Whether we live inside or outside of religious enclosures, the monastic concept of balancing our lives and ordering them around God offers hope for living a deeper and more fulfilling spiritual life.
Debra K. Farrington
Living Faith Day by Day
How the Sacred Rules of Monastic Tradition Can Help You Live Spiritually in the Modern World
Recovery is an invitation to begin living a spiritually mindful life every day. It is an opportunity for a person to create their own unique guidelines for living a more healthy and meaningful life. These guidelines impact all aspect of our lives: Emotional and Mental, Physical and Nutritional, Relational, Financial, and Spiritual well-being. The core goal of recovery is to establish a balanced life where a person derives a sense of meaning and has a sense of purpose.
This begins by developing an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Striving for balance in our lives incorporates time for prayer and meditation. Time to explore and mindfully contemplate the scriptures. Lest, we become too consumed with our daily activities where they compete for our attention. Failure to secure times where we engage in thoughtful prayer, seeking God’s will, wisdom, and counsel will bring us to a place of disconnect from self and others.
This disconnect from a mindfully spiritual living creates imbalance in our lives. We are no longer at peace. Recovery is all about how we go about restoring peace of mind and forces us to focus on what matters the most. And, because of our disconnect and unbalanced life, we succumb to the desires of our hearts and minds. However, a spiritual recovery becomes a meaningful and purposeful way of living life.
Surrender is a spiritual act of faith
What this means is that we do not merely surrender our life and will over to the care of God as a one time gesture. Spiritual recovery and spiritual living requires our continued need to surrender daily over to God’s divine and providential will and care. It is our connection with Him that brings us to a place of finding balance. It is our ability to be present and consistent in our meeting God. He is constantly there, ready to counsel us, to strengthen us, inspire us, and to bring us through those early days of recovery. Our divine Heavenly Father is there, ready to sustain us in maintaining a healthy balance in our lives. Securing us as we grow in our faith and confidence in Him.
Yet, if we disconnect and ignore our relationship with God, if we are insufficient in spending time being present and seeking Him, our mutual connection with God goes away. When this mutual connection disappears, we are no longer being challenged. We are no longer growing, and we are no longer strengthening and enhancing our confidence and peace of mind.
That desire to be in a relationship with God is at the core of the rule of life. By making a commitment to prayer, to study, to a spiritual community, to our own needs and those of others, we create a balanced life that revolves around our love of God. We come to that commitment as a result of our own romance with God, out of the knowledge that God loves us and wants – desperately – to be in relationship with us. And, as a result of the love we experience, we are emboldened and spread that love outward toward others. ~ Debra Farrington ~
Recovery presents significant struggles and challenges. A person is challenged to struggle through intense cravings. Environment and social network is another challenge and struggle. Irrational thoughts, intense emotions, and physical discomfort are difficult to manage. However, one is capable of receiving strength, just for today, when we turn our hearts and minds over to the care of God. Through His sovereign grace, God will bring us through those times. We make the decision to submit over to His will and desire for our lives. This is the initial act of faith we engage in.
By surrendering our present attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and situation over to Him, we are brought into His grace. Surrendering is the spiritual act of faith where we renounce our present experience, present relationships, and present comforts of our perceived world. Surrendering is a step of faith where we withdraw from the present world – as we understand it.
This initial spiritual act of faith focuses on quelling our body’s needs for whatever we had become dependent upon (e.g. Alcohol/Drugs, Sex, Gambling). We come to believe that these compulsive and maladaptive behaviors are a prominent distraction from God. It is, therefore, through our initial step in abstinence that we are able to shift our focus and connection toward God. A true and radical surrender to live in accordance with God’s will and desire for us comes when we are at the end of our own self will and desire. We are no longer ruling over our lives. Instead, and with humility and sincerity, giving over to allow God to rule over our hearts, minds, and spirit.
Surrender leads to spiritual nurturing and growth
After we cross the threshold from discomfort, misery, and dependency; we begin to develop a spiritual journey toward self-discovery and restoration of our soul. This is because, and if we are seriously committed and sincere in our approach, we have allowed God to work within us in order to transform us. Within the Christian faith, a person is first Justified in Jesus Christ. Meaning, we are initially forgiven of our past transgressions and sins. We are made clean, whole, and righteous before God (see, Romans 3:23-25, ESV).
What are some of the things that may nurture your soul? This is part of the self-discovery we are invited to participate in. Through recovery, we discover what nurtures us. What completes us, and what brings us peace of mind. While our spiritual life is focusing on cultivating a deep and enriching relationship with God; we want to also focus on those things that will nurture our own spirit. These are those things outside of our daily routine of prayer, scripture reading, and meditation. They are also outside of attending Church services and reflecting on the messages heard from the pulpit. What nurtures our souls is what brings us a sense of belonging. Gardening, woodworking, writing, reading, crocheting, working on some type of restoration project, being creative, or engaged in some type of activity. These are things that nurture us and bring us a sense of satisfaction.
Recovery is our invitation to spiritual growth and wellness
Take a moment to ponder the core reason you are wanting to engage in recovery. For many people, it is simply to stop using drugs, drinking alcohol, or watching pornography. Others desire to disengage from toxic and co-dependent relationships. Whatever the reason for your recovery, it is much more than wanting to stop.
Since recovery is a journey toward healing, restoration, and moving into a direction of living a life with meaning and purpose; we come to recognize that it is our personal invitation toward spiritual growth and wellness. By establishing our own pathway toward healing and restoration, we come to rely on God. We strive to cultivate a healthy relationship with Him. We establish daily routines of prayer and meditation, scripture reading. We take time to reflect on a message delivered over the pulpit.
As we move away from toxic and co-dependent relationships; move away from using drugs and/or alcohol; resolve to eating healthier and overcome our eating disorders; resolve to no longer engage in viewing pornography: we come to realize the importance of nurturing our relationship with Christ, and through him, with our Heavenly Father.
It is our personal invitation to grow spiritually. An invitation to live out our faith each day. It is our invitation to cultivate a sacred and intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.
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