There are lions in recovery. Sometimes it looks like a step that would be like jumping out of a plane with a parachute attached to your back. The anxiety rises in your throat, but yet, I remember the first time I went skydiving. I remember feeling 100% confident that God would protect me, no matter what happened. What is your skydiving in recovery today? What is your lion? Some look like brownies. Some look like new clothes, exercise restrictions, high calorie meal plans. No one would deny that these lions are real. They are those days when you get out of bed or go to the theater or hop in the car or see a container of ice cream, and the lion SEEMS unconquerable. There are moments when you just want to give up, because it seems impossible.
I’ve learned that without God in my life, nothing is possible. With God, nothing is impossible, including overcoming every single lion of recovery. In Christ Jesus I can be more than a conqueror. I don’t need to be conquered any longer by my sin of idolizing food or exercise or my body.
Have you ever read the story of Daniel and the lions den? I just read it the other day, and I was AMAZED to see the parallels to recovery that the story presented.
Here is the story: Daniel 6:15-26, ‘
Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.’
There are LIONS in recovery. What are these lions? These lions are scary mountains that seem almost IMPOSSIBLE to overcome. There were times when I was in despair, and my heart was so heavy with the thought that I would never recover, that I would never be able to look at food in a normal way again, that I would never be able to look past these idols and see the beauty and the preciousness of a relationship with Jesus Christ for what it really is.
Every step of the way, He is with us. God is our refuge and strength, a VERY present help in trouble. God delivered Daniel from the lions. If I serve a God, a Heavenly Father, who could deliver Daniel from the lions, cause a virgin to conceive and bear the Savior of the World, part the Red Sea, make the walls of Jericho fall down with one shout, why couldn’t He also be the God who restores the years the locusts have eaten, who delivers the girl captive to an ED, and brings even those who walk in darkness to a knowledge of Himself?
God is a DELIVERER. Delivering is what God has done for His children throughout the whole history of the world.
First, I want to share some of the biggest lions in recovery for me, and then I want to follow up with the HOPE that every one of these lions has been conquered or is being conquered, because God is SHUTTING these lion’s mouths.
Lions of Recovery:
- Restaurants. Restaurants used to be SO terrifying for me. I would obsessively check the calorie counts online. I would eat every bite in fear. I did not realize the power of the verse in 1 John 4:18, ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.’ I even went out to a restaurant with my family on New Year’s Eve, and I was SO tempted to listen to the Devil, the father of lies, telling me to focus on the calories and to not focus on and glorify my Heavenly Father. By God’s grace, I survived the challenge, and He is continuing to strengthen me.
- Sweets. God has KILLED this lion in my life, almost completely. I used to be so afraid of sugar, desserts, and anything that had ‘sugar’ in it. Yet, God made ALL things good, and He says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, ‘Whatsoever ye do, whether ye eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God.’ The more I have kept these in my mind, the more God has used these to overcome and scare these lions out of my life.
- Trips/Road Trips. I hated the idea of the unpredictability of trips. Yet when you’re reading this I’m going to be on a trip. I didn’t want to be out of my ‘food comfort zone,’ but God has used SO many trips to test my faith and trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 has rung so true for each trip that I have taken in the past year, ‘ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’ When you trust the Lord, your eyes will begin to see His wondrous and amazing works.
- Getting Rid of Clothes that Didn’t Fit. Oh wow, this one was HUGE for a long time. Yet, throughout the Scriptures there is a HUGE emphasis on the HIDDEN man of the heart, not the clothes that you wear. 1 Peter 3:3-4, ‘Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; Butlet it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.’ The more God has brought me closer to Himself with my desires to have a true, inward purity and beauty in Him ALONE, the easier it has become to throw away old clothes and EMBRACE the new size.
Those are by far the biggest lions of recovery that I could possibly think of, but I wanted to give some REALLY good news.
What is that?
GOD is in the BUSINESS of DELIVERING those who call on Him in distress.
Psalm 86:5, ‘For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.’
Lamentations 3:55-58, ‘I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not; O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.’
Jesus CAME to save!
Matthew 19:25-26, ‘When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”‘
1 John 4:14, ‘We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.’
Jesus Christ was God. God is in the business of doing the impossible. He delivered me from ED. So much of the journey was learning to wait on Him to see what awesome things He was going to do and is doing through my recovery journey. Psalm 27:14, ‘Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.’
Jesus laid down His life on the cross, so that we could really live and walk in the light. God sent His Son so we could walk in the light, not the darkness of fear, idolatry, and comparison.
Psalm 56:13, ‘For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?’
John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”
Isaiah 9:2, ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’
What are you lions in recovery?
How do you attack those lions of recovery?