Are You Ready to Get Down and Dirty?
Welcome to the Second Year of Word Servant
In the first year of Word Servant I focused on being obedient to God with doing a quasi-preaching/online Bible Journal. This year, God has been laying so much on my heart, especially with respect to being People of the Second Chance and Celebrate Recovery. My wife and I are both avid lovers of the Celebrate Recovery ministry! We have been a part of one Celebrate Recovery ministry for seven years, with a hiatus in there a few years ago that we call my “out there time,” (meaning: I was not attending church; I was not attending CR; and when I did it was usually when my heart was convicted of not being right with God and I had done the whole ‘God, help me get right, I am sorry’ thing; but then I allowed my guilt, shame and sense of having already screwed up to be an excuse for me not to not do what God required. But, more on that when God brings me to it).
Recently, God brought my wife and I to a church that believes in being People of the Second Chance! We love that there is such a non-judging and Scripturally grounded atmosphere there! This past Sunday, it was awesome to hear Pastor Nick talk about starting a Celebrate Recovery at New Passion within the next nine to twelve months! It was also spirit-moving when he explained that while usually there is an emphasis on the habit or addiction aspect of recovery, Celebrate Recovery is a 12 Step Christ-centered Program that helps with hurts, habits and hang-ups. Anyone who is a part of the CR ministry would understand how humbling and exhilarating it was to hear Pastor Nick say that everyone could use it, himself included, because everyone has hurts and hang-ups. It is awesome to have a pastor be that real and authentic with such a ministry as CR, especially when most do not want to be lumped in with “those people.”
So, the focus God has laid on my heart for this year, is to address Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups. God willing, I intend to do this with Word Servant by looking at the Principles and Steps that Celebrate Recovery teaches while encouraging whoever reads this blog to take all of it in with self-examination in mind. Obviously, I don’t know your situation, all I can do is share my own strength, experience and hope while showing you what the Bible has to say. However, realizing that there will be instances where the blog covers things that will spark something in you and make you think about someone in your own life, if you find that there is someone who could benefit from reading the blog, then share it with them.
However, this year’s focus is going to be about keeping our side of the street clean and recovering from our hurts, habits and hang-ups. This is not about being concerned with what someone else is struggling with or looking at what I share here from the lens of assumption or gathering up ammo to unleash on an errant brother or sister. No. This is about recognizing that we all have our own junk to contend with. If you are so busy and consumed with taking someone else’s inventory, you probably need to step back, pray for them, point them in the right direction, such as a local church and CR group in your area; but, stop focusing on them and focus on how this might apply to you. Contend with the log in your own eye first.
Why do I put it like that? Well, Celebrate Recovery is not about fixing other people. It’s about supporting people through their hurts, habits and hang-ups while letting them do their work and offering advice when they ask for it or when they are cool with us giving it to them. In fact, as I look at the Celebrate Recovery principles and steps, I will be looking at this for myself as I write it and share it. For those who desire to continue reading this blog, I pray that you may grow from it and find your own local Celebrate Recovery to get involved with. But, this is more about fixing ourselves in light of what God has to say in His Word, offering forgiveness and amends to those who have hurt us or whom we have hurt (except where to do so would hurt them and/or others) and becoming who God desires for us to be, not who we have been.
Having said all of that, in a more detailed CR fashion:
Hi, my name is Anthony Carter, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and I suffer from and have been clinically diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Depression, and Anxiety, which I take SSRI’s for. I have struggled with anger, hatred, manipulation, people-pleasing, suicidal thoughts and attempts. I have grappled with self-esteem and self-worth issues, as well as confidence issues. I have succumbed to seasons in my life of sexual immorality, pornography and have self-medicated by abusing alcohol and marijuana. I am a survivor in that I have endured being jumped, assaulted, robbed at knifepoint, as well as being sexually assaulted. I spent from the age of 14 to 27 incarcerated for accidentally shooting my sister while contemplating taking my own life with my dad’s shotgun. And, I am here to share that Celebrate Recovery can help us get to the root of what cripples us and leaves us feeling hollow inside! If worked properly, CR will show us why we do what we do and how to overcome it.
Personally, what I have discovered is that the root of all my problems, my triggers, defense mechanisms, the source of my depravity, my worthlessness and every single character flaw that ever made me the most disgusting person to look at in the mirror—all of that boils down to one word: sin.
Being born into a sin-nature, not understanding what that even truly means and not learning that once I have repented and received the Lord as my Savior, I am no longer held captive by sin, I am no longer a slave to sin—that not being clear can allow us to let our habits control us and cause us to wrongfully attribute to our old sin-nature what we have been freed from. To know that once I truly accepted Christ and what He has done for me that I had a choice to allow those old habits created in sin to consume me or to turn away from them and be renewed in my mind, to have my thought processes transformed—that makes all the difference in the world in recovery. Because, the source of all our junk, all that is wrong within us and within this world, it all boils down to sin and allowing ourselves to be enslaved to carnality, compulsion and our flesh. Once we know the truth, and we have been told the truth, we can start working toward letting all our hurts and our habits go, we can start finding our way out of our addictions. Because all of that, at its core, is really us trying to fill a God-sized hole with whatever will make us feel whole, better or more than disgusted with ourselves when we lay down at night or look in the mirror.
The ultimate answer is Jesus Christ and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. Also, understanding that by accepting His atonement for our sins, He has freed us from our sin-nature is major, too. We no longer are beholden to those old patterns of behavior when we have accepted Christ into our hearts. We are free if we choose to recognize that we are, and work toward renewing our stinking thinking! The problem is so many of us are not told that we are released from our sin-nature and we mistake the habits we have cultivated through our lifetime of sin as being what we are stuck with but that is not true. That is a deception of the enemy. When we accept Jesus as our Lord, He releases us from being shackled to our old self and our sin nature. Period.
Working through what Celebrate Recovery reveals to us about what God has done for us and is doing for us, and how we can become what He intends while we peel back our layers and work through our problems is a great way to not only grow closer in our walk with the Lord but it is also a great way of ensuring that we are making sure our inner house is cleaned and in order, too. In essence, working through the principles and applying all of it to our own lives ensures that we are being doers of the Word, within our own selves first and it helps us get to a place where we can share our experience, strength and hope—which we know is Jesus Christ—no matter what we have been through, where we have been, or how screwed up we once were.
I look forward to sharing this with you through the months to come!
Until Next Time,