I meet every Tuesday night with a group of spiritual friends. Most of our group is involved in some level of recovery from drugs and/or alcohol addiction. The first three steps of AA are as follows:
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
My question to my spiritual friends centered on the Third Step subject of surrender. I asked a question that has been rumbling around in my brain for quite some time. I said, “How can we surrender, when we really don’t feel like it?”
How does someone go about surrendering?
Johnny was the first to answer. Like many people, I have a special connection with Johnny. He is one of the most generous and kind people I ever encountered. In the past his life has been adversely affected by drug addiction. His moment of surrender came when he was fed up. His ex-girlfriend was “pushing his buttons.” In the midst of a very painful conversation with her he told God, “I’m fed up with my life. I’m putting my life in your hands. I don’t want to do anything that is not your will.”
Ricky spoke quickly after Johnny had told his story. Ricky surrendered on Mother’s Day 1997 while in rehab. God used the message of First Corinthians 13 to get his attention. The number 13 is very significant to Ricky. He sees God’s love when a “13” comes to his attention. Ricky said, “I lived for ten years on God’s love that I experienced that day.”
Tuesday night was Ivy’s first visit with our group. Ivy has recently completed a three month intensive treatment for addiction. She said, “Surrender is hard. One week from tonight I will have six months of sobriety. Surrender for me is to get up every day and ‘hit my knees’ in prayer. Then, I listen to worship music. I also stay away from old friends, who might lead me back to my old lifestyle.”
Ivy has the attention of the entire group. She sits at the corner of the table in our church’s library. She has thick black hair and a winsome smile. She repeats that surrender is hard. She says, “I am an addict and I want to run my entire life. I know I can’t call the shots in my life. I have to allow God to direct my life. I always trust his guidance.”
Lena is one of our quiet, spiritual friends. We often call upon her to pray, because she reveals a strong prayer life. Lena simply stated, “I agree with Ivy. One day at a time.”
I asked about fears and Ivy’s eyes once again lit up with understanding. She said, “I’m afraid of many things. The lack of money is one of them. I call my sponsor many times every day. I know that surrender and trust got me here and I’m sticking with it.”
Mike H. is often insightful and transparent. He said, “I don’t think I have ever surrendered. When I see a plumber working, I think of ways I can do a better job and I’m not even a plumber. I’ve spent thirty years doing things my way and often the wrong way. It’s very hard to me to surrender when I’m so determined to have things my way.”
It was my turn to speak. I had to agree with Mike. I said, “I’m a pretty respected guy in the community. People think I’m religious and a good Christian. The truth is that I’m like Mike. I know God loves me more than I love myself. I also know he knows what is best for me. Still, I want to run my own life. It’s like I am at a drive-through restaurant. When I need God, I place my order. When I don’t need him, I drive off.”
It is clear that surrender is important to sobriety and a good life. It is also clear that surrender is difficult. Today, please join my spiritual friends by asking God to help us surrender to his direction for our lives.
Prayers for Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Dear God, please help us surrender today and every day to follow your loving direction of our lives.