So this weekend was rich with blessings. Time with my wife, time with my girls, time with my nephew, having a family friend and her kids over for dinner, greeting at church and welcoming in 107 high school students from Miami! Not to mention a roof over our heads, warm clothes and food to eat… Subtle things, but blessings nevertheless. There was also the message at church, which was so timely and necessary for me.
If you want to watch it I certainly encourage you to, what got my grey matter firing was a passage from 2 Kings 7, the visual is a Samarian city under siege. In all due respects to Bill, this is where I’m going to zag where he zigged… I kept thinking how each of us, our hearts, our souls, our recovery is like a city under siege. I’m going to take some liberties here, so stick with me on this one… But picture yourself, your soul, your recovery, your integrity as a city. When things are good the gates to the city are open and there’s a free flow of good and bad coming in and going back out. But when things aren’t going well, imagine yourself as a city under siege or read through 2 Kings and you’ll see the very-bad-terrible-horrible things that go on. Surrounded on all sides, nothing new coming in forcing city-dwellers to do some pretty scary things… It led me to think about some of the different parts to staying strong as a *city under siege*.
1. Have a healthy spiritual life
2. Constantly replenish (or purge) yourself
3. Invite others in
4. Fight back
1. Have a healthy spiritual life: We all have walls and foundations that are hopefully built on our own personal faith that runs deep. Those walls and that foundation help us persevere and withstand various onslaughts. For me it hasn’t always been something built on anything solid, or built to last. Because of that when the attacks came I burned to the ground, most of the time with me lighting the match. But to be healthy, to withstand the daily assaults we need to build up a solid foundation and have spiritual protection from God to help us weather any season.
2. Constantly replenish yourself: Like any thriving city, there needs to be an influx of new and fresh goods, materials and soul-enriching moments. Without anything new to restore you, there’s nothing to nourish you. For my own self care that includes eating well, exercise (on occasion…(ok sparingly)), time connecting with my wife, time playing with my daughters and indulging my inner-kid, time in recovery, time with friends, outreach and down-time. When the city doors are closed because you’re facing a full-frontal attack and starved for anything new you’ll want to have that store-room to rely on.
3. Invite others in: I used to do things on my own and that worked out reaaaaally well for me… Now I understand the power of community, and the power of not going through life to fight the daily battles on my own. Whether it’s extra foot soldiers, or even a fresh perspective/battle-plan, going it alone is a formula for disaster. Leading a life in constant consultation helps to have things I’m thinking or dealing with reflected back to me. I’ve had to learn that especially when I’m struggling (sic under-attack), I can’t trust my thinking. I’m impulsive and selfish when I’m corrupted, but here’s the thing… I don’t always notice that which is why I need help when things are good as well as when things aren’t good. I need others to see me in all seasons of *me*, and to have myself mirrored back to me. John Doone was right, No Man Is an Island.
4. Fight back: There’s a time and place to dig in, to weather and there’s also a time to fight back. This is where the previous points are so important so when you do need to fight back, you know the best way how. There are any number of tools at our disposal, and they all have a purpose. Knowing when and how come with time and preparation, using a reflective mind versus an impulsive mind to draft a successful battle plan.
Whew… So thankful for each of you, for the way you bare yourselves and build yourselves up, I’m grateful to be in community with you!
Grace and peace