Archive for the ‘Priorities’ Tag

Carpé Diem 2012   2 comments

A brief thought for the New Year

Carpé Diem – Remember Yesterday, Hope for Tomorrow, Live Today!

We always talk about New Years being a chance for new beginnings, a chance to start over, to do things differently than we have in the past. However, sometimes, the first thing that we have to do is do NOTHING! As we prepare to leave 2011 and enter 2012, I encourage you to join me in a time of reflecting on the the past year. Yes, that includes acknowledging and possibly facing some old pain, but it is also a time to remember the joy and the victories that we have had. In looking back that focus is not to beat ourselves up over our mistakes, but to remember them so as to not repeat them. Most of all I hope looking back is an opportunity to look back and see how far that you have come in your life and recovery. How much more like the person that you WANT to be you are and less like the person that you were. No matter if it is GREAT strides or only a few baby steps, Celebrate EVERY success.

Having “remembered yesterday” we turn our focus to “Hope for tomorrow.” Let me begin by saying I am NOT a proponent of “New Year’s Resolutions”. “Why not?”, you might ask. TO explain lets look at the typical “Resolution Experience”. First things first- the resolution itself; it is usually some expectation that is in realistic an impractical for us to consider trying. They are also often very vague. Examples include: “loose weight”. “Be a better person”, “Stop smoking”, etc. Next, when the New Year rolls around and we set out to start working towards keeping these resolutions we quickly become discouraged as realize how vague and unrealistic these resolutions really are. As a result, we simply give up and quit trying completely. Having done so, we suddenly start hearing all those negative messages replaying in our minds, “I knew that you could not do it”, “You will never amount to anything”, “You are such a failure”, “It’s no wonder no one wants to be with you.” Anyway, I think you get the idea. We end up overcome with guilt, shame and ultimately depression. Not my idea of a good way to start of a new beginning. Let me offer an alternative way of preparing for the year ahead. Goals are a necessity. We have to have something that we are working towards. When you travel you do not leave home without a destination to which you are going. Life/Recovery is the same way; we must have some goals that we are working towards. In this season, or any other as a matter of fact, we need to set clear, specific and attainable long term goals and then corresponding shorter term goals that act as steps to achieving the larger ones.

Let me try to illustrate with a brief personal example. As some of you ay or may not know, I have a dream of taking “Hope in Recovery” in to the community. My ultimate desire is to “someday” become a “motivational speaker” traveling doing workshops and seminars encouraging/empowering consumers of mental health services and providing support and resources to the people that serve them. So that is my “LOOOOOOONG Term Goal.” Is it attainable? Who knows. I hope so. In order to EVER get there are a number of other things that I need to do in the mean time, my shorter term goals. Even some of them have sub-goals as well. One of the important pieces that I feel must be in place to achieve my ultimate dream is that I have to complete the process and get my License to practice as a Professional Counselor. Thus short term goal. However, to do that I must take and pass a licensure exam and then complete internship hours; more sub-goals.

In setting shot term and sub-goals, the MUST be very clear, specific and set a time frame for completion. Deadlines are not for beating ourselves up over if we do not succeed; they serve as motivation to be actively pursuing that goals that we have set for ourselves.

Let me share one very brief example of setting deadlines: In one of his most recognized speeches, then President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 called for the United States to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, just 8 years and 2 months later NASA’s Apollo 11 mission would land with the first humans on the moon.

So whether it is in your career, education, family and especially in your recovery start thinking about what your long term goals are and what steps, shot term/ sub-goals are you going to need to reach them. That brings me to what I believe is probably the most essential of this process, “Live Today” We can make no progress towards ANY goal doing nothing. As the old statement goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Similarly, goals, no matter how great or noble, are not worth the paper that they are written on if they are not actively being pursued. It is time to get off the couch, believing and expecting the everything in the world to just “work out’ will we sit and wait. As the famous quote states, “…time waits for no man.”

This is where my tag line comes in: “One breath, One step, One day at a time” Each and every second, minute hour day, is an opportunity to move forward addressing and struggle and obstacle as it comes or to continue to as we have in the past, accepting it all and continuing to be that same person that we always have know ourselves to be. “Live Today” is not just about battling the struggles. Seeing as the present of today is the Past of tomorrow, make sure that despite your striving and work towards your goals, you take to to enjoy the good things that are in your life. Here again borrowing from an old tired cliché, “Stop and smell the roses.” Be honestly grateful for what you have and express it to those around you.

Today is your day!                                 2012 is your year of victory!

If you will only believe… ALL things are possible.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Carpe Diem – Remember Yesterday, Hope for Tomorrow, Live Today!

Posted December 30, 2011 by Hope in Recovery in Change, Hope, Recovery, Uncategorized

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Balance: So Basic that it is Easily Forgotten   2 comments


Before you even start reading, I want you to stop, take out a pen and piece of paper. Take you a minute to think and then write down every role that you play in your life, (Husband, child, father, supervisor, soccer coach, etc.)

 Once you are done, go back and write the number of hours that you devote to that role in a given week. Then add up the total number of hours for all listed roles. Here is a hint, there are 168 hours in a week. Most of us work somewhere in the neighbor hood of 40 hours per week, and recommended sleep is 6-8 hours per night so that is about another 40 hours. That leaves about half of our time to “juggle” are our other roles, responsibilities, needs and wants. I want to tell you all the truth, I for one have been doing a VERY poor job maintaining balance in my life and roles.  I don’t know about you, but maintaining balance sometimes feels like juggling a bunch of different sized and shaped items, and I am a BAD juggler.

 As I write these words, I am reminding myself of what I need to do to “get my house in order”

So where do we begin?

Just as you did earlier, with your roles, I encourage you to make a list of all of the things that you feel are important in no particular order. Once you have your list look back through the list, and put a number beside each one prioritizing them, one being the most important.

 You see what happens is we often get distracted by the urgent, we delay in proving the necessary attention to the important. Just because someone else thinks something is urgent and or even important to them, it does NOT have to be urgent or important to us. I recently read another professional’s blog and she talked about using that magic little two letter word effectively, “No.”

I know it sounds silly, but believe it our not, most of us like things simple and as straight forward as possible, even if we don’t want to admit it we like structure. That being said, sit down and schedule a routine for yourself and your family if needed. Remember to plan in time for taking care of yourself (Hobbies, bubble bath, reading, etc). Here again as you develop this routine and schedule, keep your priorities in mind, faith, family, work, friends, etc and insure that make time in your routine to properly nourish these areas.

 Above all remember, as I was recently told “Take time to smell the roses.” I will simply add, “but be careful of the thorns”.

So take a few deep breaths, practice saying “No” and honestly consider what is urgent versus what is important and balance your time talent and energy appropriately. I know I have a lot of self-examination to do, do you?

Until next time…

One Breath, On Step, One Day at a time!

Be Still, Be Silent…   Leave a comment

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.Psalm 46:10-11 (KJV)

I grew up in what at the time was referred to as a “microwave” society, the 1980’s. Of course, at the  time computers were just coming on to the market and a “web” was still something that spiders made and you cleaned them out of the corners of your house.

We just thought that was a time of “instant gratification”. Compared to today with the internet, social media, text messaging, 24/7 cable news coverage. It is VERY easy to get pulled into information and activity OVERLOAD.

It seems that we are always GOING to do SOMETHING somewhere.  Community Meetings, school functions, sports activities, church, social gatherings, etc. We are so BUSY, we have minimal time to relate and interact with those living breathing souls that we live with, much less, setting a side to spend in relationship with our God and Father.

Because of this, we get more and more stressed, anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. For many of we are not “addicts”, but our lives have “become unmanageable”. We make decisions on the fly and react to situations rather than thinking them through completely. Then we are often faced with negative consequences as a result of these poor choices.

We appear to all those around us to be “super-human”, accomplishing so much and ALWAYS having a smile on our face. Yet, just below the surface, we are shattered to pieces and no one could ever imagine just how weak we feel and how much we are hurting. But, in the world we are strong and confident. Our world feels like it is literally falling apart around us, and we are drowning in the undertow of our circumstances.

This reminds me of a story that I heard many years ago about recognizing the hand and voice of God in our circumstances.

————————————————————————————————–

The Flood Story
A flood threatens a town, forcing everyone to evacuate, But Joe thinks,
“I’m a devout man, God will save me,” and stays put. As the waters rise, Joe’s neighbor comes by and says, “Joe come with me, we’ve got to go.” Joe declines,
“I’m a devout man; God will save me.”

The waters keeps rising, Joe scrambles to his second floor. A firefighter in a rowboat comes by. “Get in the boat or you’ll drown,” he says. Joe again declines, saying, “God will save me.”
Finally, the flood waters force Joe to his roof. A police helicopter comes by and throws down a rope. “Climb up or you’ll drown,” the policeman yells. “No, I’m a devout man, God will save me,” Joe replies.

Soon, Joe drowns.
He arrives in heaven and challenges God.
“Why didn’t you help me?”

“What do you mean?” God says.

“I did help. I sent a neighbor, a firefighter and a helicopter.”

———————————————————————————

“He has promised that He will not let us be tempted with more than we can handle. In the words of the story, He won’t let you drown.  Even in the midst of the storm, and there WILL be storms and trials, He will provide an escape. We just can not be like Joe and refuse his Hans when he stretches it out to us.” I Corinthians 10:13

But, how in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us day in and day out are we suppose to recognize His hand and voice? We learn to recognize His hand and voice just like we do anyone else’s. Spending time together. The instance we were born, we recognized our parents’ voices, why because even without seeing them we listened to them for the first 9 months of our existence. Despite not seeing Him if we WILL listen he speaks to us everyday.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, Romans 1:20

 

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.  1 Kings 19:11-13

Whether it be His hand at work in His creation, or the “Still small voice” of His spirit speaking to us from within, He IS speaking.

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

And the LORD said to Samuel…..  I Samuel 3:8-11

He calls each of us by name, but we are to busy filling our ears with the things of this world or our minds with worries and fears.

STOP – LOOK – LISTEN

We all remember that simple reminder don’t we?

Stop – Don’t take another step

Look– Pay attention to situation around you.  Look at the BIG picture.

Listen – CLOSE your mouth… and open your ears and more               importantly your heart.

This brings me back to where we began; we must SLOW down, Be STILL, Be SILENT, and LISTEN!

We have long forgotten that prayer is not a one way street of communication. It is not just to tell him what we need and how “terrible” our life is”.

In the midst of ALL our crisis he is there is watching. He strengthens in our time of weakness.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40: 28-31

Also remember when you feel your weakest remember, that HIS strength is made perfect/complete in our weakness.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  ‎2 Corinthians 12:9

 I know I have been a little all over the place but I hope that you have been able to follow, my frenetic thoughts. Summing up:

 STOP –

Much of our difficulties or stress is SELF-IMPOSED due to being over committed.

Insure that you have time to take care of yourself.

Finally and most importantly, MAKE time to sit and be quiet in prayer and meditation.

LOOK –

Look at the BIG picture, not just on the circumstances at this moment.

Look at your life and situations from God’s point of view.

Look for His hand at work in even the “small stuff”. He is JUST as interested in your “small tuff” as He is the “BIG.”

LISTEN –

Be quiet, open your heart and ears.

Be willing to listen to the advice of Godly counsel.

Listen with your eyes by reading His Word.

EVERY traveler has to stop at a rest stop ever now and then. We have to have time to “refuel” and get “the oil changed” sometimes.  If we don’t we will burn out and blow up the engine.

It is OK to take a break.  Just don’t stay in the pits!

Be blessed and may your eyes, ears and hearts be open as the Lord speaks to and guides you each and every day!

So You Think You Know Me….   4 comments

The Paradox of Masks

“Society is a masked ball, where every one hides his real character,and reveals it by hiding” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all wear a mask from time to time, many of us more than one and to tell the truth some of us live in them.  I consider the afore mentioned quote, “Society is a masked ball….” I envision people all standing around talking, but each is holding a masquerade mask covering his/her face. Then as someone leaves one group to visit with a different group, they change masks before they get to the next group.

 Even the great Apostle Paul said the following, “I have become all things to all people” in 1 Corinthians 9:22.

It is actually natural and healthy to adapt and conceal our parts personality to a degree when we are interacting in different situations or settings.  We all have different roles that we play. We  are a father/mother, a husband/wife, son/daughter,  supervisor/employee, teacher/student, a friend, etc. In each of these roles, we portray a little different version of ourselves than we do with the others. This adaption is normal and expected. I was recently discussing the concept of masks with some other travelers on the “Road” and the idea came to me that in these situations, it is more like having a veil that only partially hides the face; we partially conceal our true personality rather than covering it entirely.

However, many of have taken that next step and we wear a various masks, thus hiding our true personality entirely.

The question that must be asked is, “Why?” Why do we feel it is a necessity to wear masks and hide who we really are from others?

There are many different answers to this question; we will focus on the one that fits more than any other.

Life experiences have taught that others can not be trusted. If others are allowed “too close”, then they will disappoint and hurt us.

What kind of hurts have we experienced? These include: abuse, neglect, rejection, abandonment, just to name a few.

I know in my life personally, I felt abandoned and rejected by my mother. So in order to feel loved and accepted, I would enter a group and look around at the attitudes, behaviors and personalities of others in the group and I would proverbially, paint my mask to be similar to theirs.

The mask that I wore more than any other was the mask of caretaker and hero. Everyone of my “romantic” relationships up until I met my now wife of 15 years, were very co-dependent and dysfunctional. I figured that I wasn’t good enough for the “normal” girls. So I found subconsciously I sought out someone that needed to be “fixed” or “taken care of” as much as I needed to be needed.

Along my way on this journey, I have met MANY others that due to whatever reason, they have taken on the same types of behaviors. We have become people pleasers and co-dependent, seeking to insure that EVERYONE else is happy even when doing so makes us miserable on the inside.

This is no surprise to anyone, but if we live our lives hiding behind a mask, we will never be happy or find peace. We go from place to place and group to group always making sure that we are wearing the “right” mask for the occasion. Then we find ourselves in a crisis when we encounter people from different groups simultaneously. For example you out to dinner with your significant other, and “one of the guys” form the office comes up to you and tells you an off color joke that you know that your date is going to find offensive. What do you do? Which mask to you reveal?

Although I know it’s unfair I reveal myself one mask at a time” Stephen Dunn

 “It’s a terrible thing to be alone — yes it is — it is — but don’t lower your mask until you have another mask prepared beneath –as terrible as you like –but a mask.”Katherine Mansfield

There comes a point that as much as he hate it as unhappy as we are wearing masks, we get to the point that we no longer know how to live without them. We do not know how to interact and relate with others in any other way. We wear s certain mask for so long that we “become” the mask that we wear, yet we despise every moment of it, and start hating ourselves for getting to that point. We are miserable within our own skin and consciousness and have no idea what to do about it. This misery has led to many of the self-destructive habits and behaviors that led to us being on this journey; substance abuse, self-harming, eating disorders, suicide attempts and ideation, etc.

“Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.”  William Somerset Maugham

 “He who wears a mask cannot see within himself.” Anonymous

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. …You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.” Jim Morrison

We have gotten to the point that we have completely lost knowing who we really are because all we see is the mask. We have even tried to “look inside” and we don’t know “who we are” anymore. Our personality has become so enmeshed with our mask, we do not know which are which and what emotions are real and which are the result of wearing the mask. Eventually, we get to the point that we stop feeling completely.

So, no what? Seems like the picture that I have painted to this point looks pretty grey and dreary, BUT there is hope! One day at a time, one step at a time we can RECLAIM our emotions, our behavior and ultimately our personality!

First of all you MUST learn to believe in ourselves again, and that often entails rebuilding our self-esteem.  Here is an except from a previous post “Baby Steps – Self-Esteem”

Self-Esteem has to be built from the ground up and learning to walking in it really is a step by step process. Let me borrow from a life experience and lesson that we have ALL learned from.

When a child learns to walk, he/she does not turn 10-months old and just start walking independently. There are MANY smaller steps that have occurred over the months leading up to day.  He/she rolled over, scooted, crawled, pulled up to stand, etc. He/she took one “baby step” after another until he/she got to the point of taking those first steps. Even then, once he/she starts walking, there are going to be falls, bumps, and bruises.  Does the child give up? NO. He/she cries for a bit, but then gets up and tries again. Slowly but surely, he/she gets better and better, more stable, and ultimately more and more confident.

We must translate these same “baby steps” into our recovery. As we start out, we slowly put one foot in front of the other, a little wobbly at first and reaching out and relying on our support systems to a degree. We begin with simple say day to day challenges: getting out of bed, taking a shower, eating, going to support groups or meetings. If faced with more difficult decisions we seek counsel from among our peers and support. As we grow more confident and stable in making these simple day to day decisions and solving problems, we gradually start taking on more difficult ones. Again, we are becoming more and more confident in the process. Just as with the child learning to walk, we are learning that there is hope, we can be successful and it really is not as scary a place as we thought that it was. We have learned to be hopeful, seeing ourselves and our circumstances from a optimistic perspective, seeing the good that our lives can be and how we can be an asset to those around us.

I want to leave you with a few practical exercises to help as you begin “crawling” in your self-esteem:

  1.  List 5 positive things that other people have said about you.
  2.  List 5 positive things about yourself.(Attributes or accomplishments)
  3. Share a compliment with 5 other people.
  4. Do something unrepentantly kind for someone that you perceive to be  “worse off” than you.

As you complete each “step” take out a pen and journal about how completing the activity made you feel. Take note to how you feel about your self before and after each activity.

Of course that is just the FIRST step, and as we all know that is a definite chore in and of itself. The good news is that as we are working on our self esteem, we become more and aware of our aware, comfortably and happy with our REAL personality. As we do so, then how do we get out from behind the mask and start revealing this “new person”.

Similarly, to building our self-esteem, we MUST take BABY steps. We start by taking little risk in trusted and safe relationships.

You and a group of friends are going to the movies and they are discussing what to go see, SPEAK UP! Jump into the discussion and share your opinion. Very low risk, but you’re giving yourself and your wants/needs a voice.

Slowly, over time take bigger and bigger risks in your relationships.

I know this sounds paradoxically TOO simple, yet at the time very difficult. The techniques are rather simple, the application “not so much”. I know from experience that working through the emotions related to this issue can be very painful. But I ask you, would you rather suffer the pain of dealing with the issues that got you to where you are, or do you want to continue to suffer in the misery of nothingness hidden behind a mask.

I hope pray that you choose to BELIEVE in the good that is within and the good in others.

When you hide behind a mask, it is like taking a priceless jewel and hiding its beauty from those desiring to admire it. You steal a little piece of the beauty out of the world.

So as was so appropriately stated my Jim Morrison, “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are.”

Be Free,           Be Beautiful,                Be Happy!

Whom seek ye?   5 comments

Jesus … said unto them, “Whom seek ye?”John 18:4

Who or what are you seeking in your life?

Love?                                      Money?                          Power?                                Happiness?

                   Recovery?                               Peace?                              Friends?

Yeah, it sounds a little funny including Recovery with these. There is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring any or all of them to some degree or another, but even if you did have that one thing that you seek, there would still be a whole in your life waiting to be filled. So I ask you one more time what are you REALLY seeking? What are you the MOST passionate about?

I tell you it is my opinion that there is a BEST answer to the above question, and if we answer it correctly, then ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we need WILL BE taken care of. So what should be our Passion, what should we be seeking?

To draw closer to God.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:20-35

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19

When we serve Him and truly recognize Him as the Lord of our lives then we have NOTHING at all to worry about, if we will just believe and trust Him. There will be times of bounty and times of lack, but He will insure that at ALL TIMES our NEEDS are met.

In the event that you feel that you NEED something that has not yet been provided then ASK!

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Remember who your DADDY is, THE God of Heaven and Earth. He owns the “Cattle on a thousand hills”, and for that measure, he owns the hills too! So no matter what your need: physical natural provision, healing, hope, peace, joy, etc, HE is not like a man that will give you a stone instead of bread or a snake when we ask for a fish. He is a GOOD God who loves us and only gives us GOOD gifts. He knows our needs even before we ask, and sometimes he just test our faith in Him by withholding that which is needed until we ASK.

…yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James 4;2-3

11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11

 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

I know you are thinking, OK that is a good study and makes sense to “normal” people. What about those of with some many issues. We can’t just abandon all control and our old beliefs and ways of doing things.

He asks that we have an open mind heart and simply seek after HIM. Fortunately, Faith is very much like our recovery. It is a process and a journey, He does not ask or expect us to be perfect automatically, However, the closer that we get to Him the more like Him we will desire to be. As we take one step at a time further done the road, He helps us to learn new ways, His ways, As we read and study His Word, and give lay our lives and our wills over to Him, we are transformed more and more into His image.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. I Timothy 2:15

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12-1-2

 …Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word Ephesians 5:25-26

My dear friends as we come to faith in God and truly accept what Christ death and resurrection accomplished for our lives, we will begin to realize that we are NOT the same person that we were in the past. We are being renewed and made more like Him from the inside out. As we peal one layer off from the outside, He renews the layers one at a time from the outside in. So step by step we become a little more and a little more the new CREATION that He as destined for us to be. Unfortunately, as each of these occur it can and WILL be painful at times. Even harder, some of us will have resentments, beliefs and “issues” of which we will NOT want to let go. However we MUST in order to be ALL that He wants us to be!

The closer we get to Him, the more of THE Truth that we know, and as John says, “the TRUTH shall set you free.” HE is the TRUTH.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:10

...“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

So finally my friends , I conclude the same way that I started…

Whom seek ye?”

I pray that you will join me in seeking after He whom is seeking after you!

Blessing my friends,

See you on The Road….

R2R

Recovery without Faith…   Leave a comment


Recovery without faith is like running a race chained to the starting line. You make some progress, but you always end up back where you started.

Paradox of Shadows   3 comments

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…. Psalm 23:4

A Funny thing happened on my way …to write my next article. My plan and inspiration got absolutely HIGH-jacked, if you know what I mean.

I can’t even remember now where I had heard the following quote, but I remember, thinking “Wow, that’s deep”, when I first heard it. However, as I sat down to start pondering on it and starting writing, I found myself being pulled in another whole different direction completely, which was only tangentially connected to the original thoughts.

They see only their own shadows or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave” Plato

It started in the shadows and well it suffices to say, my intellectual thinking was blown away, as the thoughts and insights were coming so fast, that I could barely keep up. I will start with a piece of it here and then will be “developing” the other concepts in at least one other follow-up article. I promise you one thing, when all is said and done, you will never see a shadow the same way.

Well, I’m ready; I hope that you’re ready to hang on for a ride.

So lets start where I did, “in the shadows”. What is a shadow?

MIrriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as: “partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of light are cut off by an interposed opaque body”

OK, now in English please… “an area of darkness that is created when something blocks lightMacmillan Dictionary

So what is required for a shadow to be created?

  • A light source and
  • An object to partially block the light.

This brings me to my first point:

There can be no shadow without light being present.

I know I just said that, it is the definition. What is so inspiring about that?

I challenge you to think a little more abstract and symbolically for just a bit. We will be bouncing to and fro between abstract and concrete.

We have all gone through “dark” times, shadows, if you will in our lives. My guess is that many of you may be finding yourself in the “shadows” even now. Being in the shadows can be a cold, damp and scary place. It often feels like there is no hope. When walking in the shadows it is easy to misstep and further hindering our progress. It is also true that we all have shadows and dark places in our lives. Some are only partially shaded, while others, if we are honest with ourselves, we can not remember the last time that we allowed them out enough to even give the light a chance and shining upon them. They are deep painful “ugly”cubbies and corners that we are honestly afraid to shine light on, because it just hurts too badly to even look at it. They are major traumatic experiences that have altered the very direction of our lives.

BUT, my dear friends, brothers and sisters, be of good courage, there IS hope!

Remember, what did we just say about shadows? In order for there to be a shadow there MUST be a source of light. More specifically The LIGHT is our source. Even when we are in the midst of the shadows The Light is there with us in the midst of our trials. We may not see or feel it, but it is true nonetheless.

I am the light of the world. John 8:12

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 1John 1:5

It does not matter how painful or dark our shadows, His desire that we would allow His Light to shine in these areas. When we walk with HIM in the light then we walk in LIFE.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-6

You can only see the shadows if you are not walking toward the light.

So my friends, I urge you turn your face TOWARDS The Light, to serve and follow HIM. When we walk truly with Him, we walk in the light and in the is LIFE, JOY, PEACE, REST, HOPE….

Even then there are going to be battles and trials and struggles, but as we have seen in the shadows in the trial in the struggles HE is there. Not only is there, He can empathize and shows forth His compassion to us.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

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

Here comes probably the hardest point to accept out of this entire lesson.

Struggles and Trials are GOOD, They develop character and ultimately make us more like HIM.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5

I know some of you are thinking to yourselves, “So GOD caused all of the trials, darkness and shadows in my past, to build my character?”

ABSOLUTELY NOT”

Yes, he may have “allowed” some things to happen, but that is simply because He has limited Himself and will not interfere in the will of man. The “hell” that many of have experienced WAS NOT His plan and purpose for our lives, but the consequence of the will, choices and behaviors of others. We also have our own will, which has also led to some of the consequences and “shadows” that we have experienced. He is a God of LOVE, Compassion, Mercy and Grace whose desire is that ALL would be saved and Walk in the light, Truth and Life!

…God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

As we turn towards the light, and walk in Him, then He will begin the work of healing those very same wounds and scars. Even we turn and walk away choosing as it where the shadows over the light. Because even the light it is difficult path and will believe TOO difficult at times, but keep at it, in the end the destination and rewards at the end of the journey will be worth it.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

I don’t know about you, but I have suffered enough in the wounds of the past, and though the journey will be hard, I have The Light leading me in in The Way so that I will know The Truth and truly experience The Life that He has planned for me.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6

I make a willful choice and I choice to “Walk in The Light” and as I do the shadows will only be passing, because I my eyes are focused on the “Source” of all Light!

Will come walk with me.

**Coming Soon**

More on the Shadows and a detailed look at a portion of the 23rd Psalm.

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