“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” – Jeremiah 29:11 (TNIV)
You know that you were created for something other than to misplace your passion, and subsequently, to not achieve your purpose in life. As a result of working through these exercises, you have identified how spiritual, psychological, traumatic and addictive challenges in your life have “derailed” you from living a healthy life free from the problems and consequences associated with addiction. Equally, because of the work you have done to address these problems, you have cultivated illumination, sanity, personal restoration and in some cases, the renewal of relationships with people you have learned to love, as your recovery has helped you to accurately place your passion with those you love (Luke 22:15).
So as we wrap things up with this “part of your race,” lets talk about where you go from here: your legacy. I don’t know why you may have encountered some of the life experiences you have had to live through, and I don’t know if there is an answer for the abuses, trauma, suffering, grief and losses that may have knocked you “off course” in your life. As was noted in the assignment on Trauma, sometimes evil people just do evil things, and sometimes very bad things happen to very good people, like yourself, who did not ask for the “cards that were dealt to you in life.”
What I do know, is that even with all of the losses and the trauma, the scripture passage above states there is still a plan and a purpose that God has for you. As much as God hated to see the horrible behavior of abuse, He still loves each and every one of us too much to let us live a deflated and purposeless life. I don’t offer this comment out of some spiritual “name it and claim it” philosophy. No, I offer it out of what you have done in this workbook up to this point, which means that your work has helped you to “row into your future.”
To the Hebrews, the word picture for the future (Ahar) is a rowboat. If you are in a rowboat, you will never see where you are going, however, you will see where you have been. Addiction, the Enemy, and the life that he desired to steal from you, kill off, and destroy, left you with some barren and scorched earth experiences. However, in your recovery, you have worked to row into a new area, a new landscape of your life journey. Perhaps at one time, you could only see burned and desolate landscapes. However, with your recovery, and with each stroke of the oars that you have made (symbolizing one day at a time in recovery), your rowing has created new circumstances for yourself, some filled with a bit more beauty, hope and love. All because of the work you have done, and because of your commitment to work with God and others to become healthy. That is why I feel very confident that you will move beyond desolation, and into fruitfulness: because you have kept your oars in the water.
But there is more. Think about this: From your vantage point in the rowboat, “hindsight being 20/20” as we say, could you see that God has also placed key individuals in your life to “seed truth into you,” truth that perhaps has been lying dormant in your life, but now, because of your commitment to health, Him and recovery, is beginning to produce fruit? I think God has always wanted you to be fruitful (Genesis 1:28; John 15:1-5, 16).
Until recently, the practice of addictive behavior has compromised the soil of your heart and your ability to be fruitful in an optimal manner. But now, the seeds of hope and life that other men and women (Grandparents and Great-grandparents, people you have never met, your parents, your wife, husband, siblings, children, recovery group members, Pastors, Deacons and even Therapists) planted and prayed for in you are now beginning to grow in your heart, producing the character that God has always wanted to be part of your legacy. Can you see this? God has always been for you, and even though it has felt that many were against you, He has had the best of intentions in mind for you, and still does (Romans 8:31; Philippians 2:13). Let’s take a closer look at the process that God has in store for you.
In Who Influenced You? Exploring your Purpose and Legacy (Part 2 of 3) you’ll find questions that prompt you to think about who were the important and positive people in your life who made a positive impact and contribution in your life, and what characteristics did they “seed” into your life for the purpose of you eventually becoming a “fruitful” person.
In Who Influenced You? Exploring your Purpose and Legacy (Part 3 of 3) I’ll share about positive and important people who have impacted my life in practical yet profound ways.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” – Ephesians 2:10 (TNIV)
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