Spiritual Impact of the Serenity Prayer

Attend any 12-step based community support group and you will here the ritual chant of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

It appears this saying is done in an absent-minded form of shallow profession. Something we say in passive communication. A cliche so-to-speak. Yet, what is the significant spiritual impact the Serenity prayer have on the life of one who is walking in recovery?

Origin of the Serenity Prayer

Alcoholics Anonymous had adopted the serenity prayer. However, in a paper on the Origin of the Serenity Prayer one reads the various attempts in locating, and authenticating, a source. This paper outlines various forms of the prayer. From hieroglyphs in Ancient Egypt, a form in Sanskrit, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, and on down through the ages. One attribution appears to have solid verification and that is attributed to Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr. According to the paper, linked above, Dr. Niebuhr appeared to have confirmed his authorship to the serenity prayer. The only apparent difference is that this prayer seems to be longer, and part of a sermon (as one section of the paper suggests) and, part of a longer prayer.

Regardless of who originated the thoughts behind the Serenity Prayer – we do well to reflect on the more deeper and spiritual meaning behind its message. This includes understanding the prayer in the context that is best attributed to Dr. Niebuhr:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.        

Let us explore the more enriching and deeper meaning of the Serenity prayer in order to understand it’s significant and spiritual impact on our lives

Grace and Peace are Promised Blessings

There are numerous scripture passages that reflect on various forms of God’s grace and peace. However, one sum’s up the essence of the message. Paul is writing to the Christians in Philipi. In his final remarks, the Apostle leaves them with this promised blessing of hope:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Here, Paul is calling our attention to Rejoice in God and follows up with his reiteration. In Greek The Apostle is instructing us to delight in God’s grace. Along with this, we are instructed to allow our gentleness be evident to all. This gentleness reflects the teaching of Christ in Matthew 5 as one of the Beattitudes Blessed are the Meek for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. This idea of meekness refers to power that is reserved and gentle.

What this means for us is that we are seeking God’s divine grace whereby we are empowered to rejoice in order for it to be manifested through our lives where we are empowered, yet reserved and gentle. This gives us the serenity (or peace) we need to face our own humanity.

Paul continues his final exhortation and shares with us that we are not to give over to our own anxieties and worries. Instead, we give ourselves over to praying and thanksgiving in seeking after God’s will while making our own requests known. The Savior illuminated this teaching by revealing to the disciples:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

What we find is that God will not change our circumstances. He will give us the strength we need to see through our circumstances. I recall a sermon from a Pastor years ago when he touched on the story of Peter’s encounter with the Savior. With the other disciples, Peter was out on the sea. The storm raged and the disciples seen the Savior walking toward them on the water. Amazed, Peter asked: Lord, if that is you call me to you.

The Savior obliged and Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking toward the Savior. Yet, when Peter took his focus off Jesus and saw the storm – fear took root and Peter sank into the depths. Christ reached down and grabbed Peter, pulling him out of the depths. What is revealed in this story is that Christ and Peter walked to the Boat and only then did the storm ceased (See, Matthew 14:22-23, ESV).

We do not possess the power to calm the storms within our own lives. Yet, when we focus on Jesus Christ, despite our own fears in the midst of the storm, He walks with us back to a place of safety. Only then, are we able to experience peace in our hearts and our minds. And, it is this very peace that transcends all understanding. It is the type of peace we are promised where it guards our hearts and our minds.

The spiritual impact this has on us is that we are petitioning God’s grace to face our storms with power of reserve and gentleness where our hearts and minds are guarded by our delight in Him. It is the very remedy to all our worries, our fears, and our anxieties as we adversity and opposition.

Courage to Empower Change

The next spiritual impact this prayer enlightens us with is the very courage we need to face the difficulties of our human existence. We read in Deuteronomy 31:6 this exhortation:

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

And, writing to his disciple, Timothy, Paul gives this counsel:

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

This comes from our trust in God. Acknowledging Him and seeking His will in our own lives. Not, living according to our own passions, will, and desires (See, Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV). It is through Christ, we are empowered with courage to make those necessary and difficult changes. To do so requires that we sacrifice our own self-desires and inclinations. The Apostle Paul refers to this as Putting to death the old man as we are made into a new creation through Jesus Christ (See, Romans 6:6-23, ESV)

What are we empowered to change? Our old thoughts, behaviors, values and beliefs. This comes by not conforming to the present way of living life. Instead, it means we transform through the renewing of our minds on God’s word, personal revelation granted through the Holy Spirit, and walking in a manner that shows forth the evidence of God’s grace and love (See, Romans 12:1-3, ESV).

Wisdom is the Guiding Principle of Truth

We read the following truth in Proverbs 2:6:

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

And, in James 3:17 we read what type of wisdom comes from God:

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

How do we obtain wisdom in order to discern between those things we are not able to manage compared to the understanding of how we are empowered to make change? James 1:5 provides us this insight:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

We receive wisdom and instruction from God as we draw close to Him and seek Him. When we find ourselves lacking and in need – we simply go to him with our petitions and gratitude in order to receive personal revelation. Therefore, the first few lines of the Serenity prayer is guiding us to seek God’s grace in order to rejoice in it and through it experience a sense of power that is reserved and gentle. We are empowered with courage to know that we are not forsaken and that through Christ, we are able to face those difficult things that need to change. And, finally, we come to understand and acknowledge that it is through Christ where we receive Godly Wisdom to discern between that which we are not able to change compared to what we have the courage to change.

Living and Enjoying one day at a time

There is a reason the term One day at a time exists. Some tend to use this cliche statement as a means to justify that this is the moment we have. Hold on for that one moment. See it through. Yet, there seems to be something missing in regards to taking it one day, or one moment, at a time. It is missing the ability to enjoy and live in that moment.

  • Take a moment to enjoy living free from substance use for that moment
  • Take a moment to enjoy living in the experience of having a sense of belonging
  • Take a moment in living and enjoying the simple act of breathing
  • Take a moment in living and enjoying the chatter of passerby’s
  • Take a moment in living and enjoying life where one finds a sense of meaning and purpose

This requires mindfulness. Being present and focused without worry and anxiety. Without focusing on what has already happened. We only have the present moment to enjoy and live in.

This is the real challenge for many people in recovery. Many of us do not know how to live, experience, and even enjoy the present moment. It is only when we come to a place and quiet our mind that we seek (through prayer and meditation) God’s counsel. This is where Wisdom comes into play. This is where Courage happens. This is where we find the grace we need to move through those moments where we face dire circumstances that call for our attention.

Accepting Hardship as a Pathway to Peace

American history of Pioneers moving west is a fascinating aspect of how our nation grew. Nothing is more inspiring than to read the many accounts of faithful individuals sacrificing everything they’ve owned, the comforts afforded to them, and to traverse hundreds and thousands of miles. More specifically, take some time to read the many different accounts of the adversity and faith Mormon Pioneers had to face in their journey toward what is now Salt Lake City.

Recovery is our own pioneering journey where it is fraught with adversity. Yet, if we allow ourselves to focus on the travels of our journey and give ourselves over to feeling defeated; we miss the opportunity of learning to live with purpose and meaning. For instance, in the article An Inspiring Pioneer Story for Those Who are On Their Own – we read this:

Often, our loving Heavenly Father does not remove suffering; He gives us strength for the journey. The path is never all sunflowers. When the storms of adversity come, as they do, He grants us peace if we diligently seek Him. No matter the circumstance, He lovingly tutors and grants us the wisdom and will to endure in faith. What the pioneers came to know, we can know: “God slumbers not nor sleeps as he watches over his children” (Psalms 121:4).

And, in a message delivered By Dallin H. Oaks about Trials and Adversity, we read the following:

In general conference ten years ago, Elder James E. Faust shared an experience President David O. McKay had related about the effect of hardships suffered in the Martin Handcart Company. Many years after this tragic event in which so many Mormon pioneers died, a teacher and some members in a Church class criticized the leadership of the Church for permitting that tragedy to occur. A man who had crossed the plains in the Martin Handcart Company was present in the class. Face white with emotion, he told the class they should not criticize something they knew nothing about.

“We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation,” he admitted, but he reminded them that the survivors of that company had not been critical. “Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church,” the old man said, “because everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.” He told how he had pulled his handcart “when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other.” Then, he said, “the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.” “Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart?” he continued. “No. . . . The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company” (James E. Faust, “The Refiner’s Fire,” Ensign, May 1979, p. 53, quoting David O. McKay, “Pioneer Women,” Relief Society Magazine, January 1948, p. 8).

One of the most famous concentration camp survivors, who became a well known psychologist, Viktor Frankl devoted his life to discover how we face adversity in our lives. His book Man’s search for Meaning appeared to share his own experience in various concentration camps.

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Accepting hardships along the path of our recovery is establishing our attitude, our faith, our trust, and our hope in being empowered to overcome. Through humility, surrendering, and without murmuring – we make our way through those difficult times. In recovery, we are empowered to move from a place of vulnerability, sacrifice our fears, and develop resilience and confidence along the path to our promised land of peace. Along the way, we give a bit of ourselves over to other’s struggling along their path.

Living Life Abundantly through God’s Grace and Peace

The final aspect of the serenity prayer focuses back on the first principle truth – seeking God’s divine will and promise where we trust in Him to see us through our circumstances and situations.Yet, not all people feel that they may be able to come to a place of trusting God. Nor, are they open to receiving any blessings from Him. Let alone, do they not taste of any grace or peace. This has to do with the ultimate act of unforgiveness and resentment we may very well hold onto.

Yet, when we are humble enough to seek after Him, determined to make the sacrifice to follow His will for our lives, we secure the promised blessing of having an abundant life. Now, what that may look like or mean for someone differs. Yet, it does not mean we will be propped up with riches or any material wealth. No, what I believe this means is that we are promised to experience God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s strength to continue living with courage and wisdom in relation to our circumstances we face. By which, we are able to turn toward another and provide the same grace and love in helping them along their way and struggle.

We live life abundantly through the love we have for God and the love we have for one another. Our lives become beacons of hope toward those still lost in darkness. We give meaning and purpose to fight the good fight. To tarry along our own path. The promise is to live a life that is full of abundance where we are capable of enduring to the end.

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What is happening? News and Announcements

Changes are happening here with Damascus Way Recovery and moving toward a more integrative impact on the lives of individuals seeking refuge and guidance. What are these changes? Well, here is what is happening. Damascus Way Recovery has launched two new pages

Damascus Way Recovery Website

Two new pages were added to the website this past week. The first one focuses on the Damascus Way Recovery Discipleship Program. If you have not checked out this new page, please click on the link provided. This program is the heart and core aspect of where all of this is heading. The second page focuses more on ways you are able to provide donations and help support this page. There are three different ways an individual may be able to help support. Traditionally through PayPal. The second is through an online program Ko-fi where you are able to make a small donation. The third way to help support Damascus Way Recovery is by becoming a Patreon. This third option has different tiers and is on a monthly subscription basis. Each tier has different benefits a person will receive.

Damascus Way Recovery Facebook Group

Today is the launch of the private Facebook Group – Damascus Way Recovery. Here, an individual may engage in conversations, receive support and prayer, be apprised of news and announcements that are happening, and campaigns to raise funds for various causes and seek support for this website, ministry and program.

Coming Attractions

  • Damascus Way recovery will begin developing video messages for those individuals who provide contributions in support of this website and ministry.
  • Podcast will also be developed for individuals interested in audio version of the messages, devotionals, and thoughts related to mindful spiritual growth through Jesus Christ.
  • Special announcements on upcoming publications of a devotional and other works. Individuals who make a monthly contribution of $25.00 or more will receive a pre-release EPUB edition of an upcoming memoir.
  • Invites to local Town Hall Meetings to meet-and-greet the founder and discuss challenges individuals face in their own recovery, Christian walk and life.
  • Special Speaking engagements within the Greater Seattle Area

Gratitude

For those who are already subscribers, who have commented, and who have liked the articles and devotionals on this website: A Huge Thank you for your ongoing readership and support. To those who are new to this website – thank you for being here and hope you find the encouragement and empowerment to experience a fresh faith in Jesus Christ.

Your Vindication

no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
    and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”


~ Isaiah 54:17, ESV ~

It is a hard truth in recovery that those who continue in active substance use will become the enemies of those who are working to transform their lives. These individuals have no regard for the truth and spend a great deal of time scheming and manipulating those in recovery. In the scriptures, we see this play out with those who side with God. David experienced this with Saul, the prophets experienced this with those who were their rivals. Jesus himself experienced this through the Romans and religious leaders of his day. Because we come to surrender our lives and will over to God, and, because He begins to work in our hearts, minds, and lives: It awakens our rivals who will stand in opposition of our spiritual growth and transformation.

In these situations, we are able to experience victory by not retaliating. Through mindfulness and reliance on God we develop a manner of remaining calm and patient. God not only heals us, restores us, and guides us in our recovery. He defends us in our time of opposition when those who come to revile us. He gives us the ability and courage to speak out in firm and bold faith. Through God, we are promised protection. God is our vindication against all manner of attacks. While we remain in His grace, those who rebel against us will soon fade.

Since you have started your own personal road to recovery – what attacks have you faced? Is it because of an overt effort from aggressive people? Or, was it more subtle from those who may be devious? Our response remains the same. From those situations, we remain confident that God will help us learn strength and empowerment from those who attack us. We learn faithful patience. And, the deeper our troubles may be, the greater vindication will we receive from our Heavenly Father. We only remain faithful and patient.

Surrendering our lives and will over to God also means we no longer rely on our own efforts to work out our own vindication. When we attempt to vindicate ourselves, we lose. Therefore, when we let go and let God we are allowing Him to work out His vindication upon those who come against us in recovery. So, let those people accuse you, let them speak all manner of blaspheme against you. Our promise is to remain steadfast in God’s will as we continue our path of restoration.

This is the Time to Begin Your Personal Journey

Throughout the entire journey there is opportunity for learning and growth and development toward the final goal. We see some people who merely travel, having no aim, direction, destination or purpose. Without road maps to guide them, they just travel along the way and in varying degrees pick up such things as will please the eye, tickle the vanities, satisfy the hungers, quench thirsts, satisfy passions. And, when the end of life draws nigh they have traveled but are little if any closer to their proper destination than when they started. Regrettably, some have totally lost their way.
~ Spencer W. Kimball – The Miracle of Forgiveness ~

Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.
~ 2 Nephi 1:23 ~


Recovery is a very difficult and bleak journey. Over the course of the past several years, I have had the privilege of working with men and women as a Substance Use Disorder Professional. Facilitating intensive outpatient, outpatient, relapse prevention, men’s group, early intervention and prevention groups; As well as, conducting assessments, individual sessions, and communicating with courts and probation regarding individuals engaged in treatment. This included working to assist people in accessing needed mental health services, connecting them with employment and vocational resources, accessing community resources for housing, and establishing medical and dental services.

After several years, it has been a privilege and worthy cause. I have also seen tragic results from active substance use. Through all of this experience, countless hours of sitting in counsel with individuals, and silently praying for them – I have come away with one simple truth: Recovery is a true miracle of forgiveness and restoration.

While recovery is very difficult and a bleak journey; it is also a miraculous adventure where individuals discovery their sense of meaning and purpose. They begin working toward right decision making, and resolving to establish and succeed in making their goals a reality. They painstaking chart their very own course toward a destination of healing, restoration, peace, and forgiveness. This is the foundation of my observation in how recovery is a true miracle of forgiveness and restoration. And, in order for this miracle to be experienced and realized in the life of those suffering: it comes down to another fundamental truth and reality that it is a spiritual journey of growth, development, increase in faith and hope, and empowerment to overcome.

It begins when we awaken and work to shake off the chains by which we are bound in order to come forth out of the obscurity of our substance use, dysfunctional and disillusioned life, and past traumatic experiences we have carried into our adult lives. Coming to terms with our need to cooperate with God, we are capable of doing all things through Christ (Phillipians 4:13). That is where our spiritual strength comes from. Our deepening relationship in Jesus Christ. It is also where our own personal recovery journey begins.

Our Spiritual Awakening Ignites Life’s Divine Purpose

The missing key to a successful recovery is how significant and impacting a sense of meaning and purpose has in moving us out of obscurity. Move us out of our own darkness and into the Light of Truth and Love. All too often, we have rejected the importance of spiritual experience toward living a life that has a defined sense of intentional living. Something that I have personally become fully aware of in the past few years. We fail to realize that while we have, unfortunately, rejected God’s divine counsel and guidance; we have also failed to realize His deep unending love toward us (Romans 5:8) where he does not want to permit us to fail and be destroyed. This is evidenced in the nature of how the scriptures have served as warning to us. Our destruction and failures come because we have long permitted ourselves to be given over to those things that destroy us.

Through our spiritual awakening, we come to recognize that God has abundantly confirmed that man is the supreme creation, made in the image and similitude of God and his Son, Jesus Christ (Kimball, p. 3) where we have unlimited potential for progress and attainment. Herein is the premise, I believe, of the first three steps of a 12-step recovery program:

  • Coming to the realization of our own failings, captivity, and bondage and the devestation in our lives because of it (Step One)
  • Realizing we need something that is greater than ourselves to restore us back to a place of healthy living
  • Making the ultimate commitment toward sacrificing our own will and desires over to God’s divine care and providence

Coming to the place of awakening, awareness, acceptance, and assurance – we discover that God grants us the wisdom and courage to manage our urges and desires. Become masters of our false self and our true soul in order to overcome our own frailties and weaknesses. Through God, we gain the wisdom and courage to eliminate all barriers that prevent us from breaking free of our bondage. And, it is through our devotion and loyalty that we begin to follow His divine and wise counsel.

Our Spiritual Journey Begins with our Belief and Faith in God

James E. Talmage remarked, “There is a filial passion within human nature that flames toward heaven.” (Articles of Faith – Chapter 2). Talmage also observes that humanity has a natural propensity toward worshiping:

…his soul is unsatisfied until he finds a deity. When men through transgression fell into darkness concerning the true and living God, they established for themselves other deities, and so arose the abominations of idolatry. And yet, even the most revolting of these practices testify to the existence of a God by demonstrating man’s hereditary passion for worship.

Talmage refers to this as an inborn attribute of mankind that needs demonstration of proof or a question of reasonable logic. The existence of God is proven as evidenced by history and tradition, human reason and intellect, and conclusive evidence through direct revelation (whether ancient or modern).

Without this filial passion toward believing and worshiping God, repentance would have little meaning, and forgiveness would be both unnecessary and unreal (Kimball). Furthermore, if God truly were non-existent – life itself will hold no sense of meaning; and one may not ever derive any sense of purpose in living life. However, ask any person in a true process of recovery, and they may respond that their previous life revolved around the need to satisfy their own cravings and desires. A life without hope is a life not worth living.

Since we come to our own path’s toward healing and restoration, many of us have placed our belief and our life over to the reality that God exists. Not only in the belief that God exists, that He is capable of bringing us through our darkest moments and restore us back to place of peace.

Our Spiritual Journey Requires a Spiritual Compass

In the beginning pages of the Book of Mormon, a family reaches their destination. They have spent a long period of time traveling from Jerusalem toward a better place. This family came to the shores of what is the Red Sea. They were tasked with building a ship. Once this ship was constructed, the family awoke to a curious object:

The scriptures describe the Liahona as a “round ball of curious workmanship” made of brass with two spindles (1 Nephi 16:10). Through their afflictions and experiences on their journey, Lehi and his company discovered their special compass not only would lead them where to go and to “the more fertile parts of wilderness” but it would also reveal “understanding concerning the ways of the Lord” (1 Nephi 16:16, 29). They also discovered, however, that this miraculous gift worked only “according to the faith and diligence and heed” (1 Nephi 16:28) which they gave to it. If they were slothful, murmuring, or disobedient, the compass ceased to work and they did not progress in their journey. Through repentance, prayer, and obedience, however, they were guided to the promised land (see 1 Nephi 18).

Each of us is on our own personal spiritual journey through the recovery process. We are gifted our own personal Liahona to help guide us. The only way this works is when we are coming to an understanding of the ways of God and walk in obedience to His divine and wise counsel. It is through our faith and diligence we are led. However, if we give ourselves over to those things that have brought us into captivity; we begin to be complacent in our recovery; engage in murmuring, and walk contrary to our core values and beliefs – our compass no longer works.

The challenge is that we ought to work in discovering our personal core values and beliefs. Whereby we derive guiding principles that will help us navigate our own personal recovery program. And, these core values and beliefs are rooted in our faith and hope that is Jesus Christ.

The Straightway Path of Our Recovery

For those who come to a real authentic spiritual experience and awakening may express that it is no surprise in understanding the requirements of God. It also comes readily available to understand that we have tapped into an eternal well of unlimited opportunities and spiritual growth. And, what we gain in enlightenment through God’s sovereign grace depends on our compliance to His standards and requirements. This goes back to our need to fully and sincerely give ourselves over to His divine will and care.

By doing so, we come to experience genuine and real forgiveness from our past failures, behaviors, and offense toward other people in our lives. This is because we are required to fearlessly examine our lives with courage and resolve to accept personal responsibility for our own actions. Take accountability for what we have done in bringing ourselves to the gate of destruction and ruin.

The Blessings of Repentance and Forgiveness is the Miracle of Recovery

Recovery is a process of transforming our lives from an old state of existence into a new creation of beauty, love, purpose, and restoration of Godly character. The key foundation of this process is the blessings of repentance and forgiveness. A genuine, consistent, and continuously work toward ourselves and others. Through God, we process and become aware of those things we have done. Made appropriate confessions toward another, and our Heavenly Father, and made necessary steps toward restitution – where possible.

This is a personal climb a person must make of their own volition. It is not something that is taken lightly. Nor, is it something that is forced in unrealistic time lines. For true repentance and forgiveness to be effective – it is to be done with genuine comprehensive transformation of life. This may require us to face the consequences we have long avoided. Or, accept the reality of the reason we have had to face those consequences because of our behaviors. And, it is an endeavor we are not left alone to follow through with.

Our Heavenly Father shows grace, mercy, and compassion toward us. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, He guides us. Through prayer and meditation, we receive personal revelation to help convict us and draw us closer to our promised land of peace and bounty. Through meditation upon the scriptures, we find inspiring examples of how God intervenes and moves people through their darkest and most trying moments of human experience. We find how God restores people who have been brought down to nothing and left in ruins.

Procrastination is prevalent and prevents spiritual growth

Despite our best efforts, procrastination is our Achilles heal in recovery. It is our very nature and human defect. It prevents us from taking full responsibility for our own lives, being personally responsible for how we are feeling, and accepting the reality of our own fears and struggles. This lax of carelessness of our procrastination prevents us from living a devoted spiritually mindful recovery.

We comply with those requirements that we like – all the while discarding the requirements we do not want to adhere to. An individual does not become a valiant warrior in their recovery in order to experience victorious spiritual breakthroughs. It is the main reason I have seen some of my patients falter and fail to achieve and maintain any longevity of abstinence and sobriety. Time and time again, they end up faltering, relapsing, and finding themselves back to the very despair they’ve attempted to fight out of.

Many, including myself, operate under the false presumption that our intentions are good enough and God knows our hearts and minds. While it is true that He knows our hearts and minds – it is our responsibility to fully commit ourselves over to Him in order to follow His divine direction. We either experience real breakthroughs and victories in our recovery; or, we falter and continue to fail ad infinitum.

Another aspect of procrastination is the inherent dangers of delaying our recovery and experiencing personal growth and spiritual development. This appears in our knack to postpone any action we may need to take. We ignore divine direction. And, we fail to realize that this is the time to act on experiencing real spiritual growth and empowerment through our own recovery.

Our Recovery and Spiritual Journey is the Uncrowded Path

The way to a transformed life where one cultivates meaning and purpose through spiritual and mindful living requires commitment. Surrender. Acceptance. And, perseverance. One must choose life of liberty and worth compared to a life of mediocrity and captivity. It is easy to passively walk through recovery. It is easy to keep yourself available for those who continue to bring you back into the throngs of the abyss. It is easy for one to maintain one foot in the old life while attempting to keep the other foot firmly planted in a new life. Yet, without coming to a real spiritual experience: they may not travel along the uncrowded path.

Through our defined sense of meaning and purpose, we give ourselves over to the responsibilities of self toward our Heavenly Father. We give ourselves over to be accountable by those significant in our lives that help encourage and support us. We take full responsibility and accountability that it is our obligation to find meaning and purpose.

Through our commitment to engage in a spiritual and mindful journey of recovery; we come to understand that our time is now. Time to experience freedom. Time to experience healing. It is our time to begin our journey toward a blessed life that is abundant and meaningful. A life worth living through Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

Are you ready to begin your journey? Do you feel that it is your time to begin a real spiritual and invigorating process of transformation? Are you ready to experience the miracle of forgiveness and restoration through recovery?

Consider a small donation to help support Damascus Way Recovery

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The facts of our lives

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
~ Ruth 1:1, ESV ~

If you follow this story, Naomi and Ruth become widows, alone, sojourning in the desert and relying on the meager portions allotted them for food. Working with men (and women) in recovery, the one underlying observation is this:

  • If only I had better parents who loved and accepted me
  • If only I had made better choices in life
  • If only I did not have to deal with these hardships

This is because: Many of us have experienced a famine of genuine love and affection. We were never afforded mercy and grace. In it’s place, we have had our childhood stolen because of various forms and degrees of abuse and neglect. Caught up in the family dysfunction, and lacked true connection.

Recovery and spiritual awareness moves us to a place of accepting the reality and facts of our own lives. It is more than mere acceptance of it is what it is. True acceptance means we come to a place of understanding that the facts of our lives is the nature of our lessons and strengths. By truly coming to terms that we were not granted privilege of having healthy parental love and intimacy in our childhood; did not make the best of choices in our lives; and, understanding the reality that we are going to have opposition in all things: we develop awareness of the strength and courage needed to make it through those times of distress and discomfort.

It also brings us to a place of real authentic healing where we accept the facts of our lives in order to grow and mature. We gain a fresh sense of joy where we experience enriching pleasures alongside our deep grief, shame, and guilt. Every one of us struggles with our own unique set of circumstances. Regardless of our experiences were unfair. It is not the issue of the unfairness we have experienced in the past. The true issue rests on whether or not we are ready to deal with and heal from the reality of our own facts of life.

Today, let us reflect on the real heart of acceptance of life on its own terms and rejoice in being loyal to ourselves and God.

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TIL 225 | Why is the Church a Last Resort? – Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

What follows is a snippet from a wonderful article from the website Association of Certified Biblical CounselorsIt succinctly describes some of the prevailing issues within the modern Christian Church today. Especially when it comes to dealing with individuals who are in distress and real suffering. I highly recommend reading the full article (link provided below the snippet).

 

When a person is dealing with something like anxiety or depression, oftentimes we do not think about those problems in the category of the spiritual. We don’t see those things in the realm of the church. We’ve categorized them in such a way that there’s another place that you go to; whether that be the psychologist, or the psychiatrist, or the general practitioner. And I’m not saying with certain physical issues that you shouldn’t go see a general practitioner. Please don’t hear me say that, but what I am saying is that what’s now become predominant is some of these “emotional issues” or “psychological issues” are not seen as primarily the responsibility of the church. Now, I think that’s quite unfortunate because as we categorize these types of human problems, these are domains that we see very prevalent in the Scripture. We see expressions of these things in the Scripture.

For example, we think about depression, or deep sadness, or even suicidal ideation. We see very clearly in the Scriptures, expressions where people who are very mature in faith were experiencing deep difficulty and deep struggle, deep despair, extreme vexations of the soul. And that’s not something that’s foreign to Scripture. It’s demonstrating that this is common to our human experience. And the beauty of God revealing these intimate details of the lives of very mature people in the Scriptures, indicates that these are problems that are in the spiritual domain and that God is intended to be our help, our hope, our rock, our fortress, our defense, and our deliverer.

We see these terms in this particular way, and I think it’s really critical for us to shift back into this re-categorizing what God says is absolutely true about us; that our experiences ought not be categorized in such a way as to push them away from the church. Even physical issues that we deal with, there are physical aspects, but we cannot divide man to such a degree to where something is a physical issue only. We are a holistic being, which means that even when we encounter physical problems, the church is intended to be a haven. The church is intended to be a place where people can go to receive encouragement, help, and hope that’s found in the Lord Jesus relative to their particular issue. That’s intended to bring peace, that’s intended to bring comfort, that’s intended to lighten their load. I fear what’s happened is we’ve been deceived in our culture to look outward and we’ve said, “No, that’s the domain that exists outside of the church.” We’ve categorized these problems, or allowed them to be categorized, as non-spiritual issues or simply as “psychological issues.” I think that’s dangerous. I think it’s dangerous for us in the church to allow that to happen, and to allow that to continue to happen.

Source: TIL 225 | Why is the Church a Last Resort? – Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Strength comes through fellowship

The Lord God has given me
    the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
    him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
    he awakens my ear
    to hear as those who are taught.

~ Isaiah 50:4, ESV ~

The greatest challenge Christians face is fulfilling their own calling where it so often goes against present day culture. It takes real courage to represent God in our daily lives. Our calling is to live with integrity, speak truthfully, and witness the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. This message often goes against modern culture and challenges our courage. Yet, our strength comes through our intimate fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.

We fulfill our calling by listening to God’s divine counsel. It is His awakening voice that we hear. With confidence, we are empowered to walk in the strength of our faith. It is through our openness to His will that is key to our confidence.

Strength through fellowship with God means we are teachable. It means that when we hear God’s voice – however strange and counter-cultural it is – we receive calm assurance. Our hearts are sensitive to Him and we go forth with intense certainty of faith.

Make a small contribution to help Damascus Way Recovery

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Spiritual growth began with the seed of Truth

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
~ Luke 8:15, ESV ~


There is a legacy of spiritual growth and healing from men who have come before us. It began with the seed of Truth being planted in the hearts of men. Men who were called, and, commissioned to reach out with authority and healing power. This authority to heal and bring real transformation and restoration into our broken lives came from simple men.

The willingness to reach out, bring men out of condemnation and obscurity takes great courage. Yet, the hope of love and peace compels us to continue the legacy of healing. Through the continuation of the legacy of planting seeds – we carry the message of hope and healing to other’s. This is our gift of a spiritually full life wherein we inspire others by planting seeds of sobriety, truth, light, and love.

It is the benefit of our own recovery that we reach others, planting new seeds of Truth. This, so that other men after us grow spiritually strong. It all began with the one Seed of Truth – Jesus Christ.

Today, make the commitment to freely give your time and energy in sharing your recovery and spiritual growth to others suffering.

Putting aside childish ways

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV ~


Recovery and spiritual growth requires us men to emancipate ourselves from our childish and adolescent ways. It requires our vision to adjust and see ourselves without judgment, criticism, and condemnation. As children, we only tasted small measures of separateness. Yet, as we physically grow into men, we bring with us those child-like and adolescent ideas of our own experience. This feeds into our toxic and arrogant masculinity – believing ourselves to know all there is to know when it comes to the dilemma’s we face in life. It is the center of our own defiance and rebellion. We assure ourselves: I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do!

This leads us to continue our self-indulgence – lusting for more pleasurable experiences and greater opportunities. Instead, our selfish pride delays our ability to see ourselves for who we truly are.

Yet, when we come to our own spiritual awakening and awareness. Begin our journey in recovery, we start putting off those childish ways. We shed the adolescent attitudes and begin to empower ourselves through Jesus Christ. As men, we truly emancipate ourselves from being isolated and closed off to where we derive freedom and liberation through our masculine vulnerabilities. Our sole claim is the responsibility of seeing to our own sense of joy and happiness and being open and receptive to those around us.

Today, I will empower myself with true masculinity where I am allowing myself freedom to be open and receptive. Shedding the rebellious child and adolescent desires that hold me back.

Hope in God’s divine power

… Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
    Or have I no power to deliver? …

~ Isaiah 50:2 – ESV ~


Radically surrendering our lives and will over to God is no easy task. Yet, those parts of ourselves we attempt to keep hidden, and keep back from God, means we lack awareness of God’s fully divine grace in forgiving us as well as lack understanding of how powerful His ability is to meet our needs in order to intervene in times of deepest hours and difficult troubles? This lack of awareness is based on our own misgivings and distrust. Our own insecurities.

It is our struggle and questioning of God’s power. Yet, we also know He created all things through His son Jesus Christ. However, we question the relevance of God’s power in our own lives. Facing very bleak and difficult situations seem to cause us to relinquish our faith in the hopes that our prayers may be answered. It is the very degree of our difficulties that influence our perception of God’s ability to work in us and through us.

Many times, we read the miracles of God’s divine intervention. Parting of the Red Sea, shutting the mouths of the lions while Daniel was in their den, the story of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abendago in the fiery furnace. Christ healing the blind, causing the lame to walk, casting out demons, and bringing back to life those who had passed on. We believe these ancient miracles because of our understanding of God’s divine power and glory. Yet, when it comes to our own lives and our own dark troubles, we convince ourselves that He is not powerful enough to intervene.

It is, therefore, easy to maintain hope when problems arise and are solvable. Yet, for many people that are in recovery from active substance use disorder, or any form of recovery at all, have given up hope when all-things appear difficult and unsolvable. We forget that God is the God of impossibility. Our very own situation is not one that scares God. Nor does it cause Him consternation to desperately figure out how to empower us.

It is this false belief that many people come to a place to reject the idea of God as a higher power in recovery. They have come to a place of self-conviction that because God had not rescued them from their past tormentors, abuse, or continued substance use, that He has no power to bring them to a place of restoration.

On the contrary. Our loving Heavenly Father takes great pleasure in empowering us to breakthrough our darkest times by providing the answers we are seeking. What prevents Him from intervening is our own insecurities, fears, and inadequacies. We hold ourselves back from the breakthrough we need for restoration and victory. It is through our enduring and unending faith in Him, that we are brought through those fiery furnances, lion’s den, and empowering us to cross through the Red Seas of difficulties.

Not just any faith, genuine, deep, and unyeilding faith where we surrender all of ourselves over to God’s divine care and grace. Let us not keep part of ourselves back by deception. Give all of our heart, might, mind, and strength over to God as we expect Him to move in our lives. With genuine and real faith, we are empowered to say to this mountain be thou moved. This faith comes with deep love toward God.

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