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Christian Living

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Overcoming Addictions 08/25/17

Get Real with God

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“Let’s be honest. There are times in this recovery process that just suck!”

That’s what one woman said in our meeting last night. She eats when she’s not hungry because she gets bored and depressed. It's difficult to know what to do with the extra time on our hands when we are no longer drinking and drugging. This one woman’s honesty ushered in a movement of the Holy Spirit during our small group session. Women opened up, tears flowed, God was honored, and the presence of the Spirit brought compassion.



How can a negative comment including a not-so-polite word choice bring about such a wonderful outcome? Well, God loves it when we’re honest. In times of raw, personal truth we expose hurts we usually harbor and tell no one about. Whether we’re in a small group or alone in prayer, uncorking our secret emotions can offer great spiritual relief.

 

How do we do that? 

Here are two solid suggestions:

  1. Tell Jesus
  2. Faithfully attend a God-honoring recovery group




Tell Jesus!



The song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" reminds us we can get real with God. 

“O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.



Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.



Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer. 



Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In his arms he’ll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.”

Though written in the 1800s, these words still apply today. Talking with the Lord is something no one can ever take from us. We don’t have to be trained at a seminary to pray. God is ready to hear from us anytime we go to Him and with whatever words come straight from our hearts. 

And notice the outcome - peace, comfort, encouragement, refuge, protection, and solace - all good gifts from our God who loves us.

Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector? In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells the story of these two men going to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee was an example of self-righteousness as he prayed thanking God he didn’t commit certain sins, was a tither, and wasn’t like the tax collector [i.e. like put your name here _____________].

The tax collector “stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’”

Jesus told his followers, “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”



Sounds like God wants us to be real with Him. He wants us to go to Him in our despair and pour out our hearts asking for His help, confessing we’re sinners, we’ve got issues, we don’t know what to do, and we trust Him to help us.



Recovery Small Group Meetings



What better way to escape boredom than to get out of your home? When we were in the throws of our disturbing behavior, we went lots of places to do whatever it was we did. How about seeking the wholeness God has to offer us with the same energy? There are doses of healing waiting for us at these Christ-centered recovery groups and opportunities to help others who want to get better too, just by being open and honest.



Don't be surprised if you find yourself thinking of reasons not to go. 

  • I don’t have the energy
  • I didn’t get anything out of it the last time I went

  • I’ll go next time

  • I'd rather watch TV

  • I’d rather get on the Internet

  • I don’t know anyone there

  • I feel awkward there



But if we don't go, we have lost the battle already. Defeat’s a tough foe. Recognize it’s not one of God’s forces. It’s the enemy of our souls who wants to keep us in darkness and thinking damaging thoughts. Defeat’s close cousin, depression, likes to jump on board the train to derail us from getting better. 



The small group offers us a setting for the Lord to apply a healing salve to the body of Christ – those who believe in Him. Psalm 34:2-3 says, “…let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.” In this Psalm, as in many other passages of scripture, the idea of gathering together to honor Christ and to seek his guidance collectively is key. 



Meeting with a group seeking to find Christ’s answers for dealing with boredom, depression, and all other aspects of learning to live a changed life, brings hope into our lives. Hearing that we’re not alone in our pain offers us empathy and emotional healing. Finding we’re not a “bad” Christian because we’re not all-that-happy with the changes going on brings spiritual healing. And getting real with others and with God is the heart of recovery.



Have you had some struggles and victories in these areas? Share with us. Please post your comments.

Copyright 2011 © Beth Livingston. Used by permission.

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