You want fries with that?

So this past week my family and I went to Arizona for a week together and with my mom.  It was a rich time, filled with laughter, unapologetic joy, learning and naturally some challenges too.  No trip out west would be complete without a stop at In ‘n Out Burger. As I was cleaning up our table, I noticed a passage of scripture.

Prov 24:16

for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

My mom is largely unaware of the process of recovery I’ve been involved in, and certainly the recovery my wife has been engaged in.  Yet there on the bottom of a fry container, was that passage.  It was a powerful reminder about recovery.  Many of us stumble, we set out with goals for ourselves and fall short.  At that point, we have a decision to make.  Do we get up and get back to the fight?  Or do we tell ourselves it’s too hard, or that we’ll never get it or this is who we are?  Do we have the strength, the capacity to surrender ourselves to something bigger or will we enforce our will and take control?  I’ll only speak for myself here, but my own willfulness and desire to control led me to destruction.

Proverbs 26: 11-12  As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for them.

There is no path to surrender, to recovery or to Christ that falls to oneself.  The thought that we have the power to right our wrongs, or to control our recovery is like that dog.  I’m putting myself in a position of power, that I have the answers but it leads me always to the same place.  I’ve had my own setbacks over the past 4 years, and each one can be traced to me taking the reins and not surrendering my willful self.  Forgetting of course, those are the reasons I was in recovery.

1. We admitted we were powerless, and our lives had become unmanageable
2. Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God

I still want to control the outcome of things, of my recovery and in my walk with God.  I’m grateful to have the awareness now that I can see when my old patterns are rising to the surface, or to have a band of brothers (and sisters) who can help me see it.  We were never meant to do life alone, yet before we admitted we were powerless we held on to this notion that everything fell on us.  We had to take care of things, that other’s wouldn’t understand or that we were the only ones in this position.  We isolated, we pulled back from relationships and from any kind of meaningful engagement.   What we couldn’t do, was to find surrender or the peace that comes with it.  We returned to our vomit, unable or unwilling to change.  We turned away from God, even blamed God even though He is always with us regardless of what our limited understanding is.  We made conscious decisions that took us further away from our intended purpose.

2 Corinthians 4: 1-2  Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.

Recovery is a process not done alone and will include stumbles, possibly more than seven of them.  When that happens, will we hear the voice of the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy?  The one who delights in our destruction?  Or will we get up and turn to the author and perfecter of our salvation?  Will we surrender to something much larger than ourselves?  I pray you make a decision that leads you closer to God, closer to others and closer to a life of abundance.  A life we’re promised and seen fulfilled throughout scripture.  You are not alone, and the fight is worth it so don’t give in or give up.  And if you don’t believe me, order the fries.

Grace, peace and love
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