"I don't know what God's will is or what He wants me to do, but I know He must want me to do something or I wouldn't be here."
"Something, or someone has kept me alive. There must be something I am supposed to do."
"Why am I so lucky to have found sobriety and others either died, or are still addicted? It just doesn't make sense. Why did I receive this gift?"
The above are statements I have heard made in recovery meetings or asked to me personally concerning God's will. I have wondered the same in my own experience. It really doesn't matter how much religion I grew up around, or how much personal Bible training I have. Knowing God's will can only come from one source. The problem is for so many of us is that we aren't really concerned of God's will until life's storms really rock our world.
Just as an alcoholic learns that staying sober is a one day at a time commitment, so is understanding what God wants for us personally. Another thought is what I once heard from a "old-timer" minister, Rev. James Cleveland, via an album he made many years before his death, circa 1970. He was performing a song and stopped singing long enough to give this message:
"The other day, I decided to cook a cake. I opened up the box mix, and threw it in the oven.
It turned out bad, it was awful. So I got me another box, and read; for the best results,
follow the directions. If you want to have church, for the best results, follow the directions!"
Here is a recipe for you and I
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." ROM.12:2
There is this belief rolling around that we are sober, or clean today, and that is enough. The thinking is based solely on sober living, by God's grace, no need to do anything else. In other words, I can do all of the same things as long as I don't drink or drug. But conforming to doing what we did led us to our addictions in the first place. Self-service is non-conformance to what God's will is. Renew your mind to this:
"Let love be genuine. Abhor (hate) what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, but be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Rom. 12:9-13
Recovery from addictions has requirements, we all know. Living for Christ is not living unto self either. We do the works of believers, or become complacent, cold, hypocritical, and self-righteous. Do what is written in the passages above, and you will shortly discover God's will, and leave behind any questions of how to know your purpose in life.
A final thought is that I hope you are not more confused by this post. There has to be an inward change in an individual to grasp spiritual things. That can only come through asking God to open your eyes to His Truth. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth"...a passage you already know. If you are sincerely wanting to know God's will, but sincerely unsure if Jesus is the Door to the will of God, again, ask God. No human can reveal it, just point the way to it.
I am certain of this; like we say in recovery meetings, recovery is for those who want it not for those who need it. Believe that. Believe that goes for God's will too. Commit to asking God to show you His will everyday, then follow the directions.
Thanks for reading God bless and keep you all.
I am trying to get this into my thick head once and for all; STOP TRYING TO BE HAPPY! People cannot make me happy. Mark Twain's famous quote,"familiarity breeds contempt...and children," may be true to a point. Expecting happiness to come from another person is saying your happiness depends on that person meeting your expectations of them. Good luck with that one.
I bought a new Chevy truck, a crew cab, 4x4 Silverado with all of the gingerbread, bells, whistles, and stuff I have no idea how to work. It didn't make me happy. I also purchased a nice Cape Cod home with all wood floors, manicured lawn, and a back yard that looks like an arboretum. No happiness did I find here either. Things do not provide long- term happiness either.
The thought of going to Europe, the Far East, the South Pacific, or spending the summer in the beauty of America's great Northwest, or New England in the fall, Florida in the winter should make me, or anyone happy, one would think. Nope, not happening. Although I have not had this experience, I'm sure a week or two outside of home would leave a void and take away the happiness I thought I would find there.
In recovery, I have learned that people, places, and things are unreliable in providing happiness. Those items can put me back on a bar stool if I make them my aim, or give them my worship. Early in sobriety I was taught to shun them like the plague. Going back to old friends, haunts, and doing the same things are ground zero for relapse. The same holds true for followers of Christ. Idolize this world and the belongings that render me immediate sensual gratification, and Christ is removed from my center, only I matter. Selah.
"You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Ps. 16:11
God sees to the removal of happiness from my life. That's not a bad thing. It is a wonderful thing because He replaces fleeting happiness with something permanent...joy. Taking a trip, sitting peacefully in the back yard watching my little dog play, (Kitty's her name), or taking a drive in the truck, knowing God is the center and the reason for all good things...and present within me, makes me say to myself, "shoo happiness, you deceiver, joy lives here."
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
"I miss my kids. My ex won't let me see em' since we're split. I was a good dad, I just messed up one time too many. My "best friend" and the ex hooked up...I shoulda never trusted him. But I'll get even, you can bet on that. I'm a good dad."
Those words, and words similar, I've heard many times in recovery meetings. I don't question those young, and not so young men saying such. If I sponsor someone that is separated from their offspring, I offer what advice I can to help them. The recovering young men want to get straight so they can be involved in their children's lives. In my humble opinion is that they have a vague conception of what fatherhood means.
Even "straight" men know little about being a dad, often taking what they see on TV and movie dads as the proper way of rearing children. Some have a twisted notion of fatherhood from what their father did, or didn't do in their upbringing. You know that story, my father gave me nothing so I'll make sure my kids get everything. Or, my dad gave me what I wanted, so I have to do the same. In both cases, things take priority, purpose and virtuous living has no place in their thoughts of how to raise children.
I am no genius. I see horrific mistakes I made in rearing my three children. I had many of these same ideas. I really thought keeping the kids active covered a multitude of sin opportunities. Entertainment, sports, and the like were priorities...I thought. There was one right thing their mother and I did. We TOOK them to church regularly in their adolescence, when they are the most teachable. The failure, I think, is my thinking that fifty-two plus hours at church yearly would teach them all there is to know about God. If they turned out bad, at least I did my part. How ignorant.
The public school system has over a thousand hours each year to convince our children otherwise. Biological evolution, random chance, meaninglessness, have become the tenets of disbelief we now fight to undo today. Sadly, from what they learn in society and not from their parents, young men and women in recovery rooms worldwide grow up thinking there is no one to answer to for their lives, no principles to guide, no committment to uphold....if it feels good, do it.
Well, it felt good, they did it, they sit in rehabs, jails, recovery groups, and in total confusion of why they are there, how it came to this, and why they cannot see their children. After all, "I'm a better dad than Homer Simpson," some of them think.
So what should we do? How can I be a better dad?
(Look in the Book, the Manufacturer's manual. For the best results, follow the directions.)
"Hear my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck." Prov.1:8-9
There is more to say than what I can put here in trying to keep this post short and readable. I will do my best to post again some thoughts I have learned as a parent, both good and bad. For now, think about this; what are you teaching your kids? They will be what you and their other parent are,...is that a good thing? Do you really believe you give enough time in training and teaching them right and wrong? Do YOU know right from wrong?
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!
I have been through an unexpected series of problems of late. Some were just life happening. Some were people related, inspired by their human-ness, trying to prove they are unique, rules never apply to them. Other recent problems, well, I try to determine whether they are God trying to get my undivided attention...again, or the enemy and using his arsenal of darts. Through these tough days, I had an epiphany of sorts, a sudden thought, "I am alone!"
I am not crying over it. I understand it. I am a man, we don't have friends that close. I have an AA sponsor, a CR sponsor, and several accountability partners I don't call. I'm good. Women have close friends they spill their guts to. That isn't what we men do. We're tough, hard-shelled and keep our business to ourselves.
So God, it's just me and You. That isn't His plan at all. That is how our society has trained us to think. We all need close, personal, and life-long friendships to maintain by sharing and serving each other.
"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Prov.18:24
"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will pick up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help pick him up." Eccl. 4:9-10
As I read the passage above, because they have a good reward for their labor, I pondered how hard it is to develop close relationships for men. It really takes a lot of work, getting out of yourself to be a real friend. You have to put off things you want to do to help at times. You call them when you don't want to talk. But when adversity rears its ugliness, there is no greater reward.
In short, I have to change much of what pleases me to find real pleasure. That is true of everything in life. Friends are people connecting with people, developing a trust, and sharing their hearts equally, in loyalty, in faith, without fear of exposing themselves with their personal "junk."
God places people into our lives by His grace. Too often, we are to busy with what we want and overlook what others need, forfeiting a lifelong buddy. I want that to change, so I have to change. I don't have unrealistic expectations, but know that putting forth the effort itself has great dividends.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.