Monday, April 7, 2008

Purpose Driven Life

The best thing about recovery is the relationship I have with God. Knowing that I can trust my Higher Power, not having to worry about the "out comes", that God is a place of centeredness in my life, (the rock that I stand on, the shield about me, my refuge, to use some imagery from the Psalms). Those of you who have been reading my blog know how I struggle with trust and faith but it is so much better than it used to be.

So we've been attending a small church and have found it very supportive in my recovery. The language used there fits in so well with my struggles. I find hope and understanding.

The minister recently started a series of messages called "The Purpose Driven Life". He is following a book with the same title. Every Sunday, he has a message. Each day, we are to read a chapter out of this book. And now I find myself struggling with religion and old struggles with my former concepts of God are arising. Issues such as the exclusivity of Christianity, the only way to God is through Christ, eternal punishment in Hell, and the inerrancy of the bible, these are some these I balk at. These issues start up the thinking machine and bring me to bad places inside my head. I don't think I am ready to deal with them.

So what do I believe is the purpose of my life? Working with others!

Before I sobered up, my life only had one purpose. That was to protect me. I used people and things to stop me from feeling my pain. If people brought pain into my life, I had deep resentments toward them and worked even harder at stuffing all those feelings. I was deeply depressed, drinking heavily, porned and chatted for countless hoursr Resented the people that loved me the most. People were something I used or pushed away. I had lost what it meant to be in relationship, to have emotional intimacy, to be connected, to be in love. I was sadly alone.

After I joined Alanon, I began to understand how people support each other. When I could admit that I was an alcoholic and an addict and entered a treatment centre my understanding grew until I accepted "the group" as my first higher power. As I journeyed on, my concepts changed and my understanding of how to interact with others changed. Today I believe that my best relationship I have is with my Higher Power. From God comes courage, strength, faith, trust, and direction. The other important thing I have in life is people. A spouse that I am learning to love and that loves me. Children that teach me, love me, and support me as I do the same for them. The alcoholics and addicts in recovery and well as the still suffering ones. My sobriety will remain as long as work and live with others.

I believe that my purpose for life is to be part of the hand of God extended toward other and help others in their struggles. That's different for each person. I understand that it's mostly about sharing experience, hope, and strength. Not giving direction. (I'm not in control.) Who is the person that I should be doing this with? The person sharing my path at this moment.

What about all those religious issues that I struggle with? I'm going to put them back into God's hands. God will help me figure all that stuff out when I'm ready for it. I know that's not today. I still struggle with my internal fears way to much to make any true progress in this area.

In A.A., the reliance and surrender we have toward God does not come attached with having to have specific beliefs. There is not much theology. Just faith and trust. I guess that's the difference between spirituality and religion. I feel comfortable with the A.A. view that the road is wide. I also need to remind myself that A.A. has it's roots in Christianity. Who am I to say I know everything? I'll trust God and see where God's direction takes me. Slowly, simply, and subtly.

In the Big Book, the writing on step three uses the premise that we are all actors on a stage. If we direct ourselves, nothing but troubles. If we follow God's direction things get better.

This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn. (Page 62 & 63 from the Big Book)

1 comment:

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

You wrote: "And now I find myself struggling with religion and old struggles with my former concepts of God are arising. Issues such as the exclusivity of Christianity, the only way to God is through Christ, eternal punishment in Hell, and the inerrancy of the bible, these are some these I balk at."

These are some of the same things that led me to leave the church and turn my back on my spirituality. I'm grateful to be developing a new spiritual relationship with my higher power.