“With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 CEV
“We deify our independence and self-will and call them by the wrong name. What God sees as stubborn weakness, we call strength.”
We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
Everyone is addicted to something. While some things are more addictive to some people than others, the potential is there for all of us because of the biochemical connections that happen in our brain and our bodies. In fact, we can potentially become addicted to things that are not even thought of as addicting, because addiction has more to do with the inside of us, than it has to do with things that are outside of us. For example, let’s say that we have become addicted to jelly beans. Now we all know that jelly beans are not generally considered as addictive, but, nonetheless, it is possible that we may be so profoundly affected by our love of jelly beans that we begin to think and feel, at least to some degree in our psyche, that we “need” jelly beans. Being addicted to the jelly beans means that we’ve come to believe that they are necessary for us. We think that we need them to be happy and to maintain what we think is normal for us. This is the way that addiction corrupts our priorities, misplacing other things that are truly more important.
Just like with jelly beans, we can potentially become addicted to any person, to any place and to anything. The addictions we’ve struggled with have embedded themselves into our priorities and our intentions and, in doing so, they’ve hijacked our desires. The sum total of our priorities, our intentions and our desires equals our will. This means that ultimately we get addicted in our will.
The will is best described as what we intend on doing and what we plan to do. Perhaps we can best understand the term “will” if we think of it as our focused desire, our commitment to pursue, the giving of our attention, what we most deeply desire. Our will is what we want, what we pursue, with what and how we devote our attention. It’s what we are committed to doing. It’s what we really want. It connects us to everything we hope and dream for. It’s connected to our personal history including family, career, love interests, even religion and politics. Our will reveals everything we really think and feel about ourselves, other people, and the world in which we live.
In the past we have lived by our own willpower. And, as our addictions prove, our self-determined willpower has entangled us, getting us attached to people, to places and to things in ways that are not healthy for us. If we become attached to people, to places or to things in ways where they become more important to us than God’s will, our willpower is weakened accordingly. The more we exert our willpower for our own self-centered desires, the less effective it becomes. This is where the bondage of addiction gains its deadly toehold in our lives. Even though we often don’t realize it, the root of our addictions—and our sins, too—is pride. Willpower alone will never be enough. It must be empowered by God.
The antidote to our pride and our addictions is humility. Turning over our will to God’s care is the ultimate, and intimate, humility that only we can do for ourselves. What we are really doing is turning over every thought, every feeling, every desire, and every intention. We don’t try to change them ourselves, and we certainly don’t deny them. We just admit them and then turn them over to God. It doesn’t matter whether they are good or bad, we turn them over either way. As we turn over our will, even in the smallest of ways, our struggle with addiction begins to be—to the degree of our surrender—consecrated by God. As we turn over our will and our life to God, our personal will begins to be made holy.
Let us never forget that God is fully connected to everything we think and feel. He knows it all and He doesn’t turn away. In knowing all, He calls us home to health and recovery. This journey home begins with a letting go of our attachments, which is a way of allowing God to become fully involved in our thoughts and feelings. As we turn over our thoughts and feelings to God, they begin to become transformed by God. The power of God’s grace flows into us most freely when we decide to align our will with God’s will. As we do this, God will become more important and we will become less important. This simple decision is the most powerful way that any human being can exert his or her will. It is our choice for our recovery. It’s evidence of the initial transformation of everything we are, beginning with what we want and hope for, our will. Some of us prayed in this way:
I pray that I will learn to desire obedience more than blessing or comfort and to know that the greatest blessing in life is to live obedient to Your will. May I learn to better give up my will and find my complete and total satisfaction in Your will. My self-centeredness destroys me, but seeking You and doing Your will brings life to me. Realizing this, I have decided that my mind, my heart, and my will, will be directed to You. I will find my purpose and identity in knowing You more personally and living more powerfully according to Your Spirit.
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