One of the first steps a person in recovery takes when working to change his life is to give up control of his life to the care of God. This is the third of twelve steps that are outlined in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It says we, “Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 59)
This seems to be simple enough, but is oftentimes extremely difficult for a person to actually implement on a continuous basis into his life. Letting go of control can be extremely difficult for anyone, especially someone with the personality of an addict, even if the control we are surrendering is to God. These struggles are continuous. It’s very unlikely that someone can relinquish control one day, and then never have to battle with control again. New situations are constantly arising that force us to relinquish control, even when that’s the last thing we want to do.
I recently read a great devotion that addresses this. “God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. It is in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience. Just think of the enormous amount of free time God has! He is never in a hurry. Yet we are always in such a frantic hurry. While still in the light of the glory of the vision, we go right out to do things, but the vision is not yet real in us. God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision.” (My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers, Devotion for July 6)
This writing really struck home with me. One of the things I struggle with is the idea of not being in control. It may seem strange to hear someone in recovery for a substance he could not effectively control say, but it is true and I’m certain there are millions of others that can say the same. A part of being in control is doing things according to your own schedule. Being patient with a situation and letting the results happen as God wants them to and according to His schedule can be hard. It can seem impossible, if we don’t recognize what is happening or what is not happening. The thing that is not happening in situations like these is, we are not giving our will and lives to God to lead them as He sees fit and at the time He sees fit. There still may be things God is preparing us for that we haven’t even thought about. Things we wouldn’t be ready for, if they were immediately presented. Timing is everything, but knowing when the right time is for something should not be expected of a person. Taking a step back and allowing God to work His plan out, exactly as He sees fit, should be expected, no matter how hard that may seem. I encourage anyone battling a situation, where things aren’t moving at the pace he wants them to, to think about this before allowing frustration to muster. We may look at our lives and situations in relation to our own timeline, but who knows when the time will be right? Is it us, human-beings that have failed and fallen shorts countless times? Or is it God, who knows all and directs all according to His plan?
What has helped you learn to submit your will to God to work on His timeline?