Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
I used to be a pessimist. Thankfully those days and that life of pessimism are behind me. Now I’m even thankful for my pessimism. I’m thankful it is in the past and I’m thankful that God used it to get me to see things differently and to get His perspective.
As a lifelong pessimist, my first experience with the discipline of gratitude was in a Christ-centered recovery program called Celebrate Recovery (CR). From the moment I walked in the door at my first meeting over ten years ago, it was apparent these people were grateful. In fact, in meetings they introduced themselves as ‘grateful believers of Jesus Christ.’
I thought it was strange at first, but also refreshing to hear people so boldly proclaim their love for Christ, how He transformed them, and to share how broken they were. It was an authentic environment and a very humbling experience to witness it. I was a life-long follower of Christ, but I had never seen anything like it before.
One of the reasons that they introduce themselves this way is because we (attendees) are taught that our identity is in Christ, not what we do or what was done to us (insert alcoholic, workaholic, victim of abuse, codependency or any number of character defects that we struggle with). As strange as that first meeting seemed to me, I came back because I knew it was what I needed (even though I didn’t consider myself one of ‘those’ people or as broken as them). God has since revealed to me that we are all broken and need to work on our hurts, habits and hang-ups.
Shortly after my first meeting, I joined a dedicated small group (step study) that focused on working the Christ-centered 12 steps based on the Beatitudes. By the time I reached Step 11, and the lesson on gratitude, my pessimism was well on its way to being banished from my life. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have doubts occasionally, but as I studied that lesson on gratitude and answered the workbook questions, it was easy to be grateful.
I was grateful for:
- Putting the right people in my life at the right time to point me in the direction of recovery.
- Letting go of my pride and humbling me to accept help and to reach for it.
- Igniting my need for spiritual growth and putting Him first.
I am still incredibly grateful for these things and so much more. By the way, I am a very grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and a recovering workaholic who struggles with codependency, and abandonment issues.
Is CR for you? Review the list below of areas that participants commonly address through a biblical recovery program like Celebrate Recovery:
- Abuse: Emotional, Physical, Sexual or Spiritual
- Eating Disorders
- Guilt & Shame
- Holding on to the Past
- Inability to Forgive
- Need to Control
- Pace of Life
- Relationship Problems
- Religious Legalism or Judgment
Are any of these areas causing a negative impact in your life? Is 2015 the year to stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result (the definition of insanity)?
You are invited to attend the 7th anniversary event of this transformational program at Pine Lake Covenant Church on Monday, January 12. Our celebration starts with a free catered dinner served at 6 PM. The meeting starts at 7 PM with our rocking live music performed by “The Rag Band” and a special program geared to newcomers.
Make 2015 the year that you use Christ’s healing power as a surprising key to getting unstuck and moving forward in your life with peace and purpose.
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.