Ever struggled to align yourself with what is expected of you? The obvious situation would be our school years - how many times have we struggled with math or what year did that war take place or how am I supposed to remember all those dates or definition of a law or … and it went on and on, or it seemed to didn’t it? We felt uncomfortable. It would always be the clever guy, he could do anything. How can I be so dumb and he be so smart?
I have met and ministered to so many inmates who complained that they were never given a chance, no-one liked them, my family wasn’t there for me and many other attempts to cover for their failure or their own shortcomings. Failing is certainly not anything to do with whether you are clever or intellectually advanced it is more a case of being uninformed or not applying ourselves to the task.
Everyone needs an opportunity to perform or produce their best efforts. Many who have spent too many years institutionalised will look back on those lost opportunities and regret the lost years. How many of us have lost opportunities? That tells us that we all can struggle with issues but some of us dust ourselves down and get on with making it through the next time.
Failure is not fatal…. Don’t give up…
In my own case, I failed at Math ‘O’ level (a UK exam taken as the first step towards higher education). It was a very important examination. I failed it 3 times but I passed the 4th time and went on to become a Qualified Accountant. How did that happen ? It seems impossible to imagine. Ask Abraham Lincoln, who became the USA’s 16th President. He failed in the first 8 elections that he entered. The 9th one, he was successful. Thomas Edison was asked why had he failed so many times - his reply “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work!” Were you aware that Albert Einstein couldn’t even speak before he was 4 years old?
This tells me that we all need a good start in life or at least the opportunity to get back on track. That sums up the vision of After-Care Ministries. We try and use all the Godly principles, all of His resources and as much desire and determination as we can muster.
12 Steps to Recovery The 12 step Life Recovery programme through Celebrating Recovery is a key part of our strategy to restore the offender’s life back to one of hope and purpose.
At this time we will commence to break down the nature of step 1, We admitted we were powerless over our dependencies - that our life had become unmanageable. The steps to recovery are undeniably Biblically based. No excuse is offered for this as change will have to be radical, real and responsible if we are to be truly transformed.
The principles behind this appear simple and childlike, but when we relate to the things of God, that is exactly what they are. He wants to be His children, not in a negative sense, but that He is all loving, all embracing, all knowing. Imagine being tickled as a child, we are tickled so much can’t stand it anymore and as much fun as it is - stop, no more. As an adult, we can only take a little bit. It can be uncomfortable, even annoying. That is the root of this step - I quit, I used to enjoy it, now it has become a burden.
Now is the time to face reality - we have appeared like a a master juggler, with 10 plates in the air at the same time. We are tired. We need to prepare, pray and present ourselves to personally reflect on where we are if we desire the best results. We need to get ourselves into a place which ensures that we are not drawing on the poor decisions of the past or the lack of discipline that got us here. Our prayer must cover the denials of our situation and where it got us. Prayer must cover the poor choices which made our lives unimaginable. Prayer must cover the desire to seek a new man, a new person, a new creation.
Psalm 6 v 6-7 reflect the honesty that needs to be shown if we are to change.
I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. …sound too dramatic, a bit too honest. If you’ve never been there, how would you know? This scripture tells me that God knows all about our needs and experiences. This doesn’t mean that once the steps are recognised that everything is now resolved. This is an ongoing process - it took a period of time to get into this, it will take time to overcome damaging traits, habits and behaviours that have become part of us.
The second most important aspect of the first step is to admit that we are powerless without God. That can be a massive change. No-one likes to admit a reliance on something or someone else. Just like a physical disease can only start healing once we recognize it, issues of our Spiritual nature will have to be identified.
One of the most stark incidences of this would be the message of the Prodigal Son. He left home with his inheritance and squandered it all - only to say in Luke 15 v 17 - 19 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
Still don’t give up….
So, step 1 is like many processes, it is part one, a second of the first minute, 100 meters of the 800 meter race. We will follow through on the steps up to step 12. The changes we have seen in the lives of many who have taken this course and the millions around the world are testimony to the truth and relevance of the program. If you know people who are trapped in this cycle, help them by directing them to the Life Recovery programme - you, or they, will never regret it.