Who Do You Think You Are?


As recovering addicts we sometimes experience slips, maybe even a full relapse, falling back into our addiction. When we do, it’s easy to justify our behavior by thinking or saying, “That’s just who I am.”  
If that’s who we think we are – that’s who we will continue to be. 
We must take a hard stand, placing strong boundaries on our thoughts and the words that come out of our own mouth.
By taking a proactive approach we not only protect ourselves, but we take charge of our potential destiny.
Our thoughts and words can curse us.

Take a moment today… examine your thoughts.  
Are they thoughts that will eventually lead to your destruction?
Delete the old words from your memory by speaking new words over yourself.


Write down the negative thought. Then turn it into a positive thought and write it down.
Post it where you can see it on a regular basis and speak this over your life. 

 

It’s critical that we know who we are in God’s eyes. 
Dig into God’s Word and see who He says you are!

 

Then use the words of your mouth, with God’s help, to create a healthy life today and for the future!  
I will think only on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy! (Philippians 4:8-9)

Walking Crutch Free

As humans, most of us depend on different things to make it through the day…

We depend on caffeine to give us energy because we stayed up watching TV and eating late night snacks instead of getting our required sleep. We find ourselves stressed out because we’re not eating right, not getting enough sleep and drinking too much caffeine.

We may be going through family circumstances that are less than pleasant. To help us cope, we numb our feelings to slide through it easily. Television, itself, numbs us so we don’t have to deal with our real world. But many depend on other substances to make it through tough life situations… smoking, drinking or drugging to calm nerves in times of stress.

Even if we can recognize them, we’re unable to stand in our own feelings without crumbling. Our emotions are crippled, usually due to some kind of trauma. 
Like someone with a broken leg, we depend on ‘crutches’ to walk through life when we should be trusting God to carry us.

As a recovering addict, I understand this all too well. Honestly, I still struggle. There are days I find myself picking up an old crutch. When I do, I have to stop and recognize it for what it is, immediately repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with watching television or even having a glass of wine for that matter. But when we are using these things instead of allowing God to help us, it becomes a problem that will stunt our spiritual growth and maybe even our physical health. 

Are you walking with crutches today? 

Ask God to reveal things that are out of balance. He will honor your request and give you the needed strength to change. 

Let God Carry You…

God is my strength and power, He makes my way perfect. ~ 2 Samuel 22:33

Measuring Up

Starting our new company has required many formal dinners with investors and friends with their significant others. Last Friday afternoon was no exception with last minute dinner reservations made for 9:15 pm near downtown Dallas…

I’d been up since 4 am, after not sleeping well in the hotel bed. Spent the day running errands with Linda and Anna preparing for the grand baby due any day… a doctor appointment, hospital registration and, of course, shopping.

With the sun quickly setting, I found a few minutes to power nap, showered and began the beautification process to make a good first impression with Bill’s business associate.

Because most of our belongings are still in storage, I have only a few dress items with me for these dinner occasions.

Not too stressed out, but still on schedule, I suddenly discovered my black bra and only pair of evening shoes were missing… apparently lost somewhere between recent hotel moves.

At 8:30 I made a mad dash around the corner to Target. With no time to spare for fitting rooms, I quickly found two bras and the only pair of black evening shoes left on the shelves. The shoes were tied together so I couldn’t walk in them to be sure of the fit, but took them anyway hoping they’d make do.

Back at the hotel I finished my make-up and dressed.

Aghast! My black pant suit, after traveling and eating out all summer, is now a size too tight, the bras I just bought too small and the shoes too big.

Our dinner reservations are pushed back to ten o’clock, so Bill suggests we run by Wal-Mart on the way to find me another pair of shoes.

By now I’m frazzled and nearly in tears with the hungry headache creeping in.

Hobbling to the Wal-Mart shoe department in my tight pants with newly purchased Target shoes flopping on my feet, I searched frantically to find evening shoes. I settled for the only ones that fit – conservative black pumps with 1 inch heels.

Bill and I sped down the tollway and made our way to the restaurant.

The couple was waiting for us at the restaurant bar just as we entered…  a normal middle aged man and at his side a tall, drop dead gorgeous, busty brunette with waist length auburn hair, wearing the perfect aqua blue, strapless cocktail dress with 6 inch heels to match. Did I mention she owns a modeling agency?!

Outside I was cordial and polite but inside I felt old, fat, short and mortified.

Why are we always trying to measure up to others? 

…when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely. — II Corinthians 10:12

Who’s Protecting You?

In response to last week’s question:  
What hurt would you like to see discussed?

My longtime friend and school mate, Ren, suggested: 
“What about relapse? It’s going around.”

Before getting Ren’s suggestion, I had already been led to write about the recovery principle ~Self-Protection.  I was excited to get her suggestion because Relapse and Self-Protection go hand in hand… If we aren’t protecting our self, we will definitely be on the road to a quick relapse!

Long gone are the days when people had the same physician for their entire life. Someone you could trust, who knew your history, had a personal relationship with you and your family, who actually watched out for your health concerns. Gone are the days when we felt safe in our community and country. When we could trust our neighbors; leaving our homes and cars unlocked. 
The principles of Self-Protection can be applied across the board to all areas of our life:
  • Physical-nutrition & exercise
  • Relationships-marriage, friends & family
  • Lifestyle-work & recreation

Today if we are to be protected, we pretty much have to do it our self. We must read and research to be aware of potential risks and know what boundaries to put in place for our own protection.

For myself, as a recovering sex addict, it has been critical for the last 5 years to have clearly defined boundaries on the influences in my life: TV, Internet, music, movies, magazines, friends, environment, etc…

With my new health concerns, Insulin Resistance; I must be just as diligent with boundaries to avoid possible temptations.

Let’s look at some specific guidelines that can help us stay protected:

  1. Be Steadfast in Convictions: Know and understand why.
  2. Seek Good Counsel: Bible, minister, counselor, doctor.
  3. Share with a Friend: Get accountability partner.
  4. Create New Habits: Remove old patterns.
  5. Do The Next Right Thing: Be wise; stay on track.
  6. Stay Rested: Be good to your body.

There’s a familiar recovery acronym: H.A.L.T. that reminds us times of temptation come when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I’ve taken the liberty to build on this and add a spiritual aspect to further our protection.

H. A. L. T. E. D. 
When:
Hungry — physical desires of any kind take over. 
Angry — annoyed with life’s frustrations 
Lonely — lonesome and fearful 
Tired — troubled and depressed 
I will:  
Exercise — calming prayer. 
Do — good and expect a reward.

In order to become everything God has created us to be; we must have a deep resolve. We must look for God’s escape out of each temptation and run for it. We serve a faithful God who is always beside us, working for our good and leading us in paths of victory and strength.

We can overcome any obstacle, any challenge, any temptation in Jesus’ name!

If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall… remember the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 
                               ~1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New Living Translation

Let’s Get Real About Porn!

thepornevent.com

From May 23-28, LifeChurch.tv and XXXChurch.com present ThePornEvent.com, a 25-minute interactive experience focused on the real-life effects of pornography.

ThePornEvent.com has two segments, one for men and one for women; more details and the schedule can be found at ThePornEvent.com.

During ThePornEvent.com we will examine the effect porn has on our lives and relationships, and look at next steps for those who are struggling.

Expect a non-threatening environment featuring stories, helpful answers, and an open conversation with people whoʼve traveled a similar path. ThePornEvent.com is for anyone who is interested in what it looks like to live a life beyond pornography.

Men’s Segment

During the men’s segment of
ThePornEvent.com, we’ll take an honest look
at how porn affects us as men, fathers, and
husbands. Through stories, answers to
common questions, and open conversation
we will talk about the hope men can find in
life beyond pornography.

Women’s Segment

During the women’s segment of
ThePornEvent.com, we will talk about how
porn affects us as women, mothers, and
wives. Through stories, answers to common
questions, and open conversation we will talk
about the hope found beyond our personal
struggles with porn and also how to support
and care for family members that are dealing
with sexual addiction.

If you or someone you know struggles with porn, please set aside some time to join us at ThePornEvent.com during one of the many sessions that will be available between May 23-28. 

Passover: A Memorial to Freedom

As Christians many of us don’t know exactly what to do with the Passover holiday.

Isn’t it only a Jewish tradition?

I’d like to take a look at this important holiday and maybe give you a fresh way to look at it in your life today.

You may recall the 1956 classic movie The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston playing Moses. Although Cecil B DeMille took artist license with some of the story, most of it is taken directly from Old Testament accounts of the Israelite’s deliverance from 400 years of slavery.

No doubt it will be shown this week on cable. If you haven’t seen it or it’s been a while since you have, I encourage you to watch it with you family this week. The visuals from this movie help me to have a clearer perspective on the reality of the Passover and its importance.

In this story, God has heard the cry of the Israelite people who have been bound by slavery to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. A series of events leads Moses, who has grown up as a Prince in Egypt, out into the wilderness.

God comes to Moses in a burning bush and asks him to go rescue the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. After some initial doubt, Moses agrees. He goes before Pharaoh multiple times asking for the Israelite’s freedom to leave so they can worship God. Pharaoh denies them their freedom.

With each of Pharaoh’s denials God brings upon Egypt 10 plagues:

1. All the water in Egypt turned to blood

2. Frogs covered the land

3. All of Egypt was swarmed with gnats

4. Then a swarm of flies

5. All the livestock dies

6. All the people broke out in boils

7. A hail storm killed all the plants and animals

8. Locust covered Egypt and ate what was left after the hail

9. Three days of such darkness that no one could move

10. Death of all first born including people and animals

During the first 9 plagues God protected the Israelite people. But for the final plague-Death of the Firstborn– the Israelite people had to take an action to protect themselves.

Before the Death Angel came, God commanded the Israelites to put blood from an unblemished, first born lamb, over the door posts of each home; this would protect them from death.

Inside their homes, the Israelites ate a meal of roast lamb, bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. They ate bitter herbs to signify the bitterness of slavery. Unleavened bread; because the dough didn’t have to rise.

The meal was to be eaten while dressed for travel as a sign of their faith that God would deliver them. Although they were not yet free, they were to be prepared, for God had said he would lead them out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery. The Israelites were ready to leave at any time.

I’m sure you know the rest of the story, the Death Angel comes; the Pharaoh’s son dies then in his grief finally agrees to let the Israelites leave.

So what can we take from this story and apply to our modern lives today?

What lesson is here for us?

For us who are recovering addicts…?

For us who have overcome a particular challenge in our lives?

For us who have been freed from our own bondage?

Since Jesus was Jewish, he celebrated all the Jewish traditions. As followers of Jesus doesn’t it make since that we would celebrate those same traditions as well.

I suggest we take the Passover holiday and use it as an opportunity to celebrate the freedom that God has given us. Maybe have a Passover dinner with lamb, unleavened bread and some bitter herbs. I don’t mean in a legalistic way but simply to honor what God has done in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but the Death Angel has passed me by several times!

Praise God!

I am free today from the bondage of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, from sexual and relationship addiction, from the grips of pornography, fantasy and disease.

Father God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ; The Perfect Lamb, and covered me with The Blood that saved me from the ultimate Death.

Let’s use Passover as a memorial to the freedom God has given us.

QUESTION:

What bondage has God freed you from?

What can you do to remember the freedom God has given you?

Maybe you aren’t yet free of your bondage?

What can you do as a sign of your faith that God will bring you out as He has promised?

Perseverance

Most of us at the beginning of our recovery are feeling wobbly, unstable and unworthy to be in God’s presence; not to mention undeserving of His love, mercy and forgiveness.

How do we get past these feelings & press in to healing?

Summer 2004 I began working on sobriety but had no real strength within myself. I had clear choices in front of me — I could go back down the familiar path of darkness that had caused untold destruction to my family, and would now lead to certain death. Instead I chose to go forward into the life offering, healing light of Jesus Christ.

When I walked down the church isle on December 26, 2004 it was like an out of body experience. I don’t remember what the preacher said that day, I just knew this was the only answer to my problems. I had such a sense of unworthiness that I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t an easy step to take, but it brought such peace and security.

When I talk with some in the beginning stages of their recovery, I get frustrated at the lack of commitment I see.

If we are to make it for any length of time in our recovery journey we must have a firm commitment, not only to ourselves, but to God and to what He wants for our lives.

We can’t be on the fence at this crucial time.

We must get to a place of clear decision and dive in with all we have.

This isn’t a foreign concept, after all isn’t that what we’ve been doing, diving in head first into God only knows what?

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s either all the way or nothing, no matter what I’m doing, I don’t do anything halfway! That can be good and a bad thing, if you know what I mean…

But seriously, how determined are we?

What are we willing to give up to be successful in our sobriety?

Early on, I had to make some tough choices about the influences that were sure to effect my walk with God and my sobriety. It was uncomfortable at first but over time I didn’t miss the friends, the television programs, the secular music and the magazines.

Sobriety soon became easier and I began to see an added benefit, I could think clearer and retain the things I was studying. I was actually learning, growing and even changing into a new person…the person God wanted me to be.

Dig in.

Perseverance and determination always pay off.

It may be a while before we see any results from our hard work, but eventually we will reap a reward if we just don’t give up!

Change doesn’t happen over night, after all we didn’t get in this condition of addiction over night either!

Sobriety is a life long process of little deaths — surrendering each day to new patterns for our life.

The best news is we don’t have to do it on our own anymore! Praise God! Jesus is there to carry our burden for us if we will just give it to Him!

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. –Galatians 6:8-9

(Originally posted Sept 20, 2008)

BOOK REVIEW-Porn Nation

PORN NATION: Conquering Americas’ #1 Addiction
by Michael Leahy
One of the most important books to read today!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the escalating problem of pornography addiction in our world today; and with increasing availability the problem will only get worse.

THE CRACK COCAINE OF SEX ADDICTION – porn/sex-related sites make up nearly 60% of web traffic.
20 million Americans spend hours on porn; maybe it’s even in your home after the family’s in bed
30% of Christian women admit to the use of pornography
50% of pastors say they struggle with porn
This book is not just for sex addicts but should be read by everyone!
· Women: they themselves may be teetering on the brink of sexual addiction or may be married to a man like Michael Leahy who hid his addiction from his wife their entire marriage.
· Men: based on statistics today, there’s a good chance they’re in denial of their own addiction or be surprised to find they’re married to a closet sex addict themselves.
· Every parent: should be aware of the potential dangers their children face each day.
· Teens and college students: it’s likely they’re being exposed to pornography on a regular basis and don’t see the trap that’s being set for them.
A poignant story of a 30 year battle with pornography, the loss of a marriage and children because of addiction; but more than that it’s the story of America – our porn nation. How porn’s affecting all of us, how we see ourselves and others and what can be done about it.
For those concerned about the sensitivity of the subject matter, not to worry, the author is a Christian man and gets his points across without graphic details.
Leahy covers all sides of the porn story.
The addict’s perspective: how easy it is to get addicted to pornography and the difficulty getting free and staying free from it.
The big picture: the hyper-sexualized media, and the increasing availability of pornography especially to young children.
The reader who may be an addict: to one hiding in shame and denial, much needed words of encouragement and excellent resources to aid those seeking freedom from pornography’s grasp.
“I believe when it comes down to really understanding how far our sociosexual pathology has taken us, you needn’t look much further than our own personal experiences, our current attitudes, and the people around us. Think of how your own sexual viewpoints, beliefs, and behaviors have changed in the past ten to twenty year. When I talk with college students and share what junior high and high school students are doing sexually, most of them are shocked. The lines of decency and sexual integrity have shifted, and old values are constantly replaced by new ones. But at what price? How far can the boundaries be pushed before someone gets hurt?”Michael Leahy, PORN NATION
As a recovering sex addict I highly recommend this book. In fact, I’ll go a step further and tell you if you don’t read PORN NATION there’s a good chance you’ll be ignorant to one of the worst epidemics this country has ever seen.
With sex addiction statistics as they are, even in the church, it’s almost certain someone you know, maybe even you or a member of your family struggle with this issue.
There’s so much shame linked to this particular addiction for women, that it’s nearly impossible for them to reach out for help. If you read this book maybe you’ll be able to spot specific behaviors and help them before pornography destroys their lives.

Don’t Take No When God Says, “YES!”

Last week I had an opportunity to travel with my husband to meet our new company’s board members and investors. During our stay in Dallas I caught up with my small group from Gateway Church, reconnected with my friends Susie, Cindy and Mary, and met new friends Tonya, Monette and Diane. God always shows up in this group and this day was no exception. Cindy shared what God continues to speak to her: “We must not take no when God says, Yes!” She has shared these words with us on more than one occasion, but this time it came to me with a fresh meaning.

Let’s do a little grammar and look at the tense of the word. It isn’t said, in the past tense, but in the present tense, says. Meaning, the promises in the Bible were not just for the people in Old and New Testament times. The Power of God’s “Yes” is for us today!

God says, “Yes!” to so many things that I think we sometimes take it for granted. Maybe we don’t even realize what He says, “Yes!” about to begin with. He says, “Yes!” to marriage and family restoration; emotional, mental and physical healing; financial breakthroughs; deliverance from low self-esteem and freedom from addictions.

Our problem is that we choose instead to believe the voice in our head that continues to repeat messages from the enemy; messages of doubt and unbelief, confusion and uncertainty, discouragement and defeat.

QUESTION: What are you saying no to today? Physical healing, your marriage, addiction recovery…

CHALLENGE: This Christmas say “Yes!” to God’s love; love that was brought to a hurting and lost world in the form of a baby boy that Holy Night 2000 years ago. No matter what may be troubling you, there’s no hurt, no problem too big for God to overcome. Don’t wait another minute, say no to the enemy today! Open your mouth and tell him God say’s, “Yes!” Yes to your body being healthy and whole. Tell the enemy God say’s, “Yes!” to your marriage being fully restored in Christ. Tell the enemy God say’s “Yes!” to your freedom from all addictions! Don’t take the enemy’s no; God has given you The Power of His Yes! Believe it and receive it today!

What’s Your Secret?

If you’re a ‘Baby Boomer’ like me you may remember the old game show called I’ve Got a Secret. The show aired from 1952-1967 and was one of my parent’s favorites. The format was simple: while the secret flashed on the TV screen for the viewing audience, four panelists took turns questioning the person with the secret to determine exactly what the secret was. A nominal financial award was given to a contestant whose secret could not be guessed by the panel. It was always funny to hear the questions the panel would ask trying to guess the secret.

I write today about secrets because as a recovering addict I have a past of many secrets. Not that my past is still a secret today, but when I was walking in sin and addiction, my life was full of secrets. Sometimes too many to keep up with. Secrets stacked upon lies and lies stacked upon secrets. It was a veritable house of cards that when finally collapsed was actually a relief.

If you’re a woman who struggles with addiction you know the burden of secrets. Satan, our enemy, knows the power of those secrets. His job is to keep us from uncovering our secrets. As long as the secret is hidden it has power over us. The enemy will tell us we shouldn’t tell anyone our secret because they will hate us. He’ll try to tell us that even God hates us because of our secret. The longer we keep the secret the worse it gets. In fact, nothing will get better until the secret is out in the open.

The key is to find a trusted friend or counselor with whom we can share our secret; go to her for prayer and support. Confessing our secret starts the healing process and removes the power of darkness over our lives. You’d be surprised how understanding others will be once you begin to share with them your struggle.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. — James 5:13-16 NIV

The power of hidden behaviors and secrets can work for us as well as against us. David said, “I have hidden your [God’s] word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” If we hide God’s Word in our hearts by meditating on it and memorizing it we will find a new transforming power that will keep our minds and hearts pure. Jesus taught, “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.”

Secrets have a way of being exposed. Let’s use our ability to keep secrets for prayer and meditation. Unlike the game show contestants where the panel is guessing the secret, we will see an unbelievable new power, a power of Light, being exposed in our lives drawing ourselves and others to The Source of our secret.