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Archive for June, 2012


Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You

Numerous times—whining and begging—

Beseeching You to bless my desires.

And all You did was refuse.

I would not accept Your answer,

And continued my relentless pursuit

Of making my will be Your own.

Question: Have you ever pursued a purpose like this? If so, what was the outcome, and what did you learn from it?

What do I need to unlearn from my experience? After we leave our abusive situation, before we become fit and useful, we need to unlearn the errors we readily accepted as true, while engrossed in our deception. Until we do, we will flounder, and our efforts to be productive will be close to useless. It does us no good to throw stones at the abuser. Our efforts need to be much more productive than that.

 

Journal: Take a few minutes and write about what you’ve needed to unlearn. Be specific about what behaviors and attitudes you need to change.

If you insist upon understanding why your abuse occurred in the first place, you are destined to frustration, bitterness, and failure. At some point, many people understand why, but most never do. God knows; that’s for certain, and He’s in charge of the outcome. If you can accept that, you’re on your way. If you can’t, you’ll experience heartache, whether you like it or not.

Question: Have you experienced heartache like this? Think about how insistent you have been with God. Does it make you wish you had not been this way? If so, tell Him about it.

If you don’t understand what God wants from you, purify your heart. Forgive the person who has offended you. Put away the self-defeating behavior which has you enslaved. Begin to purify your heart, and you will understand what God wants from you better than you ever have. You will begin to see God’s hand in practically everything—that’s His promise to each of us.

Journal: Forgiving others is the key to being forgiven. Write down the names of people you harbor resentment toward, and be sure and keep the list.

The Scriptures teach that we will never be stretched beyond our capabilities. Intellectually, I believe this is true, but it seems to me that God’s perspective on my capabilities is too high, as He constantly stretching me. Most of the time, I wish He wouldn’t. I want Him to use me, but in a nice way—not a hard way. But, from the depth of my being, I also know that my life is not destined to be easy. As I’ve come to realize, pursuing His way always seems to be a stretch.

Question: Do you feel like this? Have you been stretched so far that you’re certain you’ll break. If so, tell God exactly how you feel about it.

Jack Watts   Useful Recovery Resources

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Refer to STEP 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

—Christopher Reeve

Watching The Passion of Christ, I think of the events leading to the Lord’s death. As I do, I can definitely identify with one aspect of it. It’s when Christ asked if there was any way He could do God’s will, while circumventing the Cross.

Like everybody else, I want my circumstances and challenges to be easier—substantially easier. Obviously, there’s no real comparison between my trivial problems and dying for the sins of Mankind, but being faithful to God’s will still isn’t easy. Regardless of who you are or what your lot may be, life can be difficult.

At the same time, the Scriptures teach us that we will never be stretched beyond our endurance or our capabilities. Intellectually, I believe this is true, but it seems God’s perspective about my capabilities is too high. He constantly stretches me far beyond my comfort zone. Most of the time, I wish He wouldn’t. I want Him to use me, but in a nice way—not in a hard way.

From the depth of my being, however, I have an understanding that my life is not destined to be easy. As I’ve come to realize this, pursuing His ways—at the expense of my own—is always a stretch. I suspect that’s because God has such a huge investment in me, as He also has in you.

He’s determined to use each of us as He sees fit, and that’s why we are capable of having joy, even when our lives are filled with difficult circumstances.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Jack Watts

Useful Resources for Your Recovery

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People from seventy nations have used material from the 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom. Here is a guest post from Dianne, formerly known as Matilda in earlier blog entries.Since I got your book on Recovering From Religious AbuseI have been working hard. Here is something of the fruit of my labour to share with you and your readers. It is not what I was expecting to write but it is where my seach has led me.Yesterday it was 2 years since my mum died and today is the first day of MY life – a life that is mine without obligation to other people and duties like being a mother of a child and the daughter of dying parents. There is something truly lovely about this freedom from the burdens these chores have brought me even though I have truly loved the work involved.

I can understand something of how Jesus felt on his awful cross as his blood leaked out, his bladder and bowels failed and he breathed his last breath. I can sense his enormous joy as he said to God the father “Into your hands I commit my spirit!” then breathed his last, his blood and the water from his side slowly dripping away into the earth.

Jesus gave it his all but trusted God with his spirit as he breathed his last. That is what I have been thinking about today. Can I trust God with my spirit as my body fails?

Life is full of troubles and woes. Is there a remedy here?

Recently I have learned that it could be I am never going to be a grandmother and I am OK about that too. Today l am remembering what it is to truely be “a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, I have a right to be here!” – as it says in that well known verse called the Deciderata.

So TODAY IS the Happiest day of my life. Why should that be? The evidence of my life surrounding me does not appear to support my opinion.

The weather is overcast, I am unemployed and pretty broke, I am just about unemployable with significant physical limits due to my generous size, and I hold challenging opinions that I am not prepared to change just now. That simply means some people find me offensive and I don’t care.

From a wider perspective I can’t do anything about global warming, the international credit crisis or the plight of asylum seekers drowning in the sea between Indonesia and Australia. I could feel helpless and some may think I should be miserable with despair. Yet the truth is I am happier than when I was younger and could do so much more than I can now.

When I was younger I believed I was in charge of my life and able to take on the worlds woes to try to fix them.. I had the strength and education I believed would be able to meet the challenges I saw.

Truth is I am not in charge. I am just alive.

I could be like that unfortunate man sitting at traffic lights in his car yesterday when a trucks load shifted and he was crushed to death as the load fell on him. That could have been me – it may be me at another time and place. So I know for sure death comes to us all at an appointed time regardless of whose fault it is. Yes – I am full of survivor joy – not survivor guilt and I am so happy I am alive. Yet I was no closer to that accident than my TV broadcast on last night’s evening news.

My husband asked me why I was so happy this morning and I don’t really know the whole answer, I just am. So this morning I have been wondering why and decided to write the answers down as they have come.

I guess self acceptance is the answer I have settled on. I accept myself warts and all – I accept I will never be perfect, I will always stumble, I will get slower and more disabled as I grow old and that seems fine to me now.

If I live long enough I will be wearing nappies and someone will have to change my nappy just like my mother did when I was a child. I will probably have to wear a bib and someone will have to feed me too. Yes – there truly is so much to look forward too – loosing control and letting go of everything. Its seems strangely liberating!

Today it seems right to me somehow that I should let go of this world and all that is here and I know this will seem odd – but it is Ok – it is how our life really is and I am happy to accept that now. We have and hold our world till death do us part and then its over.

In my mind’s eye I can see Jesus dead on the cross still dripping and it is a beautiful sight to me now. We gave him death – in return he gratefully gave us his life we all live in our flesh – it was only his spirit he committed to God. Now that is pretty special and I know that now. Dying can be a truly joyful thing once it comes to an end. It is the spirit of Jesus he freely gives us now so that we can know he and our Father are one and we are one with them.

I have a feeling I just felt the first hint of Jesus resurrection in my life and Jesus is smiling with me as we witness together his body on his cross. This is one of the most wonderful of all the mysteries of faith – Jesus is with us always – even unto the end of the age. There is so much to be glad about.

From a very VERY happy me. Hallelujah!
Dianne
Friday, June 29, 2012

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Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He wishes, and I ask Him to heal my pain.

 

 

Man flows at once to God when the channel of purity is open.

—Henry David Thoreau

You’ve probably heard this saying before: “The pure in heart see God.” But what does it really mean? Is it simply a sweet, idealistic thought, or is it substantive, having value for everyday life?

Here’s a hint: Christ never said anything that didn’t have real, tangible value. Every word He spoke had purpose, and understanding this “Beatitude” is an essential step in your recovery.

When you experience abuse, you become angry, cynical, bitter, and jaded. That’s normal, natural, understandable, and even predictable. If you allow poor behavior or toxic emotions to rule you, however, you will have trouble understanding God’s will and direction for you. Your life will seem to be filled with confusion—and for good reason.

If you don’t understand what God wants from you, start purifying your heart. Forgive the person who has offended you. Put away the self-defeating behavior that has enslaved you. Begin to purify your heart, and you will understand what God wants from you better than ever before. When you do, you will start to see God’s hand in practically everything—that’s His promise to each of us who do the purifying work of renewing our minds.

Some mistakenly believe God will speak to them regardless of their behavior. That simply isn’t true, nor is it taught in the New Testament. God loves you regardless of what you do, but only the pure in heart have the ability to discern God’s will and direction in life. This is not a subtle difference or an interpretative nuance. It is an entirely different thing. When you learn the difference, it will make a profound difference in your recovery.

Tragically, we live in a generation that doesn’t value purity but, as a child of God, you have the option to remain pure—an option you must exercise, if your recovery is to be strong and permanent.

 

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (I Peter 2:1-3)

Jack Watts  Recommended Resources

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Refer to STEP 4: I came to believe that God understood my wounded-ness, and He alone could heal me. I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted. I recognized that God is not the abuser—people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

If working the 11 Steps is the key to recovery from religious abuse—or any type of abuse for that matter, developing a different mindset is the key to making your recovery easy and fruitful instead of being difficult and empty. Like most things in recovery, the choice is yours.

For example, if you insist upon understanding why your abuse occurred in the first place, you are destined for a long period of frustration, bitterness, and failure. At some point, many people understand why, but most never do. God knows; that’s for certain, and He’s in charge of the outcome. If you can accept that, you’re on your way. If you can’t, you’ll experience heartache, whether what’s what you want or not.

You’ve heard the Bible verse that says, “Yea though He slay me; yet will I trust Him.” To most, this seems like sentimental nonsense or poetic hyperbole. To those of us who are in the process of recovery, however, it’s neither. It’s exactly how we feel. Having had our spirit crushed by an abuser, we understand the Phoenix that rose from the ashes to experience a new, more fulfilling life.

This is the attitude each of us needs to maintain; “Yea though He slay me; yet will I trust Him.” With it, God is free to work in our lives to produce everything He wants for us. Without it, we chafe, living in bitterness and self-pity, producing nothing of value. Our lives will amount to no more than “wood, hay, and stubble.”

If you want more, renew your mind. Accept the Lord’s purpose as your own and press forward. If you can do this, your life will begin to exhibit valuable character qualities that have intrinsic, value like gold, silver, and precious jewels.

If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)

Jack Watts   Helpful Resources

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I have been doing a weekly radio program from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. (EDT) on recovery issues. You can listen live or to the archived messages at : http://tobtr.com/s/3400101

This is always the link, and here is some recovery material you might like.

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Lord,

What does the future hold for this great nation?

Will we return to the values that made us great,

Or will we continue down the path of perdition,

Legalizing wrong and criminalizing right?

The answer cannot be determined by me, Lord,

Or by others still willing to bow our knees

To you, knowing our days are in your hands.

Be merciful to America, Lord,

Even though we have strayed so far

From your precepts and the values that

Once made us so great.

Heal our land, Lord, and spare us from the will

Of unscrupulous men and women—

Evildoers who hate You, while smiling

Pretending they seek Your Face and Your will.

Having strayed so far from our core values,

We do not deserve or merit Your mercy, Lord,

But we desperately need Your intervention

And ask that You restore us to what we once were.

Regardless of Your decision, regardless of the outcome,

You are God, Almighty, and we are not.

Jack Watts

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Refer to STEP 1: I recognized that where I am in life is not where I want to be.

 

 

Every thing must have a beginning . . . and that beginning must be linked to something that went before.

—Mary Shelley

After the initial pain of our abuse begins to subside, and we realize our life is going to take a very different direction than we wanted or expected, we ask ourselves what lessons we need to learn from our painful experience.

Although this may sound like the best place to begin, it’s not. There’s one step before this—one question we need to ask. What do I need to unlearn from my experience?

After we leave our abusive situation, before we become fit and useful, we need to unlearn erroneous beliefs we readily accepted as true, while we were engrossed in our deception. Until this happens, we will flounder, and all of our efforts to be productive will be useless and fruitless. It does us no good to throw stones at our abusers.

Our efforts need to be much more productive than meaningless retribution. We must come to understand our deception and make a conscious decision to never become entrapped by the same falsehood again. By doing this, we will be unlearning whatever it was that ensnared us. When we accomplish this, we will finally be able to go back to square one.

When this occurs, we will be ready to allow God’s Truth to cleanse us and renew our spirit. But make no mistake about it—we have to unlearn our errors before we can become useful to ourselves or to anyone else. If we don’t unlearn them, we will remain vulnerable to the next abuser who comes along.

Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord; for although Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou dost comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:1-3)

Jack Watts Useful Resources for Your Recovery

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Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You

Numerous times—whining and begging—

Beseeching You to bless my desires.

And all You have done is refuse my demands.

Insistent, I would not accept Your answer

And continued my relentless pursuit

Of making my will become Your own.

In my persistence, I steadfastly maintained

That right was wrong, and wrong was right,

While deceiving myself into believing

My purposes were selfless and noble.

I ascribed righteousness to my desires,

As if seeking my ends was the path

To fulfillment and blessing, rather than Yours.

In my foolishness, I did my best

To deceive myself, as well as You,

But You remained firm, refusing my demands,

Knowing what was truly good for me.

Still unwilling to bow my knee and accept Your will,

I manipulated events until frustration

And exhaustion finally overwhelmed me.

Steadfast, You never budged or changed Your mind.

Now, at the end of all my willfulness and fretting,

I finally bow my knee and accept Your decision.

“No” it is, and “No” it shall be forevermore.

There are still parts of me that don’t like Your answer,

But You are in charge, and I am not.

Now that I have submitted myself

To Your will rather than my own,

I have began to see things as You do,

Acknowledging Your way is superior to my own.

Jack Watts

Resources to Help You Be All That You Have Been Created to Be.

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Then, You came and shook me,

Knowing my vulnerabilities like no other.

In an instant—in a flash—I was undone.

I was not where I thought I was.

I was not who I claimed to be.

When you revealed me to myself,

I stood naked—laid bare before Your eyes.

Lord, I cannot hide from Your face,

From Your truth, or from Your scrutiny.

Journal: Have your life ever become as unsettled as this? If so, take a few minutes to write about your experience.

When a person casts his or her vision of God aside, personal restraint is usually cast aside as well. That’s why wounded people abuse alcohol, prescriptions, excessive eating, promiscuity, and pornography so frequently. It helps them ease their pain, but it also numbs their conscience and their higher calling. As the downward spiral accelerates, they become self-fulfilling prophecies, which allows their abuser’s to smile with delight, knowing that “no good will come” from them.

Journal: Becoming very specific, write about your acting out behavior. What was it and, more importantly, is it still a part of your life? If so, write about the hold it has on you.

In the aftermath of abuse, many suffer from perpetual low self-esteem, which diminishes their value to themselves and to others. In their hearts, they are convinced they are broken beyond repair; and they are certain they will never be emotionally healthy, happy, or normal again.

Question: How badly has your self-esteem suffered as a result of your abuse? With one being the lowest, on a scale of 1-to-10, where would you put yourself?

It’s in the deep valleys where you learn to trust God. It’s where you develop a richer, more confidant faith, which is definitely His will. Successful perseverance makes you a useful person in God’s Kingdom. When you finally realize this, you will learn to “glory in your tribulation.” Until you reach this understanding, much of your travail will seem unintelligible.

Question: How often has it occurred to you that God might have a higher purpose for you than you are now living? If so, do you have an inkling of what that might be?

If your walk with God is shallow, if your beliefs are simplistic, and if you are unwilling to have your faith challenged or questioned, your recovery will be weak, fruitless, and easily derailed. To become everything you want to be and are capable of being, you must develop a strong relationship with the Lord. There’s simply no other way. You have to own it yourself. There’s no way to recover without it.

 

Question: With one being the lowest, on a scale of 1-to-10, where would you put your relationship with the Lord? Be honest about this. If it’s below eight, there’s a lot of work for you to do

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

 

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.

—Victor Frankl

How can you tell someone is “walking the walk” and not simply “talking the talk?” In recovery, as well as in every aspect of life, this is an important question—one that requires an answer regularly. What you say is important, but what you do is far more important.

If you care for your fellow man; if you have compassion for those caught in addiction, despair, or any acting-out behavior; if you routinely display love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness; you are walking the walk every day of your life—whether you say anything or not. You just don’t realize it most of the time.

If your walk with God is shallow, if your beliefs are simplistic, and if you are unwilling to have your faith challenged or questioned, your recovery will be weak, devoid of fruit, and easily derailed. To become everything you want to be and are capable of being, you must develop a strong relationship with the Lord. There’s simply no other way to do it. You have to own it yourself. You can’t recover without it.

Therefore, instead of proclaiming that which is not strong in your life with bumper stickers, tee shirts, and canned answers, wouldn’t it be wiser to strengthen your faith rather than just drift along aimlessly, nursing your grudge and perpetuating being a victim?

Intellectually and philosophically, Christianity is time-weathered, profound, and enduring. At the same time, most Christians are unable to handle legitimate questions—questions recovery demands.

Most of Christ’s disciples were ignorant men, but they changed the world. You can also change your world but, before that can happen, you must strengthen your inner man by spending quality time with God. Without it, you’re destined to have thoughts no deeper than the slogan from a bumper sticker or the platitude of a tee-shirt.

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27)

Jack Watts

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Refer to STEP 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He desires, and I ask Him to heal my pain.

 

God’s answers are wiser than our prayers.

—Croft M. Pentz

When you pray to be spared from the natural consequences of your actions, don’t be surprised when it seems like you’re praying to a wall. Also, when you pray to be rescued, have you noticed your requests are rarely answered in the way you desire? It’s because your prayer is usually at cross-purposes with God’s will, and that’s what He wants—His will carried out on Earth as it is in Heaven. That is always His purpose.

God wants you to be strong and resourceful. He knows a “Divine bailout” will keep you being a perpetual child, which is never His desire. So, He rarely answers prayers in that way. If He answered a “bail out” prayer in the way you desire, you would never attain the full stature of a mature man or woman. He loves you too much to allow you to behave like a petulant, indulgent child, when you have the capacity to be strong, capable, and resilient.

His desire is for you to be an adult—to attain your full stature in Christ, which is the birthright He gave you when you first believed. However, maturity can only be achieved by persevering through troubles, heartaches, disappointments, and suffering.

Remember, while you are going through these difficulties, He never leaves you, and He never forsakes you. You can count on this and you should. It’s in the deep valleys where you learn to trust Him. That’s where you develop a richer, more confidant faith, which is definitely His will. Successful perseverance makes you a useful person in God’s Kingdom. When you finally realize this, you will also learn to “glory in your tribulation.” Until you reach this understanding, much of your travail will seem unintelligible, and you will whine, indulging in self-pity with a defeatist attitude. If that what you want, you can do it, but I doubt that it is.

We exult in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations; knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:2b-5)

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Refer to STEP 1: My life is not where I want it to be. It is shipwrecked.

 

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars.

—E. H. Chapin

Do you remember the movie, As Good as It Gets? It was powerful and poignant, showing that life can be tolerable, rewarding, and even pleasant, despite substantial limitations. The main character was so flawed he had to take medication to normalize his compulsions; but he was charming, nonetheless.

Such limitations are how most people view themselves when it comes to recovery from religious abuse. They see their lives as fundamentally flawed—broken beyond repair. Their spirit is like a dog that has been beaten and, like a canine; they run from conflict, being easily cowed and intimidated. For them, uncertainty replaces confidence, and they display their underlying defeatist mentality.

In the aftermath of abuse, many suffer from perpetual low self-esteem, which diminishes their perceived value to themselves and to others. In their hearts, they are convinced they are broken beyond repair; and they are certain they will never be emotionally healthy, happy, or normal again.

For most, this is what life is like after physical and emotional abuse. If it’s accompanied by religious abuse—where the person’s relationship with God is also undermined—it’s even worse. For them, they come to believe God doesn’t care about them either, which leads them to self-defeating behavior to medicate their emotional pain.

Does this describe how you feel about yourself? Does this accurately depict you? If so, here are some questions for you to mull over:

  • Will this way of life be as good as it gets?
  • Is making it through the day as good as it will ever be for me, or can there be more to life?
  • Is partial healing the best I can hope for?
  • Can an abused person like me ever be a whole again?
  • Does my life have to be irreparably altered by my abuse?
  • Does being timid and fearful have to be my experience from now on?
  • Will God really help raise me up and plant my feet on firm ground again?
  • Can God renew my spirit so that I can be a confident and emotionally healthy again?
  • Will I ever be able to smile again, or will I continue to cringe at the future, viewing it with dread and foreboding?
  • Is there really hope for me, or is all this talk about recovery just sweet, syrupy drivel, having little relevance to reality?

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 2: I commit to stop living my life in pursuit of self-defeating behavior.

 

When once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless. We cast off certain restraints. We cast off praying. We cast off the vision of God and begin to act on our own initiative.

—Oswald Chambers

In the aftermath of religious abuse, nearly every abused person casts off restraint and pursues self-defeating behavior. Once a person’s vision has been shattered, such people blame God for what has happened, making it nearly impossible to not become involved in a life of fool hearty pleasure. In fact, it’s so predictable it’s nearly inevitable.

For a while, it feels good to cast restraint to the wind and rebel against the religious system that caused you so much trouble, doesn’t it? After a while, however, rebelliousness ceases to be fun, leaving you stuck in a dead-end, fruitless life that has no future. After that, slowly but surely, you lose your way and drift further from the Source of life. When the process is complete, you have drifted so far away that it becomes nearly impossible to find your way back. Has this been your experience?

When a person casts his or her vision of God aside, personal restraint is inevitably cast aside as well. That’s why wounded people abuse alcohol, prescription drugs, excessive eating, overspending, promiscuity, and pornography so frequently. It’s necessary to help ease their pain, but it also numbs their conscience and their higher calling. Does this sound familiar?

As the downward spiral accelerates, people like these, which probably includes you, become self-fulfilling prophecies, allowing abuser’s to smile with delight, knowing that “no good would come” from them anyway.

Recognizing how far they have fallen, the abused person internalizes their shame and feelings of low self-esteem, accepting their condemnation as the truth. They come to believe they have nothing worthwhile to add to life.

To extricate yourself from this oft-traveled road—returning to the path God has set for your life—becomes a daunting task. Few can accomplish it, especially by themselves. That’s why working the 11 Steps is so important for abused people like you. The steps allow you to reconnect with God in a real and meaningful way—in a way that can heal your pain and allow you to become the worthwhile person He has created you to be.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. God is to us a God of deliverances; and to God the Lord belong escapes from death. (Psalm 68:19-20)

Jack Watts

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Father,

Unlike most, my life is in sync.

A man of substance and value,

People listen when I speak,

As words of wisdom roll mellifluously

From the essence of my being.

Indeed, I have it all together.

At least, I thought I did.

Then, You came and shook me,

Knowing my vulnerabilities like no other.

In an instant—in a flash—I was undone.

I was not where I thought I was.

I was not the person I claimed to be.

When you revealed me to myself,

I stood naked—laid bare before Your eyes.

I cannot hide from Your face,

From Your truth, or from Your scrutiny.

Those who claim their love have abandoned me,

And my enemies delight at my misfortune.

Worst of all, Your blessings have vanished.

When will it end? When will it be enough?

When will You remove Your heavy hand of discipline

Restoring my strength, my peace, and my prosperity?

Is my discipline for a season, Lord?

Or, is it for a lifetime? You know, and I do not.

Be merciful to me, Father, for I am undone.

Do not allow this be my lot in life from now on.

I’ve learned my lesson and do not need to repeat it.

I regret my arrogance and self-righteousness.

Hasten the day of my restoration, Lord,

Lest my sorrows overwhelm me

And my despair become irreparable.

Jack Watts

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