My most traumatic experience with remodeling isn’t filed in a picture database anywhere. Indelibly, it’s stored in my memory and flashes each time I read Step 3:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2012, p 59
I’m talking about the biggie: telling God He can take over — being done trying to control how my life works. I wrote about that very private moment in the corner, on the floor in Step 3: Part 3 Decided to stop singing I Did It My Way.
Life has never been the same, and for that, I’m thankful daily. It’s a mystery to me when I talk to someone who wants to avoid taking this Step. Fear of spiritual remodeling shouts to them in voices I can’t fathom. It makes me want to transfuse some of my faith into them (gimme that vein) and hand them a sweet morsel of the encouragement that I’ve received from spiritual development. But that’s not how it works, is it? So, I ask some questions.
At the worst, what might God ask you to do with your life, if He was in control?
I love the answers to this one. I’ve heard: make me stay single for life; make me leave my family; make me stay single for life; move me across the country to a strange place; make me stay single for life; make me dull and boring… (If it were a contest, ‘stay single for life’ is the winner. When did God get the rep for being in the single-making business?)
What’s the scariest part of what you fear He will do?
Usually, the answers are a variation on the ‘hole in the donut’* theme. Fear whispers that He will make us into bland little cookie-cutter conformists. Hmmm… Show me one spiritually remodeled individual fitting that description because the most unique people I’ve ever met have been x-drunks or reformed control freaks. They are also some of the happiest and thankful people I’ve known. One last question.
What have you done to make sure this doesn’t happen in your life?
There are so many things that I stooped to doing in order to sustain my self-built life. The picture is depressing. I thought Heidi knows best. It’s my life, after all.
Yes, it was, but I still have no business trying to construct it. In hindsight, it appears God was waiting for me to resign the job of lead contractor. It’s a messy process but first, I had to stop listening to the fear of spiritual development, of being remodeled.
PS: *You can read about the ‘hole in the donut’ concept on page 36 of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Back in the 30s, this was the metaphor for our innate fear of letting God’s will control our life. The questions are from the Not So Scary Worksheet of Step 3 in the sidebar.