Sunday, November 24, 2019

Self Talk: Helping Your Internal Voice Be A Benefit To You

e engage every day in other-talk, which is what happens at meetings, meals and over the phone. But we also have constant conversations in our head about our favorite subject, with is ourselves. Self-talk has to do with the evaluations and judgments we make of ourselves and our behavior, and sometimes the evaluations are pretty harsh. Sometimes the evaluations are so cruel that we are paralyzed from being transparent and real, or from taking the risks we need to take. Here are some tips to help your own self-talk be a benefit, and not a problem, for you.
Observe the observer. Our digital culture has made personal reflection harder to engage in. But pulling away from our schedule, or the next text or email, to think about what we are thinking, is one of the best things you can do for yourself, to solve problems and grow as a person. The technical word for this is metacognition, or thinking about thinking. Part of metacognition is developing the habit of mentally taking a step back from your activities, and observing your observer, that is, your self-talk.  
For example, after a difficult conversation with your spouse, notice the nature of your self talk. Just reflect on how you are evaluating what you said. You might observe that you are thinking, I wasn’t kind, or I didn’t listen, or I didn’t speak up. This quick habit of simply observing your observer gives you more power over it, and a means to change it.
Question the accuracy. Ask yourself, is my self talk true about me or not? If it’s true, it’s working for you, and will help you to be a healthier and more successful person. But sometimes you need to ask others if, from their perspective, your self talk is telling the truth. Suppose after you give a presentation at work, your self talk is that I always disappoint people and I should live in a cave and eat worms, that probably needs to be reframed by someone who knows and likes you, such as I didn’t do my best at the presentation, but I learned some things to help me improve.
At end of day, have more positive than negative. Even though truthfulness trumps everything, you should still have more positive than negative self-evaluations by the end of the day. We just can’t tolerate the reverse. It discourages us and deflates our energy. Don’t make up things to say that aren’t real, but while you are being truthful about the screwups, also focus on your wins, even if they are small:  I passed on dessert a third day in a row is at least something!
Develop a warm tone. Research has shown that our tone with others is more important than the words we say to them. The same is true with self talk.  A harsh, judgmental, “what a loser” tone will simply not make you a better person. So, though you are honest with yourself, don’t condemn yourself.  I’m a pretty good person and I have good values and motives, though I really blew it with my teenager, can help right-size your head.
Listen to what you’re doing in your internal conversation. You might be a bit dismayed about how mean you can be to yourself. Change the pattern.  You’ll be glad you did.
From John Townsend (

Friday, November 22, 2019

God Never Wastes A Hurt

By Carl Kimbro, Fellowship Bible Church, Rogers, Celebrate Recovery Devotional Team 11/20/19

As Christians and fellow strugglers, we often say we are “there for each other”.  My wife (Cheryl) and I experienced the true the meaning of “being there for each other” at a dark time in our lives, and we want to share a small part of our story.

In November 2012 on our son’s birthday, he and his wife had another in a series of drunken fights. After almost two years of sobriety, they had been sliding back into their addiction. That night in 2012 it came to a head. Our son went to prison, and his wife and his girls moved in with us. Life as we knew it was about to change forever.

The next two months were tense. The girls mom was distant from the girls and would disappear for two – three days at a time. In January 2013 she went to work and never came back. In our 50’s and were left with an 18-month-old and a 31/2-year-old to raise. With our son in prison and their mom lost in addiction, we had no choice but to go to court and get custody of the girls and eventually adopt them.

Dealing with a son in prison, an alcoholic daughter in law, and two little girls who didn’t understand what was happening was exhausting. There were drunken calls and threats from the girl’s mom and even some of the people she hung around with. We were tired, depressed, struggling, hurting, and ready to give up. We just went through the motions of living and lied to everyone by saying “we were good”. But we weren’t good. We were hurting, and life was spiraling out of control. We settled into a routine of coping and just trying to keep the girls happy and feeling loved.

In the fall of 2014, our friends Wayne and Vicki came to us with a new group they were starting called Grandparents as Parents. Their vision was to help guide people who found themselves raising their children’s children. It would be a faith-based approach lead by Wayne and Vicki who had been walking the path of raising their granddaughter for years. The need was great, Fellowship Bible Church also supported it, and God was putting them in a position to help. We latched on to GAP as a life preserver thrown to us as we drowned in an ocean of pain and sorrow.

Galatians 6:2 says to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you fulfill the law of Christ.” The GAP Community Care Group did just that for us! We found people who understood. We made forever friends. We found, hope, peace, and healing. Eventually we took over leading the North Group, and the Kennedy’s were able to start a group in Fayetteville. God was multiplying us so we could reach more people! 

God never wastes a hurt. He uses what seems like insurmountable struggles in our lives to help others. We have seen this time and time again through the Celebrate Recovery ministry!  It’s our hope that our story will encourage you to share yours with someone needing help and encouragement. There is hope and healing and forever friendships awaiting you there.

Click HERE to listen to "God Will Lift Up Your Head" by Jars of Clay

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Victories To Be Shared

Ben here... I'm a grateful believer celebrating recovery from drugs, alcohol, anger, rage, entitlement, and pornography.

On Tuesday night I taught the lesson on GIVE. If you recall the V in our acrostic is victories shared. 

"Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! 4 He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God." 1 Corinthians 1:3-5 GNT

Here is one of my VICTORIES shared. It's an adaptation from my daily inventory journal from October. I hope it encourages you to know that you are not alone in this journey and that there can be VICTORY even in moments that seem lost.

Last night as I sat in my hotel room I grabbed my phone intentionally in a second to find, look at and then mast-rbate to explicit images on Instagram. I didn't even type something into the search bar before three things hit me.. . 
  • How it's been a long time since I felt and acted on a sex-al impulse like this. 
  • I thought I'm only acting on this impulse right now because I'm exhausted, I'm hungry, and restless. (h.e.a.r.t)
  • The consequences of my sin. The lingering effects it always has on me days later. 
I'm in a hotel room because I'm at a conference focused on mobilizing others and the last thing I wanted to do was allow the devil a foothold on an incredible week Jesus has in store. So, I turned and prayed inviting Him to remove my desire and keep me from stumbling. VICTORY

Now I believe I was well aware of my heart for a few different reasons. I am not always and more so than not when an impulse of my flesh comes so violently I fail...

But not tonight because I was thoroughly prayed up. I had spent intentional time before leaving Atlanta to head to Phoenix and then spent time intermittently through the day praying. Then my dad and I spent a few minutes praying over our week when we met up in Phoenix. 

But not tonight because the past two weeks I've been awake to the things of God being in His word, seeing His work in other's lives in Georgia and the world, and sharing/recounting how He has moved in mighty ways, and asking for myself and the people I've been on mission with for a heart posture of awareness of Him daily. 

But not tonight lastly because as I've been daily inventorying I have been able to reflect often on the good things. 

"Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]." Philippians 4:8 AMP

Then comes my devo this morning on relapse prevention from Mark 14, the night of Jesus' arrest. This is a commentary from David Guzik 

"Watch and pray, let you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" Mark 14:38 
Jesus knew Peter would fail; yet He encouraged him to victory knowing that the resources are found in watching and praying. If Peter woke up (both physically and spiritually), and drew close in dependence on God, he could have kept from denying Jesus at the critical hour.

Jesus found victory at the cross by succeeding in the struggle in Gethsemane. Peter – just like us – failed in later temptation because he failed to watch and pray. The spiritual battle is often won or lost before the crisis comes.

So, the point of this mouthful is to share with you the VICTORY and to elaborate how I got there. I share with you because it is not what the devil would like to see. I'm expecting a spiritual battle ahead. The proverb I have on a note card right now is Prv 24:27 "Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that build your house" reminding me to continue to work on the foundation (the outdoor work and fields) of my recovery so that the house (the going and being used to share with others) will stand firm and steadfast. And am expecting push back from the ruler of this broken world cause he would love to see our house not stand in Jesus. But alas "me and my house we will serve the Lord". 

Thank you for letting me share,

Ben Ledford
Assimilation Asst. Coach
Believer's Church Celebrate Recovery

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Holiday Relapse Prevention

The holidays can be a difficult time for a lot of people. Relapse is an option but isn't mandatory for your holiday season.

Time to start preparing your HOLIDAY RELAPSE PREVENTION PLAN.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Daily Review: “I have found journaling at the end of each day a key to my “relapse prevention plan.” Thank God, I haven’t had a drink in over 27 years, but I can’t rest on past victories. That is just what the enemy wants me to do. After all these years, I still write down my daily inventory in my journal. I can see the areas where I have fallen short and missed the mark. I can see the daily victories God is giving me.
When I sin (not if I sin), I write it down and do my best to make the necessary corrections. Over time I can see unhealthy patterns develop, and with the support of God and my accountability partners, I can put together an action plan to get me back on track.” (Life's Healing Choices, Pg. 241) John Baker
2. Pick up the phone: Call your accountability partners and/or sponsor regularly. Notice what your struggle is, name it, honor it, and then invite God and your team into your struggle and pain. Process it together and then devise a plan of action to help move forward healthily.
3. Meditate and/or memorize bible verses. Allow Gods word to penetrate your mind and heart. What are the promises of God that you need to remind yourself of today?
4. Attend your meetings during the week. We can’t work recovery alone. Find a group near you on our website:
Don’t listen to the voice that says, “You don’t need to attend a meeting tonight.” Remember, if we wait until we “feel” like going, it will never happen. We all need to be in community so we don’t isolate ourselves.
5. Gratitude List: Write down at least one thing you are grateful for each day. “I am breathing.” “I had food to eat today.” “I have forever family to see at CR.” “I am not alone ever.” Give God thanks for what you discover.
Add to your plan as you see fit. The important thing is to have a proactive plan to help us through the Holidays.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Enduring Storms

"Enduring Storms"
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director, November 18, 2019

"Righteous people will rejoice. They will jump for joy before God. They'll be jubilant with great rejoicing." Psalm 68:3

Those that live in the NW Arkansas area know how incredible the colors are right now with the leaves changing colors. Experts say that this year the colors are brighter and more vibrant than they have been in a long time because of all the rain we had earlier in the year.
This got me to thinking about what those trees endured thru the year. Strong winds, heavy rains, scorching heat, and more. The heavy rain poured down on these trees were a big part of making them what they are today.
I find great encouragement in this today, being reminded that seasons of rain bring great beauty. Looking at the beautiful colors, it's as if the trees, in all their weather tested beauty, are shouting praises to the Creator.
Praise Him even in the storm, change is coming.