I mentioned a few weeks back that I recently started to work through a Christ centered 12-step program called Regen. I’m in my sixth week of the process and I’ve learned more than I expected. I’ve also realized my journey will be harder than I assumed.
This difficulty is something I’m learning to appreciate.
It’s still hard just to talk about going through a 12-step program. My fingers fumbled a little as I typed the first sentence of this post. It’s not a comfortable subject for me because it points directly at my weakness.
It’s not just any weakness either, it’s a weakness I cannot overcome on my own. This is important because it breaks the illusion that I have it all together. I work to keep this illusion alive in my own mind and the mind of others.
When I am not talking about Regen, I can ignore the destruction of this illusion. It’s unavoidable when it comes up in conversation or I begin writing a blog about it though. In those times, I have to face the fact that I don’t have what it takes to work through the biggest wounds in my heart and the sinful habits they influence or create.
I need God’s help to accomplish this work.
That’s not an easy thing to grasp for me because I desperately want to rely on myself and my own strength. It scares me to walk into a situation which only God can deliver me. With most of the times I’ve trusted in God, I’ve had a backup plan which involves using my own resourcefulness or strength to survive.
The one possible backup plan for Regen is to drop out and that only takes me back to a life defined by self-righteousness, loneliness, and a need for approval. I’ve walked down that road and know it’s not what I want. I’ve spent too long on it with the hope of satisfying my heart and only finding more heartbreak.
The road of recovery is the only path with true hope. While it will be a difficult one, there are a few things to appreciate in difficult roads. For one, they help me learn about the God who loves me.
Spurgeon explains this well.
“They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who ‘do business in great waters,’ these see His ‘wonders in the deep.’ Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the little-ness of man.
Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by.” – Charles Spurgeon
Each step into recovery brings more of my heart wounds to light and reveals the sinful patterns in my light. Each step also helps me sink deeper into God’s grace. A greater knowledge of my dependence helps makes it easier for me to lean into Him on a daily basis.
When I do lean in, I experience His power in the context of sizable issues like heartsickness and sin. This experience reminds me time and time again of how God is bigger than all of my problems; especially the problems which overwhelm me. God’s impossible power, majesty, and love become clear when I’m reminded that God is able to defeat all of the things which dominate me and my life.
I could not have gained this experience and learned these lessons without wading into the deep waters of recovery. If I get nothing else from recovery, they will more than suffice.
What are the deep waters in your life which threaten your peace or overwhelm you? Can you seek God in those situations? Have you ever sought Him in the face of hard times?
If you’re not sure what it looks like to seek God in the midst of difficult circumstances or would like to talk about my experience in the 12-step program, feel free to email me at email@example.com