“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.” . . . James 1:2
It’s always been easy for me to feel sorry for myself. My life has been difficult since I was a very young child, and early on I developed a chip on my shoulder the size of a boulder. “Surely no one has ever suffered what I suffer,” I often told myself. I used my pain and loneliness as excuses for bitterness, cynicism, arrogance, and harshness. In a twisted manifestation of my sickness, I held onto my suffering as though it were a precious testament to how “special” I was. I was actually Proud of my hardships! By doing this, I was mocking James’ instruction to consider trials of our faith as reasons to rejoice, and I was sentencing myself to years of immaturity, lack of faith, conflict, resentment, and heartache.
Because I held onto my arrogant, self-defeating attitude, the trials I faced led only to more and more illnesses of my body, mind, soul, and spirit. I was a prisoner in my own mind – ignoring the fact that I held in my hand the key to my freedom.
In the last six months I have been hit with more profoundly chaotic, agonizing, destructive trials of faith than I’ve encountered in the last ten years. The number, frequency, and intensity of these events did what my rational mind could not do – they brought me to my knees and led me to finally surrender my efforts to control my life.
I thank God for the friends He’s given me in Recovery. Trusted Servants have prayed for me, listened to me, and encouraged me. They have shared with me their own stories of suffering and the growth they have gained through it. With God’s grace and the support of dear friends, I am learning to release my twisted hold on Suffering, and to instead cooperate with God’s work in me. As I focus my attention on the lessons He has for me, I find that even the most painful trials I face can – and will – produce perseverance and maturity, one day at a time.
One day at a time ... I will choose to welcome the lessons and growth that God has for me – even when they come disguised as horrific events in my life. I will choose perseverance over bitterness.
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