The Hope Diary: Step Five, Trusting Another

After going through my Step Four Inventory the first time in 2010, I was scared to death to actually share it with another person. I had read in my recovery book early in my program that I had to confess my deepest, darkest secrets to God and to a trusted sponsor, pastor or unbiased friend.

At that time I remember thinking: “HUH? How humiliating! Wasn’t it good enough to give it to God in prayer and trust that He was Healing me? Why would I tell my shameful past to another person? Besides, they would just hurt me like everyone else…right? How in the WORLD could I truly trust blindly someone else. I knew it, here was the catch. I knew this recovery program was too good to be true, everything always is. No one and nothing is ever to be trusted. There is always fine print.” And I thought like this for about, oh, a good six months or so the first time I went through Steps 4 and attempted to go through Step 5. And I backtracked in my recovery and slipped into old habits because of FEAR. Do you know what fear really stands for? F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real.

I was so afraid of the false scenarios I spent more time making up in my mind about sharing my mess with my sponsor than actually DOING it for the healing that I needed to get, that I ended up having a relapse. Now, relapse can be a part of recovery, but do you see what I am saying that if we just learn to take hold of the fearful thoughts and know that God is with us and for us, and just DO the things that are being asked of us, surrender and get the help we need, we would see so much victory in our recovery and lives.

Fast forward, three years later, strong in recovery, Praise the Lord I did regain victory over the relapse and did end up completing Steps 4 and 5 (a few times). I had gotten a wonderful sponsor and life coach who really worked and worked with me and never gave up. I would never be where I am without my sponsor and without working with her and continually taking inventory and telling her about my messes. I believe that we generally give up too easily in life and we can give up on others too soon also. You never know what you can do for another person’s life if you just keep praying for them, working with them, and helping them in any way you can.

In the Catholic religion, confession is very similar to step five, you know, going and releasing your sins to the priest and being relieved of your burdens. Well in recovery, your past and the things underlying your addiction truly have to be inventoried and shared with God and another person because if not, they continued to get buried. Our secrets, pains, traumas, defects and past fuel our addiction if we do not get healing for them. This is what I consider to be the most critical step of any 12 step program.

So as I continue in sharing from the Life Recovery Workbook, here are the questions from Step Five.

“Overcoming Denial
Genesis 38:1-30

1. What am I avoiding in Step Four by delaying Step Five?

2. What is the exact nature of my wrongs as listed in Step Four?

3. What interferes with my being honest about myself?

Unending Love
Hosea 11:8-11

1. How do I react/respond to the truth that God does not give up on me?

2. What keeps me from being truthful with God?

3. What makes me think that I can hide anything from God?

The Plumb Line
Amos 7:7-8

1. Have my morals and values been in line with God’s? Explain.

2. Have I had morals and values without being able to apply them to my life? Explain:

3. What has kept me from staying in line with God’s and my own morals and values?

4. Am I ready to surrender to God’s moral “plumb line” and share my Step Four Inventory? If not, why am I hesitating?

Feelings of Shame
John 8:3-11

1. What scares me about sharing “the exact nature of (my) wrongs” with another human being?

2. Who is my fear related to in my past? How did this fear develop?

3. Has there ever been a time in my life when I felt the fear and took action anyway?

4. Have I set the appointment for completing Step Five by sharing my Step Four Inventory? My commitment to myself:

Date: Time:

Receiving Forgiveness
Matthew 5:23-24

1. Why would God want reconciliation before praise when we bring gifts to him?

2. Does anyone have anything against you that needs to be reconciled? Who and why?

3. What would be the impact on your life if you opened yourself up to forgiveness of others and from others?

Freedom through Confession
James 5:16

1. Lack of confession and openness with others results in a self-constructed prison. Do you know what that is like? Describe it here.

2. How can confession result in such profound healing?

3. Reflect it here on God’s command to be open not just to Him but also with each other.

Escaping Self-Deception
Lamentations 3:40

1. As you examine yourself, can you admit to some self-deception in the past?

2. Does anyone have the freedom to speak truth into your life on a regular basis? Who?

3. Ask three or four trusted friends to write five words describing your strengths and five words describing your weaknesses. Record them here and examine them to discover areas you can work on within your small group of trusted fellow strugglers.”

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for letting me reprint the above questions to help further the recovery process for those still suffering.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

“Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You” by Karla Downing

Christian Relationship Help: Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You by Karla Downing

“Forgiveness is a commandment for Christians (Matthew 6:14-15); yet, there is a lot of misunderstanding on how to forgive. This Christian relationship help gives you six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you:

1. Understand that it is a process.The first step is to commit to that process. Some people erroneously suggest that someone should forgive right away when they find out about a major offense. This isn’t possible. Before you can forgive, you have to know what you are forgiving. It takes time to figure out what has happened and how it has affected your life.

2. Reflect on the facts of the situation, your reactions, and how it is affecting you. You have to count the cost in order to forgive by first recognizing how you have been affected by the offense. This way you know what you are forgiving.

3. Understand what the offender did and why it was done.This is putting yourself into the shoes of the other person. It gives you a perspective that can help you to be empathetic. Hurt people hurt people. This doesn’t mean you excuse the wrong or not hold the person appropriately accountable; it only means that you try to understand the problems the other person had that would have caused him/her to do what was done.

4. Choose to let go of the right to get revenge.You turn the person over to God and allow him to judge in his way and time (Romans 12:19). This can include allowing the person to face the legal, relational, financial and situational consequences of his/her actions; however, you need to let go of your bitterness and resentment and not take pleasure in the person’s pain and demise.

5. Treat the person with dignity and respect.You want to love your enemies and offer them a cup of cold water, as Jesus suggested (Romans 12:20); yet, you can still set boundaries to protect yourself. This requires that you take a step of faith and treat the person well. When you do it, it will help you to maintain the forgiveness and allow God to work in the person’s life.

6. Choose to no longer be defined by the offense.This is where you integrate the offense into your life as another thing that has happened that you have walked through that God has used to shape and mold you. Your identity is not: “The spouse who was abandoned,” The parent who lost his child,” or “The unloved child.” You have a different perspective that involves acceptance, forgiveness, and faith and a self-image that includes how you have been refined through your life experiences and how God is using it for good.

This Christian relationship help offers you these six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you. These tips will enable you to move on from the offense in a way that sets you free and pleases God.”

God Bless,
Nikki

My Reflection In the Mirror

My nine and a half year old niece *Colette loves to sit with me in the bathroom and watch me fix my hair in the mornings and put on my makeup. The other day we were spending time together while I was doing just that, and I frequently stopped to dance around the room with my hairbrush and sing songs on the iPad that she knows almost every word to. We just laughed and laughed until a hour and a half had passed and she was half silly and I had half of my hair and makeup on still, ha ha! These are precious memories and ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
After we had finished our mini concert in our jammies, Colette became pretty quiet and started to stare down at the floor. “Are you ok, Colette?” I asked. She didn’t really answer even though I knew she had understood what I was saying, and instead she went over to the weight scale that was over by the sink and promptly put her two feet firmly on the face of it. I carefully but discreetly watched as her face fell and she immediately became disheartened. Again, I repeated to her to tell me what was wrong, this time in French to make sure she understood. “Qu’est-ce que c’est ?”, I asked her beautiful, tiny face. After one enormous huff of a breath, Colette pointed to her belly and implied that she was overweight, and by her face, that she felt horrible about her body and appearance because of the number on the scale. I was shocked! A nine and a half year old child!! A child, so concerned about her weight and appearance already! What in the world is happening to our society?
Right away I took her and looked her straight and lovingly into her saddened eyes. “Colette, you. Are. Beautiful. Jolie. Do you know?” Obviously my French is terrible, but I could see in her expression that she understood because she peaked through with a microscopic smile. “Bon, now I want you to come to the mirror, look straight into it at yourself, all of you, and repeat after me, I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.” Well, my first attempt failed. She could not even look at herself, let alone repeat the words. This was a total learning experience for me, and I was just so heartbroken that this incredibly gorgeous, inside and out, talented, bright, sweet, charming, gracious child was deep down full of intense self-esteem issues because of a number on a scale. And where in the world did she pick this up? How did she even know to go and weigh herself and what these numbers mean? Ooh, I was just so infuriated!! And then subsequently all of the feelings that I had as a child came flooding back to me all at once. I had the same emotions, fears and knowledge of myself and body at her age and had already developed serious, serious body and food issues at the age of eight! Eight! Imagine, the psychological effects and damages that society can have on a child, with all of the messages it sends on what it is to be acceptable. This is plum ridiculous!
I gently repeated it to Colette over and over until she said it to herself in the mirror. “I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.” And you know what? She finally had a smile on her face, and she had a face of confidence where she could at least say it and look at herself in the mirror at the same time!
It is so important the words that we speak to children, and the words that they say to themselves and how they see themselves. Growing up, I did not really have any encouragement directly at home. Abused in my childhood in many ways from some family members, I had zero self confidence and in fact I hated myself from as early as the age of eight years old, when all of the abuse started to take on a more serious turn. There is so much power in our thoughts, our mind, our actions, and the words we say to ourselves and others. Just the kindest and most gentle sentence can help to change someone’s life. I often wonder what would have happened if instead of constantly hearing words of discouragement and disapproval, I would have been raised in an environment of positive reinforcement, encouragement, kindness and concern for my well-being, as every human being deserves to hear and know from childhood.

me, age 4.

Believe it or not, I struggled for seventeen years of my young life with body issues, self esteem, weight control, and loving myself, the real myself; and in fact, I don’t think I ever even knew who I really was because I never started my life with any kind of a healthy foundation on which to grown on or to have guidance from. When you are eight years old and start having deep-psychological food issues and base your worth and value on how you feel when you look in your kid jeans in the morning, there is a serious, life-altering mindset that takes place; And child, it’s not pretty.
Needless to say, when Colette started to talk negatively about herself in the bathroom and play the “blame game” with her body and the weight scale, I knew that I could not and would not let her leave there without trying to get her to see herself and speak to herself loving, caring words the way that God sees and loves all of us. It is important to share with you all how I was treated as a child and the problems I went through, but it is much more important and exciting to shout from the rooftops what God has done for my life! God took a messed up, broken, abused and helpless woman who had a hurting, angry little girl still living on the inside of her; a victim of her own perfectionism. He took me, when I had finally had enough of living like a victim and decided I wanted to live a victorious life, and in fact, He came running with open Arms to me, picked me up, carried me, and gave me a totally New Life that could only be found In Him! When I surrendered every single area of my life to God, it was not easy, it was very challenging, in fact, but I began to see myself the way that God saw me, as I first learned from His Word. In the Bible, there are four key adjectives that are used to describe how we are seen in God’s eyes, and although there are many more I want to share the following with you, and invite you to repeat these powerful phrases in front of the mirror, and to yourself throughout the day whenever you need a “pick-me-up.”

I am created in the Image of God. In the Book of Genesis 1:27 it says that, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Well, this verse really changed a lot for me. If I am created in the very image of God, and God is supposed to be All-Seeing, All-Knowing, All-Capable, All-Powerful, Always in Control, just PERFECT, then right here and now I should understand that I should NEVER, EVER, EVER say another bad thing about myself ever again! If I know that I am created in God’s very image and He did so ON PURPOSE because He loves me, and He has an amazing future for my life, then speaking and thinking bad things about myself would be just like slapping Him in the face, never-the-mind all of the damaging effects it would continue to do to myself. So the next time you feel like you are ugly or not worthy just the way you are, that is total crap and hurtful to God because He. Made. You. Unique. And. Precious. In. His. Sight.

I am accepted. Ephesians 1: 3-8 says, “I have been chosen by God and adopted as His Child.” Wow! You mean all of this time I did not have to have feelings of abandonment, loneliness, unworthiness and shame for not having my family there for me? NO! As children, we tend to idolize our parents, and see them as being perfect and incapable of making mistakes. When we become adults, we tend to blame all of our problems on our parents and our childhood, but what we really should be doing is accepting the fact that all our parents really did was give us life, bring us into this world, and raise us the best that they knew how to with the resources they had. The only One perfect is God, therefore, we have to learn to forgive our parents, even if we never even had any, even if they mistreated us, even if they left us as children. Why? Because we are not perfect either, and we can never point the finger because that is being hypocritical and God is not a hypocrite. When we understand what God says above in Ephesians 1:3-8 then it takes all of the pressure off ourselves having to constantly live in regret for not having the “perfect” childhood that maybe we would have liked to have. For we can discover that having a personal relationship with Christ gives us something far beyond and better: a Loving Father Who is with us Eternally and Who has a Home for us on Earth and in Heaven, and Who will never Leave us Nor Forsake us. So it does not matter what your childhood was like, the next time you feel sad about your family, feel comfort in knowing, “I. Am. Accepted!”

I am secure. 1 John 5:18 states, “I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.” Safety is critical to a child’s wellbeing mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. How many times have you seen a child act out in anger or frustration or how many times have you done this yourself, all the while knowing that the root of the action was fear? Fear is a joy-killer because it is not something that is valid, but it is something that we tend to believe. Fear is the opposite of faith, and when we live in fear, we can act out in all kinds of negative emotions on ourselves and to other people, places, and things. Deep rooted fears of gaining weight, past traumas, fears of not getting approval from others, etc., can be a main cause of eating disorders that start in children, and can develop into more severe problems if left untreated. Perfectionism and People Pleasing are very common “disorders” that, myself included, hundreds of millions of people struggle with, and it all really stems from childhood, the lack of feeling accepted and secure, and trying to make up for it all as adults by doing way too much for the sake of everyone else, when on the inside you are dying. God gives you unlimited security, safety and rest in His Arms, when you begin to study His Word little by little you will find that you do not ever have to feel afraid to take another step in this life and beyond alone. You are valuable and you have unbreakable security bank in the Kingdom of God. When fear starts to creep up on you, you pray, “Devil, shut up! I know who I am and what I have with God. God is with me always and I will not fear. I am secure. You cannot touch me, fear.”

I am significant. 1 Corinthians 3:16 clearly says, “I am God’s Temple.” Our body is God’s Holy Temple, and how dare we disrespect, destroy or disregard what God made! Whatever size, weight or shape your body is, you need to embrace or love that! The number on the scale should be left there, and should not follow you throughout your day, determining your value and significance. Your significance is found in Jesus, and what He says about you, that you are HIS Temple, His Body, and You are FREE to love your body! So you should not go by the world’s standards of “measuring up” and obtaining worthiness from a certain dress or pants size because you are important enough in God’s eyes just the way you are!

So throw away all of your worries, take deep breaths and release them, go and look in the mirror, and I mean really look in the mirror. Now see yourself the way that God sees you.

Perfect.
Accepted.
Secure.
Significant.

Aaahhh. Now say, “I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.”

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Hey Girls and Boys!! Wanna Be a True *SuperModel*? Here’s the Real Deal Inside!!

Beauty Blogging and Photo Booth Funning…

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose Beauty Blog Fun July 2012 4

Little Girls and Boys Everywhere Rejoice!! We are all Model Citizens of the World!! You don’ t have to be a “supermodel” of the fashion industry’s standards to be a star in your own right! You have to first realize that within YOU lies the secret to being the wonderful and amazing humble Diva that you already are! God made you already a true beauty unlike any other so when you wake up every day you can say, “I am a SUPERMODEL!”

What are the characteristics of a true SuperModel meaning YOU, an everyday SuperModel? Well first things first, a true model is a role model which means you set a good example for others around you from the inside out. After all, when you are acting beautifully you are inspiring others and lifting them up instead of acting proud and snobby. So, let’s look at a few of the key ingredients to shake up the mixing pot of your inner SuperModel, shall we? OK!!

*The number one most important ingredient you need every day is God. Without God, you have nothing, and everything you do, is for Him! After all, He made you truly beautiful, inside and out, and He wants nothing more than for you to spread your kindness, talents and gifts to the world for all to see. It is extremely important in your life to remember to always give God the honor, glory and praise for all that you do!! Think about this, how are you even breathing this very moment…it is all God! So the first sign of a true “SuperModel You” is giving God back all of the credit He deserves. He loves you! He has an amazing and hopeful plan for your life!! I know that I personally would not be anywhere at all in any area of my life without God, and I owe everything for the rest of my life to Him. I love you Jesus!! Thank you God, for saving me!

*The second key factor in determining a SuperModel is humility. My oh my, how long I have gone around the humility train and failed, and will always have to take a ride again and again. We are all human and fail! What matters is that we have a heart that desires to reach up higher and become better because God sees the hearts of people. No judgements on this panel folks!! We will never be perfect in this lifetime and that is what is so wonderful about living in the presence of God. What is humility to you? The Bible describes humility in Philippians 2:3-11, saying:

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

Come on now, if Jesus can be humble and be a servant, then surely we all can be humble and put others before ourselves, even and especially when we don’t feel like it. That’s the toughie!! When we don’t feel like it! Yet, this is what will make you a Super Duper Role Model so beautiful, everyone will want to be shiny like you, and won’t the world be a much better place to live??

*Third, I am just gonna be so bold as to say that your persistence in life is extremely important as to determining your level of SuperModel. Unfortunately too many people give up on things way too early and this is not how we are bred to live. We are made as Conquerors in the eyes of God!! Victors! Romans 8:37-39 says:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Every time you go through rough and tough trials in life, see it not as something to stop you, but as things to prepare you for the greater victories down the road. All it takes is a slight refocusing of your mentality. Think of your favorite Disney hero. Did they quit when the going got tough? NO!! Why in the world would you, thank you? Alright now, let’s proceed, my little warriors and warriorettes.

*The fourth determining role in a SuperModel is someone who truly Loves themselves. You have got to learn to deeply love yourself!! Man, I spent the majority of my life trying to please everybody in the world, to the point that I never gave myself first priority behind God. I mean, A LA DUH! What the heck? No wonder I had so many screwed up problems that later in life I realized I kept bringing them on myself! I did not love myself!! I was so overworked and trying to people please everyone on the face of the planet and way out in Mars, Venus and Pluto too, that I had realized that when I sat down one night to watch a movie by myself at home, I did not even know what that felt like. HOW SAD! Love yourself! Take time to get to know yourself and when you really and honestly can say that you are whole within yourself and are well balanced, then you are able to go out into the world and help others. Until then, you can help all you want but will only be hurting yourself because you will be taking away precious time and energy from depleting life source. In 1 Peter 5:8, The Bible says:

“Be sober, (be well balanced) be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion (in fierce hunger), walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Whoa!! No thanks, buddy. You gotta keep your SuperModel Strength!! Be balanced, love yourself first after God, then you will have more time for other people.

*Finally, but not indefinitely, Confidence is so important for a “SuperModel You.” And you are listening to someone who, as I wrote one-time in one of my other articles, was one of the shyest and most un-confident teens you could EVER imagine. In fact, in my sophomore year of high school because I was SO quiet all of the time, my economics teacher announced in front of the entire class, “I don’t know what I would do if I had a room full of Nikkis.” Well now. Lord help me. Confidence is something that comes with time and patience. It is not something that you can buy on a shelf, but you CAN know where your confidence comes from, and you CAN “fake it until you can make it” kind of thing. First, your confidence, comes from God. In the Psalms, David knew where his confidence came from, as we see in Psalm 71:5:

“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.”

Wow! Thank you God, for your never ending confidence!! You see, With Him, your confidence jar will NEVER EVER run out! Second, even when you do not feel confident, you can FAKE being confident, and eventually your inner confidence will shine through. I am the queen of this, let me tell you honey! Especially being in the modeling and entertainment industry, it is all about “faking it ‘till you can make it! If I went every day by the way I felt I might NEVER get out of bed and into that gym, writing chair, endless casting room, runway stage, etc., And that’s just the business world I am speaking of. The real times I have needed confidence that only comes from God is in my every day trials and tribulations. And my goodness, seems like since the day I came out of my momma I have been sliding down the one way track of trials. But you know what? I know who I am and where I come from, because I have had to learn to equip myself with this deep unshakable confidence that only comes from God. Thank you Jesus!

Well my beautiful SuperModels of the World, God Bless you and see you soon!!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose