By Mary Spence
“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 gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
September is recovery month.
Those in recovery know that recovery happens one day at a time! Your lifelong hurts, hang-ups, and habits need to be worked on in twenty-four-hour increments.
In our celebrate recovery we sometimes refer to ourselves as onions. While we are working on what we think he has us there for, before you know it you peel back that layer and behold there is the next hurt habit or hang up. Some days I think I'm going to be a lifer in recovery.
But with each layer I work through God brings me closer to him and uses me in a new way.
And I know that no matter where I am, He has a plan and I can rest in His promises.
Each one of us is dealing with something.
A “hurt” is any life experience that may have damaged your heart, some offense against you that effected your ability to deal with the world in a healthy way. It could be anything that twisted your view of yourself, God or others. Some common hurts include abandonment, abuse as a child, or by a spouse, employer, or the church, betrayal, unforgiveness or hardening of our heart.
Sometimes it's a dysfunctional family ravaged by divorce, alcoholism, or controlling behavior.
“Habits” are unhealthy patterns of behavior that serve a purpose to protect or comfort in your life, but end up turning into a chronic bad behavior or addiction. Habits are the repeat, default scripts you run to when the going gets tough and continually lead to trouble in your life. Some common habits are abusive behavior, drug or alcohol use, bitterness, disordered eating, isolation or spending problems.
And lastly, “hang-ups” are those roadblocks that keep you from progressing further in God’s plan for your life. They are often shaped by some bent thinking you may have received as a child, or some unhealthy attitude you may have adopted as a means of coping with life’s challenges. Anxiety, anger, codependency, fear, guilt, pride and depression are all examples of hangups.
Every one of us can find ourselves somewhere in these lists
So how do we move through our hurt habit or hang up to leave it behind?
Work. Hard work.
But the first step is to give it to God.
Jesus died on the cross for our sins. So we could be in a relationship with God.
Give it to God. And leave it there with him.
There are going to be rainy days. Even downpours. And an occasional thunderstorm.
But hardship is an opportunity to trust Him.
There will be days that you will just wish for today to be over. In reality that's the easy way. To shut down, pull away, retreat. Numb the pain somehow, anyhow.
But the way to walk through those days is to grip onto his hand tightly. To stay close to Him. Because He will carry your burdens with you. You are not alone.
The same God is the God of the mountains and the God of the valleys.
He is not just there on sunny days.
Pray for Him to show you the love He has surrounded you with. The sun streaming through the clouds, the birds singing outside your window waking up in the morning.
God can use those hard times to work in us, to grow us.
This world can be hard, it can be difficult to see light in the darkness but God can awaken your heart. We need only lift our eyes from the darkness that surrounds us to the light.
Help us remember we are not alone.
Please open our eyes to the wondrous love we are surrounded by.
When we are overwhelmed by the loss and the suffering, help us to look to you.
Show us your presence as you walk with us through the valleys.
Surround us with your peace, a peace that doesn't make sense to those around us because it is there despite our situations and surroundings.
A peace when our ship is being tossed by the waves in life's sea. A peace from the knowledge that You are here. That we are not alone. Walk with us through our hurts habits and hang ups to recovery.