Step 3 - "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."
The spiritual principal guiding Step 3 is "willingness." At the other end of the continuum is reluctance. It is our job to shine the light of willingness on reluctance and remove the ignorance so that we can see what is hiding there... and it is in fact,... willingness.
The willingness we speak of is a willingness to surrender. In Step 3 we make the decision to surrender our will and our lives to our H.P. Lock, stock and barrel. The all of it. No small task, but if understood, a pretty simple one. I have always tended to complicate everything. I did so love the drama. And that is the crux of the matter....to get the heck out of my drama, or even your drama and into the World of God, which is a whole new perspective. Not easy.....I did so love the drama. It is in many ways, the worst addiction of all.
"Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God----or if you like, a Higher Power---into our lives. Faith, to be sure is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. Therefore our problem now becomes just how and by what specific means shall we be able to let Him in? Step Three represents our first attempt to do this."
This decision to surrender is not a decision to give up or to give in but rather, a decision to open up. And Willingness is the key that opens the door to our recovery and a whole new life and a whole new world.
This opening up for me was in essence radical trust, but it felt more like "giving up" I was at my wits end, I had tried everything else so why the heck not DO IT! Once I surrendered in my giving up way, which actually was acceptance (Steps One and Two), with the peace that comes with that, I raised that old white flag and said...ENOUGH!.... and then like my 2 year old grandson said: "No YOU do it!" then I had made the decision, the willingness to open up, an actual fact. God can't "do it" unless I let Her.
Will is in essence, my thoughts. My will, my thoughts which effect my emotions (moods) and that lead me to action are stuck in the mud of my ego....my compulsive overeating is an outward manifestation of what is going on inside me. (My best thinking got me here). And not only that, when I had a problem I would hang on to it as though it were gold. I would run it through my head over and over. Finances, relationships, arguments, slights, etc. etc. It didn't even have to be a problem it could be something good as well. That is really what mind does, it goes round and round nothing new here, same old same old, maybe a different face, or different circumstances but my behavior from the same old thoughts (ideas) stays the same. And it never seems to stop. Oh yes, I might have some good days and even laugh but my life is still run by my ego, that is completely caught up in people, places and things. To put in the key and open up was the first part of my decision. Once the key was in and my mind was opened, I needed to change my thoughts and bring them round to thoughts of my Higher Power. This took practice, practice, practice. I couldn't let go of my thoughts around people places and things because I was either self righteously angry and/or deep into self pity... and rightfully so. Or even worse in deep denial! I had every right to my anger and self pity that kept me in hell. And so what if I am in denial....I have a right to some peace(?????) Odd isn't it?
Today I can feel the dull hum drum of my mind as it goes along it's way doing what it has done all my life, and keeping me in the illusory drama of my ego. It is very uncomfortable now and sometimes I literally have to shake my head so that I can have a coming to. (The days of needing to learn by the hot flash of humiliation are very rare now). I then put the key of willingness in the door and change my mind to thoughts of God. And rather than conduct the drama, I watch the world unfold. It is the most amazing thing, better than any insane emotion wrenching, mind controlling, .physically sick stuff I ever produced.
The decision to let go includes a process and it begins with the key of willingness. When I couldn't find the willingness I would pray for the willingness to be willing. And it ALWAYS came.
We have already shown willingness by coming to OA and by being here on the WTS loop. Now we just need to turn the key a little more, open the door a little more and let the process begin.
We see how important it is to actively change our mind, our old ideas. Now as we take Step 3 we get ready to turn the Key and open the door winder in Step 4 and let go of everything and everyone who is blocking our way into the sunlight of the spirit. Our rightful place in the world.
Much love and plenty of hugs,
Dependence on God = Independence of Spirit
Step 3 Questions:
1) The AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions tells us that:
"...The effectiveness of the whole (OA) program will rest upon how well
and earnestly we have tried to come to "a decision to turn our will
and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." (pg. 35).
How is this so?
2) Can you see how your thoughts instruct your actions (and emotions)
and why your thinking (ideas, ) need to change?
3) In Step Three we use the key of willingness to open ourselves up
to the Will of our Higher Power. I literally visualize placing a key
on any problem, person, place or thing that is living rent free in my
head and then take the action of turning my thoughts to my Higher Power.
In this way I have surrendered the problem and then wait on the
Will of my H.P. If you are willing.....try this. Could such a
visualization or something like it work for you? If not, what can?
4) How will your decision to surrender to your Higher Power effect your
5) Dependence on God = Independence of Spirit.
What is your understanding of this statement?
6) What three things are you grateful for today?
7) Are you ready to take Step Three?
If so, please say the Third Step Prayer with your sponsor or someone close to you who will understand and if you like with the group as well.
"God I give myself to Thee---to build with me and 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!"