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Posts Tagged ‘religion’


Overwhelming Fearfulness

 

Don’t quit before the miracle happensAA Slogan

 

 

Father,

You know my troubles like no other,

And You understand my adversities.

You know that sometimes I become

So fearful my skin grows cold,

And it feels like I can hardly breathe.

My countenance shrinks and I feel helpless.

I’m afraid of so many things.

I’m afraid of people and of being alone,

Of never experiencing happiness again,

Of not having enough income to survive.

 

Father, it seems like the list never ends,

And I lack the power and strength to move forward.

I need You now—more than ever.

Help me. Be my strength, when I am weak.

Be my fortress, when my life crumbles around me.

You know I can’t rely on anybody but You.

At times I’m fearful that You don’t really care—

That You are not interested in helping me.

I want to be strong and confident,

But I am not, and I know that I’m not.

I acknowledge this as a shortcoming.

Give me Your strength and Your confidence.

Help me put one foot in front of the other—one day at a time.

I have nothing to sustain me but my trust in You,

Which I admit is tenuous and often very fragile,

Amen.

 

For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong; and many are those who hate me wrongfully, and those who repay evil for good. Do not forsake me, O Lord, O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38:17-22)

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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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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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God is interested in us being forthright—not in us being piously pretentious. God loathes hypocrisy—just like most of us do. He definitely understands adversity though, having experienced it through the suffering of His Son. This means God can and does empathize with each of us. This makes Him fully capable of meeting us exactly where we are, regardless of our situation, despite the level of our dysfunction. As difficult as it may seem to believe, He loves each of us exactly the way we are.

Recognizing this, while also coming to terms with it, is why I wrote Conquering Negative Self-Talk. It’s for wounded, hurting people—people just like you and me. It’s for those who believe they have very little to offer. It’s for people who have been crushed—for those who have had life knock the wind 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 heartaches, apprehensions, and misgivings. Actually, this self-help workbook can benefit just about anybody, but it is especially useful for alcoholics, drug addicts, and codependents. So, if you are looking for something that will improve your life—a resource that will point you to God in the midst of crushing circumstances, when your self-worth is virtually non-existent, Conquering Negative Self-Talk is definitely for you.

 

 

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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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CONQUERING NEGATIVE SELF-TALK—with a THROWBACK THURSDAY photo:

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 life’s problems in an effective way.

Instead of accepting the responsibility for their actions, they make the choice to use—to act out. By not dealing with their problems appropriately, they create additional problems. This isn’t what they want, but it is what happens. As a result, family dysfunction and work related difficulties inevitably follow, creating a vicious, destructive cycle that affects people’s lives adversely.
Unable to cope with stress and difficulties 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 alternative, and their only way out of intolerable situations.

Drinking and drugging provide these people with an unhealthy way to cope with life—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 choose to pursue this path cease to live lives that are meaningful. Instead, they simply exist from one day to the next, and the destructiveness of their behavior creates dysfunction for everyone who loves them. It also makes healthy people codependent by the millions—an unintended but predictable consequence.

The self-worth of alcoholics and addicts is very low, even if their outward behavior appears to be confident, self-assured, and upbeat. This is an illusion. Their lives are filled with guilt, shame, self-loathing, and self-condemnation. Some choose to blame others for their lot in life, doing their best to excuse themselves from being responsible for unacceptable behavior, but this doesn’t work well. Blaming others rarely does, and it certainly isn’t emotionally healthy.
Many live in denial, refusing to admit who they really are and what they have become. They desperately try to convince others their situation is not as bad as it is, going to extraordinary lengths to do so—often comparing themselves favorably to someone who is far worse off than they are. Somehow, this makes them feel better about themselves—at least for a while. They do this, even when the destruction from their lifestyle is obvious to everyone around them, especially to those who refuse to take their delusional thinking at face value.

Whether people trapped by their addictions are willing to admit it or not, their self-talk is nearly always negative. Even if it doesn’t appear to be this way outwardly, negativity reigns in their hearts, regularly informing them they have no worth. Believing they are of no value is a constant theme for alcoholics, drug addicts, and codependents—it’s never far from their minds. They routinely accept self-condemning disaffirmations as being accurate, whether self-imposed or from others.

 

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