Dave Sable on Recovery

Dave and Lori (Loretta Swenson) are former members of the Fullerton Assembly. They live in North Carolina, where Dave has worked for a well-known Christian ministry since 1995. Their son Nathan is in the Navy.

September 2008   (Comment was first posted on the Assemblyboard.) For me, if I have issues with an Assembly brother who has wronged me, I make an honest attempt to get him to see it.  If he repents, great. If he continually refuses to see it, there comes a point (and everyone has to determine this point for themselves) that I have to just let go of it and accept the fact that I can't control decisions other people make. It is not healthy for me to keep replaying the Assembly scenario in my head. It is time for me to get on with other things in life.

I don't view folks who are still hanging onto the hope that they can help former leaders to repent as bitter. They may be, I suppose, but I don't really know. Honestly, I had to deal with more resentment towards my parents for not preparing me to recognize a dysfunctional system such as the Assembly. I also had to deal with resentment when I see what my son is doing in the Navy and realizing that at his age I was giving my all to what I thought at the time was the work of the Lord.

But I think this is all part of my spiritual growth, where I am accepting the things I cannot change, changing the things I can, and asking God for wisdom to know the difference.

August 2008  I have learned a lot of things being in both the Celebrate Recovery Christian twelve-step recovery program as well as a secular twelve-step group. The truths in recovery have helped me with life-long life-dominating compulsive areas that Watchman Nee, Handbook to Happiness and "identification with Christ" never seemed to touch for me, though I tried and tried and tried to master these books. I even went on a week long vacation in Arizona just to study The Normal Christian Life.

My "higher power as I understand Him" still includes the historical atonement and resurrection and God in triunity. It still accepts the Bible as God's word, though half of it I don't really understand. And I believe the church is still worth supporting with my time and energy. Nevertheless, I went through a period of life where, while I believed God forgave me of my sins, I stopped believing that God would ever deliver me from the power of my sins.

So while these things never caused me to ultimately leave Christ and the church, I see that pain can force someone to go wherever they think the answers might be and to the place where they find something that seems to work for them.

June 2008  In response to Lee I.'s blog post on Keswick burnout, this is what is working for me now:

For me, I no longer think of Christian spirituality in terms of striving towards a perfect state of being. I no longer think that, “If only I just (fill in the blank – reckon my self dead, crucify self, be filled with Christ, master Romans 6, pray more, read my Bible more, deny self, fast etc.) I will arrive.”

This illustration is how I think of things now (I don’t know if it is technically accurate but it is still a good illustration): When a commercial jet is going from point A to point B, it is off course 80% of the time. With wind and heat changes, the jet slightly drifts from its course. The pilot, however, sends a signal every couple of minutes and constantly corrects its course.

To me, this illustrates my Christian spirituality. It isn’t that I never have some really stinky ideas in my head or I don’t react in poor ways. I do drift off course constantly. But as I learn more about God as well as learn about myself, I find that I am able to make course corrections sooner so that I don’t get so far off that I start really making a huge mess of things.

I will never be perfect, per se, in this life. But the spiritual tools and disciplines that I have been given (meditation, prayer, confession, making amends, journaling, teaching, fellowship, communion, etc.) help me correct my course.

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