Category Archives: PAID IN FULL

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. 

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.”

T.B.T. #7

One of the greatest lies Christians believe is that we have to add to the work of Christ.

In the past, every time that I wanted (needed) to spend time in the Presence of God  I worked harder so he would not turn me away

I knew the presence of God. But it was a place I visited. I longed to dwell there but I never felt like I was good enough long enough to remain.

The final three words that Jesus spoke at the cross was “IT.IS.FINISHED!”

When the Truth of that sentence took the longest journey and moved from my head to my heart and then into my life it changed me! it changed my relationship with God

This link was originally posted on my blog on February 19, 2014. But I wrote it 20+ years ago. I finally learned the truth of it in the deepest part of my being at the absolute blackest, darkest time of my life. I’ve not been the same since.

Please read this post from a year ago and let it invade your heart as it has mine

IT.IS.FINISHED!!!

 

At the end of the day… It’s just Me’nGod

 At the end of the day… It’s just Me’nGod
and I’m standing (naked) in the middle of the bridge
On my journey of Recovery

The other day while working and sharing with a young man I made this statement

Ralph Sponge
“Ralph” – Oakland Teen Challenge

At some point in your recovery it will be just U’n God

It won’t be U’n your wife. It will no longer be U’n and your counselor. It won’t be U’n Ur small group. It won’t be U’n Ur sponsor. It won’t be U, asking God about today’s problem. It will not be U, seeking a better, easier, more productive life. It will be U!, standing stark naked in the middle of the bridge making the journey from There to Here.

And you will be in exactly the place He wants you.

Until you have stood in the presence of God knowing that you are totally unworthy to be there. And you understand beyond any shadow of a doubt that HE loves you anyway.

You’ve never known the Love of God in the way HE wants you to.

That moment will forever change you.

I’m not talking about the place of isolation to which we as The Brokens tend to go. I’m talking about coming to an end of yourself. We ARE NOT designed by our creator to travel our journey alone. I’m not suggesting we do so. But at the end of the day, at some point of the healing, it WILL BE just – U’nGod.

It was the place King David stood when he penned the 139th Psalm:

Search me, Oh God… And know my heart!

Or, in the words of the old southern spiritual –

‘Tis not my brother, nor my sister, but it’s ME, Oh Lord
standing (naked) in the need of
…”

Life changes at that place. Relationships change at that place. *I* changed in that place. Priorities change in that place. How U see God will change in that place.

Lex, my 11 year old grandson just asked me what “stark” means. I’m sure glad he didn’t ask what “naked” means – lol  – So I looked it up. Actually, I asked “Siri”, on my iPhone. She said –

Devoid of any qualifications or disguise or adornments

Stark” naked – before The Lord. That sounds Scary!
Sounds Scary, but in actuality, it’s the best place to be this side of Heaven

Have U been there?
Did He invite U to come and U covered up? Like Adam? Like Eve?
RU afraid to go there?

I am too, EVERY TIME! 

But He keeps asking. 

He keeps inviting. Me. 

He keeps Loving. Me 

He keeps healing. Me 

In that place

I KEPT COMING BACK

Always before – I came back – with a promise in my hand

This time I came back – holding nothing but a broken heart

And found, Again, The Love I’d always thought I had to earn

I’ve made so many promises. To Him

But time after time, again and again, I’d fail

Those broken promises finally caused my heart to break

And I came back – holding nothing but a broken heart

What  astounds me every morning is the many times He takes me back,
KNOWING FULL WELL there will be more broken promises.

And it was There. It was There. In that dark, broken place. I’m Finally Being Healed

LORD, Keep me Broken!
May I never get so Healed that I forget

When You’ve dressed me in your finest robe
When you’ve killed the fattest calf
When we join the others at the party
When You’ve cried:
Welcome Home, My Son, Welcome Home!”
May I Never Forget! Keep me Broken!

A Broken Heart, Lord, You will not turn away.”
Psalm 51:17

The FAITHFUL FATHER
aka – The Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-32

#14/21 day challenge

POST #100!!!