Archive for category: Purpose
What is hope?
Is it an emotion? A belief? A feeling?
How would you define it?
Is it inspiring? Encouraging? Propelling?
Sir Webster would call it a feeling of desire for a certain thing to happen. I would call it more of an expectation that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
If you really think about it, hope is a lot like air. Air is all around us. Air is not going anywhere and we need it to live. It fills the spaces between us and there is nothing we can do about it. Our bodies crave it, it is our fuel source. We need it to exercise, to eat, to sleep, to talk, to walk. In everything in life we need air! With every trigger in our brain that sets off the inhaling process we expect or “hope” that air will be there. We anticipate it filing our lungs, giving us energy, momentum, inspiration for the next moment in our life.
Conversely, without the appearance of air very quickly our bodies begin to realize its impossibility to continue. Without it we gasp, strain or maybe even beginning running to a place where we can find it. Our bodies within 90 seconds begin shutting down; if we are unable to find it within 3 minutes we are dead.
So what does this mean for you today? What do you take away from this analogy? This…..HOPE = LIFE
Just as we need air to live and we also need hope. Without either one, we have no chance of living. Maybe we don’t pass physically without hope in our lives, but spiritually, emotionally, psychologically we are done without it.
Hope gives us life. It encourages us, it gives us energy, makes us feel good. Our hearts and souls long for it. It fills up our life by bringing love and expectation. It helps us stay balanced and healthy. Hope bridges the gap in relationships with poor history. Hope enables us to believe that a better day is ahead. Hope reassures us that even in the darkest of days that we can overcome.
So wherever life has taken you, whatever struggle you may be facing, however big the challenge is before you. Today my hope is that after you read this, that hope will become alive in you. That your burden becomes a little lighter, that maybe for the first time in years you begin to believe that you can have hope again.
But where does it come from? How can you obtain a hope that you haven’t felt in years?
I know some of you are asking these questions. There is an answer. Over the next few weeks we will begin to unpack where we find our hope. How hope can change our lives and how we can pass it along to others. So stay tuned.
Until then, if you need some encouragement, a little shot of Hope. Check out some of these videos…
Hope is Alive!
Today we are continuing the preview of my new book, Hope is Alive (One addicts story of hope). Today’s preview is from chapter 5, entitled “Make a Mandate”. In this chapter, I discuss the importance of crafting a mandate statement that will guide and direct your life. A sentence that draws you back to the core of who you want to be as a recovering addict, a father, a mother, a son, an uncle, a grandmother or any other aspect of your life. Your mandate acts as a barometer or measuring stick for you to gauge your conduct, your decisions and your reactions. It helps provides you balance and perspective throughout the crucial moments of your life.
To order the book, click this link - HOPE is ALIVE!
Sneak Peek #6 – Chapter 5, Make a Mandate!
I wrote that phrase in my lecture notebook during my stay at Rob’s Ranch, and I still remember the exact moment I wrote it. A feeling of strength came over me as I made a personal mandate that I was done with my old way of living. This statement has pulled me out of many traps the past few years; countless times this personal agreement with myself motivated me to make the right decision in a circumstance that could have proven to be very dangerous.
For instance, there was the time I took off by myself (not something I would suggest early in recovery) on a camping trip to Roman Nose State Park near Yukon, Oklahoma (yes that is actually the name of both those places). I was looking forward to this trip—just me and Mother Nature for an entire week. I was convinced I would spend the time sitting outside my RV, writing, reading books, and enjoying the scenery, undisturbed for days.
Well, I tend to forget details and get stuck in the broad picture of things and that’s what happened that weekend. I was so focused on packing the right stuff, getting out there, and getting set up that I totally forgot the date.
It was 4th of July weekend.
Now, I am not a complete idiot. I had realized it was a holiday week, I just didn’t realize everyone would stay at the state park the entire weekend! Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by thirty other RVs full of people partying and partying hard.
So there I was, all alone, stuck in between what sounded like some pretty quality parties. I had no accountability (first mistake) and nowhere I needed to be for days….
But the book here… HOPE is ALIVE!
Today we are continuing the preview of my upcoming book, Hope is Alive (One addicts story of hope). Today’s preview is taken from chapter four entitled “Get a Routine”. This chapter talks about the importance of establishing a solid routine during the early days of your recovery. I talk about my personal routine, some insights into what I struggle with and offer some suggestions on how you can begin implementing a positive routine in your life.
To order the book, click this link - HOPE is ALIVE!
Sneak Peek #5 – Chapter 4, Get a Routine
I define a “routine” as repetitiously processing through a series of positive actions designed to help you stay focused in your mind, your body, and your spirit.
We all, recovering addicts or not, get caught up in the busy-ness that is life. Whether it’s parenting, managing multiple jobs, dating, heading to church functions, going to meetings, getting coffee, performing charity work, doing housework, upholding personal obligations, or any number of other things, we live in a very busy world. If we’re not careful, our balance can easily shift so we lean in the wrong direction. For addicts, getting out of balance is a risk we can’t afford to take.
But how are we supposed to stay slow and take things one day at a time when everyone else seems to be sprinting toward a bigger and brighter future? The key lies in a solid routine full of quality time with God, an abundance of self-reflection, and a good bit of positive reinforcement.
I understand the natural aversion some addicts have to routine. How long have we lived in a world of doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted to do it? This free-spirited mentality may cause some of you to believe that routines will restrict your freedom and limit your ability to grow. The truth is quite the opposite. We set routines to keep us balanced as we seek out that desired freedom and growth. As we re-enter the world as new beings, most experiences will produce emotions and feelings that for years have lain dormant. By setting and sticking to a solid routine, we’re solidifying our foundation, enabling us to handle these unfamiliar sensations in a healthy way.
To buy the book, click here…. HOPE is ALIVE!
We’ve all been blessed with a calling. A passion inside that drives us to help, care, support, minister, love, encourage, mentor or lead.
So picture this…
The calling on your life sits inside the palm of your hand. Your hand out-stretched. you move towards those desperately needing what you have to give. Those lining up to talk with you, always asking you how to do this or how to do that?
You approach those broken and hurting from a past experience you know all too well. Inching closer you realize that everything in your life has brought you to this moment and your calling is perfectly positioned to change the person in front of you forever. You finally come to a stop within arm’s reach of this person who you were born to help, you reach out your hand to give them this wonderfully gift, but the calling has disappeared. It’s gone and you have nothing to give. Instead of carrying it openly, you gift is hidden inside the fist you’ve so tightly squeezed.
Are you holding on so tight to what you’ve been called to do that those around you are beginning to suffer? Has your faith dwindled, your confidence slipped or is your self esteem suffering? Do you feel alone? Depressed?
I know what that’s like. I find myself doubting my ability or questioning the calling God’s put on my life all the time. I don’t know about you, but sometimes its hard to keep pressing on when discouragements seem to just keep coming.
But the best way to confirm the calling God has placed on our lives is to put the calling into practice. To open our hands faithfully, reach out to those in need and give it away.
The calling God’s placed on your life is not yours to keep. It was given to you, so you can give it to someone else. Yes detractors will come and doubts could follow, but don’t allow them to close your hand around your calling. The more you tighten your grip the less you are able to give away. So today, open up your hand, trust that God will provide and carry your calling where all can see.
Hope is Alive!
As a recovering drug addict, I know a thing or two about playing God. I did it for years. Tirelessly manipulating all those around me for my own gain. I was territorial punk most of the time. If life didn’t go my way you had better watch out, because it was not going to be pretty. I would stop at nothing to get what I had to get…. which 99% of the time was an avenue or angle in which to get high.
For years, I lived this way. I don’t know how anyone stood to be around me. Towards the end, very few did.
Today I don’t have to live that way. I can rest in the freedom that I am who I am. A flawed, broken and humbled man. I can feel confident that God made all kinds of people and that some of us are different than others. I can accept others opinions and not feel the need to stuff mine down their throats. Accepting this powerless state and confessing my lack of perfection is one way I found to quit playing God. This really freed me up to find real joy and peace in my life.
Here are a few other ways that helped me quit playing God…
1. Offer no advice, unless it is asked for
2. Listen to other peoples goals and dreams
3. Help others in the ways they wished to be helped
4. Encourage people to find their own strength
5. Reserve judgment at all times
6 Admit you don’t have all the answers
7. Build confidence in others until their own reasoning becomes clear
8. Dwell on the right, instead of the wrong.
9. Have faith in the all-over rightness of God’s purpose
10. Never discount another person’s good intentions
I love David’s push for transparency and vulnerability in this song. He nudges us to keep nothing from God. Encouraging us that God will validate our good deeds and stamp His approval on us at the perfect time.
Just like David, we all face arrogant people and can occasionally find ourselves coveting the life of the wicked. But let’s heed his advice and turn our attention to someone we can help when we find ourselves in those situations. Nothing changes an attitude of entitlement or selfishness like lending a helping hand. Know this week that you have something someone else needs. When you begin to share or help others in need your opening yourself up for God to begin to work inside you. To change your heart. God will take care of any evil people. There is no about about that. So grab a hold of the peaceful insurance that comes with fully resting in the spirit of God.
The spirit that gives freely to all in need…
1-2 Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun. 3-4 Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best.
5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Fear is the number #1 enemy to freedom. Nothing drives you further away from freedom than fear. Fear hates freedom. It longs to live confined, manipulated and separated from all things peaceful and gratifying.
Fear hates you. It loves to see you run away. It cheers you on as you give up time and time again. It longs to grab you by the neck and drag you through life. Limiting you, depressing you and taking you further and further away from the promised land of freedom.
It’s debilitator, an objector, an agitator and an oppressor. It makes excuses, runs for cover, refuses to let you grow and loves to watch you suffer.
If we know this to be true about fear and its power over us. Then why on earth would we allow it to rule over our life’s?
That’s my question today? I’ve watched for weeks as those in and out of my life have grasped a bit of freedom, taken steps towards its wonderful embrace, only to stop short. Cower and melt away.
Unaware of its power and its presence enveloping their appearance, fear defeated them. Stole dreams and ripped away joy.
But in the world we live, we are given a gift each morning that God allows our alarms to ring yet another time. With each new day we are presented with this wonderfully powerful choice…. Fear or Freedom?
What will we choose?
Will we rest in God’s promised protection and provision? or white knuckle our way through another day, fearing we won’t have enough?
Will we believe what God has said about us, that our spirit is fearless, powerful and sound. Or allow worry and dread to dictate our decisions.
Will we swim in an ocean of anxiety or trust that His ways are better than ours.
Fear, for far too long has ran many of our lives. Today let’s make a conscious decision to choose the alternative. Freedom!
Freedom to live
Freedom to grow
Freedom to love
Freedom to commit
Freedom to act
Freedom to forgive
Freedom to be yourself
Freedom to fail
Freedom to start over
Freedom to accept others and their faults
Freedom to live in peace, not in insanity
We need to QUIT living an alternative lifestyle to that in which we were created. God didn’t give us a spirit of Fear! NO, He gave us a spirit of power, love and of a sound mind. He promised His rod and staff to us for protection and comfort. He promises NEVER to leave us. Shining a light onto our path, He guides us, grabs our hand and whispers, “do not fear, I am with you.” He longs for us to prosper, showers favor and future over us everyday. He is the only thing constant and the only person never to disappoint.
He is with you today. He is your freedom!
Invite him to come along side you as you leave fear behind and begin your journey to freedom.
I pray that each of you will let go of any fear holding you back today and boldly step into the freedom we ALL deserve!
Hope is Alive!
You are everywhere.
You are infinite unity, truth and love.
You permeate our souls, every corner of the universe and beyond.
To some you are Father, Friend or Partner.
To others Higher Power, Higher Self or Inner Self.
To many you are all of these and more.
You are within us and we within you.
We know that you forgive our trespasses, if we forgive ourselves and others.
We know you protect us from destructive temptation, if we continue to seek Your help and guidance.
We know you provide our live with purpose, if we place our trust in You and try to do our best.
Give us this day knowledge of Your will for us and the power to carry that out.
For yours is infinite power and love.
Ask anyone with a good amount of “days” under his or her belt what a key aspect of their success was early on in recovery and many will most likely say… the consistency of solid routine.
Here is my definition of routine… “Repetitiously processing through a series of positive actions designed to help you stay focused in; Mind, Body and Spirit.
We all, addicts or not, get caught up in the busyness that is life. Whether it’s parenting, managing multiple jobs, dating, church, meetings, coffees, charity work, house work, personal obligations, etc. It’s a very “busy’ world we live in.
So how do you maintain a level of sanity and success in the fast paced mayhem we call society? Well for me the key lies in a solid routine. One that is chalk full of quality time with God, an abundance of self-reflection and constant positive reinforcement. I find that when I start and end my day with God I am in a much better place. I am more compassionate, more caring and feel more in-tune with what God is doing in and through my life.
Secondly, when I take time to purposefully stop throughout my day and reflect on my actions and interactions with others, it allows me to step back and review my progress and my state of mind. If need be, I will call myself out when I need to improve or give myself a pat on the back when I feel I‘ve done something right. In addition, I take time to encourage myself throughout the day as well. I know this may sound quirky or weird to some of you, but I am a big believer in positive reinforcement. Now, I am naturally an “encourager” so this comes very easily to me. But I often practice talking myself up, with thoughts like these…
- “You are on the right track, keep moving”
- “God create you for this moment, you can do this”
- “Don’t let anyone out work you today”
or I will recite verses over and over in my head like these two…
- 2 Timothy 2:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Throughout the past twenty months or so there have certainly been times where I’ve practiced these keys better than others. In fact, I must admit that this is an area of my life that I am currently struggling in. There have been times where I’ve done a good job of maintaining solid routines and can look back and see the benefits. But in this season of life, I find it difficult to stay in routine. So as I write this I am processing through what has worked for me in the past and what I know I need to be doing in the future. As I mentioned before, self-reflection and honesty are huge keys for me to live successfully. So I need to admit when I am doing good and when I can improve.
Right now, I need to buckle down and get in a solid routine. It’s critical for my sobriety, my state of mind and my soul.
Read through my routine and see if any of it could help you stay focused throughout your daily living.
1. Start your day on your knees with prayer.
- Begin each morning thanking God for another day
- Ask for protection, guidance and wisdom
- This is a great act of surrender, physically acknowledging that you are not God.
- Daily devotionals (My recommendation – “Jesus calling”
- Big Book – Page 83-88
- Blogs – Maybe this one
- Take a moment to center yourself before you leave your house, before you get out of your car, before you start work.
- This important step is often over looked, but it’s critical for success
- You need to take time to acknowledge where you are each day and mediation allows you the stillness in which to do so.
4. Speak over yourself words of encouragement, power, love.
- Be your biggest encourager, if you won’t who will??
- Speak a mandate over your day. Claim the victory before it happens.
- Get yourself excited to take on life. “Suit up and show up”. It’s your life!!
5. End your day on your knees with prayer
- Thank God for another day sober.
- Thank God for another day with family. Employed, married, healthy, etc.
- We all have plenty to say thanks for…make a habit of doing it every night.
This routine is the crucial for me to follow if I want to stay focused, stay thankful and stay sober. Three things I need almost as much oxygen if I wanna keep on living….
What about you? What do you do to stay grounded? To stay sober? to stay positive? to stay on task?
I listed my routine… what yours?