I have a love/hate relationship with my step study. I completely, 100% love Celebrate Recovery as a theory. I love the people who created the workbooks and thought through what steps would need to be taken to overcome our hurts, habits, and hang ups. I love my sponsor. She’s kind of amazing. I love the women in my group – so different and yet so much the same. I do. Really. I love them. I love it. I love the stuff. I love the people.
I hate doing the work. It’s hard. I’ve never been one of those people that says, “Man, I really love hard work. Especially the spiritual kind that is going to make my guts wrench.Bring it on.”
That’s not me. I do it but I hate it. And I laughed to myself when I was looking for an image for this piece because all the images on prayer were like the one above. Hazy light. Woman slightly smiling as she pours her heart out to God. It looks like she’s listening intently as God whispers sweet words of love and truth to her.
My prayers do not look like this. My prayers are half asleep as I roll out of bed in the morning. My prayers are whispered as I make lunches every morning. My prayers are cried out in the shower. My prayers are snotty, yelled gurgles of pain in my closet. My prayers are paced out around my back yard. My prayers are helping me through the hard work of this step study and they aren’t pretty. My prayers are repeated silently in my heart while I sit through work meetings. My prayers are inhaled and exhaled while I wait in car line at school. But I’m still praying.
So I’m working my steps and my group is on Principle 4, Step 4, Lesson 10 – Spiritual Inventory – and one of the questions is this:
What areas of your life are you still not putting God first? What is interfering with you doing God’s will?Ambition? Pleasures? Job? Hobbies? Money? Friendships? Personal Goals?
Okay, that’s more than one question but it might as well be the only question. And it makes me want to scream. I can look at my life and see the hurts. I can easily point out wounds and say,”Yes. This is where I was injured and, while God has brought so much healing, the scars look like this in my life.” It’s way harder to look at myself. It sucks looking into the tiny crevices where my own faults lay waiting. It is no fun to look at my habits and pull them out into the open for all to see. I don’t like looking at the questions above and having to answer, “Yes.”
Yes. All the things. All the places. Everywhere. No where.
All the things are in the way and I’m not putting God first anywhere.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
-Psalm 139:23-24, TLB
This is hard. And before you judge I have to ask…Can you answer? Can you be honest about all the areas and all the things? If you can I would love to sit with you over coffee and soak up your goodness and wisdom. The wrestling makes me want to pull my hair out but it’s in the wrestling that the blessing will come. It’s in the struggle to be honest with myself and my God that I will be washed.
“Come, let’s talk this over! says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!”
– Isaiah 1:18, TLB
So I’m doing it. I’m making the time and taking the energy to make a fearless and searching moral inventory. I am openly examining and confessing my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. I’m saying things out loud that I haven’t said in a long time, if ever. It’s so hard but I’m holding on tight because I’m trusting that the blessing is coming.
“Happy are the pure in heart.”- Matthew 5:8, TLB