recovery in Christ when life is broken

Showing items filed under “September 2015”

Do I Really Want To Get Well?

"Are you willing?" That seemed like an unnecessary question to ask; yet five weeks into recovery that was the homework topic. Initially, I just wanted to breeze through that day’s homework, but as I read the lesson I was reminded of a story about a lame man needing to be healed.  

The story of the lame man can be found in John 5:1-9. It says the man had been lame or paralyzed for thirty-eight years, which was most likely his entire life. He had been waiting by the pool of Bethesda along with a multitude of other invalids, all who were waiting to be healed. There was a superstition in that culture that getting in the pool would heal them. Can you imagine spending your whole life paralyzed, just waiting to be healed?  

Jesus sees the lame man and knew he had been waiting a long time, yet Jesus asks “Do you want to get well?” That seems like such an obvious question. He has been waiting most of his life to make it into the water to be healed! The question almost feels patronizing but I think there was a point to asking such an obvious question. Rather than answering with a simple “yes" the man responds with an excuse. He says he has no one to help him into the water and every time he tries to get in someone goes before him. It’s hard to imagine Jesus, the Son of God, asking if you want to be healed and responding with an excuse or complaint. Yet isn’t that what we do? 

I believe everyone wants to be healthy, happy, and whole, but for various reasons we allow ourselves to continue in unhealthy, destructive patterns rather than choosing to get well. For me, I like to be self-sufficient and I certainly don’t like being dependent. I instinctively look to my own ability to find a solution to my problems when I really need to surrender and look to Jesus. By holding on to self-sufficiency I don’t find healing. Instead, I become like the lame man who was looking for his own solution and find myself still sitting alone, paralyzed. 

  • Is there something in your life that is hindering your healing?
  • Are you holding on to self-sufficiency, unable to surrender?
  • Are you not yet ready to let go of your sin?
  • Are you afraid of change or working through a recovery program?
  • Do you believe that you are unique and that you are unable to get well?
  • Are you looking in other places for healing rather than turning to Jesus?

After the lame man complained to Jesus that he had no one to help and that he can’t make it to the water, Jesus commands him to get up and walk. At once the man was healed. He didn’t heal himself; he only had to trust Jesus and attempt to get up. Jesus is the one who enabled him to get up and walk. Are you willing to trust Jesus for change? Are you willing to attempt the next step and follow God’s path of healing? It may not be easy or immediate. Living in freedom requires much of you but God is faithful to carry you through healing if you are willing. 

Do you really want to get well? 

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:2-5

 -Johnna S.

How Can You Know God’s Will in the Midst of Recovery

I remember the feeling of desperation during the first couple of months of alcoholism recovery. I felt like everything, literally everything, was changing. I was going through a divorce, living on a friend’s couch, owned only two boxes of clothes, and my sales job became unappealing because I was only there to try to get rich. But the LORD had suddenly changed my heart and identity. I was even questioning if the city in which I was living was best for me given my unhealthy relationships and addiction patterns.

When I told my sponsor, “I feel like I need to quit my job and move, once the house sells,” he said, “We don’t recommend any big life changes during your recovery.” I responded with something like, “I don’t understand how I can not make big changes in my recovery. I have been living as ‘lord of my own life’ for the past 12 years. I am self-destructing. I feel desperate for big changes—especially to follow God and His will for me.” I searched for articles on how to know the will of God. I had lived by my own selfish, sinful wisdom and was afraid of making more decisions apart from knowing God’s direction.

God says that if you lack wisdom, He will give it to you if you ask (James 1:5). He wants to lead you. God knows what is best. The following Seven Cs will help you know God’s will according to His word. Try to place your situation through all seven of these principles. If you focus solely on one principle, you may misinterpret God’s will. God’s answer becomes clearer as you filter your situation through all seven. For instance, if you just go off conviction—knowing that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9)—your personal desires might cloud your decision. But, if your conviction lines up with God’s Word, the counsel of other Christians, capabilities, etc., you can begin to have a confidence that you’re following His will.

Seven Cs of discerning God’s Will: 

  1. Communication with God (prayer to know His will; Psalm 139:23-24)
  2. Conviction (a sense of right and wrong from God that aligns with His word; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16)
  3. Church (leaders of your local church; Hebrews 13:17)
  4. Community (counsel through those committed to helping you grow spiritually; Proverbs 15:22)
  5. Canon (God’s word, the Bible; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  6. Circumstances (Is this decision even a possibility? Paul felt called to return to Thessalonica but circumstances—as organized by Satan—prevented him 1 Thessalonians 2:8)
  7. Capabilities (Are you able according to your gifts? For example, you may feel passionate about being a worship leader but you are unable to sing; 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4)

When I was considering quitting my job and going into a one-year discipleship program, I unknowingly used the steps listed above. I pleaded with God to direct me (1). I felt in my spirit that I was done chasing money to get rich (2). My pastor and his wife thought the discipleship program sounded like a great option (3). Christians close to me thought it was a good idea (though some coworkers and drinking friends thought it was extreme) (4). Proverbs 16:16 says “How much better to get wisdom than gold.” (5). I tried some business interviews and they didn’t progress; I applied and interviewed with the discipleship program and they gave me a full scholarship and a work-study job (6). I eagerly desired to know God’s word and to be discipled…I sensed I was going to be in ministry the rest of my life (7).

All of that combined, I made the decision to enter the discipleship program and it was one of the best decisions of my life. I had peace, joy and confirmation as I followed that road. It was so freeing to trust God and not lean on my own understanding like I did in the past. Though the process of discerning God’s may take some time and wrestling, the result is so good and freeing.

God loves you. He wants to help you make big decisions and small decisions. He has a divine plan for you and has gifted you for a purpose in this plan. If your desire is to honor God in all you do, he will show you the path to take.

Romans 12:1-2, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

-John E.

recovery in Christ when life is broken.