So now what?
What will I do with my recovered life?
Yes it was the end but it is also a fresh new beginning?
How do I start?
Today is the last day of our Glorious Hope meetings. Next week will be our thanksgiving. There will be no graduation rites or ceremonies… because we all know the drill. “NO ONE GRADUATES FROM THE RECOVERY PROGRAM.”
It was a stressful, no not only stressful but super stressful to highest level week. I had this major project and initiatives across our Manila business site. It required a lot of preparations, meetings after meetings, key stakeholders to manage here and there, up-down, vertical horizontal, communications, advertisements, project management, information technology, simply put it was a week long event that requires expertise from people, processes and businesses. I neglected my quiet times. I skipped my yoga prayers. Missed my bible app streaks. With it I have not seen my daughter for few days. I couldn’t fix the bed, as if not getting sleep was enough, I experienced hunger, I had food by my side but couldn’t eat a proper meal. The voice in my head keeps repeating the blame. If I could have done things on time or ahead of time. Will there be people to attend the activities? Will I say the right words to the boss of my boss? I will fail, this will fail… will this run as expected?
“I would like to thank Jane for doing a great job… The fact that you are all here today means Jane is doing a great job”. I was so embarrassed, I covered my other cheek with my hand. Then I heard an applause. That was the only time the audience applauded.
I cannot take credit for it. I came to my lowest point. I have acknowledged my weakness and frailty. Where I can’t even rely on my self but to totally surrender and depend on Him. Where I came to the reality that I have no control. That all I have to do is do my part and leave the results to God. In the midst of all the busyness, lack of sleep, lack of proper meal… there was even one time when I wasn’t able to wash my head, that I needed to go to the nearby salon for shampoo and blow dry. After which I had to rush back to the office for another half an hour briefing of the boss of my boss prior to his talk at the big auditorium. But each time I hear my breath whistle from the onset of asthma attacks and exhaustion. I closed my eyes… feeling the breeze run through my arms as I raise it to the sky in one of my yoga prayers in front of the beach. The serenity, the peace that if I can trust God with my eternity. Why can’t I trust Him for small areas of my life like work?
All this time, I took it upon myself when Pastor Peter said that God is more concerned with my character than my comfort. But when I joined the Glorious Hope program, all the negative self talk came to a halt. I came to know another facet of my Lord Jesus Christ. That yes, He is after my character. But this is also when I came to know my God as the God of all comfort. In my early days of attending the sessions. I was deeply encouraged to receive God’s comfort. For with the same comfort I received from God, I can comfort others.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV
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“Why are you dropping off the call?” It was the text message of my ex boyfriend after a number of missed calls. The owner of the hotel where I stayed in Palawan for two weeks last time asked for my phone number. He told me that my ex boyfriend came to his place looking for me and asking my mobile number. I did not answer any of the calls, no not one. Not even one text message. I told my friend, the owner of the hotel, that I love Kevin (Kevin is not my ex boyfriend, he was the ex after my ex – see how twisted it is?). I have to move on I added. Tell them not to think about me for I am fine alone in His grace. That I pray for Kevin everyday. That I promised my friend never to stalk Kevin again on social media, but instead focus on my moving forward.
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
– Step Twelve, The Book of Life Recovery by Stephen Afterburn and David Stoop
I remember the feeling of being in love, I loved the feeling of falling in love but I do not love the man any longer. I still remember being taken cared for, having the attention and the time. But it is something that I have to leave all behind. This is my life, that is their life. For I desire a man now who will bring me closer to my Maker. A man who will allow me to flourish as God wants me to thrive. A man who will nurture and cultivate how God designed me to be. If not, then I would have to accept the comfort and grace to be alone until God takes me home. Until then, I have to rest in the comfort that God will see me through.
I came to Glorious Hope recovery program crying because I needed help for my youngest sister. She is suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar medical condition. I felt tired and overwhelmed with the responsibility of looking after her and her family. I have complained it is so unfair. Even at work, I was affected with all the family problems. Because of these I did not get the promotion I ever wanted. My relationship with my line managers were also affected. For so I thought.
Going through the program, it turned out I was the one who needs it most. I have to accept that my life have become unmanageable. That I am trying to find my way out of my own sin to which I am powerless. I needed the higher power of Christ, yes not just a force or empty vast universe, I needed the person and power of my almighty Savior Jesus Christ. Up close and personal.
For years I have tried to escape all the turmoil and chaos of my city life. I lived a double life. Subconsciously and slowly I have drifted to the habit of casual sex, living beyond my means for travel and online shopping. I believed the lie for the longest time, that my identity is where I work and what I do for work. I blamed my line managers for my misfortune at the bank. I blamed my parents for not getting into the career I ever wanted. I blamed everyone except for my own self. I was addicted to sweets, Starbucks and coffee shops were my haven for temporary fill and comfort. I was addicted to social media and eventually got hooked on to pornography and masturbation.
Now, I came to terms with my imbalanced hormones. That I cannot compartmentalize areas of my life apart from Jesus. That I cannot continue living a double life. That I cannot continue being hard on my self. To follow and suffer to the voices in my head. I can no longer continue not taking care and being unkind to my own self. That I have to take ownership, responsibility and accountability. I learned through the Grace and Wisdom of the Holy Spirit – that I am made by God and for God. That no one, nothing can snatch me from His hands. That if this is His way to teach me, to call my attention, to draw back to Him, to come back to Him – I accept His recovery and rest. Now, I follow His design, to cultivate and nourish the kind of person He designed me to be. A writer, a storyteller, who comfort others with the comfort I have received from Christ.
To go from a self-obsessed life of defeat and agony to a missional life of joy and fulfillment is a miracle, something we should never take for granted. This miracle gives us a chance to avoid the downside of life. But it is so much more. It is our chance to live and experience life in all of its joy and wonder and purpose. It is the beginning of a blessed life where we are free – free to become the people God has created us to be and to introduce others to this wonderful way of life: the life of recovery.
– The Book of Life Recovery, Step Twelve.