We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5
Making the decision to seek help and recovery, and deal with our own issues, is a huge step. Beyond getting involved in a recovery program, workshop, or support group, there is time when you’re by yourself, trying to figure out how to live differently. Staying on the path of healing is it’s own exercise, a daily choice, if not a moment-by-moment one. This was the topic of discussion in our Healing Choices small group study this week, and we talked through some great ideas.
The best suggestions were based on accountability; staying plugged in to our recovery support systems, spending dedicated time each day reading the Bible and working on our healing, and taking good physical care of ourselves. The one thing that kept popping up over and over again, as we each shared, was when we slipped up, we didn’t realize we had gone off course. If only we could have sensed it, we could’ve prevented a mess up. We don’t have a lot of control over the way people treat us, or what comes our way each day. We can only really control our own choices and responses, and even then, only when learn how. If we are spending daily quiet time with God, talking and listening to Him in our prayers, and we’re staying plugged into our support systems, then we can start to recognize the symptoms of going off course. These can look like anxiety, moodiness, anger…unique to each of us, but it’s nearly the same symptoms each time.
Once we learn what our own attempts to control things look like, we can take steps to correct our course before things get out of hand. When we sense something is slipping, we can ask ourselves….is this going to hurt someone? Could this potentially end badly? Am I tempted to make a poor choice? Am I acting inappropriately? A ‘yes’ answer to any of those questions means one thing…STOP. Get back on course. Call a friend. Pray. Ask for forgiveness and a clear sense of direction. Whatever it is that we are trying to control, let it go. Give it to God and ask for Him to handle it, to work it out, and remember that He’s got your back. We do have control over our responses in this moment. None of us are immune to the desire to control, to fear, or to making poor choices. We can use these symptoms to help us, though, as warnings when we recognize them. Even if we’ve already taken a few steps in the wrong direction, we have the choice to correct our course, and not take another one step further down that path.
“Lord, Help me to stop right now, and let go of what I’m trying to fix on my own. Forgive me for slipping off course, and help me to trust you to work it out. Help me to make good choices in this moment, and to keep heading towards all that you have in store for me. Amen.”
You are not alone. Others have made it through hard times, and so will you. If you’ve found a way to accept and even enjoy yourself, will you tell us about it? It’s in our struggles that we really come to know God and know ourselves.
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Hope Shack operates as a volunteer-staffed, online extension of the Care Ministry program at Chapel Hill Church in Eagan, MN.