Rising Above Self in Recovery – Be the Change

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BE-THE-CHANGE-

Change and Humility

“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4

Change

The hardest part of recovery is that it requires us to change. We might be intrigued by the idea of recovery. We might be inspired by stories about recovery. We might be convinced of our need for recovery. These and many other cognitive processes are relatively easy for us. But the doing of recovery will be hard because we must change. And change is difficult.

Fortunately, recovery is not some sWe understandably resist change. We are angry that we have to change. We feel shame that we need to change. And we are afraid that we will not be able to change. We know that there will be moments when we find ourselves saying “I can’t do it. It’s too difficult.

Change is the most difficult and the most wonderful part of the recovery process. It engages us in a major internal battle. It is not a comfortable battle. But our capacity to change is the key to our hope.

God has given us the ability to change and grow. God calls us to change. God gives us the perspectives and disciplines and encouragements we need. And, as we allow and invite him, God works within us to strengthen us, heal us and make us new.

None of us enjoy it when people point out that we need to change.

self-assessment-with-related-tags-and-termsWe don’t like being told that we have switched from one addiction to another. Or, that we are allowing someone’s addiction to control our lives. Or that we are running from intimacy. Or that we are behaving in ways that are destructive to ourselves or to others. We don’t like hearing these things.

But we need this kind of honesty. We are not ‘wired’ for honest self-assessment. At the first sight of a problem we experience shame. And our defenses go up. We put our hand our ears and stop listening.

We need other people to keep us honest and to help us see what we cannot see about ourselves. Honest feedback is one of our best hopes for initiating change. As this text puts it, if we ‘heed correction‘, we can gain a lot of understanding. So, it is good to pay attention to the ‘correction’ and ‘discipline’ we get from others. We are not helped, of course, by judgmental-ism and shame – we have enough of that to last us a lifetime. But we need to cultivate relationships with people who will – with love and kindness – tell us the truth about ourselves. This information can be the starting point for change in our lives.

There is no magical formula for change. But there are some helpful principles.

First of all, change happens little by little. As this text puts it, our capacity for trust ‘grows more and more’ and our ability to love and to receive love ‘increases’. These changes, like all of the most important changes in life, do not happen as a one-time event. An important change may require us to make a decision at a certain moment, it also requires a process that takes place over months and years.

Second, change is not a race. The change process cannot be rushed. We often want to ‘hurry it up’, but we can’t. Change that is real and long-lasting, requires patience and perseverance. When we have been practicing our dysfunctions for decades, we can expect that unlearning them will also take time.

Third, change requires that we practice the disciplines of honesty and fellowship. There is no recovery unless we find ways to move out of denial and isolation. What a wonderful gift it is to be able to share our struggles and victories with people who will ‘always thank God for us’ and who will encourage us, affirm us and hold us accountable.

May God surprise you with your capacity for change.

Excerps above, thanks to Journey of Recovery

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