Walking the Talk

thKEGSRHIEThere is one thing I am certain we can all agree on: all the theories and classroom instruction in the world will not fully prepare anyone for the realities they will have to face as a First Responder. It is not until we actually hit the streets and try to implement what we have learned that we can actually appreciate the full force of what the job is truly about. We may think we know what to expect and how to react based upon what we have read and seen in our training, but we would only be deceiving ourselves if we did not put our learning into action and actually do what needs to be done and learn from that experience rather than just being learners and accumulators of knowledge. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” (James 1:22 NKJV).

Limiting ourselves to merely reading about rendering First Aid without going out and being willing to put that learning into practice through fighting for someone’s life, will do no one any good. While this is certainly a necessary function of our duties as First Responders, it often leads to some pretty messy and nasty situations. Likewise, it really does us no good to learn all there is to know about various aspects of recovery without actually putting that knowledge into practice. However, true recovery can be just as messy and painful of an experience; bearing little resemblance to the more sanitized recovery testimonies we may have been exposed to in our research concerning the recovery process.

But how do we go about putting what we have learned about recovery into action? The best way I know of to put ones recovery on the right track is to deal with our denial, stop trying to work things out in our own strength, and completely put things into God’s hands and ask Him to show us what, specifically, we need to work on or let go of and how to do so. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Once we have asked God to show us our weaknesses we need to be aware that this can often be an overwhelming experience, especially if we try to do this without first establishing a support network. It is not uncommon to start to feel like we are so messed up that there is no hope of ever coming through to the other side of our addictions. This is when we must fall back upon God’s promises to help us and to cleanse us: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

We all need to take stock of, and repent (turn away) from the various besetting sins and compulsions in our lives, bring them out into the light so they lose their hold on us, and get set free!! “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God,” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Let’s get suited up and be prepared to get messy as we do whatever it takes to clean the HAZMAT of addiction(s) out of our lives and the lives of those around us!!

Taking Every Thought Captive!

Scott Pipenhagen
Recovery / Transition Chaplain
Serve & Protect
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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About Scott P.

Scott is a retired Military LEO and a Volunteer Chaplain with Serve & Protect (www.serveprotect.org) where he seeks to provide transition services for First Responders and Military personnel by mentoring and connecting them with local 12 Step or similar Faith-Based recovery programs, local Chaplains, and Trauma Therapists to continue their recovery journey following residential care treatment. Scott contributes these devotions to the Serve & Protect ministry Facebook page: Guns'n'Hoses (https://www.facebook.com/GunsHosesMinistry). Scott has been involved in Faith-Based recovery programs since 2006 and has a Bachelor of Science in Religion through Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies through Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Fredericksburg, VA, and can be contacted at spipenhagen@liberty.edu.
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