This morning I drew surrender as my spiritual principle of the day. As I do every day, I Incoorporated this daily principle into the Third Step Prayer:
Take my will and my life, guide me in my recovery, and show me how to live; a life of surrender.
After I finished my simple prayer for the morning, I realized that the Third Step Prayer is all about surrender. Regardless of the principle I tag onto its end, this prayer constitutes daily surrender to my Higher Power, God.
Take my will
If I were God, I’m not sure I’d want to take Kent’s will. It can be so strong and unruly at times. Stubborn, pig-headed, opinionated. These and a multitude of other adjectives describe it, the very will I am offering to God. Why would He want my will? What would motivate Him to take on such a task?
God could easily answer, “But Kent, I tried to share my will, my dream for your life for years. I tried every way I knew how to get your attention. Remember that time when you…”. Who could blame God if that were His reply. After all, it’s true. I spend so much time running from the God of my understanding, living in self-will. Denying Him His rightful place in my heart and soul.
Take my life
“Sure Kent, now you want Me to take your life. Now that you’ve made a mess of it. Now that you are a mere shell of the person I intended you to be”. It’s true, I waited so long before offering my life to God.
Oh, I gave Him lip service through the years. See where that got me? Pretending to be on God’s team didn’t work out so well. Having one foot in a relationship with Him, and one foot in addiction, I was trying to serve two masters. Eventually my life became all about the drugs I was using, and the people with whom I was using them. With so much good having been sucked out of my life, what right would I have to even think God would be interested in taking it?
Guide me in my recovery
“Sure Kent. Now that you are in utter darkness, you want me to hand you a light. Yow want me to expend energy in you? I’ve tried old chap. Tried and tried and tried, and I’m tired of it. Find your own way. It’s what you’ve always wanted deep inside anyway.”
Yet guidance was given so freely, and from the oddest of places. From a woman in recovery named Amanda who would show me the true meaning of unconditional love. From a sponsor who would remind me that I’m doing better than I think I’m doing when times seem tough. From other recovering addicts who love me enough to share how God has guided them, reminding me that He will guide me too. Finally, my family, people who believe in me, and who want the very best for me, and never gave up on me.
So much guidance has been freely given to me. My God has gently led me to where I need to be headed. He has provided the light, His light, to guide and protect me. It is a light that shines through so many. One which I do not deserve, and yet I have in abundance.
And show me how to live.
Its one thing to have all these things from God: His will, His life, His guidance. It’s another thing to know what to do with them. How do I begin to apply them to Kent? What do I do with all these gifts for which I have prayed daily?
Again, God shows me. He gives me little insights daily. He prompts me as I travel along the road of recovery. An extra moment taken to show kindness to a stranger. A few dollars or a hot meal for that homeless person whose need seems so desperate and real. Time with Amanda, being her wrought iron fence post when she needs me to be, and allowing her to return that favor.
Living today, living the way God is showing me to live, brings more joy and happiness to my life than I would have ever thought possible. As the God of my understanding answers this simple prayer, I see a life that is more full and complete than I could ever have imagined. Certainly more than I deserve.
So, why does God answer this prayer? Why hasn’t He turned His back on my pleas. After all, He has every right to.
It’s all about love. I pray this simple prayer to a God who loves me more than I love myself. A God whose dreams for me are bigger than my own. A God whose guidance I can trust. A God to whom I can give my life because He truly loves me, giving more of His life in return.
Love motivates God to answer this simple prayer every time it ushers forth from my mouth. It is the same love that I see at work in the lives of other recovering addicts I meet in Narcotics Anonymous. It is a love that I do my best to share with others.
Two years ago today I thought God’s love was completely out of reach. My life was spiraling out of control. Addiction had brought me so low that I seldom thought about God, much less thought He cared.
It was my last day before finding the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. I had admitted to Amanda that I “might have an issue with my use of meth.” How easy it would have been for her to run away at that moment. Advisable even… why risk her recovery for me?
Instead, she insisted that I would join her at a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous the next night when I came back to Tulsa. No, I wasn’t ready to admit I was an addict, but I saw how NA was affecting her life, and I wanted it for myself.
Though I had hopes for a quick fix in my life, a magic cure, what I found was so much more. I found what I had spent a lifetime looking for. I continue to seek it daily as I continue to pray…
Take my will and my life, guide me in my recovery, and show me how to live.
Have a remarkable day!