“Lord, you’re so kind and tenderhearted and so patient with people who fail you! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness.” (Psalms 103:8 TPT)
Psalm 103 is one of the most beautiful songs of praise and thanksgiving in Scripture that was written by King David. While we don’t know the specific circumstances that were the impetus for this song, we know that David was a man who knew the incredible grace & restoration that the Lord offered to Him. As someone who crossed definite lines of murder and adultery, this song is an account of God’s response to our sin and failings. It gives us a true picture of the God who loves us in spite of the unhealthy decisions we’ve made in life.
I love this psalm for many reasons. It also gives me a picture of God’s miraculous love for me throughout many years of addiction and recovery. And as Mark Denison (There’s Still Hope) says: “I can’t imagine where I’d be if not for that grace. But God’s grace doesn’t take away from our need to do the hard work of recovery.”
I’ve often shared with people that if it weren’t by the grace of God, I don’t know where I would be in life. What the condition of my heart would look like. What the state of my relationships would look like. The kind of person that I would have become if it were not for His hand coming into my life to pull me out of all the crap I was in.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in recovery has been identifying the specific work I need to be doing on a daily basis to care for my heart, my mind, and the choices I make as it relates to my integrity. At the age of 16, God’s grace entered my life in a way that I had never known before. And yet, because I was so young and deeply entrenched in sin, I hadn’t realized my identity. I hadn’t realized how valuable my life was.
Around the Fall of 2009, I began the journey of reclaiming my God-given identity. Through conversations with my wife about my porn addiction and facing the very possible reality of a marriage that would have ended before it began, I sought the help I needed. It wasn’t easy. It required conviction, effort, and sacrifice that was brand new to me. I thank God for that season. The Lord had shown me incredible grace (grace that felt very painful at the time) through helping me to see the damage my decisions were causing not only to my own life but to others as well.
That work has continued over the last 15 years. And today I can say that I’ve experienced more freedom and healing than I ever could have possibly imagined. But it required a choice on my part. It required work. It required taking responsibility for ME. It required uncovering deep places of pain and past trauma that I was trying to medicate.
Denison also shares 3 key questions every person in recovery must ask themselves if they’re to really progress on their journey:
- What work has God given you to do in the area of recovery?
- Are you faithfully doing that work?
- If not, why not?
I believe these questions help us to get very specific in identifying what we’re to go after for ourselves. Every person is different and their needs are different. But these questions serve as a wonderful framework for figuring out the kind of activity that is happening in the recovery journey.
None of us who are in recovery for addiction have any right to abdicate responsibility to anyone but ourselves. We are the ones who got ourselves into the mess we’re in. True, we may have been introduced to something or exposed somehow, but even in those situations, the burden of responsibility still falls to us on how we will steward our hearts into healing.
Thankfully, Small Groups Online helps you identity the areas in your life that need work. And this is done by offering its members a weekly Zoom meeting where they can connect with others who walking along similar paths in life. SGO comes in to help you find life-giving community that will help you grow in a ways you never could on your own.
I want to encourage you this month to check in with your heart. Has it grown stagnant in any way? Have you come to a halt in your progress? Are you feeling unsatisfied with where you’re at? Perhaps it’s because you shifted gears a while back and put your recovery on auto-pilot. Believe me, it’s so easy to do.
Remember: The overwhelming, all consuming grace of God has already forgiven you. But now, it’s time to take the reins and decide the kind of person you want to become. It’s up to you and you alone.
Frank is passionate about helping individuals live with sexual integrity. He also works alongside his wife Tracey in helping spouses who have been devastated by their partner’s addiction. Frank & Tracey live in beautiful southern Delaware with their two children: Nathan and Addison.