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Archive for the ‘Hurt’ Category


Taking Responsibility

 

A winner is a loser who keeps trying—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

I don’t just believe I’ve been mistreated,

I know I have been mistreated.

And You know I’ve been wronged as well.

I’ve told You what happened repeatedly.

Everybody in my life knows my story.

Now that it has been a while since my wounding,

Everybody seems to have progressed

With their lives—everybody, except for me.

I remain stuck in my debilitating mindset,

Which has not changed appreciably,

Despite the passage of so much time.

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

Who continues to experience so much pain.

Those who used, misused, and discarded me

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

At least, I can’t tell that they have.

I’m the one that continues to churn in anger,

Languishing in bitter despair.

By refusing to move forward with my life,

I know I’m not hurting my abusers—not one bit.

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

It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all,

But I can no longer live like this.

I don’t want to waste my future harboring resentment,

Rehashing my drama repeatedly in my mind,

But it’s going to be difficult to get back on track.

I didn’t realize I had drifted so far from You.

I didn’t realize how willful I had become,

But now I do. It becomes clearer each day.

I have blamed others for my plight for so long,

That bitterness seems normal—even comfortable,

Which frightens me for what lies ahead.

Show me how to find my way back to You.

Because, without Your active, healing guidance,

My life will never amount to anything of value,

Amen.

 

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Jack Watts

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MY PRAYER: Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

That You have not intended for me to have.

I have wanted them so badly that

I’ve come before You repeatedly—

Pleading, begging, whining, and carping—

Beseeching You to grant my desires.

But all You have done is say, “No.”

Refusing to accept Your answer as final,

I have continued my relentless badgering,

Insisting that You make my will be Your own.

In my willfulness and stubbornness, I maintained

That right was wrong, and wrong was right,

While deceiving myself into actually believing

My purposes were noble, honorable, and altruistic.

In my foolishness, I have done my best

To convince myself that my way has been righteous,

But You remained unmoved, refusing to acquiesce.

Still unwilling to accept Your will over my own,

I manipulated events until frustration

And exhaustion finally overwhelmed me,

But You never budged or wavered in Your decision.

 

Now, at the end of all my peevish fretting,

I bow my knee and accept Your decision.

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

There are still parts of me that regret this,

But You are Almighty God, and I am not.

Now that I have resubmitted myself

To Your leadership, rather than to my own,

I have begun to view my situation differently.

No longer reluctant to be submissive, I acknowledge

That Your way is superior to my own,

Which I should have done from the beginning,

Amen.

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MY PRAYER: Father,

Nothing is how I planned it to be,

As I thought it would be,

As I believed it was promised by You.

Perhaps my aspirations were nothing more

Than my own self-serving, wishful thinking,

But the despair from my failure is real.

Nothing could be more real

Than how brokenhearted I am,

Knowing that my life didn’t have

To unfold the way that it has.

 

As a youth, when I turned my life,

My will, my heart, and my purpose

Over to You for Your safekeeping,

I believed I would experience nothing but abundance,

Carefree living, and smooth sailing, but this

Has certainly not been my experience—not even close.

It seems like I have failed at each turn,

With everything I have chosen to do.

Even worse, when I’ve needed You the most,

It seems like You have become more distant than ever.

My enemies delight at my misfortune.

The pain from their sharp, demeaning remarks never abates.

Each one stings, crushing my soul and wounding my spirit,

While derailing my resolve to become strong and purposeful.

Those I’ve trusted have used and misused me,

Rejecting me without cause—never casting a backward glance.

 

Like a fool, I never fathomed what was happening.

As I recoiled from my wounds, filled with despair,

I called upon You, but You were nowhere to be found.

I didn’t want to fail, Father, but I have.

I know I have, and I can’t change the past or what has occurred.

My history is what it is, and it will always remain so.

Many doors have now been closed to me,

But my journey is not yet complete.

Other opportunities will eventuate, but unless

You teach me through my mistakes,

I will never learn my lessons. Instead, I will be doomed

To replicate my errors and remain devoid of discernment.

Help me gain wisdom from my current situation, Father,

Because I don’t want to be in this hopeless, tortured position again,

Amen.

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MY PRAYER: Father,

I’m praying because I know I should,

Not because it is heartfelt.

I can do things for myself.

I always have—always will.

I don’t need Your help—not really.

“Bring it on,” is my motto.

In my heart, this is how I feel—

At least, more often than not.

I’m certainly not trying to hurt anybody,

But I really don’t trust people either—

Not even You, Lord, not even You.

As I grit my teeth obstinately,

With insolence and arrogance,

I convince myself that I can handle anything.

Then, You allow adversity to have full reign over me,

Shaking me at the core of my existence.

Defiantly, I fight You each step of the way,

Refusing to learn the lessons I am being taught.

 

My headstrong attitude defines who I am.

Undaunted by my inflexibility,

You increase the pressure on me,

And I wince and whine at the discomfort,

But I will not yield—not yet.

I still have too much fight left in me.

I cannot submit; I will not submit!

Then, You double the pressure, redoubling it again.

Finally, when I can stand no more,

I break—just a little and, in my bewildered distress,

I cry out, “Why me, Father? What have I done?”

As if completely innocent, I whine, “Why is this happening?”

Revealing Your purpose, You allow me to recognize

Just how much my world required shaking.

Finally, coming to the end of my intransigence,

I acknowledge what I should have earlier.

Your will, and not my self-indulged will, is what I need.

Do with me as You please, Lord, I finally acknowledge,

For You are Almighty God, and I am not,

Amen

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MY PRAYER: Father,

The wounds from my mistreatment run deep,

Creating anger, frustration, and an overwhelming

Sense of worthlessness that

Enervates every area of my life.

With my mouth, I refuse to admit

That this is how I see my situation,

But in the deepest recesses of my mind,

I wonder if the castigation of my abusers is correct.

Maybe my life doesn’t have much value, after all,

Precisely as I have been told repeatedly.

It’s a message I have internalized as accurate.

 

When my exploitation occurred,

I was angrier with You

Than with those who abused me.

Because of the relentlessness of their vitriol,

I believed they spoke the truth,

Which was certainly what they indicated.

But now, I have begun to view things differently.

In my woundedness, it never occurred to me

That Your Son was also abused—just like me—

By hateful, self-righteous religious leaders.

You permitted His abuse—just like You’ve permitted mine.

What Christ’s abusers meant for evil, You meant for good,

Redeeming Mankind through his death and Resurrection.

Without the suffering of Your Son, all would be lost.

Thank You for allowing such a tragedy to occur,

On my behalf, as well as on the behalf of others.

 

Father, can You make my life have similar worth?

Can You use my abuse for something that

Has transforming value for others as well as for me?

Can You turn my pain and my weakness into strength?

Can You take my life, which has been shattered,

And make it joyful and purposeful once again?

Amen.

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MY PRAYER: Father,

As I grit my teeth defiantly,

My anger is so consuming that

Toxic emotions rule my soul.

My fury clouds my judgment.

The smile on my face has vanished.

Dark shadows dominate my countenance,

Warning others to stay clear.

I entertain vivid thoughts of being vengeful,

Of making my enemies pay a terrible price

For the injustice they have inflicted upon me.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t like

The person I see—the person I have become.

I spend my days feeding my anger,

Amusing myself with vengeful imaginations

That race through my mind repeatedly, in a never-ending

Cycle of malice. I’m consumed by thoughts of retribution

That dominate my waking hours and also my dreams.

 

I know I’m not ready to forgive—not yet.

While my hostile mindset has dominion over me,

I need Your help more than ever.

Move me through this toxic period quickly.

Heal me from desiring merciless retribution.

Teach me to forgive—just as I have been forgiven.

While my anger consumes my conscious thoughts,

Depriving me of joy, peace, patience, and kindness;

Keep me from these four injurious behaviors:

From saying harsh words that can never be retrieved;

From wasting hours, feeding my bitter fantasies of reprisal;

From self-defeating behavior that assuages my pain—

And from desiring Evil to come upon my wrongdoers,

Amen.

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God Understands Your Abuse

 

God could and would if He were sought—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

The wounds from my mistreatment run deep,

Creating shame, anger, and an overwhelming

Sense of worthlessness that

Enervates every area of my life.

With my mouth, I refuse to admit

That this is how I see myself,

But in the recesses of my mind,

I wonder if the castigation of my abuser is correct.

Maybe my life has little value, after all,

Precisely like I have been told.

When my exploitation occurred, I was angrier with You

Than I was with those who abused me.

Because of their confident self-exaltation,

I believed they spoke the truth,

Which was certainly what was indicated.

 

But then, I began to think about it differently.

In my woundedness, it hadn’t occurred to me

That Your Son was also abused—just like me—

By hateful, self-righteous religious leaders.

You permitted His abuse—just as you permitted mine.

What Christ’s abusers meant for evil,

You meant for good, redeeming Mankind through it.

Without the suffering of Your Son, all would be lost.

Thank You for allowing such a tragedy to occur,

On my behalf, as well as all others.

Father, can You make my life have worth?

Can You use my abuse for something that

Has value for others as well as for me?

Turn my weakness into strength,

And my broken life into one that

Is joyful, substantive, and purposeful,

Amen.

 

Be gracious to me and raise me up, that I may repay them. By this I know that Thou art pleased with me, because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me. As for me, Thou dost uphold me in my integrity, and Thou dost set me in Thy presence forever. (Psalm 41:10-12)

 

Jack Watts

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MY PRAYER: Father,

Understanding Your leading is not always difficult.

You are crystal clear about so many things—

About honesty, fidelity, and caring for others.

With these, it’s impossible to misunderstand Your will,

But most of life isn’t this simple—

Nor is Your will that easy to discern.

It is not always crystal clear—

Not black and white—which I wish it would be.

Instead, it’s hues of gray, making choices perplexing.

It seems like I am never clear about Your leading,

And yet You expect me to follow You blindly,

Putting my trust in You without reservation.

As I try to discern Your purpose, I have been forced

To step out in faith and be bold many times,

Without any idea of what the future might hold,

Or of what the results of my actions would be.

Nothing ever seems to end the way I think it should,

Or the way I thought it would, forcing me to wonder

If I have understood You accurately. I wonder

If have I done nothing more than project my desires,

Calling them Your will, when they really were not.

As I walk by faith, I rarely receive the answers I expect,

Which You could easily disclose but never seem to do.

I look at my situation, demanding to know the outcome,

While You already knowing what that will be.

 

Your ways are beyond my ability to discern.

As others view my life, scornfully mocking,

Delighting at what looks like my certain failure,

I can count on the assurance of Your guidance.

You know what You have planned for my life.

No matter how contemptuously others view my plight,

From the depth of my soul, Your voice

Constantly assures me that You are in charge.

You are God Almighty, and I am not.

As I acquiesce, my soul is quieted, and I become still.

When I obediently release the outcome to You,

I accept that I may look foolish to many,

Especially on the outside; but on the inside—

Where it really counts, I’m becoming incredibly strong

In ways destined to have value for me and others,

Amen.

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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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Life can be very difficult, especially for someone who is using. That addicted people need God’s help is obvious, or at least it should be. Nearly everybody who has been in recovery for any length of time acknowledges this. Living life on life’s terms can be tough for anybody, but especially for those trapped by their addictions. For these people, adversity can become overwhelming and debilitating. Their coping skills simply do not allow them to deal with problems the way they should. Consequently, when they make the choice to act out, rather than handle their problems appropriately, family dysfunction and work related difficulties inevitably follow.

Unable to cope with life in healthy ways, millions medicate their problems with alcohol, drugs, excessive prescriptions, inappropriate sexual relationships, over-eating, over-spending, and numerous other addictive vices. As they see it, it’s their only solution—their only way out of an intolerable situation.

Drinking and drugging provide these people with an unhealthy way to cope—a one-day reprieve from facing their troubles. It’s a quick fix that works for the moment, but in the long run, it creates far more problems than it solves. Those who pursue this path cease to live lives that have much meaning. They simply exist from day to day, and the destructiveness of their actions creates dysfunction for everyone who loves them, while also making healthy people codependent by the millions.

Jack Watts

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PREFACE TO MY NEWEST PROJECT: Nearly everything I’ve learned about life has come while I’ve been in the crucible, when my circumstances have been crushing, making me feel like I’m in the emotional pit of hell. This is also where I learned to be authentic with my prayers.

Although there are those who have the ability to learn in a kinder, gentler way, I’m definitely not one of them. Similar to me, most in recovery have trouble learning their lessons easily. They seem to gain wisdom and maturity when adversity stops them dead in their tracks, and they have no choice but to trust God.

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

I may be mistaken, but I suspect there are more alcoholics and drug addicts whose experiences are like mine than not. We learn to trust while deep in the valley of despair, when apprehensiveness about the future becomes overwhelming, rather than while living on the mountaintop—where victory, joy, and fulfillment fill each day with endless wonder.

God’s desire is for us to be completely honest with Him, exposing our wounds, hiding nothing, but this isn’t what most of us do. Instead, our prayers are an affirmation of reality. We pray in denial, telling God what we think He wants to hear—like a censorious parent—rather than the naked truth about who we really are.

Altering reality to make our circumstances in life more palatable, and it certainly doesn’t work with God either. Instead of being syrupy and disingenuous, He wants each of us to come before Him exactly as we are—devoid of hypocrisy and self-deception. God is interested in us being forthright and transparent—not in us being piously pretentious. Just as we do, Almighty God loathes hypocrisy.

He understands adversity, having experienced it through the suffering of His Son. This makes Him fully capable of meeting a person exactly where that person is, regardless of the situation or the of degree difficulty.
Let Go and Let God is for wounded, hurting people. It’s for people who have been crushed—for people who have had the wind knocked out of their sails. It’s for people who are in pain—for those who desire to reach out to God but lack the necessary words to express their deepest feelings and desires.
Actually, it is for everyone, but it is especially for those in recovery. So, if you are looking for something genuine—something that will point you to God in the midst of circumstances that threaten to crush you—Let Go and Let God is definitely for you.

Jack Watts

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