- Published: January 16, 2017 January 16, 2017
The calendar says we begin again and lots of us will try. We’ll “reboot” our diets, our fitness, and many other habits we think we would like. Self-improvement is the name of the game. Most of us could use a little!
I love the Alcoholics Anonymous program myself and go as often as I can. Usually I make it once a week or so. While I’m not an alcoholic, I found the 12 Steps beneficial in my spiritual life and spiritual growth is my chosen path for self-improvement. I don’t have enough resolve for resolutions, self-discipline for restraint, or strength for “white knuckling!”
I depend on what AA calls a “Power greater than ourselves.”
I attended a meeting this past week. As I arrived, cars overflowed in the lot. All the parking spaces held vigil to the unusually high attendance attributed to another new year. Realizing I hadn’t been to a meeting in a while, I concluded I wasn’t much different, then smiled. You see, in AA everybody starts each day with the same choice, to follow God’s path or take your own. God’s path keeps you “sober,” while taking matters into your own hands leads to the insanity of trying the same thing(s) again while expecting a different result. And sober isn’t the opposite of drunk, but a term for being in your “right” mind!
You see, it’s not the drinking that is the problem, but the thinking which leads you there. The first of the 12 Steps is about surrender, “We came to believe we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” The great majority of us aren’t fortunate enough to see our powerlessness or the unmanageability of our lives, so we just keep right on doing the same things, following our own will, or path, or direction, instead of beginning our days looking for the freedom offered by surrender.
Surrender just sounds too weak, too vulnerable. So, we justify choosing our will over God’s by identifying the positive attributes, intellectual ability, and resources we utilize, qualities He provided. We say, “I don’t need God. I have everything I need and I can take care of things myself.” Every day I discover how wrong I am about that. Every day I realize “I” cannot and God can. He has given his Word, a relationship through the Holy Spirit, and the Church, all to reveal His will. In giving up I become sounder, less vulnerable while more willing to risk being known.
By getting our spiritual “fix” each day, we become more, have more to offer others, and the quality of our offering goes up. We become more like Jesus! The sin-distorted image of God created in us “in the beginning” gets regenerated. Sins, those actions not pleasing to God, fall by the wayside as we learn to love and live wholeheartedly, more abundantly.
Another new year, a good time to pick up a new habit, the simple act of daily surrender to God’s will, that leads to…