Monday, December 18, 2006

Step 3: Trust in God

Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Step 3 is the decision step. In the first two steps, we awakened to what we could not do for ourselves and what we needed God to do for us. Then in step 3 we were introduced to the only thing we could do for God. We could make a decision to open ourselves to Him and surrender our entire lives—past, present, and future—and our will about our lives to Him. Step 3 was an act of agency. It was the most important choice we ever made.

I do love the Maxwell quote where he declares that the only thing we really have to give God is our will since everything else came from God to begin with. I've been pretty stingy with my will lately, it seems. I remember specifically making my will secondary to God's will when it came to the big things--marriage and career--but I keep trying to just push all the other details of my life to be what I want them to, rather than what God might have in mind for me.

I've been pursuing my own will for so long, it's hard to imagine my life any other way. The manual mentions not getting worked up over traffic jams and not fearing creditors as examples of how your life may change when you give control over to God. That sounds placid and delightful, but I can't imagine myself not getting upset over traffic. Traffic just makes me livid and that's all there is to it. The only way I really enjoy driving is when everyone else in the world stays off the roads (the fools! the bad drivers!).

So, this idea is kind of novelty to me even though it's not new. I'm trying to figure it out so I can apply it to help me overcome the porn addiction. The manual says, "You can accept with serenity the current reality of your condition when you trust in God’s ability to help you." I do accept the reality of my condition with comparative serenity. And I trust in God's ability to help me. But, if no change happens, does that put it on God's shoulders? I mean, if I've acknowledged that I'm incapable of doing this on my own, and now I'm trusting in God and giving him my will... who is to blame for when I screw up again? Isn't sacrificing one's will in this case just code for solving your problem the way God wants it to be solved?


Beck said...

"Who is to blame for when I screw up again?"


There, I said it. You can't pass the buck. And you know what? You're going to screw up again! And again! But that doesn't make you a "screw up". It's all just part of life. What you can pass on is your will to allow Him to help.

-L- said...

Don't be shy, Beck. Say what you think! ;-)

I totally agree. It's just the contrast between step 1 in which you acknowledge that your life is out of control and that you are INCAPABLE of stopping on your own, and step 3 where you turn over your will to God and then success gets credited to God and failure back to your own dumb fallible self.

At least, that's what I was pondering when I wrote that last part.

But there really is a difference, I suppose, between trying to quit for your own reasons and on your own terms and quitting because it's God's will and you willingly turn your will over to Him.

The long term end point I'm interested in, by the way, is abstinence, not just acceptance.

There may be lots in my approach left to be desired. That's why I'm blogging through it.

Thanks for the comment.

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

I thknk one of the greatest secrets I learned for me in my life was recognizing that I cannot ever trancend my problems unles I embrace them, and then learn to love myself regardless of them. I think thats how "weak things" become "strong things." Porn used to be this horrid addictive cycle for me... I was ridden with guilt and blame and self loathing. But once I got rid of the shame and self loathing, porn for me really lost alot of it's effect on me and I was able to look at things a little more objectively. Essentially, porn was a side effect of a much deeper problem -a lack of understanding of my self worth. The loathing and self hatred that came from porn as a result of indulgence only served to keep me down in the dumps and make it worse.
I think that's how God can love us so freely despite our short comings. He sees us for the natural value that we have regardless of our weaknesses. I had to learn to love myself as God loves me, and on occasion when I look at porn (which is significantly less often and less 'satisfying')I just have to shrug my shoulders and realize "Well, what can I expect? I am human with human fleshy desires... sometimes I screw up. But God still loves me, and I still love me. Thats how I know I'll be ok." It makes a world of diference in the way that I deal with pornography.


Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

-Just a little side note- when I say embrace my problems I don't mean cultivating and nurturing them... I mean not denying that I have a problem and being "okay" with myself regardless of the issue I must deal with. Embracing myslef, problems, weaknesses and everything wonderful about who I am.


G'pa Bob said...

Great comment, Caspian.

Keep coming back, it works.

Abstinance will come. I recovered from the addiction after many painful years. An acquaintence, on hearing me mention this, suggested that since I had recovered why not go with him to a porn store? I explained that my recovery meant that I did not need and did not want porn in my life any more - it no longer was the only solution to the problems it once fixed. Ohhhhh, that felt good.

Latter-gay-saint said...

I'm active in a 12-step recovery program and it takes more than simply making the decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of God. You have to continue the steps. A very important part of the program is also doing certain things that others who have been where you are teach you to do. For example, read every day, pray every morning asking Him to relieve your desires and compulsions to (insert addiction here). Then, at the end of the night, thank Him for helping you make it through today.

Something that has really helped me is remember to take it One Day At A Time (ODAAT). You CAN make it through 24 hours. Whenever you are tempted, just remind yourself that you aren't going to do it today. If you still want to do it tomorrow, so be it. Then, start over every day. Sometimes, I have to work with hours instead of days. I won't drink/SI/etc. for an hour. Then, at the end of the hour, I renew it. Just remember to pray. Pray, pray, pray.

John Galt said...

Just read through all of these comments and started crying for some reason. I think because we are all truly sincerely trying, against the odds, to change, to grow, to keep going, to be better, to learn and begin again. And it's remarkable. I imagined God himself reading this blog and these comments and felt the overwhelming love and compassion that our Father must feel for us. And how badly He wants to reach out and embrace us in his arms. The longer I am a father the more I can understand.

emma said...

This is a DEEP topic! What are addictions, anyway? What purposes do they serve? For certainly they serve a purpose for us, even if that purpose is to our detriment.

I love the word repentance, because part of its meaning involves sorrow for having committed a sin, but even in a larger sense, repentance means turning to God. In fact, I think it is because we turn to God that we are able to have a small glimpse of the sorrow He must feel when anyone sins. I think gaining a true view (His view) of our sins and how harmful they are to both ourselves and sometimes others, is what allows us to feel sorrow for sin.

My husband and I were having a conversation this morning. I was very honest with him about how his addictive behaviors affect me. I cried - no, sorrowed with him. I allowed him to see my sorrow. He said seeing me that way gave him more incentive to change than anything else. I believe it will be a lovely day when we realize how wonderful it is to choose things that are good for us because we see they truly are good for us. But until that time, I, too, find it difficult to simply trust God. I have to constantly remind myself, through scripture reading and prayer, that HE KNOWS BEST and to just shut up and trust him, even when my emotions, my mind, or my body might say otherwise. If I were to put my emotions, mind or body up against His knowledge, there clearly is no contest!! So, for me, it is a matter of trust as well as the courage to be honest with myself about where my inappropriate behaviors come from, what issues they might be masking, and how my behaviors affect myself and others.