Step 3 — Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
But I didn’t genuinely trust God until I arrived at step 3, and made that decision. Believing in Him was easy. Knowing Him was the desire of my heart. I went to church, read my Bible, brought our daughter up in the church, served on church committees, taught Sunday School and Bible studies, served as a lay speaker in churches across central Alabama, sang in the choir, participated in discipleship, and on an on.
I just didn’t trust God. I didn’t believe He was who He said He was, and that He would do what He promised me He would do.
It took God showing me I could trust Him before I made the decision to turn my life and my will over to Him. I was on the verge of making a horrible, selfish decision that would have set my recovery and my life back for months. I prayed that God would change the situation or change me in the situation. He changed the situation. God averted, and I survived, a major catastrophe in my personal life. That was the first time I trusted Him. Ever.
Oh, I had prayed in the past, and received what I believe were many answers to my prayers. But those were not surrendered prayers. Those were not prayers of trust. Now that I had experience trusting God, He gave me the confidence to believe, to trust Him to do what He says He will do. So, I was ready. God brought me to my point of faith. I was finally willing to trust Him.
That was when I made the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. And that decision started me on my journey of faith I’m still traveling today.
I had a different application for the phrase, “as we understood Him” than many of the folks in recovery. Some of my good friends in recovery do not have an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. Although the Bible and scripture are the foundation for the 12 steps of recovery, some folks in recovery choose to name something else as their higher power. Not me. I know the God who created me. I know He is the Creator of all things. He is the Almighty God. He is my El Shaddai, He is my El Elyon, He is Elohim, He is my Jehovah Jireh.
I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. Psalm 142:5-7
For Step three to work for me it wasn’t a one-time, I-got-this-one-let’s-move-on kind of recovery process. Step three is something I must do every day, sometimes every hour. It is surrendering my desire to control or influence my circumstances over to God. Not just crises, not just certain areas of my life–it means everything every time, with every decision I make.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25, also, Luke 9:23.
Deny self. That means coming to the end of myself. It means considering others better than myself. It means God is not Number One. It means He is everything. He is all.
Is it easy? No. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things I do in recovery. It means I must deny myself, my needs, my desires, my will, my understanding and put all of it in God’s hands.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
His thoughts are not my thoughts,
neither are my ways His ways,
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are His ways higher than my ways
and His thoughts higher than my thoughts. From Isaiah 55