I’m Opting Out…

Here we are, on another December 31st. Another year is about to be history, and people all over the world are spending the day making promises about everything that’s going to be different this next year.And then they’ll break those promises. And then they’ll feel depressed and ashamed.

disappointedNew Year’s resolutions are a picture of what addicts struggle with – one that most everyone can probably understand. The lives of addicted people are marked by fixating, stressing, and making promises about the future; only to see them fail again and again. The shame builds, hope fades, and the hold of sin and addiction grows stronger.

I’m opting out of New Year’s resolutions.

One of the first things I learned when I began my recovery from addiction was that it can be dangerous to focus too far in the future. For decades, people in recovery have committed to a process in which they learn to live “one day at a time.” That’s such a hard thing to do.

I spent years living my life as if it were a chess game, in which my opponent was exposure. I felt like I HAD to know what was coming miles and miles up the road, so that I would be able to prepare. I needed to be able to control my environment and all the people around me, in a desperate effort to keep my shameful secret.

The concept of living one day at a time was unfathomable. How could I live one day at a time when I had constant questions flooding my mind?

“But what’ll happen if…”

“How do I know they won’t…”

“If I don’t know what’s coming, how can I…”

“Are they going to…”

It was only after I was caught in my addiction and had nothing to hide anymore that I began to learn how freeing it is to live for each day. Matthew 6:34 started to make more sense. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s not that we ought never to think about or plan for the future. But a life of recovery – really any life that grows in peace and trust, regardless of addiction – is marked by a shift. We shift away from worry, manipulation, and control. We shift away from anxiety about things we can’t control. We shift toward trust. Actual trust, not just “Sunday School answer” trust. We shift toward serenity, knowing that the God who has pursued us also walks with us and can be trusted with each day and with our futures.

So on this last day of the year, with a new day casting its hopeful light on each one of us, I encourage you to remember how this feels. Right now, this feeling can be the exact same thing you feel tomorrow, going into January 2nd. And then the next day, moving into January 3rd. Living one day at a time means that every single new day represents the hope of growth, change, and progress.

Let’s make our resolution the same as Carolyn Arends, in her song “New Year’s Day.”

I believe it’s possible 
I believe in new beginnings 
‘Cause I believe in Christmas Day 
And Easter morning too 
And I’m convinced it’s doable 
‘Cause I believe in second chances 
Just the way that I believe in you

This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day

One more chance to start all over 
One more chance to change and grow 
One more chance to grab a hold of grace and never let it go

 


oliversWe’d love to hear from you. Contact us and let us know how we can encourage you.

Greg Oliver was a worship pastor for 15 years before his secret addiction to pornography and sex was exposed in January of 2009. Since then he has been on a journey of recovery, coming to know God better and experiencing His grace like never before. He and his wife Stacey have experienced deep healing & restoration within their marriage, and through the ministry of Awaken they walk with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders to help them experience connection and healing in the midst of sexual brokenness.