Monday, December 15, 2014

Broken Things to Mend -

Sunday's sermon was on a topic dear to me - being broken and healing. Whether we're broken physically, emotionally, spiritually, we all can heal - and a belief in a God of second chances makes this possible. Below is the sermon, with hyper-links to the music I used. Happy week, ya'll -

Broken Things To Mend –
How do I go from broken, to mending, to being an instrument in His hands?

AA's Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We all face personal trials, family struggles, or as one Christian leader said, “tsunami’s of the soul.” Jesus Christ taught, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  

Broken Things, Sara Reeves

Step 3 is where we must be willing to turn our will over to a power great than ourselves. For most of our lives we are selfish folks. “I do it myself” is often the first sentence from a child’s mouth. And we constantly hear this from those around us – “do it yourself,” “try it for yourself,” and our selfishness is reinforced. USA citizens value autonomy – I will take care of myself, I can do it myself. And we function this way . . . until . . . And we still think we can carry on by ourselves – we are often too down the hole to see that we are not whole, and that what we need can make us whole, and it is not, as the Big Book says, “John Barleycorn,” or his friends to heal us. Only the Healer has that power, and that is where we surrender, arms up, and say, “Here I am, help me heal.” Because while our will is in His hands, we still must follow His direction.

This step can be pretty tough, but surrendering is the beginning of healing. What does someone who is drowning do? They thrash around, moving, bobbing, reaching up, and creating a current that drags the body down. What should that someone do? Relax, let go, and let the buoyancy of the water push us upward, to safety.

We must have a desire to heal, and to believe that we can heal. We don’t necessarily need to have a bucket load of faith in this process, just a kernel, a particle, as we move into the place of surrender and safety. This is the first step out of despair.

So – we turn our will and our lives over to our Higher Power. And we heal – until we think we’re healed enough that “I can do it by myself,” “I’ve got it, God, I’m OK now,” and we try, and we fall, and we get up, and we try again, and we fall, and that is where we learn that turning our will and our lives over to God is not just a one-time, one-need effort, but a life-long action, that takes submitting ourselves to that power greater than ourselves.

Once “submitting” we can see, “this is the way to a faith that works.” The first 2 steps are about reflection, but Step 3 requires action – action to step away from ourselves and step toward that Higher Power. And we have to have faith that His will will heal us, faith that going this alone will not do us any good. In fact we think we can keep God out of our lives, but how about trying, based on the results of those around us, to let go and let God?

And this is where I find beauty – by surrendering and becoming dependent on our Higher Power, we actually become independent. Drink, drugs, sex, have not given us independence, that’s for sure! What? Yes – let’s look at this – objectively – “Every modern house has electric wiring carrying power and light to its interior. We are delighted with this dependence; our main hope is that nothing will ever cut off the supply of this current. And by accepting this, we are dependent on this power source;” but we become more independent and self-sufficient because of it. Power is what is needed here – electricity meets our daily needs and our emergencies as well. Think about the medical world and the role electricity/power plays there.

So why is it any different with our own power supply? As much as we want to have the right to act as we want, we don’t want anyone meddling on our issues, no advice, I want to make my decisions for me. And besides that, who can I trust – I trusted . . . and I gave up more than I ever gained.
Take a look in the mirror and do you see someone who is self-sufficient? If you do now, remember back to when you entered detox or this program. Did you see independence or dependence – someone filled with fear, anger, self-righteousness?

Relying on that Higher Power brings about self-sufficiency, if we become dependent on His will. We’re not talking about becoming emotionally dependent on someone else, too often that keeps us in the hole that we’ve been in. During WW II, man recovering alcoholics went to war – and a concern was if they would be able to “stand up under fire,” and stay sober. Well, the stats came in, and guess what – they did; they had fewer lapses and binges then the AA folks at home. Why? Because they had to depend on their Higher Power, which became a significant source of strength. 

Turning our will over is tough – we have families, financial obligations, jobs, relationships, “friends,” who are all dependent on us. How can we walk away from them, just to become dependent on something else? And then we’re told to find a sponsor, and rely on that sponsor, have faith in the sponsor. And we have pain, and we can’t kill that pain the way we used to. That’s where the rest of the steps come into play – we have to continually work on our sobriety – by becoming dependent on our Higher Power, so we can become independent souls – who do not depend on those things that have brought us to this place.

“It is when we try to make our will conform with God’s that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us. . . . Step 3 opens the door to this possibility.”

In times of insecurity, we have to still simply ask, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.”

And we begin to mend – our brokenness begins to heal, to become whole, to fill that void, that hole, with goodness.

What do we do with our brokenness? That’s right – “do.” As we heal, we need to step out of ourselves, out of that selfish, narcissistic self, and give of ourselves, or as I taught my children, you can’t be a selfish, you need to be a sharefish. And finally, finally, our cups are full enough to give – to share. We all know we can’t serve or share what we don’t have.

We don’t need anything more than our love for ourselves and our desire to love others, to share.

I’ve been lost in my own healing, and I had to make a conscious effort, and decision this summer to no longer be “sick” and be ready and able to give. I remember the day when I thought, “OK, Ronda, it’s time to give back, if only in tiny ways.” As Mahatma Gandhi taught, “How can I make a difference so that I may bring peace to the world that I love and cherish so much? A name flickers instantly in my mind.”

Dec. 8 meditation in 24 Hours in a Day states, “’And greater works than this shall ye do.’ We can do greater works when we have more experience of the new way of life. We can have all the power we need from the Unseen God. We can have His grace, His spirit, to make us effective as we go along each day. Opportunities for a better world are all around us. Greater works can we do. But we do not work alone. The power of God is behind all good works.”

CNN Heroes Tribute Narayanan Krishnan

While we may not need to devote our entire lives to “service,” we can serve, quietly, and as heroically as Krishnan. 

And this is the way we heal – by finally, finally, reaching outside of ourselves, reaching toward others – we reach to them when we surrender to win, and we continue to reach as we share, sponsor, connect. No longer is there the disconnect between our brokenness and our goodness – because out of weak things come strength; a broken bone is strong where it mends, and we are just like that. And in our brokenness – strengthened, we help others begin to heal their brokenness – the circle continues.

“Be not afraid, only believe.” May we all know that we can be made whole, we can mend, our brokenness can be our strength.

Amazing Grace, Chris Tomlin

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