by Beth Livingston
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Certified Recovery Specialist
“We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.”
This third step of Alcoholics Anonymous addresses a major obstacle to being free. If we could will ourselves to be done with our addiction or behavior, we would not need God and would have been free from our addiction the first time we willed ourselves to quit. However, that has been the way we have tried in the past. We made a New Year’s Resolution or picked a “quit day,” and told ourselves that we would never partake again. Then we did OK on our own for a length of time until some circumstance or chaos drove us back to our usual behavior.
This can happen even when we have sincerely taken the first two steps: 1) Admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable, and 2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Now at the precipice of change, we have to decide to turn our lives and our will over to the care of God. This is action based on our trust in God to be able to release us from this bondage. It’s more than admission and belief. We have to physically, mentally and spiritually decide to turn our lives and will over to God. How does a person do this? For me, it was through prayer. For example, when I wanted to smoke, I would pray instead. I would say, “Lord Jesus, this is your battle. Your Word says you are strong when I am weak. I’m feeling mighty weak. Please take me through the next few minutes without smoking.” Then I’d thank Him and trust that He was fighting that battle for my freedom and that He was capable of winning. For me, that was demonstrating my choice to turn my life and will over to God and it worked. I would pray through the surge of desire to go back to my old ways of coping and embrace the new way of verbally and mentally handing the struggle over to God.
Other times I would remind myself that I belong to Christ; that our bodies are His temple. When we are carrying the Holy Spirit of God in our bodies and acknowledging that we are children of Almighty God, our lives have been turned over to Him. Again, this was an action based step. Saying it out loud helped me. I’d walk to the other end of the house or hide out in the bathroom during times of temptation and tell God I needed Him to help me.
What are some ways that show your decision to turn your life and will over to God? We can all benefit from sharing how we surrendered ourselves to God. I’m no expert. I’m just sharing how I turned my life and will over to the care of God. Undoubtedly, God has shown other people other ways to do this that worked. How have you been able to do God’s will instead of your will?
This is not an easy step. It’s a battle of the wills. Our enemy, the devil, beckons us to accept defeat and give up. Our flesh sometimes craves the old behavior pattern. It is only when our lives and our wills are safely entrusted to God that we will be victorious.