“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23—24
In a recent Victory Call titled: “Symptoms of a Deeper Heart Issue” my co-worker and faith-sister Kathy Withers wrote the following:
“Here at America’s Keswick we extend the love of Jesus to men and women bound by addiction…Something has taken the place of Jesus on the throne of their lives. BUT let me ask you, as I ask myself…If you and I…have the courage to get to the bigger problem by considering our ways?”
When I read the last sentence my thoughts immediately went to the multiple conversations I’ve had with wives, girlfriends, fiancées, who’ve been hurt by a loved one enslaved by addiction to drugs, alcohol and/or behaviors which rule their lives to the point of destruction and ruin.
During some part of their journey toward feeling “better” they too must come face-to-face with the reality of their own “bigger problem,” the problem of considering their ways. You see, almost every woman I’m blessed to speak with is fully aware that the man in her life has a problem—a huge problem! She is convinced that the majority of her problems or issues are the direct result of his inability to function in life due to addiction. More often than not she has learned to cope by allowing certain attitudes of her own to persist, as well as a variety of behaviors which would easily be identified as not so nice, or to be more precise—sinful.
So, in the course of time and in the spirit of “speaking the truth in love” the day arrives when we must approach the subject of “considering their ways”. This is a significant and necessary step in the process of change leading to hope and healing.
You see, dear sisters, most of us have no problem considering our ways, especially as they relate to or as they compare to other people. Truth is, it’s not too terribly difficult to find someone who seems to be doing worse than we are and after judging their ways, give ourselves a pat on the back—a pass if you will—for, not being as bad as someone else.
If you were to direct your attention to Psalm 119 and read all 176 verses, you would read words like law, testimonies, commands, precepts, statutes, judgments, word, and way multiple times. This is not by accident. The extreme importance in all of these words is that they all relate to God. How kind and loving it is, that the LORD gave us His Word as the guiding force for all our ways. Over and over again He sets Himself up as the standard for which we are to judge and consider our ways. He never gives us a pass because of what someone else may or may not be doing. Nope. Not ever.
Dear ones, I could say so much more but I’m going to stop there and ask you to pause at the beginning of this New Year and consider your ways. Is there any aspect of your doing and being where you are giving yourself a pass; ignoring symptoms of stinking-thinking or sinful behavior and therein in neglecting to go to God with a humble and contrite heart?
May your humble prayer be: “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.
Not my brother. Not my sister, but it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”
Stephanie Dale Paul
Stephanie serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.