I’m reading an older Joyce Meyer book for my current “growth” read. I love to read fiction and non-fiction, so I usually have one of each going. Kind of a multi-tasker reader, you might say. This one is called Making Good Habits-Breaking Bad Habits, but the second byline is in much smaller letters. What attracted me was the focus of making to stop breaking. It’s a great approach in many aspects of life. Especially recovery. Think about it this way; you get when you give up. To quit drinking (or name your poison), I couldn't get past the obsession of "I must stop" and move on to find a solution.
That is where my desperate thinking stopped, obviously not the correct approach. I needed to
focus on the power, not the problem.
Last week I spoke at an event for recovery at JOHY yoga studio. If your a West Michigan girl, be sure to check it out. I spoke about keeping your Eyes on the Prize.
I talked about the prize-in life-this life God has created for you. He wants to reward you. When we focus on what’s wrong in life, instead of looking for the prize, we are not at peace.
Peace is the prize. When we are in the drama of addiction, for me it was alcohol, and it is anything but peaceful.
What is that thing-that habit-that consumes your thoughts and keeps you in a constant state of unsettledness?
Name what that is for you and then read these words from Matthew 14. Keep in mind Jesus has just finished feeding 5000 people with two fish, and five loaves. Trusting him, and what he can do, should be a no-brainer, right?
Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14: 25-33 NIV
What stood out to me in this passage is the panic of sinking and that wind!
When Peter saw the wind intensify, he immediately began to doubt what Jesus could do all over again. He had just witnessed the miracle of the fish and bread, but still, he was afraid that after all that, Jesus was not in control of the Wind, and he’s probably going to drown.
No wonder Jesus said, “Oh ye of little faith.”
My biggest takeaway here is this. “Fear will sink you.”
"If your eyes are on the wind, you will fall…But when your eyes are on Christ when the all-sovereign, gracious, loving, merciful Savior and King of creation is the focus of your faith, you can always rest secure. Your faith will be constant because Christ is constant." David Platt
We need to focus on the power, not the problem! Peter took his eyes off the prize of Jesus and the peace he was offering and instead looked at the problem of the waves and the wind, and isn't that we do in addiction? We look at how big the problem is and not how powerful our Jesus is to release us from it.
When I was trapped in the claws of daily drinking, my biggest mistake was focusing on what the problem was instead of the power that Jesus was offering me to get out of it. I didn’t see this when I was buried! It's definitely hindsight, and that's why I want to share it with you.
I needed to quit asking for help on my terms. When we ask God to remove our shortcomings, we don’t get to say how.
If you’ve read my book, you know, I tried to strike a deal quite a few times. This line is from Chapter 6, and it pretty much sums up what God is NOT asking you to do.
"When and if I quit, it would be on my terms and my terms alone." Sober Cycle
How did that work out for you Sherry? Not well.
So how do we do this? You work up the nerve and dare to leave the boat.
Actually, you can’t overcome anything until you JUMP out of the boat. Jumping is the decision that you are all in and ready to take the leap of faith.
I get it, it's not easy to do. I would demand a lifejacket or ask how deep the water was and, of course, what creatures I was going to encounter. But, at this moment, I am supposed to jump out and trust that God will catch me and that He has my next steps already in order. I don’t get to ask how I’m going to do life without my crutch or what the next step is - the first thing he asks is to lock eyes with him and get out of the boat.
God is in Control-you have to trust that when you take this first step, there is so much more waiting for you. And God loves you.
This week I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize of a life of peace that comes from trusting what God can do in your life. This happens when you are obedient to what he is asking. To not offer suggestions, but to be the obedient servant he is asking you to be in your time here on earth.
Focus on the Power-not the Problem. Jump out of the boat and trust you will not sink.
Or, in my case, get on the bike.
Blessings and Peace on your week,
To be continued- Next question What are your rolling waves? Aka fears.