March 28 – Despair Step Three

Step three in the twelve-step program of alcoholics anonymous says, “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.” This is less about our commitment to religion and more about relying on a higher power outside of ourselves to overcome our disease, whether that be an addiction to alcohol, to work, or anything else. We are so often tempted to take the easy way out. We want to absolve ourselves of all responsibility and let someone else, in this case our higher power, do the work for us.

photo of red roses

Today’s meditation opens with a quote from Gaby Brimmer: “If God is a fly on the wall, Nanny, hand me a fly swatter.” On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“Even Jesus felt forsaken by God. We can identify with him. We have been angry with God, and we have abandoned our Higher Power because we felt abandoned. This God on whom we want to depend simply refuses to live our lives for us. We want to turn it all over to our Higher Power and lie back and relax, and old H.P. is not cooperating.

Where’s the fly swatter? If my Higher Power won’t do it my way, to hell with it.

Right! Enjoying ourselves, are we? Isn’t this fun? A fight with God—that should keep us occupied for quite some time.”

God, the universe, our higher power—whatever name we use—is about co-creation. We can turn our lives over in that we trust our higher power will provide us with strength to endure, but we can’t simply expect that the universe will do all our work for us. We have to put in the effort, and God will usually meet us halfway. We can get angry and feel abandoned, we can even say “well, screw it then!” But really, what good will that do? We aren’t going to win a fight against the universe. It is an immovable force. Picking a fight with our higher power accomplishes about as much as a toddler throwing a temper tantrum with parents who won’t give in: Eventually we will tire ourselves out and give up, accepting our fate. Don’t despair. Take a breath, move on, and accept that we must put in some work ourselves if we are to see change.

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