The first principle of recovery is acceptance.
Acceptance of reality. Giving voice to the problem. Admitting where you are powerless.
Until you can accept the reality of a situation, you cannot truly see it, let alone change it.
Acceptance is not a weakness. This kind of vulnerable ownership is the seed that grows into a mighty oak tree of righteousness.*
True acceptance is fierce ownership. In recovery, acceptance looks like owning and focusing on one's choices and the impact of those choices.
In a relationship, acceptance is both brave ownership of one's selfishness and also an abiding and committed vow of loving your partner right where they are, at this moment. It's loving presence. Acceptance doesn't mean you approve of their struggles or ignore them. Acceptance in a relationship means that you see your partner's weaknesses yet don't define them by their darkness.
Acceptance enables you to grieve.
Acceptance acknowledges your weaknesses. Acceptance is about admitting and owning the struggle and asking what your situation teaches you. It empowers you to bring curiosity, not condemnation, to your struggle.
Acceptance is a perspective shift, where you can see reality more clearly.
Acceptance leads to devotion to walking the narrow way.
Acceptance leads to devotion and dependence on God, who alone can save you.
Acceptance leads to devotion to a community that is committed to intentionally walking the same way in the Spirit.
Without acceptance, you either don't have devotion, or the wrong fire fuels it.
"Only those who have faced loss, who have drunk from the cup of undiluted vulnerability–and who have been rescued by a power infinitely beyond their own at the depths of their greatest need–can offer hope stronger than the idol's word of fear."
Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak
"Acceptance is the recognition, ever accurate, that in this moment things cannot be other than how they are. We abstain from rejecting or condoning. Instead of resisting the truth or denying or fantasizing our way out of it, we endeavor to just be with it. In doing so, we foster an aligned relationship with the actual, present moment...In fact, hatred, resentment, and even confusion can be the psyche's attempts not to feel pain or sadness. Healthy grief–the jewel so often hidden within ossified grievance–frequently waits on the other side of accepting how things are and have been."
Gabor Maté, The Myth of Normal
What is most challenging to put into words?
What is most difficult to accept?
What is the pain beneath your anger or resentment?
What is your greatest struggle teaching you?
Let me know any questions you have about recovery, no matter how specific. I'd love to hear what topics you want me to write about. Just reply to this email.
More on this in the future as we're heating up some exciting new projects in the slow cooker.