Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.
“So you’re saying there’s a chance”
-Harry Dunne (Jim Carrey; “Dumb and Dumber”)
It’s been recorded in the annals of history a fascinating story of those who survived the tragic events of Nazi Germany possessed a paradoxical, counter-intuitive reality. They held two polar extreme worldviews (that rarely co-exist) and they are the one’s who stayed alive and made it out.
Embracing the Reality of Their Life
Here is what I mean; they embraced the reality that the rest of their life could be a living hell (hopelessness) while simultaneously believing that they would one day be set free (hope). In certain first account journals you can read perspectives on why this worked.
For instance, those who just had hope (without embracing the truth that they could be imprisoned for life, or worse, die) would make mental commitments; “We will be out of this place by Christmas.” December 25th would come and go and when it went those who had created a false reality of hope had there proverbial ballooned popped and were left hopeless (like the rest).
The Case of Courage
The great theologian G.K. Chesteron masterfully unpacks these paradoxes in his insight into courage;
“Take the case of courage. No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes.
“It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if we will risk it on the precipice.”
Desire Life, but Drink Death
“He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.
“No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying.”
Embracing the Positives of the Day
A strong desire to live with a readiness to die…WOW! How does a broken, addicted, struggling person move forward? Do they pretend that the negative stuff isn’t real? NO! They embrace the negative but focus on the positive. Do they nullify and pretend that there isn’t a painful resume of the past?
No…BUT they choose to embrace the positives of the day. So, if you’re breathing today you are blessed, embrace it, enjoy it, and find gratitude in it. If you’re in community with other healthy people who love you and want to help you, embrace it, enjoy it, and find gratitude in it. If you have another chance to fight through the pain of the past and find new joy in the future, embrace it, enjoy it, and find gratitude in it.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Do you struggle with negativity? In what ways have you loosened the reins of negativity and embraced a more positive outlook? What impact has this had on your recovery from addiction?
About the Author:
Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.
Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR.
Addiction Hope is proud to announce the initiation of a special Christian Track of blogs and articles to commemorate the blessing of our sister site, Eating Disorder Hope’s 10th year anniversary. Watch for further content noted as “Christian Track”.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 8th, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com