"Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10.
As a potential member in a CAIRing Grace Group, there are a number of things we would like to share with you that we have found useful in helping to create an atmosphere of grace and safety in these groups. In the CAIR Handbook (Changing Attitudes In Recovery – A Handbook On Esteem) it states on page 118 that "We recognize the fundamental differences between religion and spirituality and are talking about the basic need of spiritual relationship in recovery. We are not saying that the two cannot co-exist, but rather appreciate the differences. In CAIR we believe that no person has the right to force his or her beliefs on another."
In the CAIRing Grace Groups we focus on the loving relationship we are able to share with our "Big Brother" Jesus and begin the meetings with the prayer: "Lord, allow us to see ourselves and others through Your eyes, and to respond to what we see through Your Nature."
Because of His Person and Nature, we can begin to treat ourselves and others with this same quality of grace. We can gradually learn to remove layers of our personal masks and relax into becoming more transparent in sharing where we are on our journey. Using His model for change, we can allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into His likeness (knowing we will never achieve it perfectly). "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."Romans 5:5 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7.
Everyone is welcome to attend these free CAIRing Grace Groups, regardless of the issues and concerns that have lead them to the group. Depression, anxiety and panic are among the common symptoms for people suffering from low self-esteem. They experience the gamut of addictive problems including chemical dependency, eating disorders, co-dependency, and sexual addictions. Their emotional turmoil and internal stress are associated with physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, sleep difficulties, etc. Intimacy and the capacity for healthy relationships are elusive for those with low self-esteem.
We need to understand where our self-esteem comes from and how God wants us to feel about Him, others and ourselves. Jesus shared that we are to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength", and to "Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:30.
The purpose of the CAIRing Grace Groups is to provide a safe place to practice remembering who we are in relationship to Him. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does." James 1:22
In addition, we can learn to develop a set of principles, tools, and attitudes we call "2000 year old" New Program, which supports healthy self-esteem and transforms the problems that came from our low self-esteem in the past. New Program helps us accept God's free gift of Grace. Our view of self needs to transform into how God wants us to see ourselves: "Who I am is ‘becoming’, and my recovery is the process of experiencing the adventure of becoming like the person and nature of Jesus Christ."
The role of the facilitator in the CAIRing Grace Group is to help provide an atmosphere of openness and grace within the meetings. As facilitator, you have a commitment to becoming more and more comfortable being uncomfortable in His service. Being facilitator is like being a loving shepherd in a meeting in which you realize that you are one of the sheep. Your feelings of grateful humility for how your Big Brother Jesus has been toward you can be reflected in your approach to the group.
Being a facilitator does not mean that you have it all together or know all the needed Scriptures and sections in the Handbook. What is important is that you support the safety in the meetings by affirming the guidelines from the “Introduction To CAIRing Grace Groups.” Everyone in the meeting is also responsible for supporting the safety. It is clear that you are not a therapist, just a caring Christian brother or sister on the path too. We desire to let His Spirit through us help us all grow into Him.