IN THE ROAD TO RECOVERY COLUMN WE aRE WORKING THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF CELEBRATE RECOVERY THAT ARE BASED ON The BEATITUDES Along with THE TRADITIONAL 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY AS THEY ALIGN WITH THE MONTHLY CALENDAR.
STEP SIX: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”~ James 4:10
PRINCIPLE FIVE (Celebrate Recovery): Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” ~ Matthew 5:6
In the previous steps, as we began removing the addictions and dependencies from our life, we came face to face with our deeper character defects and discovered a lot of brokenness inside. Facing our brokenness can be overwhelming and painful. But if we’ve made it this far we must be ready for God to change us.
Thankfully God doesn’t measure us on how hard we work. But rather on the condition of our heart. He wants us to mourn over our sins and admit our brokenness. When we bring our brokenness to Him, He promises to forgive us, comfort us and cleanse us. Along with this cleansing God will satisfy our emotional hunger and help us overcome our character defects.
To go forward we must die to our old coping mechanisms. These comfortable “friends” who carried us in troubled times can no longer be a part of our life. But with the loss of anything familiar they need a proper burial. We must turn away from our defective ways, cover the shame with God’s love and allow ourselves time to mourn the loss.
I can look back with fond memories knowing my defects are no longer my friends.
A difficult part of working Step 6 is not knowing who we will be when our defects are gone. They may have caused a lot of pain and suffering in the past, but at least this defective person is familiar.
Who will we be without our character defects?
Will our friends and loved ones still accept us when we become this new person?
The bigger question we need to ask is: “Are we really willing for God to remove all our addictions and dependencies?” The truth is we can’t even become willing without God’s help!
We must be honest with ourselves and realize we may never be “entirely” ready for God to remove our defects of character. What’s important is that we stay close to God and keep moving in the right direction. As we do we will get as close to being ready as possible. When we do our part, God will meet us there and take us the rest of the way.
In fact, by dying on the cross, Jesus met us more than half way! He went all the way for our faults, failures and addictions. It helps me to visualize my specific areas of weakness nailed on the cross with Christ.
It is only on the Cross of Christ that our defects of character can be removed.
Dear God, thank you for bringing me this far on my recovery journey. I ask for Your help to make me entirely ready to change all my character defects. Give me the strength to deal with all I have turned over to you. Allow me to accept these changes you are making in my life. Help me be the person You want me to be. In Jesus Christ’s name… Amen
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Let us examine our ways, test them, and return to the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:40
PRINCIPLE FOUR of Celebrate Recovery:
Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ~ Matthew 5:8
Step Four begins the growth steps of our recovery journey. We are now ready to come clean, to dig into the areas of our life where we have been blinded by denial. For our moral inventory it’s very important that we stay balanced. We should make a list of our not only our weaknesses but also our strengths.
Grab a pen and paper as we follow Celebrate Recovery’ssuggestions for processing our Spiritual Inventory. Let’s start examining areas of our life:
Who has hurt you? Who have you hurt? Are you seeking revenge / holding grudges?
What are your priorities? What is good / bad about them? Who do they affect and how?
Are you grateful, complaining, sarcastic, anxious, fearful? Do you blow up easily?
Are there times you have been dishonest? Pretended to be something you aren’t?
How do your guard your mind? Do you fill it with unhealthy movies, books or magazines?
How have you treated your body? What habits or physical activities do you have?
How do you treat family members? What family secret are you denying?
Have you been faithful to church in the past? Are you discouraging your family from church?
There is much more that we can talk about when it comes to our inventory. It’s my desire here to provide a jump start for your recovery. Please know this column isn’t designed to take the place of a 12 Step program. If you aren’t already attending a group I encourage you to go to the Celebrate Recovery website: www.celebraterecovery.com to find a group in your area.
Also, if you don’t have an accountability partner yet, attending a CR group will help you to find someone to help you work through your inventory list. Remember, the road to recovery is not designed to be traveled alone!
I pray God will reveal just what you need to see as your courageously take this step. Blessings… Tamara
Click here to watch / listen to our Road to Recovery theme song: The Serenity Prayer.
Resources: Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide Celebrate Recovery Bible The Twelve Steps for Christians Life Recovery Bible
STEP THREE: We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. ~ Romans 12:1
PRINCIPLE THREE: (Celebrate Recovery) Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. ~ Matthew 5:5
There comes a time in our recovery journey when we need to look for help. We no longer can do this work on our own. And like a surgeon, who must go to another doctor for treatment, we can’t operate on ourselves. We need the Great Healer, the only Higher Power ~ Jesus Christ!
In Step Three we’re working through a big decision. We prepare for this decision process by thoroughly working Steps One and Two.
Look at the unmanageability of our lives.
Consider our needs, God’s abilities and our future with or without God.
We contemplate the required changes.
Decide God is the only one able to manage our lives.
Let’s look at the Celebrate Recovery acrostic that can help us turn our lives over to God:
T ~ TRUST
We put blind trust in many things daily. We trust the chair we’re sitting in to hold us. We trust our car will make it home. We trust the electric switch for light. Why is it so difficult to trust God to take care of us?
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9
U ~ UNDERSTAND
Relying on our own understanding gets us into many messes. That’s why we need Jesus. After we ask Jesus into our life, we must look to him in all our decisions. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, he will show us how he wants us to live.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
R ~ REPENT
Repentance is making an about face with your life; a complete 180, turning from the life of sin we’ve been leading to living a life with and for God. When we have repented we see the world from God’s perspective instead of our own.
“The time has come,” [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” ~ Mark 1:15
N ~ NEW LIFE
As we take the above three actions; trusting, understanding and repenting our lives are made new in Christ!
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Some old thought patterns have recently resurfaced in my life. So you aren’t alone, I’m working these steps right along with you. It is my prayer that this column has been of some help for you today.
Please click here to watch / listen to the Road to Recovery theme song for this year.
Resources: Celebrate Recovery Bible Life Recovery Bible The Twelve Steps for Chirstians
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13
PRINCIPLE TWO: (Celebrate Recovery)
Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him and that he has the power to help me recover.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~ Matthew 5:4
At this stage of our recovery journey we are beginning to find peace with God; faith is birthing within our heart and soul. Our spirit has been pricked by the Holy One, nudging us back home to a safe place ruled by Love.
When we humble ourselves by recognizing God’s power it brings us to a place where we can believe for more, we become able to receive the strength we desparately need to recover. Only through honest transparency about our weaknesses, our hurts, habits and hang-ups, can we truly find healing. We will never be totally free until we yield ourselves to God. God knows all our dirty little secrets but he needs us to know that He knows. Not to rub our nose in them, but when we can feel ashamed for the right reason, when we have a true sense of regret for our past actions, maybe, just maybe, we can learn from them.
For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. ~ Romans 11:36
O – Openness to change
Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. ~ Ephesians 4:22-23
P – Power to change
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. ~ Psalm 25:5
E – Expectation to change
I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again. ~ Philippians 1:6
By admitting our powerlessness in Step One we moved from a life filled with pain and suffering to one with hope. Our hope grows when we believe that a power greater than ourselves, Jesus Christ, can and will restore us to sanity.
Are you struggling today? Is your life one of insanity and despair?
Don’t delay. Call out to Jesus. He alone has the power to change your life.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted. ~ Isaiah 61:1
Step Twelve completes this part of our journey. Through this process we’ve been changed, we have experienced a spiritual awakening, our lives are now an expression of God’s will. As we go about our daily life we look for ways to demonstrate this new confidence, showing our commitment to recovery and our growing awareness of God’s presence in our lives.
Sharing our life experiences is sometime difficult, we must be sensitive to whom we tell our story and how much we share. Not everyone is ready to hear our recovery story. Practicing first with an accountability partner or sponsor is always good. The more we tell our story, the easier it gets. And with that ease, the emotional pain that we may carry today will be relieved.
Though much progress has been made we haven’t completed our journey to wholeness. That won’t happen in this world. But as we continue our growth we must daily be aware of the principles that will enhance our walk with God. Each of the Twelve Steps is a vital part of fulfilling God’s plan for our life. And as we experience daily challenges that try to pull us away from God, we must use the steps as tools for coping rather than falling back into old patterns.
Let’s quickly review each of the Twelve Steps:
Step One ~ Reminds us of our powerlessness.
Steps Two and Three ~ Show us our ongoing need for God’s help.
Steps Four through Nine ~ Guide us through self-examination and making amends.
Steps Ten and Eleven ~ Help us avoid slips and keep us in touch with God.
Step Twelve ~ A milestone showing our commitment to God’s will for our recovery.
The most important part of Step 12 is the hope rooted here. By sharing our story we give others hope for freedom from addiction. It’s possible for life to be good again. As we prepare to tell our story, we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others. It’s not having some big dramatic story that give it value; it’s the end of the story that counts.
Post reminders around the house related to spiritual growth. In my role as a wife, mother, writer, minister and now grandmother, the tools of my work, whatever that work may be, play an important part in my spiritual growth. Here’s what’s on the reminder card I keep posted in the kitchen. It’s adapted from St. Benedict’s Rule of Order.
“Each implement of your work is a sacred vessel on the altar of your transformation.”
Go forward now, intentionally pressing into each day, committed to give and do your best. Trusting God is by your side, changing you into the new creature He designed you to be. Don’t not tell your story. There is someone who needs to hear it. Anyone can argue theology or doctrine. But who can argue with what God has done in your life? No one!
Once again… take a few minutes to enjoy our Twelve Step theme song for this year… Step by Step byBryan Duncan http://youtu.be/l7BvJ0obHZk
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27
By working the Twelve Step process we are gradually learning what we want to achieve. To protect what we have learned, we must continually seek God’s will for our lives. Through a regular practice of prayer and mediation the burden of our painful past is released in daily increments.
Prayer and meditation are difficult for some. Whether we’ve experienced toxic faith in our family or religious circles or grown up unfamiliar with the practices, it’s good to begin with baby steps. Let’s start by breaking down Step 11 into three parts so that we can understand what’s required of us in this step.
What is Prayer?Prayer is talking with God about what His will is for my life.
What is Meditation? Quietly listening and focusing on the Power of God inside me.
What is Conscious Contact? Making myself aware of God’s presence with me.
By declaring our spiritual poverty before God through listening prayer we invite His grace into our lives. Trust begins with a childlike attitude; we stop trying to figure things out and become receptive to God’s kingdom–His rulership and will. It is here when we are truly listening to God.
With a quieted mind and spirit the promised knowledge and power become available. As we stop giving directions and start listening for God’s will our relationship with Him grows deeper. We can then receive His wisdom, peace and love. The courage to carry out His will becomes stronger with each step we take.
Putting Step 11 into practice. First find a quiet, undisturbed place where you can have some prayerful meditation. Choose one of the suggested prayers below. Begin the meditation music video I have selected. Repeat your prayer slowly as you fall into your Heavenly Father’s arms. Soak up His presence and listen for His still soft voice.
Prayers of Meditation The Jesus Prayer:Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Words of Praise: Praise you, Lord Jesus. Words of Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord Jesus.
Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12
Life is a process of growing, changing and hopefully maintaining. Step 10 is the beginning of our maintenance work, essentially reviewing Steps Four through Nine. Daily we examine our lives: the good and the not so good, admit our wrongs when necessary, and make amends promptly. But to do this properly we must be attentive to our words and actions at all times.
We can’t run on autopilot anymore. Self-awareness is critical. It’s all too easy to numb out of reality. With overwhelming amounts of media at our fingertips, self-control and discipline are required to reel ourselves back in. While staying attentive to the present we measure our words and behavior not to the world’s standards but to God’s moral code.
Humility is key to recovery. We must take care to not become over confident. Our flaws and defects are healed only to the degree that we recognize them and submit them to God’s power. Aware of our weaknesses we walk gently through life, carefully planting seeds for our future with healthy behavior today. When we don’t tell lies today-we won’t have to lie tomorrow. By not taking advantage of people today-we won’t have to deal with anger tomorrow.
Step 10 alerts us to the pain we’ve caused others and urges us to apologize quickly. Admitting mistakes as we make them isn’t easy. However, because we have turned it all over to God, every step is accomplished with and through His strength and not our own. We can trust Him to give us the self-awareness to recognize mistakes and the humility that won’t protect our self-image when amends are required.
Some find it useful to have a chart of personal weaknesses and strengths to check off each day before bed. By mentally reviewing our day we can decide if an event caused uncomfortable feelings. Below is a helpful acronym to inventory our actions or words:
T Was it Thoughtful? H Was it Honest? I Was it Intelligent? N Was it Necessary? K Was it Kind?
What helps you to apply the steps when life gets tough?
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. ~ Step 8
In the previous steps we’ve been focusing on our own stuff.Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our dependency. Step 2 and Step 3: We came to believe in God and made a decision to turn our will and lives over to Him. Step 4 and Step 5: After taking a fearless moral inventory we admitted our wrongs to God, ourselves and to another person. Step 6 and Step 7: We became ready for God to remove our character defects.
After all the searching and confessing it’s now time to take responsibility for our actions. Much like Step Four’s moral inventory, in Step 8 we will list all the persons we harmed when acting out in our addiction or dependency. In fact, using our inventory list can help us determine who belongs on our amends list.
Reliving past behaviors and looking honestly at how we have harmed others is hard work. But with God’s help we can recall the names and faces, making notes as thoroughly as possible we prayerfully examine each person and our relationship with them.
Three categories to consider how we may have caused harm to others:
Material Wrongs: Actions that affected an individual in a tangible way ( borrowing money not repaid, withholding money to gratify ourselves, damaging personal property, etc).
Moral Wrongs: Inappropriate behavior in a moral or ethical action or conduct (setting bad example for children, infidelity, broken promises, verbal abuse, lying, etc.).
Spiritual Wrongs: Neglecting our obligations to God, ourselves, our family, or community (avoiding self-development such as health, education, recreation, being inattentive to others in our lives)
Step 8 prepares us to continue the work of making amends. After making our list we are ready to ask God to give us the willingness to make those amends. As God helps us work these steps we will have the strength and the tools to heal our broken relationships.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. ~ Luke 6:31