Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2013


Father,

I’m still stuck in my destructive mindset,

Which has not changed appreciably.

It’s infuriating and unfair that I’m the one

Who has experienced so much pain.

They should be the ones to pay, but they haven’t.

I’m the one that continues to suffer.

I know that by my stubborn refusal to change,

I’m not hurting them—far from it.

Instead, I’m only hurting myself and those around me.

Question: Does this describe you? How close does it come? Take a minute and think about “being stuck” emotionally. If that is where you are, admit it.

Well-meaning sympathizers often make statements like these:

  • “I know you were hurt by what was said, but the pastor meant well by it.”
  • “You misunderstood; that’s all. You’re just too sensitive.”
  • “It’s not nearly as big of a deal as you’re making it out to be.”
  • “He would never hurt you on purpose. He’s been under a lot of stress lately, and you just need to let it go.”

Question: How many statements like these have you heard? Can you think of any you would like to add to the list?

Abusers behave ruthlessly, while calling it God’s leading, misleading many in the process. Their egocentric worldview allows them to embrace a mind-set, which equates their will with God’s will. From their perspective, the two are one and the same. Because their calling is higher than others, they consider themselves to be more important, and act accordingly. To them, what they think and say carries more weight than others. Leaders like these actually feel contempt for people who don’t agree with every word that flows from their mouths.

Journal: How accurately does this describe your situation? Can you think of a time when your abuser insisted that his or her will was God’s will, and you were sure it wasn’t? Write about it.

When trials come our way, most of us can generate the courage to fight our way through them. That is, when we know what the outcome is going to be. When we don’t, it’s a different matter entirely. Our courage evaporates; God’s power doesn’t seem to be almighty; and we spend our days terrified of what the future will bring.

Question: Is it difficult for you to think of God as Almighty? When you don’t see a way out of a dilemma, do you give up on God’s leadership and panic instead?

Praying only for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out, those of us in recovery march into the future, one day at a time, doing the next right thing. That’s all we have the power to do anyway. To think that we—or anybody else—have control of the future is an illusion. What we do have is the power to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason—nothing else.

Journal: What is the next right thing for you to do? Write about it, and then make a commitment to follow through with it.

Jack Watts   Resources

Read Full Post »


The Power to Carry Out His Will

 

Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

 

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.

—George Washington

Praying only for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out, those of us in recovery march into the future, one day at a time, doing the next right thing. That’s all we have the power to do.

To believe that we—or anybody else—has control of the future is an illusion. What we do have is the power to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason—nothing else.

That power comes from within, because we are God’s children and He has bestowed that power upon us. Being shamed and ridiculed by our abusers, nearly all of us have operated in fear and defeat for a long time. It’s a byproduct of abuse, universally experienced by victimized people, but it need not be your experience any longer.

You can put it away your past wounding and never allow it to diminish your self worth again. You can cast aside the condemnation you’ve experienced and walk forward with a smile on your face, knowing that regardless of what has kept you down, you need not remain downcast any longer. You’re free because God has set you free, and the negative message that has debilitated you for so long, need never do so again. Because you’re free in your mind, no abusive religious leader will have the power to enslave you again. This is not a utopian idea but something that can actually happen.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:15-16)

Jack Watts   Resources

Read Full Post »


 God Never Misspeaks

 

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

 

Loyalty to Jesus means that I have to step out where I do not see anything . . . Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way.

—Oswald Chambers

When trials come our way, most of us can generate the courage to fight our way through them. That is, when we know what the outcome is predicted to be. When we don’t, it’s a different matter entirely.

Our courage evaporates; God’s power doesn’t seem to be almighty; and we spend our days terrified of what the future will bring.

If this is true for most people—and it is—it’s particularly true for those in recovery, regardless of what type of recovery it might be. It’s in situations like these where the rubber meets the road. It’s the place where you have to step out and do what God tells you to do, regardless of what that might be.

It’s a scary place—a place where most sane people prefer not to be. It’s not only frightening, but it’s also lonely, nerve-wracking, and discouraging. Fretting about calamity just seems to be the way humans are made.

That’s why being joyful about your trials seems like nonsense—like God either doesn’t know what He is doing or He is like a politician and “misspoke” about having things under control. But God does know what He is doing, and He never misspeaks about anything—never.

When you count it all joy, you abandon your right to moan and murmur, choosing instead to take God at His word, knowing that heaven and earth will pass away but God’s word never will. This is a hard thing to do but, despite your circumstances, that’s exactly what God is telling you to do.

Even if you “have to fake it until you make it,” make a conscious decision to count your trials as joy, knowing that the results of them will make you a better person—a far better person.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us and eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not see; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:17-18)

Read Full Post »


Father,

When I look around and witness

How much our great nation has changed,

A sense of despair and foreboding comes upon me.

I am afraid of what the future holds for those

Who will be tasked with restoring order from the mess

My generation of Americans has created for them.

Even more troubling is what I discern among the youth.

They lack resilience and have no intention to striving for rewards.

Instead, they want everything to come easily, as if they are entitled

To wealth and a life of abundance with little to no effort.

They seem lazy and self-serving, lacking erudition and purpose.

They lack the mettle and the fortitude to face what awaits them.

Choosing to embrace comfort and folly over fortitude and resilience,

A new generation of Americans has emerged—one that is

A shadow of our determined forefathers who were responsible

For creating the land of milk and honey out of a barren wilderness.

Witnessing how badly we have atrophied, I wonder if we have

Ceased to be the land of the free and home of the brave?

Worst of all, our children do not know who You are, Father—not really.

Foolishly, they have chosen to embrace lies, championing deceit as the truth.

They are convinced they can define You, choosing to believe what they desire,

Rather than accepting who You have declared Yourself to be in Your word.

They have no foundation to face uncertainty, or the reversal of fortune

That seems certain to destroy our nation’s righteous liberties.

Without Your active intervention, through the stirring the people’s hearts,

Our future is destined to be short and bleak, ending in servitude.

Father, raise up men and women of honor and integrity by the scores,

As You have done in generations past, to help us reclaim our heritage.

Expose the corruption, fraud, and deceit in those who champion

False gods, false ways, and policies that have led us to perilous times.

You are Almighty—You and You alone. Only You can restore us to be

What You brought us to this land to be—a city on a hill for the world to emulate.

Jack Watts

Read Full Post »


Christian Narcissism—“I Have a Higher Calling than You”

Refer to Step 6: I made a commitment to turn away from my pride and refused to become just like those who abused me.

 

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

A surprisingly large number of narcissistic men and women lead major Christian ministries. Because their unique “Christianized personality disorder” is not easily recognized, these leaders routinely abuse those they have been called to serve. As part of their disorder, they never recognize or acknowledge the true nature of their wrongs or the consequences of their behavior, which influences nearly every aspect of their ministry. This isn’t simply an omission; it’s not in their nature to do so.

They behave ruthlessly, while calling it God’s leading, misleading many in the process. Their egocentric worldview allows them to embrace a mind-set, which equates their will with God’s will. From their perspective, the two are one and the same. Because their calling is higher than all others, they consider themselves to be more important and act accordingly. To them, what they think and say carries more weight than anybody else. Leaders like these actually feel contempt for people who don’t agree with every word that flows from their mouths.

By the message they preach, they would deny this but, by their actions, they validate it consistently. They rarely admit wrongdoing because they never believe they are wrong, which is integral to their disorder. They not only lack empathy for others; they don’t comprehend what compassion really is. Feigning sympathy, they have to mimic the emotions of others to approximate normal behavior.

What makes people like these so difficult to recognize is they have great empathy for “the lost”—for nameless, faceless people, who are idealized and not tangible. While pursuing the lost, they are quite willing to trample upon anyone who gets in their way. They do this often.

Narcissists love loosely defined groups rather than real people because they are incapable of dealing with normal interpersonal relationships. It’s the idea of helping people they love, not getting involved in the lives of ordinary human beings.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. (Philippians 2:3)

Jack Watts   Recovery Resources

Read Full Post »


Changing, from the Inside Out

Father,

When I come before You,

I obediently pay lip service to

How awesome You really are.

When I repeat these words, I mean it—sort of.

I know it’s true, but I’ll have to admit that

Who You are is not what really interests me.

I’m too consumed by what is happening to me.

I acknowledge Your sovereignty because

I want “things” from You. I want Your blessing

And for You to focus Your thoughts on me.

In my self-centeredness, I want You to honor me—

To make my life easier and to make my will Your own.

My prayers seem to focus on what You can do for me,

And little else, which embarrasses me.

It’s because I’m interested in Your blessing—

Not in getting to know You better.

I wish I was a better person than this,

Having more character than I do, but I’m not.

I know Your desire is for me to be honest,

Not only with You but also with myself.

So, there it is. I’m selfishly immature, and self-consumed.

All I want is for You to make my life be smoother.

Admitting my self-serving ways pains me,

But I must be straightforward and truthful.

Father, only Your Holy Spirit can change my heart and allow

Me to desire altruism rather than self-fulfillment.

Place in my heart the desire to seek Your wisdom,

Rather than just Your benevolent hand.

Help me see life beyond my limited world

To what You are trying to do for others.

Give me a heart to care for someone other than myself.

I know my selfishness; it’s ever before me.

I also know that You are busy in my life,

Changing me from the inside out,

Helping me to become a better version of myself

Than I have ever been before, and I’m grateful.

Jack Watts   Real Prayers

Read Full Post »


Father,

As I continue on my road to recovery,

I want to unburden myself of all of my shame,

My guilt, and everything that enslaves me.

But to do so feels like a daunting task.

There’s so much there. I know it, as do You.

Father, that’s why I need Your guidance.

Only You can help me achieve complete honesty.

Journal: The sense of shame incapacitates nearly every person who has ever boon abused. Write down what your abuse felt like.

There’s a way out of your abusive situation that works—a way filled with hope. God has not given up on you—not for a minute. There’s a future waiting for you—a future filled with noble, worthwhile endeavors. It’s available, but you have to work for it. It will not come easily. Nothing of value ever does. All you have to do is want it and be willing to work for it—not just some of the time, but each and every day.

Journal: What are some of the noble, worthwhile endeavors that you would like to do with your life. Write about what they are and how you can achieve your goal.

Then, for whatever reason, something happens that’s completely out of left field. And more often than not, it isn’t something we desire. When that happens, we can become angry and bitter, blaming God for the unpleasantness of our circumstances. Or, we can renew our minds by bending our knee and acknowledging that God, in His sovereignty, has control over everything. And we do not.

 

Journal: Write about what you do to stay in control.

Taking inventory may be difficult, but it’s preferable to wallowing in self-pity, which never produces anything positive. Taking inventory, which is an honest admission of who you really are, is the key to a new life—a life free from guilt and shame. It can also help you become everything they ever wanted to be in life—and more.

Journal: Think about who you really are and write a brief description of what that is.

It’s time to get back in the game—back to who you know you should be. Nothing is more important—not even close. Will you be that kind of person? Will you abandon your anger, your bitterness, and your resentment?  Will you be who God has always intended for you to be? Will you stop feeding your self-pity and do the work necessary to be more fruitful than you ever dreamed possible? Will you get back in the game? Can God trust you with what you have learned? Can He count on you to be faithful in helping others who have been wounded—just like you have been helped? Can He count on you to point others to Him and not exploit them as you were exploited?

Question: Answer each of these questions, being completely honest with yourself.

Jack Watts   Restoration Resources

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »