How To Start Over By Dr. Paul Carlin
How To Start Over
The Power of Positive Failure
Dr. Paul Carlin
Steps To Getting Over It!
A person’s level of emotional and spiritual maturity may be measured by what it takes to get him down, how long he stays down and how many people know he is down before he gets up. There are three very important things God’s Word teaches about failure:
Failure is never final until you quit.
Failure is always positive if you find the will of God in that failure.
God is the God of a second chance.
Dr. Carl Carrigan has created a spin-off of the What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) concept. He says, “When a person suffers a loss or experiences relapse, or just generally messes up, he should not first ask WWJD, but ask WWW, What Went Wrong?” That is wise counsel. However, it is not an easy thing for one to do because it suggests the possibility of one assuming total or at least some level of responsibility for what went wrong.
Ephesians 5:13 says, “But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is visible and clear: and where everything is visible and clear there is light.” (Amplified) The character, course and consequences of problems, losses and life-controlling issues are made clear to us when they are tested by the light.
No one wants to be exposed. And therein lies the first problem on the road to recovery. Though it is not a matter of exposing the person, but the problem, exposure is a hard pill to swallow. Your problem will remain concealed in the darkness of association with toxic people, melancholia, rationalization, denial, excuses and blame shifting until you look at it in the light of God’s truth.
In Ephesians 5:14-21, God gives us His Steps (1 Peter 2:21) recovery procedure. The verses say, “Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepeth, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
There are nine words or phrases in the verses that suggest an excellent faith-based, Biblical, 9-step recovery model. The steps are generic and will work in any recovery situation, i.e., financial, marriage, divorce, criminal, addiction, moral, and spiritual.
Step #1 in starting over is Wake Up!
Waking up is consciousness or awareness rising. Awareness mobilizes the power of God within you. It turns on the light! This is the attention-getting step. Has what you are going through gotten your attention? Hundreds of men and women in prison say to me, “Paul, I am glad I came to prison. It was my wake-up call.” Prison got their attention! Waking up is sometimes hard to do. Some folks are very sound sleepers. It takes a loud noise to awaken them. Others are light sleepers. It does not take much to awaken them. Hopefully, what you are now going through is loud enough to be your wake up call. Nothing ever really changes until we wake up. You will do nothing about your present state until you wake up. Some people are asleep and only dreaming they are awake.
Step #2 in starting over is Get Up!
To get up means to get started. Everyone who comes to their senses about their life-controlling, life-threaten-ing, or addictive-compulsive problem must choose a recovery environment in which to heal. To heal damaged emotions or to conquer an addictive-compulsive problem, it is imperative that you move away from your toxic environment to a healing environment. Changing your environment is social liberation. It may even mean a people change. Negative people can be your worst recovery nemesis. After you wake up and get up, it is time to begin your recovery process. You cannot pursue two opposite endeavors at the same time. Example: run – stand / inhale – exhale. You are either in the recovery process or you are not. Get started!
Step #3 in starting over is Walk Up!
The phrase “walk circumspectly,” means to watch your step. In the Bible, when the word “walk” is used, it always refers to a lifestyle. So once you wake up and get up, you then begin to change your lifestyle or the way you have been living. Lifestyle is best changed from the inside out. Examine and reevaluate your core beliefs. Beliefs drive behavior. To help motivate changes, ask yourself the question, “Is what I have been doing working?” Since what you have been doing has not worked, you need to change managers. It is at this step you exchange your life for His life, the powerful, peaceful life of Jesus Christ. Taking an “under new management” approach to recovery is the only way to change your lifestyle.
Step #4 in starting over is Buy Up!
An accurate translation of the phrase “redeeming the time” is “buy up the opportunity.” Steps one through three form the foundation upon which you build the other six steps. Recovery step number four says, “Don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers.” Many people with problems only see the back of opportunity because they let it pass them by. Buying up even involves recapturing time lost or wasted. It extends the value of time into the present. Now is the time! Today is the day to get started!
Step #5 in starting over is Wise Up!
Wisdom is the anticipation of consequences. Make smart, intelligent, experienced-based choices. Ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” (Amplified) Prayer becomes a vital part of your recovery. You have heard it said, “Making the same choices expecting different results is insanity.” Well, that is true! Draw on the wisdom of your new Manager.
Step #6 in starting over is Fill Up!
To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. You are filled with the Holy Spirit the same way you were saved, by faith. God will fill you if you ask Him to fill you. Wholistic recovery can never be accomplished in your own strength. It takes the power of God. Jesus told the religious people of His day, “You are wrong not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matt. 22:29) You must not leave the “power of God” out of your recovery.
Step #7 in starting over is Speak Up!
Speaking up, verbalizing your commitment to recovery, is one way to reinforce your environmental control. Step number seven is self-talk, i.e., “Speaking to yourselves.” Say Bible things to yourself. Quote psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to yourself. Be transparent. Not only be visible with your recovery, but also be verbal. Talk about it! There is power in your words when they are mixed with faith. (Matt. 17:20) Turn your self-talk into faith-talk.
Step #8 in starting over is Give Up!
Give thanks up to God always for all things. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Thank God every day for your progress. Be grateful to the people who mentor you in your recovery. Thankfulness is a key ingredient in the recovery process. The more benefits of sobriety and sanity you enjoy the more thankful you should become.
Step #9 in starting over is Submit Up!
Arrange yourself under the principle authority of Christ. It is also extremely important for you to establish a relationship with one person in whom you have confidence and to whom you are willing to be accountable. Get into a Christian peer support group.
All the elements needed to start over are present in these nine steps. Appropriate them and have a great recovery!