I recently spoke with a person who is a ways into recovery and doing pretty well. He looks at all the aspects surrounding his dependency issues and plans a strategy to deal with them. Then he goes out and changes what he can to make his recovery more secure.
I commented how well he was doing and he responded with “Maybe so, but I still feel bad. I am just not good enough for all this good happening to me.”
I remember feeling that way early on in recovery. The parts of my life I messed up were too numerous to count. Any success I passed off as temporary and that eventually I would return to my drinking and everything that came along with it. In my mind and truthfully, in reality, on my own I was just too weak to keep up any form of recovery.
My major means of avoiding relapse was my attendance at meetings and fear of the consequences if I returned to drinking. My recovery was not comfortable at that time. I remembered that everyone said not drinking would make my whole life better. It sure did not feel that way.
Thankfully, my recovery did not remain at that stage. If it had, there would be no way my journey away from addiction would have lasted. In fact, I doubt that anyone, whether addicted to something or not, could really live much of a fulfilled life if they were at that stage. I say that because this is what I know.
If my recovery or life is based on a fear that I will eventually return to my former destructive way of life, I will find it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will soon return to my former behaviors and attitudes. If I live my life relying on my own strength and self-confidence I will surely fail. It was my supposed abilities that landed in the mess in the first place.
I think that the most deceptive self-belief is the one quoted above, “I am not good enough.” Knowing I cannot make lasting changes in my life on my own is one thing and a reality. Being not good enough is something very different. When I felt that way, I felt shame. Shame is more than a recognition of falling short. Shame also says, “I can never change.”
The truth is I know I am not good enough to meet God’s standards and I never will be. Satan knows this and uses it to beat me down. His message is simple,” John, look at yourself. You are a weak, helpless human and you can never and will never change. You are right, you are not good enough.” That is the deception at its greatest.
At that point, I needed early in my recovery and even today to follow one of two paths. I can believe I am not good enough and will never change. Sometimes, though uncomfortable, believing this viewpoint has its positive side. I can wear it like a badge of honor which tells everyone “See what a bad place I am in and I need to struggle all the time, but it is just the way it is.” I try to find my worth in having none.
My other path takes me to Jesus and his saving work of dying for all my sins. His perfect life replaced my unworthiness. The Bible tells me I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 Evangelical Heritage Version EHV)
This path changes everything. Where before there was no strength to change, I now find endless power. Where before there was only guilt and shame when I fall short of living a God-pleasing life, I now find forgiveness. Where before I only saw an unworthy human I now know I am priceless to God–not because of who I am but rather because of what Jesus did for me.
The person who I mentioned at the beginning of this post is a Christian. Like I have done so many times since the beginning of my recovery, he may be overlooking the simple truth that Jesus gave him what he feels he is missing–a worth to God so priceless that Jesus gave his life for him and the whole world. The past is forgiven. Jesus is now living in him through faith. And all because Jesus loves him, and me, and you and you …
Hope you come back again to read a little more about God and what he is doing in my life and of those around me. I will wait you.
Just a note. I recently posted an article To: Anonymous This was an effort to reach out to a reader who expressed issues and doubts about being a Christian. This person responds through emails. Early this morning I received an answer. All it said was “Listening.” Well it is a start. I would invite you to go to the March 26th post and read what I shared. This person does need prayers.
This is a song I have sung for almost 63 years. Many may think it is a song for children. But the truth is knowing that Jesus loves me is something I will never outgrow.