(*Note this is part 2/3 in a post about Faith, and how it pertains to Addiction and Mental health. Please see home page for the part one posted two days ago.)
The first part of this post was about determining who is going to be in charge in your life, and your circumstances whether good, bad or ugly. This part of the post for those who have chosen to surrender it all to the Lord Jesus Christ, whether that be years ago, recently, or just now as you have read the first post on this. ( If you have just received Christ or rededicated yourself as a result of this post, please leave a comment so I can reach out to you personally)
*I have added a 3rd and final post which will be the final post after this one.
Now that you who are reading this likely know who your ” Captain” is in Jesus, what exactly does this mean for your situation in mental health or the addiction you have been fighting for 15 years? Just because you are a Christian, now all things will get better and your diseases will disappear? What are these “promises” I keep hearing about?
Maybe these are some of the questions on your mind. I am going try to answer the most important ones, and answer them from my personal testimony and life experiences . My goal is to let you in on the reality of what God does and does not promise when it comes to our sickness and addictions, and also what you can truly expect from trusting 100% in God’s Word for every circumstance you find yourself in.
I am going to make some statements that might sound a little different then some you have heard about the topics we discuss. You see I am not theorizing here. Everything I tell you is something I have walked through personally in almost every case, and in the rare instant I did not, I either worked with a population who fit in that group or have special training in the area. I have been labeled or diagnosed both officially and unofficially with more than 6 ” disorders ” ranging from PTSD to Major Depression to Addiction . All the while I was getting trained as a Social Worker and working in the field as well. I got my share of experience. I like to think of my time in rehab and at meetings, along with half a dozen doctors, as ” internships ” to help me be a great Social Worker. Yeah, I like to.
For the entire time I struggled with trauma as a young child to addiction beginning as a teen, I would have always considered myself a Christian. I had no problem believing that I was a sinner who needed a savior and that Jesus took care of that at the cross.
Mom prayed & kept a journal each morning. Years later I realized the impact it had.
I understood bits and pieces of the Christian life an even saw great examples of faith in actions through my mother, who was always ( and still does) up at the crack of dawn sitting on the couch having her devotional time, and always writing more and more in her prayer journals. I also witnessed enough of real Christians to know that God was real and there was a difference in those who were faithful believers and those who were still chasing ” the fish learned to walk and became a man 50 billion years later ” stories, or in those who simply did not feel the need to make God a priority at the time.
As I entered adulthood I was very fortunate to have a few key people who God put in my way to get me from point A to point B. Then He put 1 or 2 very unique people that were more of mentors and still are. I described my life as a teen a someone who was a Christian, and knew God was real and all. Honestly other than the fact that we went to church, I never saw or felt much of a difference between me and the non believer. Really until I was in my late 20’s or so I thought there was one benefit of being saved -heaven. Don’t get me wrong, I was not complaining! I just did not see any other benefits other than eternal life with God.
When I went to college for social work, my brother had recently killed himself without any warning and also I had lost both my grandparents. So we had 3 funerals kind of close together for people who were in my very small inner circle of family. I went in kind of starting a new chapter in my life as I was also starting a 5 year career at Father Flanagan’s Boys Town. Somewhere between baggage of my childhood, my ongoing addiction issue, the pressures of a new job and college were really getting to me. So, what did I do?
I got married and started a family to add to those things! Wow. I really had it out for myself.
About 5 years into my career and after I graduated from college, I felt something beginning to crack in me. I was trying to handle all the pressures which already were overwhelming, I could not without wanting to use alcohol to cope. Then came the divorce and not being with my 2 boys each night anymore. That tore me apart.
So many pressure laced things were happening to me, some self-induced and some just life, that I rarely could ever even speak to anyone about it. They would become so overwhelmed by just me sharing a few examples that I could tell they were not ready to hear all of my real struggles. On top of that my ex is 100% narcissistic and totally used each one of my failures to somehow make her a victim or regain the spotlight in any way possible. Little things like getting arrested for DUI were impossible to hide from her. Imagine. She had word out that I had been running with the mafia or something. At this point in my life I was absolutely stripped of anything I had ever had, material or emotionally, and could not put one foot in front of the other. I ended up in my first alcohol/ drug rehab. ( oh, I mean internship).
Realizing that the Word is 100% true and it never lies. Ever.
Through a series of events God aligned me with the person who would serve as a spiritual mentor in a way I was not used to. My mother demonstrated faith to me. This friend of my mother’s was brought to me for an entirely different purpose. I was going to see how a person lives their lives according to Gods Word. This lady had and still has been disciplined enough to spend several hours each day studying the Bible.
I remember calling her many many times asking for advice, which she refused to give. The answer always went like this ” Well, you know what the Word says about that ” – I was like ” Oh no I don’t ! I would not even know where to look. You mean they talk about real life stuff in there? ” That was around 20 years ago, and it was the beginning of a life long journey I am still on . It was as if one day that dusty old Bible of mine came alive and became relevant and very important to my decisions. After a year of her mentoring me, it occurred to me that ALL of life’s issues are answered in there. Man I could have saved myself some real heartache! Even though this post is about mental health and addiction, I assure you that the Word of God is absolutely infallible and always the best resort for any life decisions.
Our Words and Gods Word They Must Line Up
Once we get to the place where we have the revelation deep down that the Word really is God breathed, we must also understand that we must know that Word in order to activate it. When you and I became believers, every promise in that book is available to us and us only. The problem is, just as with any gift given us, if we do not reach out to take it and use it, it is of zero value. So it goes with the bible. Now that you got all of the above, it is time to find out where in this Word my needs right now are addressed. My worry, my anxiety, my addiction, etc. These are all addressed and we have specific instructions. Lets take worrying for example. One of my favorite verses on this topic is in Proverbs 3:5-6 ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight “.
So when you start worrying you now have an alternative to go to. A real life (not mind over matter) word from God on how to handle it. Next you must learn to substitute the promises God gives for all the negative self talk like ” I am sooo worried I think I will have a heart attack ” You would be shocked at how many people speak their way into sickness because they refuse to control their tongue. It is critical that once you know the specific word for your situation, you recite it aloud whenever you can to remind yourself of the truth. Of what God says about your situation, regardless of how it looks either.
The final post will be on specific scripture and promises for those sick, including addiction and mental illness. The final post is your blueprint for freedom from bondage – Gods way and His timing. I will post it no later than Sunday, two days away.