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Created to Thrive and be Free (Steps 4 & 5)

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalms 32:3–5

Everybody is born with an innate desire to be more than just ok, to thrive. Everybody is born with a longing to be free.

Ok, so if we just make that happen we will solve all the worlds problems, right? Unfortunately, no. It’s not that simple. It depends upon what the word “thrive means.” It depends upon what the word “free” means. You see, every culture and subculture defines thriving and freedom a little differently. On a big scale these differences lead to wars, oppression and murder. On a smaller scale, they result in our seeking to thrive and be free in ways that are dictated by the advertising man who really does not care if you thrive and are free but only wants to convince you that his or her product is the means to those ends.

Our desire to thrive and our desire to be free were given to us by God. He created the universe (including us) and his word tells us that he sustains the universe (including us). That is really good news; he created us to thrive and to be free, and he alone is most capable of empowering us to realize that freedom.

We have together been working the pathway towards freedom, borrowing from the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous because the things that keep us from thriving and being free have more power over us than we intended to give them, which is the definition of addiction. This past week, we looked at steps 4 and 5 — with God’s help doing an inventory of the ways that our addictions mess up our thriving and our freedom, and then sharing with God and another person. It is basically taking stock of the things that are hurting you and throwing open the windows to let light in. It is not condemnation or a pity party or an assignment to fix everything. The fixing comes as a part of the process and is done by God as we partner with him in working these steps:

  1. Make a list, take an inventory (include the good things too).

  2. Share your list with God (nothing will surprise him) and pray about a person to share your list with.

  3. Get together with that person and share your list (and listen to theirs if they have one).

  4. Pray this prayer by Henri Nouwen below as you seek to die to the things that are killing you.

Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess. O Lord, I am self-centered, concerned about myself, my career, my future, my name and fame. Often I even feel that I use you to my own advantage. Yes, Lord, I know it is true. I know that often I have spoken about you, written about you, and acted in your name for my own glory and success. Your name has not led me to persecution, oppression, or rejection. Your name has brought me rewards! I see clearly how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.

Peace, hope and love


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