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Emotional instability

As I have been moving into a new season of my life one of the things that define this season is a new slowly growing ability to connect with my emotions. A number of sources have suggested that a way to grow with God is to be as open and transparent as possible on an emotional level and I am finding that I really want a part of this experience. When I first got into recovery I was told that the good thing about getting into recovery was that you get your feelings back and the bad thing about recovery was that you get your feelings back. I had no problem believing this but didn’t find that it was my experience.

It is fairly well documented that for a lot of addicts, using was a reliable way of numbing ourselves and therefore escaping from emotions that we felt we couldn’t cope with. As I look back I can definitely agree with this thinking. I was not aware at the time that this was what was happening but hindsight has a way of revealing hidden motives and my motives were clearly based on self-protection. I felt alone and was hurting, so the idea of seeking out the outsider, rebellious cool guys and copying their behaviours by drinking and using was very appealing to me.

But that was then and this is now and rather than look back with any form of regret, I wish to look back purely to see what those times have to bring to this particular table. I desire to move forward into this new season and if feelings are to be to the fore then some of those feelings are going to be the great-great-grandchildren of those original hard to face feelings. I found it impossible to face them then and although at times it feels that they are impossible to face now the difference is that I am trying.

Apparently, that is the order of the day and while at times it is incredibly frustrating to be open to allowing my emotions the freedom to run loose but to be so super aware of myself that I can’t fully let go, I am committed to this plan of action. When something happens or I just feel my emotions screaming out for attention, my reaction is to make space for whatever might occur but a lot of the time I am finding the pathway is blocked. Being, as such, a newcomer to this whole area doesn’t help but, again, I’m trying and I’ve got time.

I have to admit that it is a crazy state of affairs when I am finding it easier to describe in words what I am feeling than it is to allow that feeling full reign. Like so many others before me I have full proof that my God is with me and will hold my hand through this minefield but somehow I freeze and find myself wishing to run away. But, and heres the rub, I am trying and trying and trying. I may feel like running away but as yet I am not running, I am trying. I am opening myself up for God to be working under the guise of the Holy Spirit. Working over the ground of my heart, digging up the soil and preparing the way for the new season of growth.

As is so often the way with God, it is in being open to His leading that I am giving myself the best chance of growing into the person that He can best use to further His plan. As I grow closer to Him my desire to serve gets stronger. As He leads me on I know that although the individual experiences are not always easy, the end product is worth the journey. And although this whole thing is pretty brand new to me I’m sure that when I get to look back at it I will be happy that I stood my ground and sought a way through.

The bottom line is that I am not going back to the particular hell that my using life had led me to. I am not going back to that empty meaningless existence but I am moving in to a deeper experience of God’s good love. I know that I can do this and I know that God will help and guide me through. I don’t know for sure quite how hard it is going to be but I am going to keep on trying to find some emotional stability.

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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As if . . .

I’ve been away from this platform for a long time while I have been fermenting some thoughts and experiencing a new level of grace. Another factor has been my residence at Teen Challenges Willoughby House, in sunny Nottinghamshire. This has been a new experience for me in as much as I have been living on the site of a rehab but have not been a resident of the rehab and instead have been at the Teen Challenge Leadership Academy. It was while here that I undertook a step further forward in my experience and understanding of grace and have had a lot of my old understandings of various aspects of the Christian faith turned upside down. Trust me I could, and hopefully will, write pages about these changes but for now, I want to concentrate on one specific area.

I have been thinking a lot about what seems to me to be the single biggest problem with the church of believers in the western world. That problem is our inability to connect even halfway with the truth that God loves us. The more I think about it the more I am convinced that we are actually living lives that are disconnected from each other based on the fact that we don’t trust each other and we don’t trust each other because we are not connected with the truth that God loves us all equally. We are each of us living lives behind walls of defence mechanisms so thick and deep that we can’t let anyone closer than an arms-length because we are convinced that the result would be rejection and isolation.

When I read what the Bible has to say on the subject of Gods love for us I am amazed that my life isn’t packed full of joy and peace. According to my reading, Jesus did everything that he did on this earth to show Gods love for us and this included dying. I know that there’s nothing new about this, in fact, we’ve known it all our Christian walk but we certainly are not living in this truth. My Bible apparently goes on to say that I now have access to Gods presence…any time I want it. Actually, no, my Bible suggests very strongly that through belief in the actions of Jesus I now live in Gods presence. I don’t really need to ask for access because the curtain/wall has indeed been removed. When God wanted relationship with his created children he didn’t want that relationship to be based on the idea that he is there and we are here and that separation is a central part of it all. He wanted a loving relationship and my understanding of that means that any time I metaphorically reach out my arm I will find him at the other end.

So, if this is the truth then this should be reflected in our relationships with each other and yet we live separated lives, desperately covering our mistakes with false smiles and keeping our distance from each other. I have believed for a long time that the opposite of addiction is connection. If I am living a life that is full of connections with other believers that fulfil me then I will not want to go hide away and get wasted. Why would I want to lose what I have in the way of love and acceptance by using any form of mind-altering substance or behaviour? Why would I want to rely on old-style behaviours that protected me when I was a child but that now only serve to keep me disconnected from those around me? And of course, I am not the only one.

The help, support and encouragement that I, as a delicate, artistically natured, addict/alcoholic type of character feel that I need to flourish and grow in this crazy life is almost completely lacking because those around me haven’t been getting the support etc that they need. And all this because we have fallen foul of the oldest trick in the enemies book of keeping us separated from each other. We seem quicker to act as if our brothers and sisters were keener on pulling us down than on building each other up and we continue that belief system and we act as if we were part of this demonic deception.

My personal defence systems are all based on simple childlike fears. I am afraid that I will be dismissed by those around me that I have put my trust in. I then act on that fear by behaving slightly superior in certain ways that hopefully will gain me some desperately needed respect. My experience shows me that this doesn’t work but my fears are stronger than my capacity to think it all through. Until now. Now that I have been blessed with a new level of grace. Now that I have finally decided that I will not live like that anymore. And yes I am open enough to admit that a certain amount of this lies in the truth that the pain of staying the same has indeed grown stronger than the fear of change, although that is actually claiming that my decision and choices have as much influence as my Gods grace. It is by grace that I move. I do not have the strength involved as and of myself. I am fully reliant on his strength.

I have to keep using whatever tricks work that will keep me returning my thoughts back to God. Whatever helps me to keep my mind on truths. Anything that puts ‘me’ out of the way. I have to try to take my thoughts captive because that is the battleground. I am working harder than ever on renewing my mind and for me, that means putting as little worldly rubbish into it as possible. I have lived for long enough with this silly little balance of reaching into God and then wallowing in the filthy dirt of worldly entertainment. I need to be one that says enough of this.

I need to be one that says I will live as if those around me do not have the ability to reject me because my God loves me and that is enough for me.

I will be one that says I am going to act as if.

As if we all love each other and will support each other, bless each other, cheer on each other and live like brothers and sisters.

I will try to continue moving on in my Gods grace because it is good enough for me.

I will live as if my brothers and sisters already live like this and maybe we will learn to do so.

Because we need to show those that do not know Gods love just how fantastic it is and at the moment we aren’t.

 
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Posted by on Jul 13, 2020 in God, jesus, Love

 

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Faith in the painful moments

I am in a particularly interesting place in my life right now. I feel closer to God than I ever have but I’m aware of a lot of unresolved pain in my heart. On good days when I feel alive and full of hope, I am having some awesome times worshipping and connecting with my loving God. And yet . . .I am also experiencing times when my heart is so heavy it just seems that it can’t be healed. During some of these times, I am aware that a lot of what I am experiencing is centred around my God-given gift of empathy. I can feel some of His heartbreak over many of the injustices of this world as well as levels of pain concerning individuals that I know. At other times what I am feeling seems to be a lot more personal, a kind of catch-me-up of the pain filled experiences of my life that I have in former times chosen to disregard.

I have previously tried to describe this new period of connecting with God through praise and worship and although my ability to put these things down in words seems weak in comparison with the joy I feel, it is all I can manage. I’m not the kind of person that finds that time loses meaning when in Gods presence or any of the other varied and exciting descriptions of connecting with God that I’ve heard from others. For me, it is still a time of mentally pushing myself to keep reconnecting with Him when my mind strays yet again and then repeatedly congratulating myself that I am voluntarily giving my time to Him because I actually want to show Him that I love Him. During these times and those other times during my days when I feel His presence, I am finding out what it means to be happy.

And then there are the times that I am in touch with my empathetic side. As I’ve mentioned these times are where I am feeling the pain of other people known to me. I have had numerous times of begging God to be merciful and give grace to people that I know are going through painful times of their own. These times really hurt and are incredibly hard to go through but as soon as they are done I can pick myself up and get on with whatever I need to do next. The times that I am feeling His heartbreak over our injustices are deeper and stronger though. I often find myself needing to spew out unspoken words and include pantomime acts of rage. They tend to hang around afterwards like smoke from a distinctly bad smelling fire. These times mainly occur during time I have set apart to spend with God.

The times that I am feeling my own ‘postponed’ pain are the hardest to deal with. These are times of darkness. Times of tears. Not lots of tears, even though I can feel them dammed up in my head ready to break through in a flood. But times of mood controlling sadness. Times when I can only occasionally choose to break through and connect with God. A big part of the problem is the confusion that comes with the feelings. It feels that if I could put my finger on what it is that is causing the pain then it would be so much easier to bear but that’s not going to happen because I am consumed by the pain and confusion. Experience is starting to step in now though and after a while, I am at least able to just let go, let God and accept that it is happening. Sometimes the confusion seems harder to bear than the pain itself.

The overriding thing that helps me keep moving forward is my growing faith. I am in a relationship with a loving God that has a plan for my life which includes a future where there is so much love that I will be able to fully understand that elusive word peace. It is the hope that carries me through even the worst of these times. I know that all will be well with my soul.

 
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Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 in Love

 

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Cos I want more !!

Along with an overall feeling of being a second-rate Christian for most of my life came an issue with spending time with God. If I’m ‘not good enough’, then surely I am going to have to work that little bit harder to gain His approval and have any chance of entering His presence. This has rung true in my quiet-time throughout my walk until I started to see that I was living under a lie from the enemy. My time alone with God was a chore that could only work with a specific man-made pattern and order. It came with rules and requirements which needed to be completed or any time already spent was almost considered lost and worthless. Formality was the order of the day and words like fun and joy were not welcome. I didn’t want to do it but I kinda knew that I had to.

As I may have mentioned once or twice I am on a journey to a place of accepting that God loves me just as much as He loves you and everyone else. That there is no such thing as a second-rate Christian. That this is all a lie concocted by the enemy to keep us all separated from each other and stuck in our own pits of guilt and shame. My journey seems to be taking a lot longer than I had hoped but it is what it is and maybe by continually returning to this subject in my writing I can help my own journey and help others at the same time. I am becoming convinced that a lot of truths in both the Christian world and the recovery world (kinda the same thing if you ask me) just need a lot of repetition to sink in and become habitual ways of thinking and acting.

An image jumps into my mind at this point, again I think I might have written about it before. In this picture, I see four fairground labourers each stood at the four points of the compass and each using sledgehammers in perfect order one after the other to drive a massive tent post into the ground. Whilst there is an undeniable beauty to be seen in this piece of action there is also a truth to be taken from it. I have a tendency to take it for granted that once I have come across a new piece of information a couple of times then I will know it and put it into action. In the terms of the image, this is like approaching the tent post with a toffee hammer and giving it a couple of half-hearted taps. I am learning that I need to return time and time again to the tent post and smash the living daylights out of it. This is what I am now doing with this new understanding of just how fricking much my God loves me and what that means for me and my abilities.

As I am growing into this truth my quiet time with God is blossoming and becoming something that I look forward to each day and also something that carries its own fluidity. If needs be I can now stop and restart it, I follow a pattern that is so simple it shocks my sensibilities and if I miss anything out then that was what happened and not something to berate myself about. A big part of this change centres around worship. This was an area that I found hard previously but is so much easier now that I know that God loves it when I set apart time to get to know Him and spend time with Him. It is also much easier now that I am using music that suits my preferred style and that I can sing along with easily. I now find myself wanting more time to worship and am freely and comfortably praying in tongues during this time.

The more that I spend time with God the easier it is to do so and the more I accept the truth that I am loved by God just as I am the easier it is to live in that truth.

Cos I want more !!

More of God in my daily.

And more of the peace and joy that comes with it.

 
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Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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