Step #3 of Celebrate Recovery’s 12-step program says, “We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.” Today I wanted to write about my experiences working through Step 3, and I just want to say if you’re not a believer (or not quite sure about what you believe) please hang in here with me. I think you still may get something out of it.
Also, please know when I talk below about God telling me something I am not saying I heard His voice audibly or He spoke to me in a dream or anything like that. I am talking about things like strong gut feelings, chance meetings, bible verses that jump out to me, and thoughts or motivations that are later oddly confirmed by a another person or circumstance. And when I speak to Him in my prayers sometimes thoughts out of nowhere drop into my head that make huge sense and solve a problem I might be having that I couldn’t solve on my own. I believe with all my heart this is how God talks to us.
With that in mind, the following is a conversation that could have taken place between God and me a few years ago, before I really knew and trusted Him and before I started any kind of recovery:
God: We need to talk, Deb…you’re kind of messed up. But I love you and that’s exactly why I want you to do the things I am going to ask you to do.
God: First, I need you to commit to using the voice I gave you every Wednesday night for at least 4 years at church to sing for Celebrate Recovery meetings. And I also want you to sing for the homeless, the hopeless and for people in prison.
Me: Wow, that’s a huge commitment. I’m not sure I can handle that! And its not what I planned on. I want to be a rock star.
God: Next I want you to actually participate in the Celebrate Recovery program because you use food as a drug and you are an addict. I want you to work through the 12 steps and give up your unhealthy habits of eating, even some of the things you love to eat the most.
Me: What? But I LOVE my food! I love my desserts! I’m not an addict, I can quit anytime!
God: Next I want you to write songs about your recovery journey. Then record, promote and distribute them.
Me: That sounds like an awfully hard thing to do; write about recovery? How embarrassing and awkward.
God: THEN, I would like you to go out and speak regularly to many, many people about the most intimate, dark details of your past and your food issues.
Me: I don’t HAVE any food issues! And again, embarrassing! Awkward!
God: That’s not all. I also want you to start blogging about your food addiction. You will publicly write about your innermost feelings, thoughts and struggles so the world can read them.
Me: This is just too much! I don’t understand! Where is the nearest closet?
Seriously, if God would have dropped all this on me at one time like that I would have wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out! But in His infinite wisdom He only gives us one piece of the puzzle at a time. More than that, He provides us with the strength, courage and resources we need to be obedient to what He’s asked of us…as long as we stay close to Him. The things He asked me to do were at times uncomfortable or difficult…often both! But because I know He is a God of GOOD things, I know that when He asks me to do something I can trust Him – even if it doesn’t make sense to me at the time.
And that’s the amazing thing about the conversation I wrote about above. Now that I’m a few years down the road I’m able to see some of the reasons behind His telling me to do these things. There have been some amazing blessings I never could have imagined, but He knew would come if I would just take the simple (but sometimes difficult) step of obeying His voice. Looking back, this is what He was really saying to me…
“First, I need you to commit to using the voice I gave you every Wednesday night for at least 4 years at church to sing for Celebrate Recovery meetings. And I also want you to sing for the homeless, the hopeless, and for people in prison.” – And you are going to be so blessed and loved and feel so honored to have done this for Me that you will want to do it again and again. You’ll build so many amazing relationships and have friends like you’ve never had before. And you are going to learn to trust people and learn so much from them and have happiness and joy and love and support.
“Then, I want you to actually participate in the Celebrate Recovery program., because you use food as a drug and you are an addict. I want you to work through the 12 steps and give up your unhealthy habits of eating, even some of the things you love to eat the most. ” – And you’ll experience victory over your addiction and no longer see it as shameful, but useful. You will learn how to eat right again and we will face your deepest fears together once and for all. You will be stronger and you will grow and know Me so much better as a Father and a Friend and your Defender and Strength. You will learn to turn to Me and only Me when you are afraid, alone and need answers. You will form strong bonds with others who have this problem and you will all help one another.
“Then I want you to write songs about your recovery journey – then record, promote and distribute them”. — This will give meaning and purpose to My calling on your life and be a tool to give hope to others. I will heal you of your fear of flying and you will get to travel across the world with your music and help those less fortunate simply by using the voice I gave you.
“THEN, I would like you to go out and speak about the most intimate, dark details of your past.” – Trust me and don’t be afraid. I will give you the courage you need and I will be with you. I will even miraculously heal you when you wake up sick with a stomach virus and are throwing up on the day I planned for you to share your story in front of thousands. In fact, I will use your story and all of that pain in your past to help others find Me and recognize their own addictions.
“And then I want you to start blogging about your food addiction. Write about your grief, your struggles and your victories; whatever it is that I need you to blog about.” – Okay, this one is still unfolding…but you get the picture. There is always a purpose! As God’s word says:
“For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
I don’t mean to paint a picture of a fairy tale ending with me living some sort of perfect, spiritual life. Far from it. My life is not pain-free and food addiction is an ongoing struggle for me. Body image issues still rear their ugly head, I swear too much, complain too much, get angry too much, I’m super impatient and don’t trust enough. But in a weird and beautiful way I am happier and more peaceful than I have ever been in my life. I guess the picture I am trying to paint is one of hope, and how God can use all the junk and struggles of us imperfect humans for His purposes if we let Him.