“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to Me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from Me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 CEV
”I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” -Vincent van Gogh
As we battled our addictions alone, it seemed like we were always failing. The harder we tried to overcome them on our own, the more they stole life and dignity from us. Over time, our addictions even began to erode the greatest of our God-given dignities: the ability to make clear and correct personal choices for ourselves. Time and again, our addictive obsessions promised freedom but instead they gave us an ever-increasing load of guilt and shame. Burdened by guilt and shame, we often chose to follow our addictions where we fell, once again, deeper into addiction. But no more! Things can change for us now. Today we stand at a crossroads. In one direction are the addictions that we’ve loved so much. In the other direction lies a new kind of life where our addictions will no longer be the center of our world.
In Step One we admitted just how stuck we really were. Then it was in Step Two that we realized that our lives could change if we were willing to rely on a power that was greater than we were. The place where Step One and Step Two meet is a kind of spiritual intersection, an intersection of choice for our lives. With addiction in one direction and faith in a Higher Power in the other, the only thing left to be decided is which direction we are going to go. Do we want to live or die? This choice no one can take from us, or make for us. For you see, the real battle of recovery is won or lost in the battle of our will. Will we be self- directed—which is how our addictions have taken hold of our lives—or will we be God-directed and recover from our addictions? The battle for recovery is won or lost in the private places of our will, where only we and God really know what is going on with us. It’s never in full view of the world. Even the empowering desire to recover that we are experiencing is a gift from God, who has already grabbed hold of us, compelling us to get alone with Him and surrender our lives to Him. Until we do this, we will lose every time.
Remember our friends from Scripture, Paul, Bartimaeus and Esperanza? All of them, at the point where their own sense of powerlessness intersected with their hope for healing, found within themselves the desire to put their faith in God who, through Jesus, had made himself available to them. Empowered by the desire for change, they made the decision to trade in their powerlessness for the powerfulness that Jesus had displayed to them and to others. This was not a religious decision for them. We doubt that they even considered it as anything more than a desperate appeal for help, which is exactly what it was. After all, they really were not “doing” anything. They were simply making the only reasonable decision that could be made when everything else had failed. And the same is true for us, too. In light of the combined desperation that we feel in Step One and the hopefulness we begin to experience in Step Two, the decision to surrender ourselves to God’s care becomes the most simple and sane thing we can do. Like our friends from the Scriptures, the record of our own addicted life will give us many good reasons to want to trade in our own powerlessness for the powerfulness that Jesus has displayed in the lives of people as historically recorded for the past 2,000 years.
If we want to recover, all we have to do is decide in whom we are going to put our trust and confidence. Will we continue to trust only in ourselves, or will we decide to put our life in God’s care? What we choose to do with our will is the single most significant and personal decision we will ever make. We are ultimately responsible for making the choice of what our lives will be like, what kind of people we will be and to whom we will belong. This decision can never be taken from us. We can no longer escape it. We are forever responsible for it. It’s a simple question really, one that we face everyday. Who will you trust? Who will you follow? Will it be your addiction or will it be God?
Copyright, David Zailer 2011