Archive for October, 2013

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Believe it or not, we ALL have a responsibility in one form or another!

We all have this title, whether we are responsible for someone or something or are held accountable for our actions. Responsibility comes when we become equipped with the ability to be reliable and trustworthy.

Sometimes responsibility is suddenly fixed upon us. Such as having a baby. The responsibility of becoming a mom or becoming a dad. When a family member passes away. The responsibility of taking over the finances or taking care of another family member. Inheriting a family estate or business. Being responsible for business decisions. Ensuring clients and employees alike are being satisfied. The responsibility of keeping order in a leadership position.

Where ever we go, we are responsible for our actions. Knowing that there are consequences when we mess up or lose control. Consequences for making bad decisions. How we affect loved ones. How we influence and set examples for our children. How we affect our parents, our friends, our brothers and our sisters.

I have the responsibility as an uncle to set an example in which my nieces and my nephews will hopefully be proud of. I will hopefully set a positive example of what an uncle should be and how an uncle should act. This will only benefit them.

I am saying this because many of us have the responsibility of being a mom and the responsibility of being a dad. We have the opportunity to guide our children in the right direction and to become the best illustration of what a parent can be. A parent of valor. A foundation of what our children may become. Every move we make affects our children in one way or another.

Just like at work. The way we act and the way we handle problems engraves an image on our superiors as well as our fellow employees . We are responsible for the tasks given to us. We are held accountable for our actions and will have to deal with the consequences.

I know many times people become selfish in their addiction. It’s just the way we become in our obsession. We get so selfish and all we think about is what benefits us. We only look out for number one. Ourselves. Priorities and responsibilities are secondary. They are an afterthought; a reconsideration. Our children, our family; our loved ones become inferior, second place runners up.

In recovery, we start putting ourselves aside. We start learning to become responsible for things. We learn to become the leadership figures we once were. Parents. Brothers and sisters. Aunts and uncles. Friends. Employees. I think we need to step back quite often, and realize that we are, in so many ways, an example to many people around us.

We will never be perfect but we can certainly live life, teaching, leading and setting good examples drug free. If we fall, we get back up, dust ourselves off and move forward. Staying down affects us and in turn affects everyone around us.

We need to take control of our responsibilities and act as though we are responsible and accountable to God Himself. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Giving our lives to Christ allows us to live by faith and makes us responsible, gives us integrity, makes us honest, sincere and makes us people of valor. We become transformed by the renewing of our minds. We learn to become humble, teachable and patient. We rely on Wisdom to make decisions. We become God’s temple and we become more than conquerors!

Become Free! Become the Difference!

climbing-the-mountain

What is Faith? Is it a verb or is it just this word we use to advocate a ‘good feeling’ of hoping something is going to happen?

Faith. People say “I got faith in that.” and “I got faith in this.”. This type of faith is almost knowing that something will come through. That we have a belief, a confidence in; that we will keep a positive outlook on someone’s life. That we back someone up with positive reinforcement to ensure they succeed. “I got Faith that he’s going to make it.”

“I got faith that the Red Sox are going to win!”. Ok, that’s good… what happens when they lose? What happens to that faith which once was? Do we get discouraged? Do we give up? Some of us may, but some of us continue believing that they will one day win.

So having faith in someone or something is hoping for the best. A feeling of a positive outcome. We encourage people when we have faith in them. We say “You can do it.” or “You are going to get through this.” We believe that people will succeed in one way or another. That something will happen if we keep praying and thinking about it. If we continually dwell on a certain problem or a certain obstacle, if we remain confident, that an assured outcome will arise.

This faith is common and often used. And I have had this type of faith rendered unto me during my addiction. It feels good. Who doesn’t love encouragement? It helps too! Hearing that someone has faith in you gives you strength to move forward.

But what about faith when it’s used as an action. A physical action. Not used just as a mental or verbal hope or encouragement. What happens when we just get up and DO?

When I need a gallon of milk, I don’t sit on my couch, hope and pray about it and it spontaneously combusts into existence in my refrigerator! I get up and go to the store and I get it. I have faith, knowing where it is and I get it. No questions asked. Just like when I was deep into my addiction. I knew where the drugs were, I went and I got them. Just like that. When I drive somewhere, I don’t ask God to get me to where I have to go, although some of us do… we drive knowing that we will arrive at our destination. We get up, get in the car and go.

There are so many things we do that require faith but we bypass it, things we KNOW and things we are used to. Like brushing our teeth, going to the bathroom, eating, sleeping. “It doesn’t take faith to do that stuff!” It doesn’t? If you JUST learned how to do these things, you would think differently. We are so used to doing them, it’s part of our daily routine. If I told you to stop brushing your teeth, what would you say? You’d say no way! Because it’s something you have to do in order to keep your teeth! You want to have energy and feel good tomorrow, you sleep. You’re hungry, you eat.

So this faith of the obvious. This faith of knowing. This blind faith of action which we all use on a daily basis. This same faith is needed on our road to recovery. Need help? Don’t just sit on your couch and hope things will get better. Don’t sit there and pray about it and do NOTHING about it. If I am on fire and burning up in flames, am I going to hope and pray it off me? No. I am going to get up and do something about it. I am also going to get a nurse’s full and undivided attention!

If you need help, ask. If you are struggling and REALLY want a better life, seek and find. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”- Matthew 7:7 These are all verbs. Action. Get up and go get it. There are resources all around us. Have that faith that will get you right to where you want to be.

As we persevere in our recovery, we know what helps us. We know what benefits us and what keeps us safe. The faith it once took to go to a meeting or ask someone for help starts to not be as obvious. It’s called wisdom. We become wise, knowing what benefits us and having the answers to what we need. Just like the daily things we do every day. Our recovery must become the same way in order for us to maintain a healthy, safe and drug free life.

In Matthew 17:20, God tells us that faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Will your addiction be conquered? It all depends on your faith. A small amount of faith will make things happen. And do not think for a second that it was God’s will for you to be the way you are! Is it God’s will for a mountain to be where it is? Well yes… but He tells us that faith, as small as a mustard seed, which is pretty small, can move that mountain. That faith can change the place God intended it to be.

Now imagine huge faith, faith of being able to conquer all your obstacles! Faith which is not needed because you have Wisdom. And Wisdom which will not be needed because you will know what to do. It will be so simple. It will be like you knew it all along. You will have overcome that addiction. You will have overcome forgiving someone. Letting go of your past. And you have the Holy Spirit to thank. Wisdom only comes from the hand of God. It takes faith and continually living in obedience to God’s Word. The bible tells us everything we need to know and how to conquer sin.

I wonder how much faith it will take for you to go get a bible and start learning? 😉

You can do it, it’s in you to be more than a conqueror! Become Free! Become the Difference!

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We all know sliding down a slide is easy. All we have to do is lay there and enjoy the ride.

Sledding, Skiing down a hill. Riding on a roller coaster. Jumping out of an airplane; I haven’t tried that yet and I probably never will, takes no effort. I mean, it takes guts, a lot of guts! But the fall is just gravity pulling you down to your destination. There is no effort in falling. And most of the time it’s fun going down. Usually anything that takes no or little effort is fun.

And it is fun using and getting high. It’s fun feeling good and laughing about absolutely useless things when our minds are altered. However, as high as we think we are, we are slowly going down. We think we are having a good time but we are getting pulled down every time we use. Pulled down to a destination of depression. A destination of addiction. A destination unknown.

Using drugs may be a one time event. It may be a phase you’re going through. It may be the life changing catastrophe you and your family were not expecting. Some of us try it and move on. Some of us get hooked. Some of us overdose and never come back from it.

Are you looking to see what happens? Just want to ‘test the waters’ and see which way your life goes? See if you can have ‘some fun’ for a little while and return back with no consequences? It’s an extremely dangerous road. Talk about playing with fire. It may seem fun but it is a downward spiral to death.

So why all this common sense talk? Well, everyone knows all this. Everyone knows that drugs are fun. That drugs are potentially dangerous. We all know going down takes little to no effort.

When we are living in addiction, we put so much effort into scheming and getting our fix we don’t even realize it. The amount of time and thought that goes into planning and pleasing our hunger for our fix is crazy. It’s a constant, vicious cycle no one would ever dream of being involved in. But it does happen. Very often too.

Coming out of addiction takes a lot of effort, but not as much as you would think. If we used HALF of the effort we used in our addictive state; hustling, scheming, stealing… that “what ever it takes” attitude, we would come to a productive conclusion very quickly. The question is do you want to. Whether or not you want to, you know you have to. Especially when you’re messing around with drugs that can kill you.

Climbing a ladder takes effort. Going up stairs takes effort. Mountain climbing takes effort. Going up, against gravity, takes work. It takes strength, power and perseverance. Perseverance as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the ‘continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition’.

Is persevering easy? Not really. Is climbing easy? Is fighting pressure, peer pressure, gravity and the weight of opposition easy? Ever put 50 lbs. on your back and try to climb a ladder? You may be able to do it but my point is every step you take will be an important one. Every step up will be a persevering step.

Going down is simple and easy. Coming back up takes perseverance and strength. It takes time. Thinking. Involvement. Surround yourself with meetings, people and places that will help make your climb a little easier. Persevere. It takes CONTINUED EFFORT and may be DIFFICULT but you can get through it. Doing it with people that have a common bond of growing in their recovery will make you stronger!

Rise up against the flow. Get away from your so called ‘friends’ that are using. If your friends are lost too, find some friends who are found! Find strong friends that will hold you accountable and will be there for you when times get tough. Friends that will talk with you and not judge you. A true friend will give you constructive advice and will be a good example. Grow in Wisdom and start making the right decisions today!

Persevere. Become the Difference!

seed

See that tiny seed? It’s dead. It has no life. It’s useless.

It’s useless until it’s planter puts it into soil and with the right amount of water and sun, it will begin to grow. Do you know what that tiny seed’s purpose is? What it produces? What it grows into when planted and maintained? You would never guess what it has to offer. What it was designed to form into. Believe it or not, as dead as it is, it can still grow!

Redwood-tree_2

It’s a Sequoia Tree or a Redwood Tree seed. And yes, it grows into a huge, strong and massive tree. The biggest tree on this planet! A powerful, well rooted, well planted tree. Amazing how something so small and dead becomes so magnificent. How something, once given a chance, given a purpose, can grow and become a solid, stable structure.

Did you know Paul, the author of just about half of the books in the New Testament, was an anti-Christian, a persecutor who had Christians put in jail, threatened them and approved their death? He hated Christians. Paul, who was named Saul prior to his life changing conversation with God, lived a life opposite of his revealed purpose. (Acts Chapter 9)

This guy went from hating people and wanting them dead to loving them and teaching them a new way of life. Here is an example of darkness becoming light. Someone useless becoming an important tool. A total role reversal. Paul became an important missionary for Christ and went around preaching the Gospel, confusing people who saw him as a persecutor. But he became strong and powerful proving to the people that Christ was indeed the Messiah.

Paul went on, persevering and teaching. However, he did have his ups and downs. He was thrown in prison for many years during his travels for preaching the Gospel. Even then, in prison, he continued writing to the people and encouraging them. He persevered through his hardships. In chains, staying positive and faithful.

Addiction takes its toll on us. Addiction sets us back and labels us. Our addiction destroys and leaves a nasty trail. It destroys relationships. It consumes us.

In addiction we are useless, we are dead. Nothing but an empty carcass being led by a desire to abuse drugs and abuse alcohol. Our only purpose is to self medicate and feed our SELF, that’s it.

That’s what addiction does. That’s what it wants you to believe. That you are worthless. But it’s not true. You DO have a purpose. You are worth something. You CAN make a difference! You DO have the ability to become steadfast, well rooted with a strong, solid foundation. You CAN turn from your past and become fruitful!

Become Free! Get the help you need today! Ask God to come into your life and to take the addiction away. It may take time, it may happen instantly. You may learn a lot about yourself, as I did. You may have to break a few walls holding you back. Just know it is in you to conquer this. You have it in you to persevere and to live a productive life. You have a lot to offer and you may one day change someone else’s life.

God IS listening, allow Him to plant you into good soil so you can produce and have a purpose! Continue and maintain in His Word daily and watch your life change!