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Posts Tagged ‘Narcissistic Religious Leaders’


Finding Purpose in Sorrow

 

The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them—AA Slogan

 

Father,

Here I am once again,

At the end of myself,

Feeling like a fool,

Feeling like I haven’t learned a thing.

It seems as if I’ve been here so often

That it is my permanent dwelling place.

It seems like my times of sorrow and suffering

Have far surpassed my times of contentment.

Be gracious to me, O my God,

Let me know what You have in store for my life.

Assure me that my pain has been purposeful—

That my years have not been a total waste,

Devoid of meaning . . . devoid of value.

I want to cast my anxieties upon You

But when I do, this is not where they remain.

Instead, my fears haunt my mind constantly,

Exacting a terrible, debilitating toll,

Impacting every fiber of my being.

I want to be strong, but I am not.

I am so weak and so used to defeat

That sorrow has become my daily lot.

 

Rescue me, Father. Pour Your grace upon me.

Allow me to know joy in the days ahead.

Let my cup overflow with blessing.

Allow my life to once again have value.

Instruct me about what my future will hold,

With reassurance from Your Holy Spirit.

I fear that my days will end

Before any good will materialize,

Leaving a wasted, purposeless existence.

Without Your active intervention,

All will be lost and irredeemable.

I know this; I’m certain of it.

As I wake in the morning and retire at night,

This realization is ever before me,

But it is not where I want my life to be.

Neither is it Your desire for me,

Amen.

Jack Watts

 

Arouse Thyself, why doest Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth. Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy righteousness. (Psalm 44:23-26)

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To thine own self be true—Shakespeare

 

Father,

Unlike most, I know I have it all together.

I am a person of substance and value.

People listen when I speak,

As words of wisdom roll mellifluously

From the essence of my being.

My life is an example for others to follow.

At least, this was who I considered myself to be.

Then, You came and shook my foundation,

Which was not built upon anything worthwhile.

Knowing my vulnerabilities and insecurities,

You rocked my world like no other.

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

I was not who I thought I was.

I was not what I claimed to be.

 

When You revealed me to myself,

I stood naked—laid bare before Your eyes,

Unable to hide my shortcomings from Your scrutiny,

From the truth of who I really was.

Broken, embarrassed, and unnerved,

I recoiled, consumed with shame and humiliation.

In my despair, those who claimed their loyalty

Abandoned me, while enemies delighted at my misfortune.

In an instant, Your blessings—the outward manifestation

Of all I thought to be of value—seemed to vanish.

No longer confident, I am fearful of the future.

Like no other, you have shaken me,

Revealing me to myself, and I am undone.

 

Father, when will this nightmare end?

When will it be enough?

When will Your heavy hand of discipline subside,

Restoring me to a life of peace, joy, and purpose?

Will Your pruning ever abate, or will it last a lifetime?

Only You know; only You have the answer.

Be merciful to me, for I have learned my lesson.

O, how I regret my arrogant, self-serving ways

That I was too foolish to see or to acknowledge.

I beseech You—Hasten the day of my restoration,

Lest my sorrows overwhelm me,

Amen.

 

 

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

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When we surrender to God, the journey begins—AA saying

 

Father,

I know You want me to trust You completely,

And I do—at least, most of the time.

Because of the things that have hurt me so deeply,

Coupled with of my feelings of worthlessness,

I struggle to believe that You love me—

That You accept me just the way I am,

Regardless of how wayward I have been.

I don’t see how You could—not really.

Perhaps this is why I whine and remain timid,

Even though Your desire is for me

To be resilient, strong, and self-assured.

I desire inner strength, but this is rarely an option.

Father, how could You love someone like me?

I simply cannot comprehend this; it is beyond me.

Such love surpasses my ability to grasp.

 

Your word says You love me despite everything,

Even when my self-defeating behavior

Has held dominion over me for so long.

As I recognize how faithful You are,

My trust increases and becomes sounder,

But it still isn’t where it needs to be—not really.

I pretend to be strong—to be supremely confident,

But I’m not nearly the person on the inside

That I appear to be on the outside.

I profess to be what I am not—

To be far more secure than I really am.

I even try to fool myself,

But You know each of my frailties,

Which I attempt to mask and carefully hide.

I don’t know why You care so much about me,

When I don’t care that much about myself.

This is a mystery I doubt I will ever grasp,

But I’m extremely grateful that You do.

In my quiet moments, which I attempt to avoid,

I try to comprehend such love and caring, but I cannot.

What I can do is accept it, and I do. Thank You,

Amen.

 

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou doest know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is to high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

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Leaving the Outcome to God

The results are in God’s hands—AA Slogan

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 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—the way I wish it would like be.

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

It seems like I am never clear about Your direction,

And yet You expect me to follow You blindly,

Putting my trust in You without reservation.

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

To step out in faith and be bold many times,

Without any idea of what was ahead for me,

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 leading, when they really were not.

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

Which You could disclose to me 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 Your assurance that You know

What You have planned for my life.

No matter how contemptuously others may 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 to You, 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.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Jack Watts

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Bottoming Out

 

I can’t handle it God; You take over—AA Slogan

 

Father,

My soul aches, and my spirit is weak.

Heartache has consumed me,

And I’m fearful of the future.

Those who know your Word much better than I,

Have rebuked me, chastening me

With contempt, ridicule, and shame.

In my heart, I have cowed before them,

Never questioning their motives or intent.

Slinking away in defeat and despair,

I have vowed to never return—to remain aloof

From them, from You, and from their religiosity.

I have wandered from You,

To a place where there is

No joy, no kindness, and no future.

Time has not been my friend.

My mistakes have brought me low.

My accusers know your Word,

But they don’t know your forgiving Spirit.

Father, I need Your help to return home,

To come back to where I belong,

To nurture a real and substantive relationship with You.

Strengthen me with power in the inner man.

Allow me to stand strong;

Allow me to be bold and confident;

Allow me to be the person you created me to be.

Don’t allow my accusers to continue having dominion

Over me, lest my future be as bleak as my past,

Amen

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Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. (Psalm 129:1-4)

 

Jack Watts

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A Battle of the Wills

 

Not My Will but Yours—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

That You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You

Numerous times—pleading and begging—

Beseeching You to grant my desires.

And all You have done is to say “No.”

Refusing to accept Your answer as final,

I have continued my relentless complaining,

Insisting that You make my will be Your own.

In my stubbornness, I have maintained that

Right was wrong, and wrong was right,

While deceiving myself into believing

My purposes were noble—even altruistic.

I have ascribed righteousness to my desires,

As if seeking my goals was the pathway

To wisdom, contentment, and fulfillment.

In my foolishness, I have done my best

To convince myself that my way has been right,

But You remained adamant, refusing my demands.

Still unwilling to accept Your will over my own,

I have manipulated events until frustration

And exhaustion have overwhelmed me,

But You never budged nor wavered—not once.

Now, at the end of all my stubborn willful 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 Your answer,

But You are in charge, and I am not.

Now that I have submitted myself

To Your purpose and direction rather than to my own,

I have begun to see things differently.

Finally, at the end of my stubborn willfulness,

I acknowledge that Your way is superior to my own,

Amen.

 

 

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3)

Jack Watts

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Changes in Your Circumstances

 

If you turn it over and don’t let go of it, you will be upside down—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

When You want my attention,

You know how to get it.

There are times when I feel

Like You aren’t really there,

Like You don’t really care,

Like my life has little meaning, value or purpose.

Then, through my circumstances,

You shake me to the core, and I am undone.

That’s when You begin your relentless pruning.

At first, I don’t recognize what is going on,

And I cry out, ”Why me, Lord?”

I don’t like what is happening,

And I resist Your efforts to make me

Into the person You intend for me to be.

I want to be your man,

Strong, resourceful, and successful,

But I want it to come easily, with little effort,

But it never does—not for me, anyway.

I chafe, as You prune my immature ways,

With precision and focused determination.

When I recognize what is occurring,

I bow me knee and acknowledge,

That Your hand has been hard on me,

But Your purpose has never wavered.

When You have finished, You seem pleased

With what You have pruned, knowing that

I will become stronger, more fruitful person.

 

I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-4)

Jack Watts

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