Letting Go of Old Identities

identity

Life’s too short for drama and negativity,
Pointing out the problem doesn’t take much ability.
Saturate the day with encouragement and optimism,
It’ll take focus and work, the opposite of passivism.

Only you can go to places that will stretch & grow you,
It will be scary, difficult, but it will reward you.
No one will cheer you, but go there anyway,
Few will understand, it’s the price you must pay.

The sign of maturity is to become less dramatic,
Being the victim has now become anti-climatic.
Energizing those around, you’re no longer a drain,
Hope is your new choice, like the smell of spring rain.

Jesus came to remove the sin of exclusion,
The Pharisees felt threatened like he was an intrusion.
Gandhi was puzzled by the churches prejudice,
He stayed Hindu because there was no difference.

We create our own boxes, it’s time to get rid of them,
We’re far more creative than we can fully comprehend.
So don’t get caught up in main stream philosophies,
The world needs your uniqueness with no apologies.

The only prayer you need is a simple “Thank you”,
Gratitude’s the answer, and miracles are the clue.
Thankfulness leads to joy, it’s the obvious fruit,
Waiting for perfect conditions is a destructive pursuit.

As we grow older we gravitate towards safety,
Talk is cheap, where have you gone lately?
To see justice we must run towards the unknown,
Uncertainty and discomfort, it’s where faith is grown.

His love is unconditional, no grading on a curve,
A stunning faithfulness, it’s not what I deserve.
It’s easy to forget, I strive for perfection,
I’m vulnerable to fail, but grace is my protection.

I have more pants than days in the week,
My 4g is slow, it’s new products I seek.
Lack of sanitation kills, statistics show it,
More people have mobile phones than a simple toilet.

Too many people choosing not to forgive,
It’s become their story, the way that they live.
I must let go of old identities, it’s a matter of will,
I’m canceling the debt, it’s paid in full.

 

The Difficult Journey

addiction

“Sobriety is a journey” E.V. Stankowski

One of the most complex, yet life changing decisions a human being can make is “to do a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves” as Step 4 exhorts in the 12 Step Program.

People who lead 12 Step Programs will tell you that Step 4 is where most people drop out of the program and yet it’s also the step that propels many towards freedom, healing and a new way of living.

In order to take this difficult journey:

1) You will have to go to some dark places

When you are conducting a deep inventory of your life and you admit you are drinking too much, the reality is drinking is not the root problem.

When you admit you have an addiction, the addiction is not the primary issue.

When you admit you have explosive anger, your anger is not the ultimate quandary.

Admitting these things are a good starting point and an important step in the process, but you can’t stop there.

You must go deeper. You must ask more questions. This can lead to some dark places.

What pain am I masking through alcohol?
What hurt am I avoiding with my addiction?
What frustrations or fears are driving my destructive anger?

In order to experience freedom and healing, you must be willing to go to some dark places and it’s in those dark places that you will experience a strength that is greater than your own.

King David sang ”Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

2) You will have to find some safe people to do this with

There is an epidemic of loneliness that is creating inhuman actions.

We will never be able to experience a fulfilling life over the internet.

I can listen to a sermon online, but I can only become fully human by rejoicing and mourning with real people.

The world needs you. And we need each other.

As Desmond Tutu once said, “No one can be human by themselves.”

The only way someone can be fearless with their moral inventory is they must surround themselves with people who will not judge, but will accept, exhort and support.

The truth is that when we are afraid to confess, what we are really afraid of is rejection.

3) You will have to grieve

You will have to give up stuff that makes you feel temporarily good.

The numbing affect of alcohol, the temporary high of an addiction, the adrenaline rush of an outburst of anger, all make us feel good for a short time, yet lead to long term pain.

In choosing to live differently, you will have to grieve the loss of temporary pleasure.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

The enemy will try to steal your joy, destroy your dreams and ultimately kill you with immediate pleasures that lead to long-lasting destruction.

4) You will have to be patient

Patience in our culture means, “waiting to live”, not now but one day, I will experience life.

TRUE PATIENCE is the opposite of passive waiting.

The definition of patience is “living fully in the moment”.

PATIENCE means to enter actively into the thick of life and to fully bear the good, the bad, the victories and the suffering within and around us.

PATIENCE is an extremely difficult discipline because it counteracts our impulse to FLEE difficult circumstances or NUMB painful memories.

The great writer, Paulo Coelho says, “Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.”

5) You must believe that God has something greater for you

At the end of the day, we must embrace the fact that when we turn our lives over to God, he produces “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” in our soul, and nothing can take that away.

At the end of the day, life is grace.
Breathe in deep and enjoy every moment of it.

Stay close to God
Stay close to People who are PATIENT.

Someone very wise once said, “At bottom is the best soil to sow and grow something new again. In that sense, hitting bottom, while extremely painful, is also the sowing ground.”

I pray you choose the way of the difficult journey.

Thank you to all of my “Celebrate Recovery” friends who have shown us that the journey is worth it.

Just a few thoughts bouncing around my head and my heart

worldmap

An epidemic of loneliness is creating inhuman actions.
We will never be able to fully do life over the internet.
I can listen to a sermon online, but I can only become fully human by rejoicing and mourning with real people.
The world needs you. And we need each other.
As Desmond Tutu once said, “No one can be human by themselves.”

Make decisions this week based on what is right, not on what is convenient or popular.
Convenience and popularity has led to a weak, shallow culture.
No more blaming, whining and making excuses.
Blaming is the “kryptonite” of taking responsibility.
Take responsibility and make the most of every opportunity.

We play it safe, because it is easy, usually successful, thus preventing failure.
The fear of failure is really the fear of rejection.
Hindsight is 20-20, and it’s what your critics are full of.
Check your ego at the door, and take a chance at doing something great.
As Bono once said, “It’s status that kills you off in the end, not ambition.”

When we live in impatience, we miss out on the beauty and details of everyday life.
Patience is being fully alive in the moment; not waiting for things to get better so you can live. It is experiencing the fullness of time.
In order to be patient we must live a life of curiosity.
Life is beautiful if we slow down long enough to look people in the eye.

Judging makes us small.
Learning from those with different backgrounds makes us humble and smart.
Every creed, every color, every background, every culture, every nation, it is God’s great kaleidoscope.
We are much more the same than we are different.
All colors and creeds are born with a God-shaped hole.

Most people experience happiness, which is based on shallow, fun events or circumstances, sometimes numbing to ignore pain, fear or the hard things of life.
Happiness is ok, but we are never fully alive until we experience joy.
In order to experience joy, you first have to be willing to go to some dark places.
It’s in those dark places that you experience a strength greater than your own.

Poverty looks different in different places.
In Africa it looks like physical hunger, broken bodies and abuse towards women and children.
In American it looks like relational hunger, broken families and abuse towards women and children.
We must fight local poverty accordingly.
We must fight global poverty accordingly.
We are responsible for both.

We are far more powerful than we want to admit.
With power comes responsibility.
If I want to be powerful then I must take full responsibility of the time I have, the abilities I have been given and the resources that have been loaned to me from God.
It is easy to choose not to be powerful.
Choosing not to be powerful is the most selfish decision you will ever make.
One life. One original person. One opportunity. Don’t play it small.

Don’t try to be well-rounded. Lean into your strengths and passions and ignore people who want to put you into their small world.
The problem is that in this world, everybody wants to be somebody else.
It is an insult to God to want to be someone else.
Being unhappy with our looks, shape, abilities and status is telling your Creator that He does not know what He is doing.
Look in the mirror and be overwhelmed by the artistic ability of God.

Praying for our enemy drives us closer to God.
Hating our worst enemy pushes us away from God.
Forgiving doesn’t let those we are forgiving off the hook.
Forgiving prevents our hearts from becoming hard and brittle.
Forgiving allows us to hand that person over to the justice of God and He is much more capable than I am at determining what is fair.

Why can nothing in this temporary life bring us true joy and contentment?

Answer: “God has planted eternity in the hearts of men” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Pay attention! Pay attention! Pay attention!

The gift of life is all around you.
Listen to the wisdom of a child.
Don’t miss yet another spectacular sunset.
Compliment a total stranger.
Smile, it might hurt, but it won’t cost you a thing.
Laugh, they say it’s the best medicine.
Cry, for God is collecting them in a bottle labeled with your name.
Sing, turn up your radio and sing as loud as you can, as Henry Van Dyke observed, “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
Dance, even if your kids run screaming in embarrassment to their rooms.
Worship, for it’s a great reminder that someone much stronger and loving is in control.

————————————————————————————————————————————-
Just some thoughts bouncing around in my head and heart these days. Let me know what you think and what is bouncing around in your head and heart.

A Gratitude Poem – Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I am thankful for today, it’s a gift not deserved
It allows me the privilege to humbly serve
I am thankful for the poor who teach me real faith
They teach me how to walk, in more eloquent ways

I am thankful for the pain that I try hard to avoid
It draws me to the only One who can fill my heart void
I am thankful for my tears that sting my blood shot eyes
They bring healing to my hurt and expose the lies

I am thankful that man is not perfect, as not to depend
It reminds me to put my hope in the One without end
I am thankful for my mistakes, for my sins and disgrace
It keeps me from religion and makes me run towards Grace

I am thankful for the journey, life’s ups and downs
Living fully in the moment,  possibilities have no bounds
I am thankful for friends, who put up with my foolish ways
“He is a stubborn mule, but we love him anyways!”

I am thankful for the beauty, that never goes away
Looking at her smile, that is offered every day
I am thankful for her brown hair, brunette I’m told
It was that way from the beginning, it never gets old

I am thankful for two gifts, their eyes deep vivid blue
They have grown up wisely, I am enjoying the view
I am thankful for their passionate, selfless hearts
Their maturity comes from the side of their mother’s parts

I am thankful for the two who brought me into this world
They allowed me to dream, to make my life unfurled
I am thankful when they would say, “Follow your passions”
It has brought me to difficult places full of God’s fashion

I am thankful for my creator, who wonderfully made me
He makes me walk boldly with a sense of great responsibility
I am thankful for his patience, his utter sense of waiting
For me to grow up, get on board and become consenting

I am thankful for children, showing hope for tomorrow
They teach me to trust, play, love, laugh and marvel
I am thankful for children, who have no limitations
They teach me to dream, to ask, and not to question

I am thankful for forgiveness, a gift offered freely
Makes me let go of past grudges and do it more quickly
I am thankful for the Sacrifice willing to be punished
My life is based on Him saying, “It is Finished!”