Focus: Planning ahead
2 Peter 3:17-18 (NKJV) You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we approach the end of the year and the holiday season, it’s a time to be more determined than ever to keep making progress in recovery. Knowing the dangerous areas of the course you are traveling, can help you stay out of trouble.
This season is possibly the hardest time of the year to navigate and stay on track. You might have to face the fact that you just can’t accept every opportunity that is offered to you for socializing—especially if you know you will be confronted with too much temptation. It’s much better to plan your strategy ahead of time with your own best interest at heart. Be ready to decline invitations that would be wrong for you.
Many of the reasons people regress at this time of year are due to memories of other years and experiences that are painful to recall. What you have to remember is that the end of the year comes around every year. It’s something you’re going to have to find ways to cope with sooner or later, so you might as well get started. Make the determination right now that this year is going to be better…but also recognize it won’t be, if you don’t prepare yourself. When you don’t have a premeditated plan for success—in a moment of weakness, you might make the wrong choice and fail.
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One way to have a better future, is to realize you have the potential of blowing it just as badly this year as any other year in the past. Let’s face it—it’s true. You have to be honest about reality. Depression and addiction are like a huge vacuum that can consume anything in its path. When you put yourself in the wrong place with the wrong people—chances are much higher that you’ll get sucked in.
What can keep you from falling this year is Jesus. If you spend time meditating on the gift of His presence—and what keeps Him present—you will understand how He can, and can’t protect you. Of course His power can protect you when you choose it—but when you ignore Him and deliberately walk into darkness—He won’t follow you there…you’ll be on your own. Jesus is ‘Light’. Light and darkness can’t dwell together, according to 2 Corinthians 6:14. You know you can’t make it without Jesus, so when you make the decision to walk away from Him, you won’t have His strength helping you to be faithful.
There’s no point in trying to prove anything to anybody. You are the one who will suffer most if you fail. The people you might think you want to impress, aren’t going to be impressed when you’re back at the bottom of the pit. The only thing you’ll prove is that you’re no different than they are, if you step back into ‘their world’. Don’t go thinking you’re going to show them how well you’re doing. Just don’t put yourself in that place at all—it’s not worth it.
Even if you make plans now to avoid temptation, be prepared for that unexpected moment of weakness. The enemy of your soul knows exactly where to hit you. He’s fully aware of your weakest point and he likes to take people by surprise. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be on your guard 24/7.
Start making new healthy traditions for yourself. If you have to spend some time alone as a result of turning down an invitation—make sure to have a plan. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Surround yourself with others who are Spiritually stronger than you are—not weaker. Look for a few things to do throughout the season that will build your faith. Keep yourself immersed in the Word of God and stay around other Christians who bring you encouragement. Most importantly, look for opportunities to do things for others.
Everyday of the season, try to imagine how you’ll feel mid-January. If you’ve been able to be strong without compromising or falling into despair—you’ll be able to approach the new year with more optimism. If you fall during the holiday season and have to start recovering all over again in January—you’ll be feeling like a loser and everything in your life will be harder.
I have to fight hard during this time of year, too. My first divorce was final the day after Thanksgiving. The last violent separation in my second marriage happened on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. I have many distressful memories of extremely desperate circumstances during the Christmas holidays. I have to lean into the Lord with all my heart during this season…so I know how hard it is. If I can do it—so can you. His grace is sufficient for both of us.
Declaration: I will find new strength by making the decision now to lean into the Lord—during the final weeks of this year. I will plan ahead and be determined to stay away from the wrong people and places. I will win and not lose this battle with the help of Jesus.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.