There is no such thing as “hand-me-down faith.” Ultimately, every one of us will stand before God with our future literally in our own hands, deciding for ourselves what kind of person we will be and what our life will stand for. Some of the men in the recovery group I attend, when they made their decision to entrust themselves to God, experienced immediate and profound gratitude with dramatic emotional outbursts. Others experienced only a quiet sense of relief that their life would change for the better. Whatever the experience, each of us knew it was far better to make the decision to surrender and trust than continue on the way we were going. It was very simple, really; we could no longer trust ourselves to manage our lives alone.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
Everyone is affected by external influences. We are influenced by our social environments, by our friends, our families and our coworkers. And we are commonly identified by our appearance, profession, and social status. While our external circumstances may appear to be the most dominant aspect of our lives, it is really our will that is the true center point of every man and woman.
My will is always central to who I am and who I will become. Behind everything I say or do is my will. It is the doorway of decision through which I give and take in this world. The will is what initiates and dictates the actions of one’s life. The will is where the one and only real question of life is asked: Will you be self-directed? Or, will you be God-directed?
In my addictions, I was blind to see how I had been a slave to my own agenda. The self-centered ways I thought and lived both triggered my addictions and increased them at the same time. Without realizing it, my goal in my addictions had become very simple — to get what I wanted. Every decision I made was simply determined by whatever made sense to me at the time. I was my own god and I did not even know it.
So, in order to find a new and better way to live, I had to make a new decision. And in making this new decision I also made a new goal. My new goal is to ask — continually ask — God to manage and care for that part of me that is made in His image. The part of me that is personally unique: my will. My goal then became the pursuit of an honest and open relationship with God. To a sex addict like me, anything else is death.
“We had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.”
Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book pg 62
“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love, and Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!”
Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book pg 63
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person,
by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2 NLT
Once I made the decision to turn my will over to God’s care, I quickly learned that it is impossible to do this without turning my life over to God’s care as well. We simply cannot do one without the other. This is because the way we live our lives is the truest indicator of our will, and until we are willing to give our life to God entirely, we have not surrendered our will, either.
My problem had been that I had considered my personal wants and wishes as if they were necessities, making demands in ways I was not even aware of. I wanted my way and I wanted others to agree, cooperate and assist me in obtaining what I wanted, with little regard for the impact on others. When I failed to get what I wanted, I became angry and resentful, which proved just how selfish my motivations really were at the time, regardless of how good I thought my intentions were. And often, without realizing it, I would punish others in one way or another, and in so doing, I became intolerable to an extent that those around me would leave me or reject me. Then, my misery would grow all the more, making my addictive inclinations seemingly irresistible once again.
Are you like I have been? Are you at odds with the world and the people in it? Sometimes, with very little provocation, we can be like mercenaries. We fight to get what we think is important. If pushing and shoving doesn’t work, we “kill ‘em with kindness” to hide our selfish motives. We sometimes claim victory. And other times we politely admit defeat — faking surrender — in order to regroup and try to win once again.