Last week I was talking with one of my family. They were struggling with an issue. They had made a bad financial decision and were struggling with the consequences. It wasn’t the first time they had made the same mistake. They had done the same thing many times. I felt a little frustrated while they were explaining because they were still attempting to justify their choice even when they had been told it was a poor choice.
Psychologists have called behaviors like this a repetitive compulsion. Over the past twenty-eight years, I have learned that this behavior is one of my biggest struggles. In recovery, Insanity is regularly described as “Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.” I spent many years of my life making the same mistakes repeatedly, and it wasn’t until I began learning to live in my recovery in Christ that I began to identify these destructive patterns in my own life and begin to make healthier choices.
I would love to say that I don’t repeat my mistakes today, but the truth is I sometimes find myself doing the same wrong thing. In scripture, it bluntly says that a fool repeating their folly is like a dog returning to their vomit (Proverbs 26:11, NIV). The imagery of this scripture is a good reminder of how destructive these patterns are in life but can also be a starting point for change.
After many years of recovery, I have come to realize that both the process of living a life of self-destructive behavior and a life of recovery follow some predictable steps. The destructive pattern is like digging a hole. I pick up my shovel and start digging. I don’t like the result, so I dig a little more. Things seem to be getting worse, so I dig even deeper. Eventually, the hole is so deep I either keep digging or realize I need help.
When I realized my need for help, I was ready to see that despite how deep I had dug my hole, Christ had already provided the way back to the light and would wash me clean. The recovery process is as simple as shampooing instructions. He washes by his grace, He rinses as I grow closer to Him, and HE repeats the process as often as I seek it. Recovery in Christ doesn’t put me in a deeper darker place but washes and rinses me from my years and years of digging, even when I decide to pick a new shovel today, His saving grace still will wash me clean when I stop digging and seek Him.
HighPoint Fellowship – Executive Pastor
Celebrate Recovery South Central Regional Director
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