10 Years Sober


Day 4: Nunc Coepi

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to maintain an attitude summed up by the Latin phrase Nunc Coepi. This phrase, taken from a Latin translation of the Psalms, basically means “Now I Begin.” It is a forward-facing posture that says, “Okay, I fell, but I’ve stood back up and now I begin again.”

Of all the ingredients necessary to be the man or woman God has called you to be, this one may be the most important. It’s the strength deep inside your gut to get back up again.

We see this in the story of Joseph we read. After being bought and “exported” to Egypt, Joseph found himself in a decent position, but he also found more trouble. An ambitious lady put her eyes on him. After declining her “advances”, he was accused of sexual harassment, and because the lady’s husband was not only the offended partner but also Joseph’s boss, judge, and ruler, poor Joe ended up getting undeserved punishment in jail.

But did he quit? Did he give up? Did he stop doing what he was called to do?

Nope. He continued to work hard, staying the course and acting with integrity as the man he was called to be. And because of Joseph’s character, the warden put him in charge of the other prisoners. 

Pharaoh eventually dreamed some crazy dreams of his own, and when his advisers failed to interpret them, he summoned Joseph. 

Joseph could have said no. He could have maintained a long memory, or hidden in the jail so he was not in a position to fall again. He could’ve told himself prison was all he was good for. 

But he didn’t. He embodied a spirit of Nunc Coepi.

Pharaoh was so impressed he hauled Joseph right out of prison for good and made him second-in-command of all of Egypt. All of Joseph’s dreams and stories were now vindicated, but he didn’t for a second let it go to his head.

Joseph was called to change the world, but along the way, he faced storm after storm, challenge after challenge, and each time he chose to dust himself off. He got up and gave himself the freedom to fall, maintained a short memory and he always began again, maintaining that Nunc Coepi attitude.