Monday, 31 October 2016

The cold truth of Step Three

In Step Three, we’re asked to make a decision to turn our will and our life over to God. Lots of people take this Step but are then offended at the suggestion that God should have an actual say in how they spend their time. I, for one, thought for a long time that it was my right, for instance, to spend an inordinate amount of time on work and pleasures without considering for a moment that the phrase ‘our will and our life’ actually is universal in scope. I wanted to work to earn money, to establish security, and to obtain a position in the world in my own and others’ eyes. I wanted leisure because I deserved it. God’s will may well be for me to have leisure and to work, but I was not actually asking God what He wanted me to do. It turns out that ‘my will’ really means the powerhouse behind the decisions as to what I do, twenty-four hours a day, and how I undertake such activities. Nothing falls outside this scope. Asking the very open question of what God’s will is for me would be dangerous, inviting all sorts of absurd responses, were guidance not available within the Big Book (‘Alcoholics Anonymous’), providing boundaries against which the answer should be measured.

Here are some examples: I should be of maximum service; I should think constantly of others and how to meet their needs; I should ask myself how I can help the man who is still suffering; I should have the other person’s happiness in mind; I should balance activities in various areas of my life; I should ask myself whether the relation is selfish or not. Once these are applied, there is usually little doubt as to whether the course of action is right or wrong.

The question is really one of willingness. When I said I wanted to turn my will and life over to God, did I mean it? If I meant it, that means I have foregone the right to determine any course of action without asking God first.

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