DAY #11

DAY #11

I fell in love too young, got in too deep, and stayed down too long. When the relationship finally ended, I went in search of another, then another, then another. Each new relationship served to medicate the pain of the last. 

I have never been addicted to substances, but from relationship cycles I understand addiction. We call these “process addictions,” and they mean being addicted to our own, naturally-occurring opiates. Falling in love gives a high; breaking up means withdrawal. Round and round and round and round . . . 

Typical addiction cycles begin with an emotional wound. Something or someone breaks our hearts, terrifies our souls, and/or robs our dignity. We engage in a numbing, distracting substance or practice, feeling temporary relief. But consequences and hangovers come as raw nerves reawaken, screaming distress. We see the empty bottle of our numbing agent and that old, familiar black cloud of mingled guilt and shame rolls in and settles, deepening the distress until we turn again to our numbing ways, starting the cycle all over again. One thing leads to another such that it takes on a life of its own. We watch ourselves spiral, helpless to stop. 

But it doesn’t have to end like this. While cycles tend to self-perpetuate, God can break them if we allow it. He does so at the point of guilt and shame, channeling them into true repentance. Rather than simply lament the consequences of our sin, we lament the sin itself. God’s Spirit redirects our myopic self-focus to the harm our habits inflict upon Him and his children. The sorrow of the world leads to death, but godly sorrow leads to repentance, a new heart, and a fresh start.  

How have your addictive cycles affected you? How have they affected other people? Take a moment to consider this. 

Now decide to allow God to transform your guilt and shame into lasting, ever-deepening repentance. Repentance is the most healing experience we can have. It doesn’t deepen guilt and shame, it resolves them. It teaches us we have no righteousness of our own. It leads us to place ourselves in God’s hands, where he can heal and transform us. 

Dear God, give us lasting, ever-deepening repentance. Justifying ourselves is too much work. We fall down at your feet, broken by sin. Renew our spirits and fill us with Your Holy Spirit. Give us the joy that can only come from You. Thank you for these gifts., in Jesus’ name, amen. 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

66 thoughts on “DAY #11

  1. Jodi

    Oh, yes. Addictions. I work in addiction. I see people who have really messy lives because of a substance addiction that has consumed them. My life is cleaner, more put together perhaps, and yet I have my own pet addictions that are slightly more socially acceptable. The guilt and shame of carrying the chain and lock is tiring. It has numbed me for too long and I long for freedom. Oh Jesus, freedom Giver, thank you for desiring my freedom even more than I do myself. Please cut away these chains that bind and replace my guilt with the gift of deep repentance. Amen.

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Wow, that really stood out to me, what you said about how God desires our freedom even more than we do ourselves. What an incredible thought, and praise God!

      Reply
  2. Mel

    I used to think that confession and repentance was confessing those things that I did…I was completing missing the part that my actions were the outworking of my thoughts and attitudes which is what I really needed to repent of. Gods been so patient with me, as I’m learning to confess the thoughts that lead to the actions! I used to really struggle with a focus on negativity and a real victim hood mentality which caused me to be bitter and resentful to the things that happened to me and the way others treated me. I was addicted to feeling sorry for myself! Wow when I learned to confess this attitude and see things from the perspective that my Heavenly Father loves me and to be grateful for all He’s done for me things really changed for the better for me. Praise God! I still have a lot to work through but I’m so grateful for where I’ve come from!

    Reply
  3. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    This one comes at a perfect time! God’s timing!
    A cycle in my life is my thought life. I’m thankful that God knows me and loves me still! Lord God, please break the cycles in my life. I’m yours. Thank you!
    Peace

    Reply
  4. Bonnie

    God is helping me to look to Him more and not worry so much about what I’ve done or not done. Looking to Him is the only way I can not focus on things that only serve as a band aid. So thankful for His presence and for His promise that we are never alone in this.

    Reply
  5. Daniel Parsons

    In your post today, tell us of a cycle in your life that God is breaking by giving you the gift of repentance. In what arena did you only see your own suffering, but are now seeing the bigger picture, and also God’s goodness in spite of your sin, which leads to repentance?

    I carried around the ‘victim’ role for many years due to childhood trauma abuse. By hanging on to bitterness and resentment, I was burdened with self-righteous anger. I need to repent of my sins so I can be free.

    I see how God led me to healing through the Holy Spirit, Jesus, the church and people. Jennifer Jill has helped me along the path to healing with her ministry.

    Reply
  6. Valerie

    God is breaking the cycle of defensiveness in my life. Slowly but surely. I don’t want my defensiveness to hurt others anymore, and I know only He can heal the burdens that cause it. So thankful that His grace is enough.

    Reply
  7. Sabrina

    A cycle God is breaking in my life is a cycle of emotional repression—-pushing away emotions and hiding vulnerability instead of feeling the pain and allowing God to walk through it with me. I’ve never really thought of it in the light of repentance, though; but I guess God is helping me turn in a new direction in which I’m learning to process painful emotions in a healthy way.

    Reply
  8. Sarah

    God is breaking my cycle of escaping from feelings of being overwhelmed through some form of media distraction that numbs my mind like scrolling on Facebook or a coloring app I installed on my phone. At first I thought this was only impacting me and wasting my time, but I realize now that it has also hurt my family who needed my help, but I was unavailable to help them because I’d wasted time on my phone. But God wants to walk with me as I face what overwhelms. I have already removed from my phone the applications that I used as escapes. Now when I pick up my phone out of habit, I remember I don’t want to go down the escape road. So I pray and look for some small task I can do at home while refocusing on the bigger picture and reminding myself of the more important things I need to do. Next I want God to help me break the cycle of avoiding people or tasks because I’m afraid of people’s reactions to me.

    Reply
    1. Amy

      I face a similar battle. I’ve been using mindless scrolling to suppress overwhelm and anxiety. Trying to replace with better habits like deep breathing, exercise, etc

      Reply
    2. Shirley Mann

      I also have a coloring app on my phone that I spend way too much time on. At the end of the day I feel guilty for the amount of time I have spent on it but also happy about all the neat pictures I have colored and saved! I don’t want to delete this app (quit cold turkey so to speak), but I don’t seem to be able to “do just one”.

      Reply
    3. Kristina

      Yes, I can relate to this as well, the addiction of distraction. I have not been on Facebook for almost a month and it feels great. But now I have to deal with YouTube!

      Reply
    4. Ericka

      ive been doing wendy speake’s 40 day sugar fast – she has a book for that – but she also has a book for 40 day social media fast that shes going to be starting sometime soon… but you could do it on your own as well. worth looking into, the sugar fast book is incredible – trying to find where i go to sugar instead of god, examining all kinds of things.

      Reply
  9. Amy

    I’m coming to better understand that my thoughts are my problem. They cycle in negative ways. God continues to lead me towards freedom one tiny step at a time. I need to extend the same patience to myself that God does.

    Reply
  10. Megan

    When you’re mostly socially isolated, as I have been for several years, it’s easy to become so consumed by your pain that you don’t notice others’ pain. During today’s meditation, faces of family members came to my mind. The look on their faces was of sadness mingled with compassion. I cried when I realised my inability to heal was having an impact on them, though they never said anything. Repentance is a gift in a number of ways, and one of those is that it takes away the scales that blind you to seeing others’ needs, helping you to become more present and responsive. I want more of that, going forward.

    Reply
  11. Sharon

    I’m having a really hard time with this. Both yesterday and today, I have struggled with staying focused during the times I did the meditations, instead looking for something to distract myself with. I finally just turned the meditations on, and let them play, one after another, hoping I would eventually calm enough to focus. It kind of worked. I know this is how I initially respond whenever something from the past I have buried deeply surfaces. I get this lost, vague feeling, that leaves me unsettled. I know God is dredging up the next issue He wants us to tackle together. It’s still dark and murky, so I don’t know what exactly yet. I’m trying to rest in Him and wait for His timing, instead of giving in to the frustration and feelings of overwhelm like I usually do. I’m not sure if that answers the discussion question, but it’s the best I can do right now.

    Reply
  12. Nowelle

    I’m not sure how to answer this question, but I pray for the gift of repentance often. I tend to be fearful of the future, and it leads me into anxiety, and then I can easily become controlling. I’m beginning to realize it. So, I’d like God to break this cycle. Continually taking matters into my own hands and trying to take care of everyone is a real problem. In doing that, I’ve actually hindered God instead of helped Him, like I was trying to do. Basically, I’m uncooperative. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, it’s hard to put into words. Plus, I’m not that great at social media stuff, so this is challenging!
    “None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin…He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His glory.”
    -EGW, DA, 38
    There is so much hope!

    Reply
  13. Jane

    I’m going to have to sleep on this one, be still and think for a while. So much was said that I need to push the “pause” button and take more time. Tomorrow I will try again.

    Reply
    1. Jane

      Well, after giving this one some more time, here are my thoughts.
      I have been in a cycle of trying and failing to do everything “right” so that I can have a fulfilling life with some sense of success and purpose; so I can have a “nice” comfortable pain-free life. Jesus was so humble that He left His “nice” comfortable “pain-free” life in heaven to show us that a selfless love-motivated life, even if it ends in pain and death, is the only path that leads us to a fulfilling life. Lord, forgive me for my pride that drives me to chase after that which You voluntarily laid aside to show me the fruits of Your amazing love.

      Reply
  14. cree

    thank you for this meditation. wow, each daily meditation gets more intense, and we’re not even halfway yet! yikes! but i like that it really helps me guide the things that I need to search within my heart and what to meditate on.

    for today’s conversation, i’d say mine would be risking too much which leads to self-disrespect. I truly believe that God has recently been telling me that He wants me to break that cycle for my own good.

    i now realize that i only saw my own suffering when i would beat myself up with lies about myself & about life whenever someone mistreated me.

    through the helpers that God has been sending me, i started to understand my life better… and that God never gave up on me and would keep pursuing me until I finally realize how much He values me, and how He yearns to redeem me from my past and the broken-ness that the world has been giving me.

    knowing that He actually loves and respects me has set me free from the lie that He gave me my free will so I can freely give it to others–to the point of being taken advantage of in damaging ways.

    now, i value my free will more and prayerfully apply His charge of true stewardship to myself and others.. and i value the way He values me–which convicts me to value myself according to His will.

    thank You, Jesus, for your deep true love!

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      I think that lie that we should allow ourselves to be taken advantage of out of “love,” is the most subtle of the enemy’s lies. It sounds so self-sacrificing and benevolent and fools the wisest of us. Praise God for you, Cree. God is making out of you a strong tower for others.

      Reply
  15. Céleste

    I’m actually behind a couple days because I started late, but I just wanted to express my gratitude for these meditations. When I was self-employed, I had unrushed, lengthy Bible study sessions in the mornings. I always appreciated that time and tried not to take it for granted because I could not understand how people who had to leave for their jobs every morning could find that kind of time to spend with God before rushing out into their day. It made me feel rich and blessed. And now that I’m working a traditional job again, that has come home to hit me hard.

    I’ve struggled to find that spiritual place where I can anchor myself in God before I go to work because my job requires me to get up super early every morning, and it takes my brain awhile to catch up. But my job (charge nurse at a nursing home during a pandemic, completely isolated from all my support systems) is not the kind of job you can afford to do without the Spirit of God in you. I was stressed out and circling the drain spiritually and emotionally. And then God provided these meditations and gave me other small ways I could incorporate Him into my morning and my day and keep focused on Him. I actually sing the breathing song behind my mask when tensions get high at work and it calms me down and helps me to re-center myself.

    This past week when I’ve done the Jesus Meditations before work each day has been the calmest and most God-centered I’ve had since I started working full-time a little over a year ago. I can’t thank you enough, Jen and Neville, for creating them and God for leading me to them.

    Reply
  16. Simone

    I had a lot of rejection from my mom as a child since I was a product of an affair. She prayed that she would naturally abort but decided to be responsible when I was born.( I learned this from an aunt after I was an adult.) I always tried to fix situations becoming a very codependent. This was very, very, selfish on my part. I learned from an Al-anon group that alcoholics always attract codependent partners. I attracted every one that needed help so I could fix them but didn’t think I needed change.
    I took too much time away from my children, and became angry when my husband couldn’t see how much I sacrificed for him. I was very ill.
    so selfish I was,
    But God has forgiven me.

    Reply
  17. Karen

    Today’s devotion has brought up past pain/shame that I had no idea I was still holding on to. This all must be purged from my system so I can have nothing between me and Thee Lord. True Deep Repentance is such a gift from God. Lord, go deep within my soul, speak to me. I repent. I feel your forgiveness and it is soo refreshingly delightful, freeing and strengthening. Shame/Pain held me hostage while true repentance breaks the chains of my past. You are the God who sanctifies. I ask you to transform my character. Show me how to live for You and only You. Amen

    Reply
  18. Ericka

    yeah this verse and the last one are flipped. 😛

    a cycle. interesting. well, ive been working on sugar. on running to sugar when im stressed or angry or frustrated or overwhelmed. i started a 40 day sugar fast with a book from wendy speake – and ive been rather successful – even if im waaaaay behind in reading. but im going to keep reading when i can and make it a longer than 40 day sugar fast. i promised not to be too perfectionistic about it, after all, my birthday and one of my sons is within this 40 day window, so i was specifically targeting the stress sugar i was eating to reward myself for “putting up with that crap” or whatever, and the sugar i was eating because “ugh they’re driving me crazy”. and i didnt get rid of things that have sugar maybe but arent “candy”… so i was just kinda tiptoeing into this..

    however.. im sure my phone is just another outlet for the same thing, that distracts me from going to Jesus with it. wendy has another book for a social media fast.. but its really not social media that im doing mostly. its just a few games i play. sigh. thats for another time i feel.

    Reply
  19. Donna

    Going through a massive trauma and abuse issue turned me into a person I don’t recognize. Isolation (before COVID) was thrust upon me, and it’s been loneliness, self-preservation, and longing for what used to be my “life”. Because I had no support from real people, I turned to an old coping tool … an eating disorder. I wouldn’t call that an addiction … it’s a serious and deadly mental health disorder that could kill me. I don’t feel shame or guilty though. I’m scared. There is a “cycle” of sorts, however, and that is what I want to focus on … God breaking that cycle … and I’m going to see if I can get some real people to help hold me accountable. Breaking the cycle is the first step, and perhaps the most difficult part is “wanting” to break it.

    Being critical. Or complaining. Hanging on to bitterness and unforgiveness. Those I really need to repent of! I’m still not sure I feel shame or guilt though. I feel like this child who left home having no idea what love is … and who has suffered with some sort of abuse my entire life. Addictions became a way to survive. I’ve asked my therapist, “How would other women react if they had stayed?” I have been craving Grace.

    I was anointed once, and I told my pastor that I would like to spit on God, and then have Him throw His arms around me and say, “Let Me love you!” 🙁 (That was a bit difficult to reveal.) O, that we can see Him as He really is.

    Reply
  20. Monica

    This was a great topic and I’m so glad you covered it, Jennifer. I can relate that I have not had any drug addictions, but I can see some addictive (socially acceptable as someone else put it) patterns forming in my life. It’s very encouraging to know that we have Jesus who is always willing to forgive and heal us when we take our struggles to Him. I feel ready to tackle the day with Jesus, confident that He will give me victory to grow just as He leads!

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      There’s a whole class of addictions called “process addictions” that have more to do with behaviors than substances. I think some of our long-entrenched habits qualify as process addictions in a way because our brains habituate to them and change goes against the current.

      Reply
  21. Vanessa

    God has placed repentance in my heart for repeatedly holding up people where God should be. The suffering came in never doing enough, or always doing the most in order to keep people close. I thank God He opened my eyes to this cycle.

    Reply
  22. Tara

    I have definitely done the relationship addiction thing. I also tend to escape or avoid dealing with stuff through work. If I keep myself busy enough, I won’t have to deal with it. And so God has been using this pandemic to slow me down. And through these meditations and other things, He is showing me areas we still need to work on.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      Me too! I would have been a relationship addict apart from God. And I’m still struggling with work addiction. AND God has used COVID to reset me a bit. It’s so awesome that when God points out our addictions, it hurts in a good way instead of just leaving us hopeless.

      Reply
  23. Sasha

    I have continued down a path of bitterness and resentment that has led me so far from my Savior. I confess but find myself here time and time again, which “dries up my bones” and negatively affects my family. I desire godly sorrow and a relationship with Jesus so deep that my thoughts are wrapped up in Him instead of myself.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      There’s something oddly comforting about bitterness and resentment. It forms a hard shell over our more sensitive emotions, and so seems protective. But the bitterness itself is like a root springing up to defile many. We think it’s helping us until we let it go and realize how prickly it was.

      Reply
  24. A J

    This is a tough one. I’m a few days behind and have the luxury of reading the other comments. I have a hard time connecting repentance to my chronic sadness. You are saying my sadness is an addition? I’ve prayed for years for God to take away this thorn in my side. As the cycle of sadness comes back over and over again. Really, must I equate my sadness as a sin? That feels even more shaming and defeating.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      I can’t speak or your specific situation. In the devotional, I mentioned a cycle that begins with pain but then medicates the pain with a numbing substance or practice. Then I mentioned God leading us to true repentance for sinful escape mechanisms. Trying to manage the inevitable pain of being human with escape mechanisms compounds the problem. I’m not suggesting people repent of sadness but rather the destructive things we do in reaction to it. Make sense?

      Reply
      1. A J

        Yes. I do understand. Thank you.

        I was having a tough morning when I wrote that and was fighting with the anxiety which threatened my day. I guess I felt free to vent.

        God was good and heard my prayers that day. By the end of the day I had accomplished what I needed and events transpired which eased my burdens.

        Reply
  25. Erin D

    God is helping to break a cycle of fights in my marriage. God helped me to repent and see that I was trying to make my husband into my image rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to make him into Christ’s image. By trying to push him closer to God, I was really just pushing him away. I am seeing the more I get out of the way, God is able to do His work in His timing, not mine.

    Reply

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