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Archive for October, 2015


 

 

GOD’S PROMISE: Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like an eagle (Psalm 103:1-5.)

 

MY PRAYER: Father,

The darkness has lifted—

Darkness permitted by You

To refine my character,

Purging each of my childish ways

And making me more like

The man I’m supposed to be—

The man I’ve always wanted to be.

In the midst of my despair,

When at night I longed for the day,

And in the daytime desired it to be evening,

When sorrows made it difficult to breathe,

You were always there beside me,

Even when I was certain You were not.

As fear relentlessly rattled every fiber of my being,

You continued transforming me from the inside out—

Ever mindful of my frailties and weaknesses.

You purged, pruned and cleansed me from within,

Making me into a far better version of myself

Than I have ever been.

 

Then, one day, as I waited for my debilitating gloom

To return, which had become my daily routine,

It was gone—vanished like it had never been present—

Leaving me stronger, more resilient, and far wiser.

My purpose also returned to me, along with my smile.

I embraced life with renewed enthusiasm—

No longer chained to my heartache—

No longer imprisoned by my distress.

Now, having been elevated to a new, higher plateau,

I can thank You for making me a new person—

With estimable character qualities I thought beyond reach,

Amen.

 

MY SLOGAN: Sobriety is a journey, not a destination.

 

MY AFFIRMATIONS:

—I am free from the enslaving guilt of my past.

—My outlook on life will reflect God’s love and nothing else.

—My countenance has changed, and I am young at heart.

—I will live life on a new, higher plateau.

 

MY MEDITATION: For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (II Corinthians 4:6.)

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God’s Leading

 

If you want what we have and you’re willing to go to any lengths to get it—AA Slogan

 

Father,

As I try to understand Your leading

And the direction You desire for me to follow,

It seems easy enough, but it never is.

I try to predict what You are doing—

What You have in mind for me,

But I never really know what that is.

It seems like I’m in the dark frequently,

And You are never predictable.

Just when I think I understand Your ways,

You move in a different direction—never returning

To the path I have learned to follow.

All I can do is listen to Your gentle whisper,

Which guides me toward my destiny.

Sometimes, I wish it was easier to be certain—

To know exactly where You are headed,

And what the outcome will be,

But that’s not my role—not my lot in life.

My job is to be keen and vigilant,

As You move through each of life’s circumstances,

Always pointing toward higher ground,

Always aiming toward Your predetermined purpose.

Having walked this road with You for many years,

I know that You can be trusted,

And that’s all I need to sustain me,

Amen.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. (Psalm 51:10-13)

Jack Watts

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Learning to Trust God

 

It’s easy to talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

As the years progress,

I often hear people talk

About how much they trust You,

But their proclamations seem less sincere

Than the pronouncements of a fickle lover.

Lacking tangibility and depth,

Their affirmations, which flow mellifluously

From their self-serving mouths,

Have selfish and egotistical motives

That seem devoid of worthwhile substance.

Their loyalty has not been forged

By adversity and weathered by hardship.

Their trust seems shallow and juvenile,

Rather than strong, resilient, and steadfast.

Believing that whining and demanding

Will gain Your favor rather than being authentic,

They come before You with hearts

That are petulant, peevish, and proud.

Lacking gratitude, they are arrogantly self-righteous.

 

I understand their perspective completely,

Having spent decades of my life

Coming before You in precisely

The same self-serving, self-centered way—

Never understanding, never conceding

That You know what is best for me.

I acknowledge my effrontery and selfishness.

I have foolishly thought that my way

Was better than Yours, but I have been wrong.

I have wanted my will, believing that

When You refused to grant my demands,

You were distant and detached—

Unloving, uncaring, rigid, and unconcerned.

How foolish I have been, Father; how foolish.

You do know what is best for me,

Regardless of what that might be.

After years of perusing frivolity,

I now understand the error of my ways.

I wish I had recognized this sooner,

But I lacked the maturity to do so.

Now, as wisdom settles deep within me,

I bow me knee and acknowledge this truth:

You give and take away,

You give and take away,

You give and take away,

Blessed be Your name,

Amen.

 

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9)

Jack Watts

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Nearly every lesson I’ve learned in life has come while I’ve been in the crucible, when my circumstances were crushing, making me feel like I was in the emotional pit of hell. This is also where I learned to be genuine and authentic.

Apparently, there are those who have the ability to learn life’s lessons in a kinder, gentler way, but I’m certainly not one of them. People in recovery like me have trouble learning their lessons easily. Instead, they seem to gain wisdom and maturity when adversity stops them dead in their tracks—when they have no choice but to trust God.

During my times of hardship, I’ve discovered that I’m far more likely to seek God, rather than when my life has been progressing smoothly. Again, this seems to be the pattern for nearly everybody who has a substance abuse problem.

I may be mistaken, but I suspect there are more alcoholics, drug addicts, and codependents whose experiences are similar to mine than not. We learn to trust while we are deep in the valley of despair, when apprehensions become overwhelming—not while we are enjoying victory on the mountaintop. During times of fulfillment, when each day is filled with endless wonder, I tend to take my blessings for granted. I wish I wasn’t like this, but it’s the way I am. Again, most people in recovery are like me.

God understands us completely. He knows what we are really like. It’s why His desire is for us is to be completely transparent, exposing our wounds and insecurities, while hiding nothing. Unfortunately, this isn’t what most of us are like. Instead, we do our best to mask the truth and deny reality. In our prayers and thoughts, we communicate with God, telling Him what we think He wants to hear, rather than the naked truth about who we really are.

Altering reality to make our circumstances more palatable doesn’t work in real life, nor does it work with our prayers. Instead of being syrupy and disingenuous, God wants each of us to come before Him exactly the way we are—devoid of hypocrisy and self-deception. Doing so is also the key to our sobriety.

God is interested in us being forthright—not in being piously pretentious. God loathes hypocrisy—just like most of us, but He definitely understands adversity, having experienced it through the suffering of His Son. Almighty God can and does empathize with us. This makes Him fully capable of meeting each of us exactly where we are, regardless of our situation or of our level of dysfunction.

Jack Watts

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Coming to the Light

 

Make a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory—AA Step 4

 

Father,

Now that I have spelled out

The exact nature of my behavior,

And have written it down,

I feel so naked and completely vulnerable.

Just reviewing it gives me a feeling of relief,

But I also feel insecure and very ashamed.

Now that I have brought to light

My deepest, most intimate secrets,

I fear condemnation, rejection and ridicule.

Perhaps I will even be mocked by my confidant—

By the person I have chosen to trust—

Just like I have been by so many others.

I know this is not a realistic fear,

But just the thought of it creates

Anxiety and apprehension in my heart.

I know that You have forgiven my self-defeating behavior,

But humans are rarely as gracious as You are.

 

Please prepare the heart of my friend—

The one I have chosen to be my confessor.

When I expose myself completely, hiding nothing,

I pray that Your love and acceptance will be

What I experience and not the censure

Of someone who is self-righteous—someone who

Cannot understand or accept me, just as I am.

Father, I have worked diligently and come so far.

Help me continue to be vulnerable and forthright,

Which I know is Your will for me.

Stand with me, Lord, so that I can

Boldly state the exact nature of my misconduct,

With humility, casting aside any sense of timidity.

Heal me in all of my broken places,

And relieve the burden of guilt I have

Carried with me for so many years.

Free me to walk into the future unshackled by my past.

Free to become the person You created me to be.

 

How great is Thy goodness, which Thou has stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men! Thou dost hide them in the secret place of Thy presence from the conspiracies of man; Thou dost keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:19-20)

Jack Watts

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