More God, Less Me

Keeping life simple is a key ingredient in the recipe of recovery. Sobriety—not using or doing that thing that makes your life unmanageable—depends on living a life marked with gratitude and humility. There is no room for boasting or making much of myself. Life can’t be all about me.

Rather, life today is more about others. How am I impacting the people God has placed in my circle of influence? I try to go about this quietly, avoiding drawing attention to myself. By nature, for a variety of reasons (including ego) minimizing my efforts proves to be challenging for myself at times.

He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

       but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

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You’ve all encountered the drunken braggarts at the local bar. Our fish tale keeps growing more preposterous with each rendition. Our hey-look-at-me circus builds into an explosive rant-filled dance begging for the spotlight to shine on us longer and brighter. Braggadocio is the life recovery calls us to leave behind. We no longer look to shine the light on ourselves but strive to build up others, helping them be all God intended them to be. We know that the Lord has a plan and that plan does not mean to do us harm. We are His servants, no longer slaves to our addictions, free to let God’s light shine through us, so that He may be glorified, not ourselves; so that others might benefit, not us alone.

We maximize God and lessen ourselves. We lift up others without highly regarding ourselves. We do it for the love of God and the love for others.

We recognize that we are lucky to be alive and whatever life we have is grand. Ours is a grace adventure, basking with gratitude and walking in humility.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

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Otherwise, our world is bound to come crashing down around us. We have to ensure we keep first things first, taking care to daily order our priorities. Life in recovery is, after all, a day by day endeavor. Our foundation, secured through our Savior, must be built on prayer and God’s Word if it is to stand. The Lord must grow in us, and we must make ourselves smaller to make room for Him. Who are we, after all, that God would concern Himself with us? Yet, we know God does. We must try to learn and understand His ways and His thoughts, so that we can make them ours, letting His light shine brightly through us. In recovery, our life becomes about God and others and less about us.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The Gospel of Mark 12:28-31

True Confessions

via Daily Prompt: Better

I have a true confession.

My wife, Sweet T and I love the TV thriller/drama Bloodline on Netflix. The 23-episode program isn’t your typical fare. Bloodline is an American Netflix original television series from creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman. Sony Pictures Television produced the series consisting of episodes that run 48-60 minutes each.

We also like TNT’s Good Behavior and AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. But more about those shows later. I digress; Let’s discuss Bloodline.

I enjoy watching a show filled with imperfect, flawed characters, revealing intriguing family secrets, and featuring a little history mixed in for good measure.  Bloodline certainly fits that bill.

Sweet T and I binged on the show over several days, getting hooked on the 13-episode Season 1 followed by 10-episode Season 2. The program’s final season (Season 3) is set to debut on Netflix at the end of May 2017.

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Bloodline focuses on the story of the Rayburn’s, a prominent Southern family residing in the beautiful paradise of Florida Keys. Paradise quickly begins to get tarnished with the arrival of the wayward son, Danny. Danny’s younger siblings are disturbed by his return home and rapidly realize that his presence threatens to reveal old family secrets and open old wounds.

The show is well-written and adeptly directed, moving at a suspenseful, plot-twisting pace. The secrets of the Rayburn family surface, marring the beautiful setting of the Florida Keys.

Sam Shepard (Robert) and Sissy Spacek (Sally) portray the Rayburn parents of the four siblings played by Ben Mendelsohn (Danny), Kyle Chandler (John), Linda Cardellini (Meg), and Norbert Leo Butz (Kevin). The supporting cast features a great ensemble of excellent actors and actresses.

The Bloodline plot explores family dysfunction, sibling relationships, addiction, deceit, manipulation, and the lengths people will go to keep their private family secrets safe and out of public view.

I think it is the show’s exploration of how manipulative addicts can be and the examination of the impact that this has on families that draw me to the program. It is also relevant for its glimpse of the human trafficking industry and the people it devastates in its wake. The show offers a bird’s eye view of fallible, fallen, broken people doing their best to maintain the status quo.

The show is really for mature audiences and not what I would call wholesome family viewing or suitable for all ages. That said, grownups should enjoy the unseemly tale of the Rayburns as their dysfunctional family portrait unravels more and more with each new episode. For TV viewing in the 21st century, it doesn’t get much better.

Sweet T and I can hardly wait for Season 3.