesus, to being glory to God. Sometimes fun, sometimes taxing, always soul-replenishing, consistently worth it, constantly rewarding, but always requires us to step into the unknown. It takes action on our part. We have to accept the challenges.
    I can’t imagine just sitting back and basking in the beauty of how God’s Grace has changed my life. He healed my broken-heart and he bound my wounds. But eventually I felt like I had to woman-up and rip the band-aid off. I had to break out of my comfy shell and share some of the love that has been poured into my life. I had to let the scars show the evidence of His healing. I had to uncover them all and share what has happened. It’s not a secret anymore. Keeping it covered would have only ignited an ego infection underneath my tightly wound bandages.
  • Carrying The Message.
    Celebrate Recovery Step #12:  Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.
    Narcotics Anonymous Step #12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Step #12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    I can’t keep going back to the safety of some room, seeking that one comfy chair, in that familiar church basement that I have dubbed my own, to tell the same stories over and over to the same people.
    As we share hope with others who desperately need it, we increase our own faith in hope. When we invest in others, we deepen our relationship with ourselves, and with God at the same time. It is the weirdest most fulfilling process I have ever experienced, aside from watching my children grow, learn, and accomplish things.

Love always begs us get off our asses, doesn’t it? The Great Commission tells us to GO and step 12 tells us to CARRY.

And I don’t know about you but I don’t want to become a pool of oily, salty, stagnant, tucked away, love. I want to keep cycling, to keep it moving, to keep flushing, and to keep pouring into others. It is unhealthy for me and useless to God and His plans. At the very least, we need to be open and willing to move, whether it is to GO or to CARRY, if that is what we are supposed to do.

 

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, Living ODAAT


Is it possible that living one-day-at-a-time was an approach designed for all of us to live out our best, most-balanced, most productive, healthiest lives?

Maybe it was never intended to only be a go-to prescription, custom-fit & dispersed only to those of us living lives in recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Or only applied to the lives of people who are purposefully recouping from admitted inner-struggles with things like profound amounts of fear, worry, anxieties, and other more specific disorders.

I feel like it is reasonable to assume that we are all supposed to be grabbing life by the horns, in twenty-four-hour (or less) increments.

But what if you’re a person who has never even come close to being in the depths of a trench, or have never been stuck in a place where it is imperative to your survival that you acknowledge your areas of weakness?

And what if you are a person who is still somehow coasting along living your day-to-day life with your masks fully intact, and thus far you have somehow miraculously escaped having to quarrel with life on life’s terms, face down on hot pavement, begging God to save your life?

Even so, I still think that maybe all of us are supposed to be embracing the one-day-at-a-time mentality.

Not because we all need a program, but because we all struggle and experience hurt.

And also because life really doesn’t care whether we proclaim a membership to a certain group or club or program, it doesn’t matter whether we are willing to admit that we aren’t actually in control of everything or not, and none of this requires that we publicly acknowledge that we have too much to handle in order for it to feel like we might have accidentally been given too much to carry on any given day.

A few Sundays ago we took communion at church, which is not a regular thing for our non-denominational church. That morning, our pastor spent some time during his sermon drawing parallels between some of the important things Jesus said to his disciples, our need as humans for emotional & physical daily sustenance, and how this all relates to bread.

What began as simple note-taking during this particular sermon has developed into a few days of tiny epiphanies, and me over-thinking bread in general.

Throughout the Bible, the cooking, serving, offering and eating of bread always holds significance and has specific meaning. But for the purpose of this post, we’ll focus here:

  • Jesus told his followers,  “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) During Biblical times bread was important to every day life. It was expected at meals, was used to show reverence and respect for dinner guests, and as daily sustenance; a companion to feed large families daily meals.
  • Wikipedia tells the internet that “bread is considered a staple food, and throughout recorded history it has been popular around the world and is one of the oldest artificial foods, having been of importance since the dawn of agriculture.” Bread has been a food companion and has held a prominent place in secular and religious culture for a long time.
  • The Serenity Prayer  suggests to us that Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; and accepting hardships is the pathway to peace.
  • The fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer says:  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. For Jews back in the day, bread was a staple in their diet. Jesus wanted the people he was talking to, to understand that they needed Him, everyday, like they needed food. For survival; that He would provide to them everything that they needed to make it through any given day.
  • We are also reminded in Matthew 6:34:  So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. To me that sort of sounds like a suggestion to live one-day-at-a-time.
  • Groups like AA share slogans among the rooms that encourage the ODAAT life approach: “One hour at a time.. One day at a time.. One step at a time”, and  “Wonderful things happen, one day at a time”.

Maybe we are created to live focused on the day at hand, relying on God to provide for us our needs for the specific day we are living.

He made it pretty clear and simple.
He is what we need and we need him every day.

He is our (low-carb, reduced calorie, whole grain, with zero artificial ingredient) miracle bread that we have been searching for. Except that his offer is completely free to us, and one-hundred-percent accessible, and within our reach in this lifetime. (Unlike our seemingly unending quest to find the most recent, relevant, most popular, usually fleeting, American ‘make me skinny and magazine like’ bread).

I’ll be honest.

Some days I am feeling like I am absolutely killin’ it, living one day at a time. Living my dream. Living in freedom. Living sober, but more importantly, living authentically. I know that it’s okay to acknowledge that.

But it is also important to affirm that on other days, I can feel like I am crawlin’ through the day-to-day, resisting the comparison trap in all realms of life, living one sippy-cup spill, one irrational toddler or teenager meltdown, or load of laundry at a time.

But either way – I have access to what I need and I know that I am just a messy human living my life. I can only live through exactly what I am living through at any given moment, and that’s okay. I have exactly what I need to do it and I am certain of the hope that I have.

So relax. Take time to appreciate and acknowledge gratitude for easier days and eat your daily bread. It can mean the difference between hopeless and hope-filled on the less than easy days.

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Addiction Recovery- Things that have helped me -1

Out of the countless tools and newly acquired skills that I have learned in the past seven years, one of the most important concepts that I had to accept is what I am going to talk about today.
It sounds very simple, here it is:
It is not my job to fix your problems.

Emotional and Disconnected.

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