Wading in a Pool of Shallow GRACE will, sooner or later, Be.Not.Enough.
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!!
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.
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!
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.”
I usually just ignore or delete the
“If U share this with 55 friends within 55 seconds, God will…”
I used to believe, seek for, and be secretly thrilled when people would say to me: “Jim, God is going to REALLY bless you because of all the things you do for…”
The unfortunate side was that when I didn’t see (or others didn’t tell me about) God’s blessings, it was my fault. “Oh crap, I must’a blown it! Now I gotta start all over! Again!!”
Gradually, I have learned that I AM (already) BLESSED! BY GOD!!
I’m also learning that I don’t always recognize God’s blessings. They are sometimes, often (usually?) disguised. Some of my most intense difficulties and struggles have become the times of greatest change in my life for the better.
There is a HUGE difference in working / giving “TO BE Blessed” and doing it “BECAUSE U R Blessed!” The first is bondage. The second is freedom.
P.S. – God’s blessings does not always involve cash!
P.S.s. – I can’t remember when anyone told me: “This Pain, This Struggle, This Conflict in Ur life, Is God Blessing You.” But lots’o times, it was!!
Feel free to share a comment about Ur blessings that came disguised!
If U share a comment, God will bless U within 33 days…
This post is a thought regarding God’s blessing upon my life:
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.
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.