Hi, my name is John E Lindsey, and I am the Program Counselor for the men’s longer-term programs – the New Life Recovery and Journey To Work. Most of the men are homeless, addicted and afflicted. My job as a servant of Christ is to labor in the power of Spirit to engage and equip these men to live life on life’s terms.
One of the men I have been working with, I will call him Nick (not his real name) has been experiencing a real revelation – that it is okay to have boundaries with people. He described that throughout his life, he never knew what boundaries were, and therefore never really had clear limits and expectations in his relationships with wife, family, and friends. Even though he had some good values, like – a desire to get along with others; a value to not cause conflict; his summary of his lifestyle was that he always became confused, then frustrated, and eventually stop caring and would return to a life of drugs.
Through classes and individual therapy, Nick began to gain understanding how he would fall into this cyclical pattern of self-defeating behaviors. As we worked together he began to unravel his self-defeating patterns. It is time consuming. There are moments of temptation, to simply moralize for the purpose of having an answer to the problem. Life change is not simply having the “right answer.”
Life change as a Christian is about transformation, and not mere conformity (Romans 12:2). So I counseled with Nick, training him how to renew his mind – applying grace, truth and time to the heart issues of his life, in such a way that Nick began to see the person God re-created him to be.
Now Nick has a greater understanding about his limits and preferences. So that he can rightly, healthily, and biblically esteem other people more highly than himself (Romans 12:3). Highly esteeming others is never accomplished by belittling ourselves. Only as we experientially grow in our understanding of the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18) will we be able to believe and then obey God’s command to love others as ourselves.
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