Focus: Hard work and consistency
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
There is something comforting about knowing that ‘trash day’ is on Tuesday and Friday in our neighborhood. The garbage and other junk begins to pile up in our trash cans after only a couple of days. It’s a good feeling, when we’re able to take it to the street and have it picked up and carried away on regular days. Sure, the cycle starts all over again right after the truck hauls the load away, and in a few more days, there will be more stuff to dispose of.
Recovery is a lot like that, too. Some of the things you are working through can’t be done all at once and will require your consistent, ongoing attention. It’s a process that will keep you busy for the rest of your life.
Of course, you wish there was a graduation day, when somebody in authority would say to you, “You’re all done recovering now. You don’t have to work at it anymore.” That would be great in some ways, but truthfully, anything you pursue—hoping for excellence—is going to require hard work and consistency.
Jascha Heifetz, is recognized as one of the most important and influential violinists of the twentieth century, who believed in maintaining a rigid practice schedule. Besides his perfectionist style of playing the violin, Heifetz is also remembered for saying, “If I don’t practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.”
Recovery isn’t exactly like playing the violin, but some parallels can be drawn. Heifetz was very particular about many things concerning his musical skills. In addition to practicing, he paid close attention to the care of his instruments. He preferred to use certain kinds of strings to produce a sound that was his own trademark. The strings he used weren’t purchased as a ‘set’. Heifetz believed in using a combination different kinds of strings that were known for producing unique qualities.
As you progress in recovery, getting the ‘right results’ doesn’t come about by accident. Just like Heifetz, you have to be committed to maintain the things that will assure your continued success. You may learn to recognize the importance of avoiding some places and people which could cause you to regress, and you may also have to institute some healthy ‘practices’ that will help you stay encouraged and result in progress.
Now and then, you may have a landmark achievement, but most days of your recovery journey will not necessarily be characterized by major triumphs—just hard work and consistency.
During one period of time when I was struggling for my sanity, I made it a point to log the things I did throughout my days. I was having a hard time seeing any progress in my recovery, and writing down the simplest details was an effort—but it gave me a sense of satisfaction, when I was able to look over my notes in the evening and realize that I made a conscious effort to survive another day.
When your mind is preoccupied with anxiety and you’re having trouble staying encouraged, something as basic as a journal of ‘what you did’ during a day could help you feel like it wasn’t a complete waste.
My dad kept a journal during the years he was disabled. They didn’t contain much material that was contemplative, but as time went by, the pages represented days he had ‘lived through’. The number of volumes increased as the years went by, and my dad’s collection of journals gave him a sense of accomplishment. He rarely went to bed at night without making notes on what he had read that day, or who had come to visit, and so on.
Recovery is hard work. Yes, it’s difficult imagining that you may have to keep working at it for the rest of your life and that you may never see a real ‘end’ to it. But something you can take comfort in, is the fact that God is with you every step of the way. He doesn’t give up on you and His love will always be there for you. You can talk to Him and He will listen. He’s always waiting to hear from you. He has promised you strength for each day and mercy that is new every morning. You can face this day and every day with the knowledge that God cares about everything that concerns you. He sees when the sparrow falls and you are much more precious to Him than a sparrow.
Declaration: I will find new strength by developing some good habits that will help me stay encouraged. Even if my steps are small—I’m still moving forward. With hard work and consistency, I will keep ‘getting through’ each day and making progress.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book in 2014, by the grace of God. To subscribe to New Strength, select ‘follow’ in the upper left corner of this page.
For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, browse:http://www.youtube.com/user/NewStrengthMusic/videos?view=1&flow=grid