Archive for November 2010

Courage – Proof of Potential   1 comment

Recently, I was preparing for my regularly scheduled group session of my Road to Recovery Class. In the midst of that preparation, I came across the following quotes, and they were very encouraging and inspirational to me and to the class when I shared them with them.

 Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.  -Mark Twain

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas Edison

Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born. – Helen Keller

 Any one of these is worthy an entire article of it’s own for explanation, and that could happen eventually, but for the moment, we will look at each one briefly. I hope to look at each a little deeper, and then share some concluding thoughts. Let’s begin.

 Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it. -Mark Twain

 What is courage? Miriam Webster defines it as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”

 Courage implies that as I enter into a given situation, I understand there is degree of danger, risk, pain that could be associated with it. For many of us just waking up and rolling out of bed to face the day requires a degree of courage.

 I once heard it said, “Life is not a bed of roses.” –  Or is it?

In life there are always going to be times of beauty, peace and joy – The blooms and fragrance. However, there are going to be trials, disappointments and pain – Thorns.

Courage is taking the risk to smell and take in the roses despite the risk of pain caused by the thorns.  Courage is demonstrated when despite having knowledge that the thorns are there and ready and able to harm me, I take the risk of enjoying the rose anyway.

How does that translate to real life?  Courage is when I take a chance and introduce myself to a peer at a new support group that I am attending, despite my fear that the individual will reject me entirely, or hurt me at some point in the future. I take the risk of pain for the sake of the potential that this simply introduction may result in a lifelong friend that becomes an integral part of my recovery.

Courage is not having no fear, it is acting despite the fear that is present.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.      – Thomas Edison

If there was one thing that could be said that most individuals are good at one time or another in their journey, it is “giving up”. 

It hurts when we slip and fall and it is even worse if we are pushed. It is at that point that we want to just lay there on the ground and wallow in our suffering and self-pity.  “We throw in the towel” and quit!

Can you imagine what our world would be like to day if Mr. Edison had quit and given up? But, luckily for us, he did not do so. He demonstrated another key component of courage, perseverance, “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition “

Courage is that inner strength that prods us to stand-up, dust ourselves off and get right back in the race.  Courage encourages us to get up and take that next step and try and try again.  We may fall down 10 times or 100, but as long as I get up and keep going one more time after I fall, then I have succeeded, There is no way to win or even finish the race sitting on the curb.

 Courage is not giving up or quitting, it is getting up and trying one more time!

Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born. – Helen Keller

Our dreams are renewable! Though they may have been crushed and broken by our own deeds or those of another, they can be restored and made like new once again. New life and energy can be released in them.

It does to matter what hurts, pain and/or scars we have endured or still mark my being, both inside and out. We have value; there is limitless potential and possibilities that lie within. This will sound difficult to believe and accept, but it is often out of the greatest pain and the ugliest of scars that some of the most beautiful remarkable people actually realize who they are and how there scars and pain can be used to help others.

Courage hangs on to the DREAM and believes in the strength and beauty that is within, moving forward growing deeper, without being hindered by past hurts and scars, so that our ultimate destiny and purpose can be realized.

 So be of GOOD courage my friends.  It is a not a sign of weakness rather of wisdom to be afraid and be cautious as we venture our way along this journey. However, we must NOT allow that fear to restrain us from doing that which is needed to take the next step, overcome that next obstacle and be truly successful in our lives.  When we do venture out and take that risk, it is unfortuantely guaranteed that e will not succeed on the first try every time. In fact, we will likely not ever succeed on the first try, but that is when courage steps in and we try and try and try again until we overcome! Hold fast to your dreams; write them down, read and re-read them. No matter where you have been, what has happened to you, or what you have done in the past, there is untapped potential waiting to be released, great beauty waiting to be revealed.

Courage, badge of the wounded, proof of potential!

Gratitude   1 comment

Overcome   Leave a comment

Posted November 19, 2010 by Hope in Recovery in Failure, Hope

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Be all you can be, well almost…   1 comment

Be all you can be!Life is not being all I can be, it is being all that I allow Him to be through me.

I am venturing into unknown territory with this post. If you have read any or all of my previous post, you are aware of my personal faith and how important it is to me; however, I have never been overtly “Christian” in them. This post however, goes right to the heart of that very topic. Well, here we go….

For as long as I can remember the U.S. Army has utilized the slogan, “Be all you can be!” In my humble that is a good a good start in how we should live, but it does not go far enough, especially in our spiritual lives. I will attempt to explain as I proceed.  

 I was not an “athlete” growing up, but I participated in a number of different sports, bowling, basketball, soccer, and baseball soccer. What I learned from my participating in these competitive activities was in all that I do you give it my best effort. Thus my first interpretation of this phrase: “Be all you can be means “Give EVERYTHING that you have within you; strive to meet your full potential, NEVER settling for any less than your ABOSLUTE best.”

On the other hand, I also see another completely different possible interpretation. When an individual, becomes a soldier there is a revelation and release of character and potential that would/could have never been realized otherwise. In other words, you get in touch with parts of your personality and character that you would not have ever have even know that they were there. Once these attributes and strengths are recognized and acted upon then you become better for it and have even greater potential for success.   

Ultimately, I feel the best interpretation of this phrase is actually a combination of the two above thoughts. “When and only when I give my all to being a soldier, a Christian, a Father, a Friend, a Husband, etc. I will discover strengths and abilities that make me a better person able to accomplish even more because I have given myself to be the best at a particular role.”

Having had a brother that served in the Marine Corps, and a sister that is currently in the Army Reserves, I clearly understand the role that “Basic Training” or otherwise known as “Boot Camp” plays in this process. A young man or woman enters the respective training base. Once there, they are physical, mental and emotionally beaten down. This is not to be cruel or to intentionally, run recruits off, it is part of the process. You see, once they are broken in who they were when they got there, then the rebuilding process can begin; and what is built where once a young man or woman stood, now stands a brave, confident, loyal soldier. Why? Because they gave everything they had within to their training and in return their training gave back to them. I often heard it on many different levels, “You get out of something what you are willing to put into it.” Ultimately that simple statement concisely summarizes this thought.

Many have adopted this slogan and apply it to how they live their lives and how they practice their faith.  If simply taking this principal at face value as discussed above, this sounds like the thing to do. However, I would like for us to consider our lives a little deeper.

We being mortals are simply that mortal and weak, in our very nature. Think to our very beginning. We were give one simple rule to follow and we could not do it. Since the beginning, man has set out to “find his own way”, to “carve out his own path”.  In doing so, some have been somewhat successful, while others have failed miserably. With each success, we have become more and more self-reliant and grown to believe that we were capable of being “all that we could be” on our own. However, I am reminded of scripture that states:

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.   Proverbs 14:12

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes …. Proverbs 12:15

 How many “successful”, “powerful”, “wealthy” and “famous” people do you we see on the news on regular basis, being going to rehab, getting divorced, going on some inappropriate verbal rampages while under the influence? For all their “success”, walking in the way that seems right to men, they are among the unhappiest and unsatisfied people. When we choose to make our own way and do what is right to us, we may experience a degree of success, but it will never truly be fulfilling.

 For me, I had rather be like Paul, the Apostle who said,

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.     2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I had rather acknowledge my weakness and depend upon the goodness, grace and strength of a power that is greater than me than to try to depend on my own capabilities alone. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

Scripture goes on to clearly designate the difference between following one’s own path and following the One greater than we are.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate….14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. Proverbs 10:29

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…. John 14:6

So, I urge you friends, as you live and breathe from one moment to the next, to give your life and recovery EVERYTHING that you have, but don’t stop there, trust in your Higher Power and allow Him to lead and strengthen you for your journey.

Returning to where we began, “Be all you can be”, lets look at one last time with all we have discussed.

“When I give my all to Narrow Pathmy life and recovery, depending and relying upon the strength and ability which only God can provide, then He will give me strengths and abilities that will make me a better person able to accomplish even more because I have given myself to His path and destiny for my life.”

So, my friends I encourage one last time…

Be all you can be!

Hope – All things are Possible!   1 comment

I can’t remember why, but I was doing some research and looking for further quotes on Hope. I found the following:

 True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort ~ Walter Anderson  

 As I began considering and “chewing on”, if you will, this quote, I could not let it go with sharing it and a few comments with you.  My plan is to in a sense “dissect” the quote a little bit at time and reflect on each phrase as we go through it.  So, let’s begin….

 “True hope dwells on the possible….”

Hope holds on to, abides in and never gives up on believing that that what is wanted or need is possible.

 Looking even a little closer, Miriam-Webster defines Dwell as:   

To remain for a time; to live as a resident; exist, lie; to keep the attention directed; to speak or write insistently

Thus, hope, remains, lives exist, keeps ones attention directed and insist on the possible. Well what is possible?

Again turning to Miriam-Webster, possible is being within the limits of ability, capacity, or realization; being what may be conceived, be done, or occur according to nature, custom, or manners.

True hope remains, lives exist, keeps ones attention directed and insist on ability, capacity and/or realization that anything that can be conceived can be done.

 In short, “True hope insists that anything that I can envision can be accomplished.”

 Hope kelps me hold my attention and focus on the goal, the prize that I desperately seek. It is relentless in its belief in the realization of the goal being achieved.

 Let me say it one other way- “With hope ALL things are possible.”

 Ultimately, it is my opinion that there is truly only one source of “true hope” that being “God”. It is written in I Timothy 1:1- God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope. If He is our hope, then it also suffices to say that “with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27/ Matthew 19 26)

 So I reiterate….  “With hope ALL things are possible.”

 I could stop there and be satisfied, with having shared a good morsel for your intellectual and emotional digestion, but, in looking at the depths of this quote, we have just scratched the surface, so hang on!

“…even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome…”

How many times have looked at the circumstances that we face in our lives at a given time, look into the heavens, throwing our hands into the air, either literally or figuratively, and proclaim,  “Why are you doing this to, me, I can’t handle  anymore!” We come to the point were we believe that we have become powerless over the direction and outcomes of out life, we truly feel like someone else is writing the story of our lives and is beginning to feel like a dark tragedy.

I will briefly remind you of another quote that we have previously looked at,

10% of life is made up of what happens to you           90% of life is decided by how you react….         John Maxwell

 We find ourselves experiencing adversity after adversity, not because “God” or someone else is out to get us, not because we are bad and deserve to be punished, but often, because we have made bad decision, after bad decision, that led to negative and painful consequence after negative and painful consequence. When we start to “dwell” on hope, we stop surrendering to suffering and pain and stand up and start making better decisions for ourselves. Thus taking the proverbial pen back into our own hands instead of giving it away to whoever and whatever “circumstance” comes our way. I urge you commit yourself, to writing your own story, choosing your own plot and destiny. Choose hope and respond to life’s challenges as a champion, not as a victim.  

 Remember:  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  I Corinthians 10:13

 “True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort” 

True hope responds, rather than simply reacting out of emotional stimuli. Because it responds rather than reacting, it takes time to evaluate the “Big Picture” and sees things more closely to how they are in the “real world” rather than simply through the distorted perceptions and lenses of our past disappointments and hurts.  When we start responding to the world rather than reacting to circumstances that are outside of our control and those that are the result of our own actions, we will realize that we are finally living! This is “REAL LIFE”. Dealing with circumstances, pain, disappointment, success, joy, love at that time that we encounter them.

With HOPE all things are possible, because we believe that it is so and we choose to be the author of the direction and destiny of our life stories, responding to our circumstances always believing that anything that I can envision can be accomplished!

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