Monday, May 08, 2006

Doing Step One

Alright. I've been 'working' step one of my revised steps. As I go through these, I want to share a little of what was behind the changes, if any, that were made to the AA version, as well as how working the step played out for me in practice. Since this is the first post, I'll also deal with the preamble a little: "In order to give ourselves fully to God's dream for us and others, we adopt the following practices:" Essentially, to me, this is about entering what Jesus called "the kingdom of God" which I take as operating here and now, and will never end. Jesus once chastised the Jewish leaders, saying "You have the keys of the kingdom, but you don't go in yourselves, and you prevent others from entering as well." I want my life to be about doing the opposite--entering the reign of God myself, and helping others do the same, to the extent possible. That's what the steps are about to me in a nutshell. See also, Philippians chapter 3. I want to lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me. Now to step one:

Step One: "Admitting that something is wrong—in us and/or in the world at large, and that we are powerless to fix it." Since I'm not addicted to alcohol (I never acquired the taste), I obviously needed to drop that reference in the original version. Rather than mention the things I am addicted to, which would take a while, I opted to be generic at step one. The inventory is coming, anyway. Also, coming to God isn't just about our own issues. There is hurt and evil around us, outside of us that can also send us looking for someone more powerful than ourselves. I felt that admitting that something is wrong in the world is also a valid starting place in our lives toward Christ. Finally, admitting that our own resources were insufficient to the task at hand seemed like a key component in the original step and in our search for God, generally speaking. So that was the theory; now for the practice:

This one surprised me. Honestly, I expected to admit where I was personally off, where the 'world' was wrong as I knew it, and then move on to step two in pretty short order. It kind of started off that way, which was good in and of itself. I recalled a 'big' time with God in which I really got a good look at what God expected from me in terms of doing right by Kim, my wife, and in all the other areas of my life--and I was fully aware of my inability to do it. At the same time, I felt God agreeing with me (maybe I was agreeing with him), and offering to do it through me, if I would let him, which was scary all by itself. It was a great thing to remember and re-experience. Those thoughts have been ruminating now for a while with good fruit.

Then, a few days ago, while a few friends and I were praying for a friend of ours who deals with seizures, I was hit with: "I am powerless over God." I know, no duh. But it's not 'no duh' for me. I can't explain to you the peace that just flooded me when that thought filled my mind. I think I carry some pretty heavy crap. I think that I've been feeling bad/guilty for not being able to get God to do stuff that I or others think he should do. You may laugh--I did (not during the prayer). It literally tickled me that the truth "I can't control God" was somehow news to my soul, and extremely relieving and joyous news at that. I haven't felt something that strong as a result of a truth in a long time. It was nice. Really nice. And it was obviously correct, which was also nice.

Humility, it is said, is the proper estimate of one's self. I don't think that I've achieved the 'proper estimate' yet, but I think coming to grips with the fact that I can't control God is a step in the right direction. Sorry if you wanted something deep. What can I say; I'm not God. Apparently, I'm not his boss either.


Anonymous said...

T, the thought that "I don't control God" is not "no duh" to me, either.

It's self-evident, yes. But we are practicing experts in denial. It's probably not surprising that this feels revelatory.

Anonymous said...

Oops -- that's me, Brant.

Bill said...

I'm glad I found this blog as you begin your journey. I'll be interested in reading how things are progressing. God bless!

Dan McGowan said...

This was a wonderful post! Thanks!

Deb said...

In AA meetings the statement, "There is a God and I'm not it" is often heard. There is a lot of comfort in arriving at that realization.

John Husband said...

Two things: First thanks for praying for us. Second, humble isn't one of my strong points so I can relate. I still remember reading Ecclesiastes and realizing that here is this guy, the wisest person in the entire world and he is still a little screwy. It really took the pressure off.