I make many decisions during a lifetime. Some are little, what's-for-dinner type. Others are huge--questioning...with whom shall I live the rest of my life? It takes me less than ten minutes to go through a familiar store, pick out a shirt, pair of shoes, and a belt. I takes me no time to order from a menu...(I simply ask the server what she/he would order today?)
I can book an airline ticket in less than a half hour. I researched, chose, configured to my own specs, and bought a computer on line, all within an hour. Plus, I ordered that computer from a company (I love them!) which I had never heard about, and do not know. The company "Puget" is about 3,400 miles from our house. And I own a computer with a useful life anywhere from 5-10 years.
I decided to buy a brand new Toyota RAV 4, spending well over $20,000 in a single two-hour period on a Saturday morning. A quick, nearly spontaneous decision was made (with Prayer Girl--she drives the car) to hand over that kind of cash to a stranger, who has a stack of papers--written in legalese--for me to sign.
How quickly, how easily I make decisions regarding my quality of life for years to come.
And yet, yet...how difficult for me to have made, or for many of us to make that decision in our Step Three of Alcoholics Anonymous Program of twelve Steps. Step 3 is:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Sounds simple, sounds easy--well, it IS!
Some members spend literally YEARS on this step 3, often going back out to the crazy chaotic life which "used to be" and is again. The words, tried and true, "Don't Die On Third" from a 1925 baseball story by William Cameron ring for us in AA today. Don't Die On Third Step, people.
Yet some will say, "But I haven't really 'taken' this step yet."
I 'took' the step in a formal manner with my sponsor, as I read the Third Step Prayer out of the Big book, and he explained it to me. And I read from page 63 in our Big book:
"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!"
"You see", said my sponsor. "You are asking for victory over your difficulties (drinking, thinking, obsessing, selfishness, Pride, whatever!) for only ONE reason. That you may show others the Power and Love which your God has for you--and which is within close reach of everyone." Just ONE reason I am asking for help, HA! So simple. None of this AA program is Rocket Science, believe that!
But I queried him, "Just how DO I work this step? 'Making a decision' doesn't seem like much of a commitment to me." That's when he told me the "KEY" to the working of the Third Step. Key is to continue on with the rest of the steps. From working the following steps, will come the realization of Step Three. Culmination of the Third Step is revealed to me, as I work on steps 4 through 12. Isn't THAT a fancy act? Thank you, Bill W.
In fact, often overlooked is the 'caveat' which Bill W added to this prayer/step. He wrote on page 63 of Big Book, "We thought well before taking this step, making sure we were ready: that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to him." In other words, don't do this step without some though This decision is not something to be made lightly, such as I made buying a computer and a car. I am talking "life-and-death here, MY life or death, and maybe others.
So I made the decision, I was sincere, I understood the weight of the decision, and I was ready to move on...and did. Now...for the punch line:
Oh, how I wish I could do this perfectly, or all the time! Just to let God direct every facet of my life is still a goal, not a fact. However, on those occasions when God IS my director, when I DO listen to God (usually through you bloggers, or my sponsor, or members at AA meetings), life becomes SO much easier. Now and then, no longer just rarely, I am allowed to reach a state of serenity that I never thought possible on earth. These are momentary happenings, not lasting...well, sometimes the euphoria stays through a morning, or an evening.
Very VERY helpful is "KNEELING" first thing every morning. It works! Try it! I KNOW it works! Do it! I do it! I just slide out of bed onto the floor, and I feel loved by my Creator. I say the third Step prayer in my own words. And I know the day will unfold as it should.
I'm rambling, so time to end this is NOW! Thanks for reading. All I can offer you is Peace, and Love,