Steps to the New Year

My new year’s resolution is… or was (fill in the blank)…
Sound familiar?

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The infamous new year’s
resolutions have started and/or have been broken by
now. How many of us feel “what’s the point?” Adding to
that already negative experience, those of us in recovery
can often feel all the more hopeless pressure and
failure if we “resolved” to stop a behavior which relates
to our addictions, compulsions and disorders. Be honest:
what did you swear you’d do or never do again?

So, we’re into a brand new year. Are we already off to a
disappointing start?

The old adage states a journey of a thousand miles begins
with one step. So, what does that say about each
one we take in this new year?

Some steps in the recovery journey are steps of progress.
But what hits us with devastation are those other
steps, right? Sometimes, in recovery, the step we’re taking
feels like one of failure or relapse. We may even feel
like the best we can hope for is to trudge and sink our
footsteps into barren cold snow. How are we to regard
those kinds of steps? As hopeless? As final? As paralysis?
No. they are just as much a part of progress as any
victory, “good day,” or “good step.”

Motivational speaker, John Maxwell, wrote a book on a
wonderful concept to consider, especially in moments
of failure and relapse: “Failing Forward.”

Think about that.

In life, unfortunately, we often will fail. Recovery is
not immune from that failure reality either. But there
is hope; with each failure; whether you feel it or not,
you and I are moving forward, making progress. One of
my favorite scriptures, encouraging me through many
dark, trying steps, has been that of 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the
Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with
ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is
the Spirit.”

Recovery means going from step to step, glory to glory
and even, sometimes failure to failure. But please know
that God’s in control of our every step, regardless of our
feelings about where we’re going. We are moving forward;
God is too wonderful to allow us to be left.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

It may be at a snail’s pace, this progress we’re seeking.
But that snail; gets a bad rap. A hugely inspiring quote
is from the 19th century English preacher, Charles H.
Spurgeon:

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

We need to keep that slow movement in mind. Slow
movement does not mean no movement. And the end
result for the snail was the goal, the ark. Did the snail
have obstacles, rough terrain and dangers along the
way? Probably. Did that stop the snail? No. The snail
moved slowly, in small increments. As do we.

“For who has despised the day of small things?
for they shall rejoice..”.
Zechariah 4:10

Yes, progress seems slow, if it can be even seen at all.
You don’t see any positive results from all of your efforts,
tears and pain. You feel like you’re going nowhere,
nowhere good, anyhow.

But there is meaning in this tiny, gradual step each of
us may be taking, whether it be in life, in recovery- or in
both, at the same time.

Taking these tiny steps, one by one, does have a cumulative
effect. It builds upon our future and individual
destinies. And yes, that applies to the new year, resolution
or no resolution.

We need to remember that God is our loving Father,
seeing us as His children. Because of that perspective,
He’s always helping and preparing us. It doesn’t matter
if/when we fail or fall. He’s still our loving Father, who
desires to bless His children. In fact, scripture tells us…

“So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to
your children, how much more will your Father in heaven
give good things to those who keep on asking him!”
Matthew 7:11

So, take that next step. Remember Jeremiah 29:11. It includes-
it never excludes- you!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”

It’s all in how we look at it. How then, are we choosing
to look at our recovery processes and our lives? Do we
see beauty, value and potential? Or do we see ugliness,
worthlessness, failure and a pointless existence? We
can choose.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death,
blessing and cursing: therefore choose life,
that both thou and thy seed may live.”
Deuteronomy 30:19

The fact is, just because we feel a certain way, doesn’t
mean that’s truly the way it is.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away
childish things. For now we see through a
glass, darkly; but then face to face: now
I know in part; but then shall I know even
as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:11

We may feel hopeless or like a failure. But those are feelings.
God’s Word, instead, is the Truth! And yes, once
again, here’s what God says about us:
“Since you were precious in my sight…
I have loved you…”
Isaiah 43:4

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”
Isaiah 41:9

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the
Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Let’s see ourselves differently. We may feel we are one
way, but why limit ourselves to that, especially if it’s
harmful? God has more for each one of us than just our
present situation, perception and condition.

We’re in a brand new year right now. What kind of step
are you taking today in this new start? Whatever it may
be, please realize that it is one which is lovingly guided
by God. Having a great step today? Wonderful! Thank
God for it! Having a struggling step or a “failure” step
today? Please recognize that God’s allowing it to move
you to another place of victory, recovery, success and
help. You will get there; you ARE getting there. Remember
your journey, not just today’s step. There’s more to
your life, more to God in your life than you realize!
Happy New Year! Have a wonderful, healthy, gracefilled
journey this next year and beyond, step by step.