Tag Archives: Craig Groeschel

20 Random Things I’m Grateful For…

22 Mar

1. My cousin that is still innocent enough to play in the sand

2. Forgiveness received from a gracious God

3. Wisdom that comes from tragedy

4. Answered prayers

5. When the answer is sometimes “NO”

6. Willingness to change

7. The understanding that being victimized and being a victim are two different things

8. Reminders of how far I’ve come

9. The gift of Motherhood

10. The love of my husband

11. Every time my Gramma cries when she tells a stranger how much I mean to her

12. Little girls who still have a natural smile

13. Toes in the sand

14. A roof over my head and food in the cabinets

15. My oldest daughter’s ability to express herself through art

16. My youngest daughter’s passion for music

17. My Pastor, Craig Groeschel and his passion for Jesus and how he challenges us

18. My job and the awesome people I am blessed to work with

19. The unwavering love of a puppy

20. Q-tips

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Daily Reprieve…

3 Jan

I really like what the book Alcoholics Anonymous says in chapter 6, “What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day where we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. ‘How can I best serve Thee- Thy will (not mine) be done.’ These are thoughts which must go with us constantly.”

Doesn’t it make sense that when we fully rely on God, situations have a tendency to work out far better for us than when we try to “control” things? Doesn’t our relentless pursuit of personal independence from God typically lead to frustration and self inflicted pain? Don’t our attempts to wrestle life into a state of submission usually fail?

Why is it so difficult to come to God FIRST? Why do we insist on running the show, knowing we won’t have the outcome we want?

My answer: EGO

I believe that most of us enjoy the way it feels when we can step back from a great situation or outcome and exclaim, “I did this! Because of me, this wonderful thing has happened.” I believe the recognition we get from a job well done is the driving force behind most of our reluctance to seek God first. If we turn to God in the planning stages and things go well, doesn’t that take away from our personal glory? Does this stem from The Beginning with the fall of man? Even then we sought to be as smart as God. Wasn’t that ego?

At the beginning of this I mentioned the “daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” Well, just what is a daily reprieve and just how do we “maintain” our spiritual condition?

Reprieve:

  1. to give relief or deliverance to for a time

Deliverance:

  1. rescue from something:
  2. rescue from captivity, hardship, or domination by evil

The definition above suggests that if we are given a reprieve, that we are receiving relief and deliverance from something for a period of time. Deliverance is defined as “rescue from something: rescue from captivity, hardship, or domination by evil.”

If we earnestly seek God, He will give us relief and deliverance from our burdens. My favorite verses in scripture are Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

We spend so much time focused on our plans, getting our way, achieving the outcome we want. How often do you stop and consider what God may be trying to direct you to? If we seek direction from our Creator, we can rest in the comfort of His perfect will.

Another portion of the Big Book that I like says, “The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.”

Today… let God run the show. Ask him how you can serve Him, instead of demanding that He serve you.

New Year’s Resolutions?

3 Jan

I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. In fact, to the best of my recollection, I have never made resolutions for the new year. I’m not really sure why that is. I think to some degree I may doubt that I will follow through on them to begin with.

For the last 19 1/2 years of my life, I have had be repeatedly told to live “one day at a time.” It has been said that at the beginning of each day, that I am to do the next “right” thing that is in front of me to do. I have heard it said “If you want to hear God laugh… just make plans.”

Although I agree with most of that, I am also realistic. I recognize that on some level, it is vital that we prepare for the possibility of a future, understanding of course that the “future” is not guaranteed. I have a savings plan… pretty unimportant unless you are preparing for someone’s future. I complete maintenance on my vehicle… also unnecessary unless you are hoping to drive again tomorrow. There are many things I do and even “resolve” to do with the hope that I will wake up again to accomplish and enjoy them.

What most people think of as “resolutions” I think more in terms of “stock taking.” In 12 step programs around the world, we are taught that in effort to grow and improve our character or our lives, we must take a personal inventory on a regular basis. In chapter 5 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, it states, “A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Taking a commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.”

I believe any successful individual must also take regular personal inventory. I know from personal experience the value of taking an honest look at my life. I spent many years walking the earth, angry at the world for what it and it’s people had done to me. I blamed society for my abuse, for my addictions, and waited around for “them” to come apologize and fix it.

When I became willing to take an honest look at myself, I discovered that I was my biggest problem, not you or anyone else. So, that first inventory gave me a clear and honest look at what had happened in my life, how I felt about what had happened, how I reacted to those situations, how those situations and feelings affected me, and most importantly, the inventory gave me the eyes to see, for the first time, what MY PART in every situation and relationship had been and where I was at fault.

I have helped hundreds of people through the 12 steps and specifically with their 4th step (the inventory step). WITHOUT FAIL… when each person gets to the part where they are looking for their “part” in each situation, they come to a dead stop. They sit, staring blankly at the page trying to figure out what they did to DESERVE what happened. One may try to figure out what she did to deserve being dumped by her first boyfriend. Another may try to comprehend how he had a “part” in being physically abused by a parent.

When I was in the middle of my first inventory, attempting to discover my part, I struggled immensely. The reason for my struggle was that I was trying to figure out what I did to DESERVE the outcome. However, the flaw is in the question.

Here is the key to getting over this hump. One day, I reread the part about personal inventory. This particular time, when I read page 67, it clicked! I saw the paragraph that said I needed to put “out of my mind” or put aside what had happened to me and try to separate my involvement in the situation from what happened to me.

For example, I was raped by my father daily for six months. If I ask myself what I did to “deserve” being raped, the answer is I did nothing to deserve that. I should have been able to walk naked in front of him and expect my dad to keep his boundaries with me.

What I have to say to myself is, “Putting out of my mind… forgetting that my dad raped me, for just a moment… In my relationship with my father, did I ever lie to him? Did I ever steal from him? Did I ever manipulate him? Did I ever sneak around and cause suspicion? Did I ever instigate a fight? Did I ever treat HIM in a way that was mean or unloving?” If I ask myself those questions, I can easily see where I was at fault in my relationship with my father.

When the person in question has hurt you, it is VERY difficult to step out of that hurt and evaluate yourself honestly. Looking at myself in regard to my father who raped me, was the single most difficult thing I ever did. However, it was ALSO the single most REWARDING and LIFE-CHANGING act I ever went through.

For the first time in my life, I was able to step outside of my victim role and evaluate myself. Honestly. For the first time, I saw my true character. I saw who I really was. I began to see that I had done just as much hurting as I had received. For me, this was the first step into true and honest CHANGE.

I hope to always have enough courage to mentally step out of a situation and ask myself, “What is my part.”

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