Freedom is amazing.
So many take it for granted; they forget the significance and feeling of freedom and the joy that it brings.They fail to remember that although freedom is ever present around them, it was not always this way. And the failure to remember that, renders freedom for granted.
Isn’t it ironic that freedom can be a vice? Is it not full of irony that the concept, pursuit and life of freedom can be a source of bondage and captivity?
If taken for granted, freedom remains a concept instead of a reality. This is a crucial concept to understand. Repeat this to yourself. See and feel the significance! In order to truly live in freedom and to live out the message of freedom, one must be intentional, rational, situational, and if need be, unconventional in nature. In this way, freedom can be fully achieved and realized.
Now what if I told you, that although you assumed I was referring to the freedom we have here in America, that I was not speaking of that? Rather, I was speaking of the personal freedom you can have and yet choose to take for granted.
Freedom must be personal before it is congregational; that is, before a body of people desire it, an individual must desire it and seek to achieve it. A man or woman wanting to be free of bondage will find other men or women in bondage, and in turn they will find others. What does this result in? A group of people! A body, a congregation, a nation. Living in freedom.
Freedom and healing go hand in hand. We do not find them far apart from each other. May we find them ever close together in our own lives. May we live in Freedom.
Everyone desires the word, and yet almost no one knows what the word means.
Instead, what we usually end up with is piece. A partial aspect of the solution we desire. One that temporarily satisfies and contains promises, but one that ultimately fails.
Such is the case in many areas of our lives. Including that of healing! We want and crave peace, but we do not achieve it. Instead, we have a piece of the world, and it is a very disappointing one at that.
If only we realized the true source of peace! If only we understood that (1) it is very achievable and (2) it is something much better than we dreamed of!
HINT: It is not found within yourself.
So often we find the problem within ourselves, and so we look to the solution within ourselves. This is incorrect and empty. Peace is found outside of ourselves. Peace has been gifted to us. Peace was bought with a price. Peace must be received in thankful and humble heart.
Peace is found in healing, and the Healer. We are the healed, the broken but redeemed, the ones who have a story to tell.
Go in peace, and be healed.
I was seven.
I was a typical little boy. Seven is not that old, and is a time in life where a care in the world should be banished from anyone’s mind.
But it was not far from my mind. I was scared; I was nervous.
Because I had a speech impediment.
This brought about its share of challenges, but the one that bothered me most, might seem like a given in a situation like mine. It was the fact that the symptoms – the stuttering and inability to speak at times – never left. They were both constant and inconsistent, in that they were ever-present but could pop up randomly at any given moment and within any conversation.
It was frustrating. I wanted improvement; I wanted healing! I wanted it to be gone.
What I didn’t realize in that time, back when I was seven, was that true healing does not come from removal. Instead, it comes from perseverance.
I was to find relief from the worry and pain of my speech impediment through practice and speech therapy, through a maturing and growing mindset, and through the heart of a lion. God had a plan for me and He still does. Present Day, I perform public speaking frequently, and although sometimes there is a stutter and a slip-up, the difference remains in my mindset and motivation. Through perseverance, the healing came. And it is still here.
Seven is part of my story; one of healing, perseverance and faith. What is Your story of healing?
Why do you do what you do? What makes you move? What makes your engine run?
What drives you and gives you motivation? What is it that lights your fire?
What makes you not just survive, but thrive?
Everyone has something. That motivating factor, the tipping physical point where they can become a different person altogether and for the better. They become more motivated, more driven, more successful and most importantly, maturing in their own healing along life’s journey.
This motivator is not found apart from understanding more and more about yourself every single day. In this growth you will discover new attributes about yourself, both good and bad, and use them to find the essential parts of yourself that further healing and more growth and improvement.
See, it is a continual train of self-improvement going on; a growth train, as it pertains to mindset.
God has placed you on this planet to make a difference and an impact for many. But this will not happen robotically. The saying is true – “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Why are you here? Why do you want to make a difference? Why do you think that YOU can be that difference and impact?
Why? Maybe you need to ask yourself – why not?
The following are 12 Steps to Addiction Recovery, followed by 12 positive follow up thoughts (leaps, as we put them).
We admitted we were powerless over addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable. Although the temptation to addiction was, in essence, the thought of our own power and control, the promise proved to be futile. Nevertheless, we are on the road to recovery! This will be but a distant memory in our success story.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. The futility of addiction’s promise is that WE are the solution. But we have taken that next step when we realize that in truth, it is a Power greater than ourselves that carries us through.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. This is a decision that cannot be understated. In God’s hands, our recovery and healing is assured.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. I say it to myself all the time – WRITE WRITE WRITE IT DOWN. Be organized, if even for the sake of future celebration and nothing more. You will NOT regret the time you spent creating a moral inventory – whether written down, in memory, or in best case, both.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. This brings another massive step to the recovery process. When we intentionally bring our exact wrongs and lay them out, we are setting the stage for intentionality to be at the forefront of our lives. This makes healing and recovery more likely to occur.
We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Our mindset has changed. Far from being in the throes of addiction, we are READY to move on into deeper recovery and healing.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. With humility comes great progress. We cannot misss this important step in healing.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. We are ready more than ever to become not only fully on the right recovery pathway, but also to become conduits towards others for their own healing and recovery journeys.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. This is such a critical point. Understanding context is critical. Understanding people is essential. Understanding both is when the recovery man/woman becomes an active instrument towards others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Never ever give up! The process does not stop as long as you are alive; you will not achieve perfection this side of heaven. This is not a fairy tale; this is reality, which is far better.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. We do’t settle for the bare minimum with healing and recovery very; why would we settle for the bare minimum with God?
Having had a spiritual awakening as the results of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. This is where our healing and recovery, turned into a conduit as well, fully develops into a life-style and is one we embrace as our own story; one of conquering, growth, and love.
“We bring ourselves into the light, and we see the truth; we hide from the light, because we do not want to see the truth. We cannot find the light when we do not know the truth; but we stay in the dark because we would rather not know the truth” – Anonymous
Each of us, when reviewing our life and the journey we are on, understands that the greatest challenge comes from within. The biggest difficulty, the most devastating enemy, is ourselves!
Have you ever struggled making progress in life? You have the tools, but you have no motivation in the least? Or maybe you do have the motivation, but you lack direction? Maybe, just maybe, you are at the lowest valley of life where you seem to lack both motivational fuel and a road map.
In all these circumstances and more, the mental outcome seems bleak. But that is not the truth being spoken.
What is the truth? That recovery, and the power within, are greater than the difficulty.
The root of the problem is you. But in like manner, you can understand the solution – because when it is found, look out world! Healing has begun.
Have you ever done a spring cleaning?
It’s amazing right? No, I’m not talking about the the unused items we have to sift through, the trash that is long overdue to be put in the trash can, or the effort that it takes to actually finish the project.
None of this is what I am referring to.
What I am referring to is the end result.
The fully clean, spotless, downsized and finished product. It is amazing! It makes me feel good, accomplished, and if I’m honest, proud of myself. This is what a task well-done ensures us. None of this is because of the difficult measures that must be taken. It is simply because of the result; a well-cleaned room.
Now imagine your life; the lifestyle you lead, your hopes and dreams, and the choices before you.
Is it a well-cleaned room? Or is it in need of some spring cleaning?
Remember, the difficulties of your life do not define you. Instead, view them as part of the cleaning process. Push through them and gain progress slowly but surely. Life is not easy, but progress can be made, areas cleaned up, and forgiveness given. Have faith, take heart, and fully look to the finished product of your life: the clean room.
For the last couple years, there has been so much that has come in the form of adversity towards Lanie’s Hope.
Frustration, stress, tragedy and loss – all of these things have come into play, and the temptation has been to despair.
Have we been doing the right thing? Is this all truly worth the effort and sacrifice, in the face of everything that has occurred? It is true life brings such difficulty at times that it can all feel as if it is too much, too weighty a sacrifice, and too high a climb.
But we do remember something – actually, two things.
The cause itself that we fight for is difficult; and we do not fight in our own strength.
Recently, our founder Bea Aikens was interviewed by the LA Times regarding the mission of Lanie’s Hope, and this in part centered on this topic. In the passing of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the addiction in the form of compulsive gambling rose to new heights. The difficulty of this addiction in its very nature, practically ensures a difficulty of a different manner in recovery and stamina of those in such recovery and therapy. This addiction is not a visible one to the naked eye. To the public, the solution is an easy action, a red stop sign, a gathering of strength for the common good and betterment of the individual. But it is, after all, an addiction. There is great difficulty, sweat and tears in recovery. Real people come with real problems that are solved by real solutions. Yes, the cause we fight for is difficult.
However, we never are to fight in our own strength. This is a universal fact, albeit with differing sources of that strength. One way that we can avoid fighting in our own strength is in the company of others. In this same LA Times article, all of the individuals whose stories were explored were impacted for the better by others around them, whether family, friends, or others who impacted them in a positive manner.
For those who, like our own Bea Aikens, hold to the faith in Jesus Christ and the Christian teaching, the source of strength is seen to come from God, who gives His followers the strength to carry on through difficult and trying times, including that of addiction. This is strength that humanity cannot explain, and that surpasses difficulty. Although this does not guarantee a problem-free or easy life, it promises a beautiful word and concept to those who are struggling with gambling addiction; that word is Hope.
It is with this strength, and in this hope, that we seek to move forward, grow and thrive at Lanie’s Hope. We are fully invested and excited to see where this journey takes us, and we look forward to being used to impact others reach them with the message of hope.