Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ARE YOU WILLING? - from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, NOT FOR MEN ONLY


ARE YOU WILLING?

Being unwilling to let go of a character defect or addiction is dangerous, potentially sabotaging our entire recovery effort. Unwillingness certainly limits our growth. When I felt like I was holding onto a character defect I didn’t want to let go of, I admitted my doubts, the fear I felt, and the stubbornness I felt inside. I admitted all these to myself, to God, and to another person. I also prayed and asked for God to help me with the fear and pride I was experiencing. I asked that He help me let go of everything that stood between me and a closer relationship with Him. The discovery of grace has never relieved me of my responsibility for taking the appropriate actions to deal with my character defects. When I’m in doubt about my attitude or character, I ask my sponsor or someone else who knows about my addictions and my desire to recover.

The moment we say, "No, never!" our minds close against the grace of God. Delay is dangerous, and rebellion may be fatal. This is the exact point at which we abandon limited objectives, and move toward God’s will for us.
Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps and 12 Traditions pg 69


If we still cling to something we will not let go,
we ask God to help us be willing.
Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book pg 76

Letting go of character defects starts with acting as if God has already equipped us — and He has — to live well without them. We take the opposite action we would have taken if we were acting out with a character defect. We reverse course, acting as if God has given us what we need, and in religious terms, we repent. If I want to be like Jesus, admitting my struggle and failure, then acting in faith like I am becoming like Jesus is a great place to start. Over time, honest obedient actions begin to change the way we think. If you want your life to change, change the way you act.

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions, ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom. But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance for life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:19-23 MSG
 
This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only  ~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011

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