Category Archives: COME AS YOU ARE

My Side of the Fence

I was yakking with my friend Jon yesterday afternoon. During our conversation I used a phrase that’s been on my mind lately. Then I remarked: “That sounds like the title to a blogpost! I better write it down before it slips my mind. Well, we continued talking and I didn’t, then last night couldn’t recall what I had said.

Funny, in our conversation, we’d mentioned that both our memories aren’t what they used to be. I like to blame mine on age. lol

Anyway, this morning, it came back to me!!! Yay!! …but I digress. Q – can U get sidetracked before U’re even on track? So, anyway… Moving on….

At Celebrate Recovery, we learned that we are only responsible for cleaning up OUR side of the street. If I hurt someone and need to make amends, I am only responsible for my apology, not for their reaction to that apology. (unless I make it worse by the words or attitude I use) I can choose to make “Living Amends,” which means I learn from their hurt and choose to treat them differently  because of it.

Likewise, If I am hurt by someone, I am only responsible for my reaction. I can choose to forgive their action without any evidence of change on their part. Part of my responsibility may include establishing boundaries to protect myself in the relationship. Learning to set boundaries means I need to understand what is on my side of the street (fence) and what is not.

In so many ways, this has made my life easier. I am powerless to control other people. At the beginning of this understanding, it felt incredibly selfish. “I am only responsible for ME?”?!?!? That was so contrary to how I had always lived.

Hi, my name is Jim. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, but I struggle with co-dependency and compulsive people-pleasing.” 

The C.R. small-group 3rd guideline states: We are here to support one another, not FIX another!” I’m learning the difference between support and fixing. Between influence and control. Between talking and listening. (OK,  I’m still working on that one) I’m learning that I have Influence over other people, but I can lose that influence in direct proportion to the amount of Control I exert.

This understanding is revolutionizing my relationships. With other people. With myself. Even with God! When I first heard the 3rd small-group guideline, my reaction was: Really? REALLY?!? D’ya mean it’s not my God-Given Responsibilty to FIX Problems I see in the lives of Others?” 

Gradually, I’m coming to realize how much I was playing God in the lives of Others.  I’ve seen how much I was focused on what I perceived to be the failures of Others instead of their Value. This new understanding is leading me to be more accepting of where and who they are instead of what and who I suppose they should be, do, say and think. As I release CONTROL, I’m recognizing that I’m having a greater INFLUENCE.

In the words of that great Mayberry philosopher Gomer Pyle, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!

Wow! This is NOT where I thought this was going to go when I started this post. Where’d all THAT come from?!? What I had in mind is perhaps a major result of this process. Perhaps I needed to say all that in order to better understand this:

THIS thought is what has been percolating in this cyclonic mind of mine the past few days –

FROM GOD’s SIDE OF THE FENCE, EVERYTHING HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE

ALL THE CHANGES NEEDED IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM ARE ON MY SIDE OF THE FENCE!

Now comes the Surprise,Surprise,Surprise; 

Just as the veil in the temple was ripped in half from top to bottom when Jesus said from the Cross, It is Finished,” John 13:30

THE FENCE HAS BEEN TORN DOWN!! 

Jesus IS NOT peeking over the fence like a nosy neighbor prying into Ur business.  

He’s pitched a tent in Ur back yard. He’s sitting in Ur living room. He’s sleeping in Ur spare bedroom. He’s sitting in a chair at Ur dinner table. 

But He’s the most gentle and respectful house guest U’ve ever had. He only goes where he’s invited. 

It’s up to YOU! He longs to be more than a guest. He wants to be FAMILY!!

P.S… U don’t have to clean house, U don’t have to make the bed, wash the windows, scrub the floor, do the dishes, paint the walls, clear out the sheds, trim the hedge before U let Him in. 

For most of my life, I did not understand that He could/would live in a broken heart. Then one dark(est) day, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! He began to heal me from the inside out. 

He continues to surprise me. 

MASK-less Living

I like the “me” I’m discovering as I learn to live mask-less.

It’s a process… The more I learn to drop my masks, the more I like “me.”

..and U

I’m finding that when I drop my mask, it allows others to do the same. 

Thought for the day… 

God doesn’t love the person U’re trying to be… He loves (the real) YOU!

SURRENDER!!…?

I grew up singing: “I surrender, I surrender all!”  We were encouraged to completely commit the rest of our lives to Him – NOW! Today!!

That may have been just my perception, but that’s what I kept trying to do.

Tried, couldn’t do it.  Wanted to. Kept falling down. Didn’t know what to do with my failure. Wanted to quit trying. Did…, for awhile.

Now I know. Now I (am beginning to) understand – Better!

PROCESS!!
BABY STEPS!!

God takes what we can give to Him TODAY and waits patiently until tomorrow becomes today and we get to do it again. And… again, the next day! And…

In the meantime, He asks us to just take a walk.

With Him. With His Son. Jesus. His Holy Spirit goes too.

  • Pay attention, son. I have something important to tell you.

“There is now therefore NO CONDEMNATION, (Anger, Impatience, Rejection) toward us – from Him.”

WEDNESDAY MORNING MENTATIONS

  Today’s FB post: Blog Version

     Been up since 5:45. Why? I have absolutely no idea. When I was working, I’d wake up’n get up “with barely enough time to get there.” Now that I could sleep till noon…, here I am, bright-eyed’n rarin’ to go! …well, I’m up!!

It’s a thoughtful morning. Quiet. The twin stormz are still asleep! There’s a cool breeze blowing through the open window onto my (bald) head. Hopefully, the breeze is blowing away the heat for the day. I’m wrapped in a blanket sitting in my morning chair. I’m listening to Kenny G. play the sax. The birds are chirping (’cause the feeders are empty) Life is good. (except for the birds) God Loves me, my wife likes me, and I’m content to be me.  

It hasn’t always been like this:

Somehow, for most of my life, “I” was not OK. With me. 

      But – I’ve stopped trying to figure out how/why that happened. I’ve stopped blaming the people I thought had a part in making me that way. I’ve stopped trying to be who and what I thought others wanted me to be. I’ve stopped comparing (as much) my faults with the strengths I see in others. (D’ya know U always lose?) I’ve stopped trying to get God to love me – more! (He already does) and… His Son’n I are BFFs

     It’s been a journey, into some deep valleys, in which I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff, and to majestic mountain tops. (Why can’t I stay here all the time?) But I’m finally walking a level(er) path. (most days)

For Today, Just For Today, I’m content to be who and where I am!

But! I’m still on my journey! And will be – for the rest of my life. There will still be ups’n downs. ‘n That’s OK! That’s life! 

7 THINGS I LEARNED IN AA – that I should’a learned in church…

4 years ago TODAY I attended my 1st ever AA meeting. That was July 6, 2011

Please read yesterday’s post – 4YEARS

These are a few of the things I learned there

In the next few (7?) posts, I hope to unpack (ugh, I hate that word…) these a bit more, and try to explain why I feel AA expanded and deepened my relationship with “My Higher Power” Whom I call Jesus

Note : these are my thoughts and experiences. If Ur path is different, feel free to comment / share. AND – don’t take the title the wrong way, I love church! I grew up there. But there were some things I “just didn’t get.”

1) EVERYONE is welcome! Come! Just as U.R.

2) All I need is a desire…

3) EVERYONE is BROKEN! 

4) I will never get so sober/well that I will outgrow the benefits of going to meetings

5) I’ll NEVER understand GOD… And that’s OK!

6) Sharing my brokenness in a place I discovered is safe provides an opportunity to heal 

7) GOD is Bigger! and more Loving than I ever knew. Or imagined!

THE L.O.N.G VIEW

 What if today’s difficulty is the one U look back upon
in 6months, 2years, 5years and recognize it as

THE M.O.M.E.N.T

that changed Ur life for the better?
The one God used to make U
Just a little bit more like Him?

We don’t get better(or worse) in one giant leap.
It’s baby step by baby step, repeated daily.

 When we recognize God using our past for His Glory,
it changes forever how we see our PAST
it changes forever how we see our FUTURE
it changes how we see OTHERS
BUT – most of all, it changes FOREVER how we see GOD

This post was originally shared on January 14, 2014. (revised)

I shared this thought with “my Teen Challenge ‘Boys'” on Tuesday. Then I asked them about a “moment” in their lives that God is using to change them. 

I won’t share details, but there were tears, laughter, gratitude, heartbreak, regret, resolve, prayer, even joy. 

Most of the moments that change me are not earth-shattering. THE Moment was, and U can read about that here.

God is now able to use softer, gentler nudges to alter my path. (most days) He’s taught me, I’m discovering – He REALLY DOES care about me. and You!!… 

In the words of Steve  Brown, “God ain’t mad at me! (‘nU)”

#TeenChallengeTuesday@N.L.C.  –  My favorite day of the week!

  

TALK? or LISTEN?

MARK, a l.o.n.g-time family friend posted this on FB this morning…

“I got a question for you…” (cause I already answered it for me)

OK, here it is: What do you think would benefit you more, more time alone with God (meditation, prayer, etc)? Or more time in His Word? (the Holy Bible)

My comment was as follows: 

I used to think the only time I was with The Lord was when I was quiet, reading and/or praying. Or at church worshipping. 

When I’d wake up in the morning, already too late to get to work on time, I’d make Him a promise as I rushed past our “morning place” – “Tomorrow, Lord, I Promise!” Until then, “Well, see’ya later…” I figured if I didn’t make time for Him, He didn’t have time for me. 

But I’ve learned SO MUCH more about How He Loves Me!

To answer Ur Q, Mark, let me ask U one… “Is it more important to talk to my wife or listen to her

“YES!”

This post applies: “Have U ever DATED God?”

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2015/03/23/have-u-ever-dated-god/

and this one: “Morning Time”

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2013/07/27/morning-time/

SOBRIETY part 2

This morning I was reading and replying to some of the comments made on yesterday’s post. 

ThkQ, BTW, for reading and entering into dialogue with me. I’m amazed, I’m only 50 views short of having as many views as I had in all of 2014. 

One of my followers is “The Snarky Blonde” I LOVE this post I found on her blog and the way in which it describes my journey – p.s… If U don’t care for “snarkiness,” don’t go there. But she shared some TRUTH about discovering the diamond buried in the mud. 

http://thesnarkyblonde.com/2015/06/23/diamond-in-the-mud/

This was my reply to her comment:

           ******

I‘ve said it before… It’s become one of the fundamental beliefs of my existence. THERE ARE ONLY TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. THOSE IN RECOVERY AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET DISCOVERED / ADMITTED THEY NEED TO BE. 

I love the way U put it: “In reality our self defeating patterns. Every single one of them, Began as survival strategies in response to our dysfunction…” It was in recovery I discovered THE REAL ME and learned to like living with that person 

        *********

Let me add this postscript….

Psalm 139, 13:18 begins like this… “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. (‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭13-18‬ NIV)

Most of my recovery has been discovering who God made me to be and letting Him heal the damage living caused in me. 


SOBRIETY – Event? or Process?

One of the Greatest Bondages you will ever be in is that of pretending to be something or somebody that you are not

I spent 50 years like that

Freedom from that bondage is a Journey, a Process of discovering who you really are and learning to live that person’s life

I took my last drink 40 months ago today. But the Process of Sobriety will continue for as long as I have feet on this planet

T.B.T.#9 – 7Things God ALWAYS Says…

One of the main lessons I’ve learned in this almost seven years of recovery is that not everything I’ve been taught about what God thinks about me is right.    

Conversely, not everything I thought about God is correct either. In fact, Who I am discovering God to be is far different than what I thought. 

I remember when God kept breaking out of the “box” I didn’t know I had Him in. Finally, my wife made this observation: “Honey, I think God is not the one that’s in the box. I think it’s U!” She was r.i.g.h.t… Again!!! Now I know, now I’m (beginning to) understand… God is SO much more than I ever dreamed!! The more I know, the bigger He gets! The bigger He gets, the less I know I UNDERSTAND about Him. That’s because HE’s GOD! And I’m not!

On this Throw-Back Thursday, I want to repeat my post from June 8, 2014. I’ve been surprised to discover these things about how God views me! (and U) It’s changed-ing how I see God!

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/7-things-god-always-says-to-his-kids/

P.S. then, take a look at: 7 Things God NEVER says…

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/7-things-god-never-says-to-his-kids/