Hey Partners & Friends,
I have discovered an interesting issue while on this journey called Celebrate Recovery. In all our meetings we introduce ourselves by admitting our struggles and acknowledge the fact that even though we have some struggles our identity is in Jesus Christ. I have heard people admit to having struggles with virtually every issue under the sun. You name it and someone struggles with it, gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, depression, porn, hoarding, same sex attraction, abuse, anger, betrayal, hate, pride, perfectionism, money, power, love, jealousy, grief, lust, codependency, enabling, the list goes on. Here is the point, of all the issues that people recognize as a struggle in their lives, few mention control, and the interesting thing is that to some degree control is an issue in virtually everyone’s life.
Control the weather, control the wind, control the boss, the neighbors, the kids, your spouse. Anyone having much luck with any of those? I don’t think so. Never-the-less that does not stop us from exerting all our strength and effort toward controlling the circumstances surrounding our lives. In fact the more we invest in trying to control all this the more frustrated we become.
CR principle 1. Says, “Realize I am not God. I admit I am powerless to control,,,,,.if we stop right there it would be a huge revelation. But the principle does not stop there, it goes on to say “powerless to control MY tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. The only person we even have a shot at gaining control over is ourselves, self-control. The Bible says, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Pro 25:28
When we say things like, ‘That makes me so mad . . . so sad . . . feel so bad,’ then we’re actually saying that circumstances control the way we feel. Yet, we do have a choice. We have the ability to make healing choices. We can choose to remain positive; we can choose to not let some circumstance ‘make’ us mad. The ability to control our reactions, to handle hurt without retaliating is called meekness. Jesus promised, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (MT. 5:5.) Meek people control their reactions toward life and this gives them far more influence over a situation than if they simply react. If you are a meek person, you are no longer a victim. You control your choices. The best definition of meekness in the Bible is Proverbs 16:32: ” It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities”
Tit. 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
During World War II, the noted psychiatrist Victor Frankl was a prisoner in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. He said, “They took my clothes, my wife, my kids, my wedding ring. I stood naked before the SS and I realized they can take everything in my life but they cannot take my freedom to choose how I will respond to them.”
That is a freedom you will always have. How do I react? How do I choose to react to those people who hurt me?
Jesus says we will be blessed when we show self-control. You might be thinking, ‘That leaves me out! I can’t control my reactions! I can’t get them under control!’ The secret of controlling your reaction is letting God’s Spirit fill your life moment-by-moment. He’ll break all those bad habits, all those patterns of reacting, all those old ways of being negative, defensive–reacting in fear, in anger, in sarcasm. He can break all those old patterns in your life and fill your life with power, love, and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7. He is doing that very thing at Celebrate Recovery.
Some of us are stressed out by life, by circumstances, by relationships. What do we need more than anything else? We need to develop the quality of meekness; the quality of controlling our reactions by the Spirit God has placed in us.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for this life giving ministry.
Jim & Pam