Recovery isn’t about just giving up a bad habit or letting go of a hurt. True recovery is life-changing. Recovery is letting go of some things that maybe we have held on to for way too long. Recovery also means recovering the life that God planned for you.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As you start living within the plans that Jeremiah is referring to, you will find happiness, true joy, and peace. Learning to live this way is a process. We may have spent many, many years developing bad habits or bad thought patterns. And changing those will take some time. But change is possible. I have changed and I have seen others change also.
Life is all about changes really. The world around us is in a constant state of change. Seasons change. The weather changes. Day changes to night and then changes back. Caterpillars change into butterflies. Tadpoles change into frogs. And a tiny acorn becomes a mighty oak tree.
As the world around us changes, we also need to do the same. You may have heard it said that people never change. But that is wrong. Truth is we can’t change someone else, but we can most definitely change ourselves.
Here is a true statement – If you want your life to change, you have to change your life.
Do you know what it is called when you keep doing the same things over and over while expecting things to be different? Insanity! If that is insanity, then sanity is found either by doing the same thing repeatedly knowing what the outcome will be OR, even better, by doing that crazy thing differently. If insanity is found by doing the same thing repeatedly, falling into the same ruts, making the same mistakes over and over, then sanity is found in change, doing things differently, trying something new.
One thing is certain, if you use the Bible, God’s Word, as the map for your life, then you will notice that God never expects his people to just stay the same way doing the same old thing day after day. God himself never changes. His power to give a future and hope never changes. His Word never changes. There are several different Bible translations out there – but the message of God’s faithfulness and redemption is always the same and is always true.
God changes people. The Bible is full of people whose lives and circumstances were changed by God. You could say that the Bible is full of people in recovery.
Joseph was a slave and a prisoner who became second in command over all of Egypt. Ruth was a homeless, childless widow who found love again, became a wife and mother, and is listed in the genealogy of Christ. Lazarus actually died and was given new life. David committed adultery and murder and his writings continue today to teach us much about repentance and worship.
Esther was an orphan girl who became a queen and saved her people. Rahab was a prostitute who learned to fear God and live. She is also in the family tree of Christ. Saul was dedicating his life to ending Christianity and became one of the greatest missionaries ever.
God not only uses the most unlikely of people, but He can take our circumstances and change them to something more than we can ever expect. And He still does this today. It is possible to have your life change.
The journey of life-change starts by admitting that you have a problem – that there is something in your life that needs to change. Admitting that I, myself, on my own, could not change my life was a step towards recovery.
To find true recovery, not only do we admit that we can’t do it ourselves but we put our hope in God as we come to believe that the problems we face are God-sized and only He can help.
We take a look at who we have been and who we are now. If we are carrying resentments and grudges, we name them. If we have been hurt, we say so. If we have a bad habit, we admit to it. And just to keep it from being too overly negative, we honestly look at ourselves and find the good things that God has put in our lives.
We stop keeping secrets. We become honest with ourselves. We confess it all to God. We find someone to trust and we share who we are with them.
Once we have looked back, then we begin to look forward. We start replacing the bad things in our lives with good, positive things. This is the point where other people begin to notice changes in us.
Then we let go of long-held resentments and grudges by forgiving. We take responsibility for our own actions by apologizing when needed. We continue to develop positive habits and we learn that there is joy and fulfillment in serving God by helping others.
And, if you will honestly do all that, then I guarantee you that your life will change. You will discover the meaning of happiness and peace.
Now you almost certainly won’t do all that in one day or one week. It is a process often called a journey to recovery. It is a journey that can be difficult and sometimes filled with tears. But it is a journey that is so worth taking.