Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Step Two

Step Two:  "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity".

"Everyone is an addict, suffering from personal, environmental, and generational sin.  Everyone masks shame behind proper costumes and false selves.  We need a Power greater than any self-help group.  We don't need another codependent rescuer.  This Power can't be another addiction in the form of drugs, relationships, or church.  This Power can be found in God alone, the only one who has never abandoned us, however lost or lonely we have felt.  This Power is no abstraction; this Power is a person we can trust.  That person is the Lord Jesus Christ, who brings eternal, unconditional love from God's heart to ours."  --Don Williams, Jesus and Addiction

The question is, will you believe that Jesus can and will break you free from your insanity?  Will you believe that Jesus can provide the fulfillment and the purpose in life that you have been searching for?  Those of us who have become desperate enough have found new life through Jesus.  Don't confuse Jesus with a nice-looking religious addiction.  Jesus is no religion--He is a person!  He is God!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Step One

For some time now I have been slowly reading Don Williams' book, Jesus and Addiction.  I have reached the point in the book where Pastor Williams discusses the 12 Steps of recovery.  My personal exposure to the 12 Steps comes exclusively through Celebrate Recovery and so I am deeply interested in another perspective.  In Jesus and Addiction, Pastor Williams is making the case that the church is by and large an addiction machine and that changes will be necessary in order for a church to become a place where individuals find freedom from addiction.  For example, rather than teaching people to serve out of their wholeness, churches often encourage service in order to find some sense of personal fulfillment--I now know that such a motive is called codependency and is anything but healthy.

Step One:  We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

This first step, "painfully confesses that addictions, whether to substances, processes, or relationships, are no longer working and that we have to release them.  We have been pretending that we are in control, but in actuality, we are out of control."

"Giving up the illusion of control means abandoning the last defenses of our independent egos.  It means that false selves are now exposed for what they are.  Since destruction precedes reconstruction, these false selves must die."

"This admission of impotence only comes through crisis.  The crises of admitting that we are powerless over our lives comes as we hit bottom--sometimes with a bounce, sometimes with a crash."

"God will break the hard hearts of the self-righteously religious who come to Step One.  He will strip 'elder brothers' of performances, righteous works, presumptions, judgments, and secret rage.  As those elder brothers, we will give up the law and the spiritual pride that goes with it.  Where will that leave us?  We will be on our faces, mumbling that we are powerless and that our lives, yes, even our religious lives, have become unmanageable.  We will be on our faces, admitting that our codependent service to the church, our workaholism, and our continual rescue of others, hide the emptiness inside.  We will be on our faces admitting that our attachments to money, food, sex, relationships, and our own self-images are idolatrous.  This is the first step on the path of healing, and we must take it with guts and grace."

"I have admitted my own powerlessness more than once.  My first crisis was during my conversion.  I realized how much Jesus loved me and how I shared responsibility for his death.  My heart was broken; I knew in that moment that I could no longer manage my own life.  Another crisis came when my wife Kathryn and I, in deep emotional pain, admitted that we were powerless over our relationship.  Years later, I was broken once again when I was fired as a pastor. I then knew that I was powerless over the church.  I became separated from my 'drug of choice' and all of my codependent relationships.  Numb, depressed, and empty, I retreated into myself.  All my plans, hopes, and dreams lay shattered at my feet.  This was God's severe mercy and my first step to healing.  All of us will go through this crisis more than once as God brings down our idols, setting us free to love him.  Acknowledging that we are out of control is the first step to becoming like the fearless Jesus."

--Don Williams, Jesus and Addiction.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Forty Pounds of Puppy...

It's about time for a Gavin update.  He had a vet appointment today to get his rabies shot and it allowed me to catch up on his stats.  He is just a little over four months old and the Vet predicts that Gavin will grow to around 75 pounds before he is done.  He weighed 40 pounds today--up 10 pounds from this time last month.  According to the Vet's records, Gavin weighed just 4.6 pounds on his first Vet visit back on August 3rd.

Gavin graduated with honors last week from his puppy class.  He dominated his final exam and stood head and shoulders above his classmates (literally).  On a "stay" command, he held his butt on the floor longer than any of the other puppies.  He was able to run about forty yards right to me on a "Gavin, Come!" command.  He was even able to accomplish the highly difficult "roll over" maneuver.  He will start the intermediate class in a few weeks continuing on with several of his classmates.

We are currently discussing the options for neutering.  Tina says, "Yes".  The boys and I are not so sure.