Ah yes, another summer weekend upon us already. Summer is flying by and I need it to slow down. I guess the only one that can make that happen for me is me! I don’t know if it’s because it is light out so early or what, but I keep waking up around 5:30 am ready to hit the ground at top speed! I do three things every (almost every) morning to get going. First, my quiet time with God (this includes coffee), then exercise, and of course, breakfast. Usually in that order. I like to be ready for whatever the day is bringing by 9:00 am, but it is usually closer to 10:00. I get an A for effort though, right?
So, our series continues with Step 3. I thought it might be helpful to list them every week as I add the next one. They flow together well when you read them together.
Also, I wanted to mention that there are the 12 steps of AA and also just the 12 steps. They are almost identical, but I’m going to use the one that is simply the 12 steps for the rest of the series. I thought it might be easier to relate to.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our problems-that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.
What does that mean? I was pretty sure I had already done this.
What this step means is, I had to make a conscious choice to commit ALL my life and will to Christ’s care and control. Everything. He tells us in in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” That sounded much more trustworthy with my biggest secret than any person here on earth.
In fact, the whole turning your life over to God thing sounded pretty good to me. I certainly wasn’t doing a very good job of managing it! When I give into bad habits, (the worst one by far was alcohol) I am giving control over to another power. Not God. When I am anxious or stressed, my addiction can make me feel at peace right away and moves me further away from God. Let me give you a few examples.
First off, one from the drinking days. Sometimes I would buy alcohol when I was out in the morning and then not even drink it until much later. I found peace knowing it was there when I wanted it. There was a calm that would came over me when I was in the car with the brown bag safely stashed. I think this came from taking the pressure off about quitting. At least for that day, I didn't have a decision to make anymore. Was I drinking or not? I was and I had made a conscious choice to do so.
Second, would be my love/hate relationship with food. If you have been following my blog, you can see this comes up often! I wake up every day with the best of intentions. I learned so much about myself when I did the whole eat clean thing for a month. I felt great from head to toe. I slept like a baby and honestly felt very peaceful. I was following the rules set before me and reaping the benefits of feeding my body all whole, non-processed foods.
My spiritual life was better than ever too. I asked for God's help on a daily basis with this plan. Now I am just trying to eat healthy and limit myself to one sweet a week. This is hard! I like to do things that I have to totally commit to. Like doing something for 40 days. I am not good at this “all things in moderation” crap. I do nothing in moderation. So when I cave, and have a cookie (or five) I am like, “That's it for today, pressure is off.” Then I get that peace that comes with the thought, “My rules, my way.”
So what's the real lesson here? It's black and white when it comes to turning your will and life over to the care of God. It's not a part-time thing. At those moments when you give in to whatever is controlling you, that is when you leave your commitment to God in the dust. Think about what that is for you.
When those things happen, it is so important to reign it back in and regain control over it with God’s help. The awesome part of all this is that you may have turned away for a minute or a day (or longer) but he didn’t. He just patiently waited for you to turn back around and keep surrendering your stuff to him. Why would he wait so patiently for me to get my act together again??? Simply because he loves us. He wants us to live life in freedom, not bondage. He paid the price so we do not have to be a slave to anything.
Take a step today to change your focus and turn it all over to God instead of going back to the old ways of trying to hide from him. When you are overwhelmed or anxious and looking for escape you do have a place to turn.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
-Matthew 11:28 & 29 NIV
When you give it all to him, your burdens might not disappear, but they do become manageable.
Sometimes you have to look back to be able to look ahead. When I look back at all the things that were in motion to get me into recovery, I was totally unaware of what was happening. I am overwhelmed by his love, grace, and mercy for me. That he loved me enough to keep giving me another chance. It makes me wonder what else lies ahead!
This I know for sure: ”I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13. That is where I am going to stay today. Remember the AA saying I’ve mentioned before?? “Just for today.” Don’t think ahead about what tomorrow looks like just stay in his presence today.
Get some good practice in today with the whole turning your will and life over to him. When the hard stuff comes up, say the Serenity Prayer. Make a conscious decision every time to stay close to God in whatever you’re going through. I guarantee you, life will get better the more you stay with him.
Blessings on your weekend ahead!