I used this question as a journaling exercise. (I know it sounds like all I do is journal, but, hey, I save a fortune on therapists.) The journal question was, "What conditions are you still tyring to set on your willingness to be led?"
I decided to take a look at how well I practice two of the steps of my 12-step recovery program; namely, the third and the eleventh. The third step is:
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." (Any power greater than yourself will do. Some say it's their "H.P.)
The eleventh step is:
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."
Regardless of what you're recovering from, if it's a twelve-step program, you will find those two steps.
I ask God in prayer and, when I can sit still long enough, in meditation, what His or Her will is, and for the power to carry that out every single day. Then I immediately take it back and begin my self-will run riot day of pumping adrenaline and pouring down coffee and Diet Coke so I can accomplish more than three of the things on my daily to-do lists, which usually have about 25 items on them.
So this journaling question intrigued me. Did I put conditions on doing God's will for me?
Yes, I do. Here are a few that immediately came to mind:
1. Whatever, God, but leave me some space, my solitude and plenty of time to write.
2. Let me keep my freedom. All of it.
3. Don't make me do things I don't want to do.
4. Don't ask me to discipline myself or do things that are too hard for me. I don't even like the word "discipline."
5. Don't require that I do things now instead of later. God knows by now about what a terrible procrastinator I am. Surely God doesn't expect me to break out of that nasty addiction anytime soon.
6. Don't forbid me from my noodling on the Internet time, my other time-wasters and my just plain lazy time. Sometimes you have to sit back and chill.
7. Don't care if I forget to ask what your will is or ignore it even when I am pretty sure what it is.
8. Let me do things in my own way. I want always to be in control. (This method seems to make big messes and things have a way of never working out, but I don't learn.)
9. I want to choose the people who come into my life, the synchronicities/coincidences God uses to send me messages, and the miracles that I want the most.
10. Don't require me to give up my dreams of one day writing a bestselling novel to do service for others as my life's work. I can do both. Let me have both.
11. Make things easier. Let more doors open and more invisible hands reach out and help if something is your will.
12. I need more magic and miracles to help me get on the right path and stay on it. I need signs and wonders. I need some surprise checks coming in the mail occasionally.
13. Show me the way, inspire me, help me create. I need you God. I depend on you, really.
14. Replace my doubts about whether I am doing your will with certainty.
15. Send me reminders throughout the day to pay attention to what your will is and act on it.
16. Send me some money, real abundance to make the way easier, especially if you want me to do things that cost me money like setting up the support group has.
17. Never make me leave my comfort zone--not even for you.
18. Don't let me lose my health or die before I fulfill my goals, your plan,and my life's purpose and soul's mission.
19. Don't keep making me go to more recovery support meetings and work the steps. I get bored. I've heard it all before.
20. Don't make it your will that I quit smoking, eat healthy foods or exercise. It's just not in me.
I tell you I read these conditions I put on doing God's will and I was shocked. I once wrote an essay about how God and I were sharing a bicycle built for two. He steered, and my job was just to peddle. He kept turning his head and yelling, "Just peddle." And I realized that the best things, situations, jobs, people and opportunities came when I let go and let God and I just peddled and reported for duty.
Now I had to face the facts. I didn't necessarily want to give up control, be humble, be led at all, give up a successful career I fantasize about and the wealth that would go with it. I do not want to do a lot of things God's way and not my way.
My conditions, and I know I could have written many more, made me sound like an insolent, stubborn child who didn't want to do her chores or listen to her parents' rules. Was I really a brat?
And I wonder why my spiritual growth, life's purpose fulfillment, career success and personal self-improvement goals are so slow in coming. God doesn't fight me for control. God gives me free will to create crises and disasters with my grandiose ego and need to control. That's my choice. I have choices every day. And a lot of the time I chose being in control even when I know the outcome will be one giant negative fall on my face as usual.
Do I really want to serve?
Actually, I really do want to help others who are still suffering with the same diseases and conditions that I have blindly crawled and stumbled over to reach recovery. I want to make their way easier for them than finding my own way of overcoming was for me. Because it's all too damn hard when you don't know, or aren't sure, or can't admit what's wrong with you and all you can do, so it appears, is watch the remnants of your former life go down the toilet. Goodbye spouse, kids, job, career, reputation, health... the whole package down the drain while you try to figure out what hurricane just blew through your life.
You want to hear a corker? After I wrote all this out in my journal I looked at the clock. It was 7:15 p.m. I thought to myself, "Well I'll never make that meeting now. I think it starts at 7:30 p.m." And I know I have been prompted to get out of myself and go to more recovery meetings. But I didn't feel like it. It was cold out. I wasn't even dressed yet.I had plenty of no-good excuses.
Something or God made me go look for the meeting listing in a directory. It started at 8:00 p.m. I started to get ready and thought about what a bad person I must be to immediately go against God's will for me after looking at the conditions I put on doing it. I can feed on self-loathing and shame for days.
I was glad I went. I may have made a new friend. In any event, I have a fellow recovering person to call so we can support and encourage each other. It's always a good feeling when I do God's will because things go smoothly and work out perfectly.
When will I learn to just peddle?
My ex-husband, also recovering, couldn't take my controlling nature too much of the time. He would play on the saying "Let go and let God" and say, "Maryellen, if you can't let go, just let." And sometimes when I was being nutsy, he would turn to me and say a single word, "Let."
I should hang that word over my desk.