Step 3: The Key To Making Decisions

If Step 3 is making a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him, then we could first look at how we make decisions.  Step 3 is not the action of turning our will and lives over, it’s deciding to do so. Let’s get specific. Which decision-making elements do you usually use?

These are mine:

  • go with my gut
  • ask advice
  • research facts
  • make a list of pros and cons
  • wait as long as I can to decide
  • pray

I ask this because before we can take Step 3 seriously, we could look at our history of decision-making and see if it’s working for us–or is it time to get some help?

We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet the acid test; How well does it actually work? ~ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2012, p 37

For 50 plus years, I was unwilling to turn my will and my life over to His control because I wanted to control how I think and what I chose in this life. (It’s my life, after all!) The irony of it becomes clear when I start to look at the result of my choices… ouch. Deciding to turn our will (minds) and lives (actions) over to the care of God is a mammoth decision! Never wanting to be in the massively common and unimaginative majority, I have to pause. After looking around, it’s my observation that not many people actually live Step 3.  A few choose to. What’s been the result and what was their key?

The very few people who I’ve met are people who are not part of the common crowd. They’re usually characterized by a quiet joy, a peace. They have wisdom and serenity balanced by a healthy sense of humor. In short, they have what I want.

If you go back to the list above, you have my process for making a decision, reversed. This won’t work for everyone. But it is what I’ve learned in the program from some wonderfully wise Old Timers. First I pray about it, asking to be shown His will, then I wait as long as possible. In the meantime, if I feel uneasy, I do the list, the facts, ask for advice and in the end–I go with my gut.

Let me define my gut: I don’t make a decision until I feel good about it. So far I’ve found that if feeling good about it is the objective, I never run out of time and God gives me the greased direction just as I need it. I’m not forcing solutions anymore, I’m letting Him guide me.

Apply this to Step 3. If you’ve done Step 2 then you believe there’s a Power greater than yourself. Ask then, for guidance on taking Step 3. Wait to decide until you feel prompted to do so. In the meantime, you can check with someone who lives the Steps, observe those who don’t and I’m confident your gut will help you decide what’s right for you.

PS: When that happens, you will have the key to deciding to do Step 3: willingness.