Wow, I can not believe, here we are on Step Eleven!! Congratulations on your faithfulness, persevering faith and willingness to get well. Welcome back and welcome Home. You are a Champion. One day at a time you are victorious. Let's Step into this day's victory shall we?
I hope you have sent your Sponsor several Step Ten Inventory Checklists to get into the daily routine of maintaining your daily fit spiritual condition.
STEP ELEVEN: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge for His will for us and the power to carry that out.
"Prayer" is when we talk to God
"Meditation" is when God talks to us
"Conscious contact" is that awareness of being connected to and with God through prayer and meditation, through His Word, His Music, Nature, His Holy Spirit, or that still small voice. Also through service and how He speaks to us through others as being His servants, or vessels, or instruments.
SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE STEP ELEVEN: "Spirituality"
"Spirituality" includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and involves for deep meaning in life something that touches us all. The opposite of religion which is rules, rather relationship with God.
Remember... "we must increase our spiritual life.. or else"... the or else is... DIE!! I choose to increase my spiritual life.. you?
direct my thinking today so that it be empty of self pity, dishonesty,
self-will, self-seeking and fear. God, inspire my thinking, decisions
and intuitions. Help me to relax and take it easy. Free me from doubt
and indecision. Guide me through this day and show me my next step.
God, show me what I need to do to take care of any problems. I ask all
these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man.
In the spirit of the Steps I pray. AMEN
This week was a week of torture for me. Each breath a labor and work but such a gift to receive!! I always remember what a pure blessing a breath is, what a privilege to walk and breathe at the same time are, after a week like this. A week of nurses in the house each day and on the phone many times a day, and asking me to call 911 and to go to the Hospital. I did not go, not out of selfishness, rebellion, pride or foolishness. This has been my "pulmonary plight" or pathology or history with my lungs now for years. So when the chest x ray comes back asthmatic bronchitis and not pneumonia, I won't go to the hospital. I have them IV me, treat me at home, I will just get sicker in the Hospital when I am this weak and cannot breathe or move. Of course more steroids, more weight. However more breath so more life. Which would you choose? It is only through a daily conscious contact with my Saviour Jesus Christ, that I can endure, the suffering, thanking God the suffering is only in the natural. The physical realm. My flesh is weak, but my spirit is willing. Even in the midst of seeing me lose control. From Nurses on the phone saying Linda you sound very short of breath let's call 911, to Nurses on my couch saying your pulse is up, your breathing is labored, and diminished with a continuous wheeze let's call and ambulance, to my Mom, saying, you surely won't have to go into the Hospital this week will you? You'll get to stay home won't you? To the next nurse telling my oxygen saturation is too low, the breathing too labored can I call my son, or shall she call an ambulance to Mom saying, can't you just give her and IV here? For me, just gasping for this breath and then the next. I actually sit here and tell myself, ok breathe in through your nose and purse your lips, and breathe it out slowly, slowly, short little breaths, this way and that way, and "Try" to manage and control my own breath and breathing! It is not until I get into acceptance and admit my I am powerless over my breathing, my life and very breath have become unmanageable, believe God can restore me to sanity and then make the decision to surrender my will and breathing over to the loving care of God, that I am able to even comfortably breathe!!!! Yes we humans are control freaks :) Many IV's injections, breathing treatments, antibiotics, steroids and inhalers later I am here to tell you, daily seeking God through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God only praying for His will and for the strength to carry it out, is how I even have the willingness and ability to type this share for you, with you today. Oh yes, also My computer fried and died completely this week too, and I am using a little toy/ChromeBook, however SO blessed to have it :) the faucet at the kitchen sink burst and Yes my friend, "ALL things are possible with God." Abiding with God and Jesus, be it crying out and many of my conversations were in tears this week, yes tears are a language God understands. HELP is a prayer. What really helped me on this Step was getting clear first of all on What is God's will for me? If I have a God of judgment, shame, blame, damnation and hatred, I am in big trouble, and won't know how to pray, meditate, and probably won't even want to!! So knowing His Word, which tells me, "I know the plans I have for you Linda, plans NOT to harm you, plans to prosper you a future and a hope!! Well that sure helps or how about.. "The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy, but I GOD, have come to give YOU LIFE and that you have it more abundantly!" When I know these ARE the very things GOD says for me, how about, "And our GOD SHALL provide ALL of our needs from His riches in glory by Christ Jesus?" Well when I know He ONLY wants GOOD, He ONLY has GOOD plans, HE NEVER wants me harmed, stolen, killed, or destroyed, and for ALL that I need and for it to be abundantly supplied, I am MORE apt to run to Him.. that really helped me learn to TRUST GOD.. it took time, and once I realized I had been blaming God for MANY of the things the enemy, satan, the devil, the thief. had done, wow, I started making amends to God, and started loving Him, loving on Him, singing to Him, spending time with Him, and got to know He is for me.. so if God is for me, who can be against??? The problem for this compulsive over eater is sometimes it was my very own self. I would raise my fork or spoon, or box, or bag of sugar, or carbohydrates right against myself. I would emotionally act out and bust my emotional sobriety. It is only through one day at a time working Steps 1, 2 and 3 as we are called to DO, if we are to maintain anything like consistent abstinence, that I am blessed not only with anything like consistent abstinence, but also with BREATH!! I don't try and control my breathing anymore, God breathes for me, or I don't breathe :) There is no treat or sweet in a box a bag a bar or not taste any sweeter than the love and peace that come from my loving Saviour who has enough oxygen on the planet for even me, who can uphold this 500 pound body when so taxed by distress that my nurses are distresses, my Mother is distressed and God can just speak, Linda, "Peace be still." and I rest and I breathe, and I live, not to eat, but to tell you that life is worth the living just because God, and Jesus live! I hope to make it to Step 12 with you friend, I truly do. and Lord willing I will. Life is not guaranteed. We are all the sum total of the choices we have made meeting the matchless grace, wonder and splendor of the glory of God. His glory fills my heart, body, mind and soul even when death has come to claim me, The Father speaks no, not yet, I am not finished with my Child here yet. So here I am.
Even when my flesh fails me, and these lungs do what they do, God never does. Even when I feel so weak, and hurt because that great, kick butt work out last week, amounted to, can only go to potty and shower this week, add steroids week. Does not mean I am down, out, or anything but in the hands of a loving more powerful God than my lungs, than the nurses, doctors, mothers, my fears, or reality! The reality is my conversation my inner talk all week with God has been thank You God for carrying me to the little girls room. Thank You Father for carrying me to the Studio, and that while I am sitting here taking a breathing treatment I can play this beautiful melody on the piano for Your glory and the lyrics and poems You are speaking into me are making me cry, You are for me, Your mark is on me, You love me, I do matter, You do sing over me, I am Your beloved, Thank You Father that my Nurse gets to see You heal me again, that I get to be kind to the pharmacist when the other 30 people on the phone are angry and I can say God bless you have a blessed day, Thank You Father for keeping me out of the Hospital, so Mom isn't afraid and cared for, thank You for providing ALL we need in Jesus Mighty Name Amen. These are some of my conversations to a God who cares.
Abstinence can begin this moment. If you "Blew it" compulsively over ate, had the BINGE (Believed, I'm Not Good Enough) this is the beauty of OA Abstinence and especially of God. "His mercies are new EVERY morning." start fresh. The beauty of Confession; telling the truth to another person and God are so healing, and repenting, just going and sinning no more, no more BINGE is the healing always comes. "Confess your faults one to another that ye may be healed." I can't tell you how many times I have told me wrongs, and been oh I am so much better and moved on, it is a miracle, because God is a miracle working God, His Word is true! We are now growing in our God- consciousness.
Those of you who have done the work up to this point have chosen to let God direct your lives. What we need to do now moving forward us expand our God-consciousness even more. We live Step 10, 11 and 12 on a Daily Basis moving forward, just as we do Steps 1, 2 and 3 for our abstinence, and serenity.
I get alot of calls from people just asking me to pray, and I told myself years and years ago, if someone ever asked me to pray, I would. I don't mean ok, say, ok yes I will pray for you, and leave them and go home and pray for them. I mean on the phone if they ask, pray right then. If in the store, pray right then, in the Bank, you get it, in the moment pray right then. I believe this is what helped me gain boldness in praying. The other thing was I took to heart literally the "Cast all your cares upon God because He cares for you!" and Step 3 tells us to surrender our will, food and lives over to the CARE of God, so I literally started taking every worry to God in prayer. Your's mine, my Mom's whoever would bring me theirs, I would take it to Him, and the results were and are amazing!! God answers prayer and He is an on time God too, let me tell you! I went from a worrier, to a prayer warrior. Now I don't call myself that. Others just have. I just call it RELATIONSHIP. How did you get to know your Mom, Dad, child, husband, boss? Me? One conversation at a time right? Same with God.. One conversation at a time. That is what prayer is a conversation with God. Formality required?? NO. are you formal? Speak formal, Are you casual? Speak casual, It is God of YOUR understanding not mine. How do you understand God? talk to Him that way? I understand God through Himself and His Son, Jesus Christ, the greatest love ever shown on the Cross of Calvary, where He spread open wide His arms and said see, I love you that much so I could have a relationship with Him now and peace in this life and an eternity with Him in Heaven, and His Holy Spirit. Our Big Book talk about it as the Sunlight of the Spirit. It is an all consuming fire for me, So I don't allow food to consume me, I am consumed with the love of God and have one continuous conversation, and then "BE STILL, and KNOW that HE IS GOD.. for Meditation, and listening for His still small voice to speak to me. (Or through Music, or Nature, or a Painting or His Word ;The Bible). Please use your H/P.
I personally would not start my day without saying my Steps 1, 2 and 3 in a prayer before my feet hit the ground or on the rare occasion as my feet hit the ground on the way to the little girls room. Something like Father I admit I am powerless over food, my life has become unmanageable, I believe You can restore me to sanity and I now make the decision to turn my will, food life and all that I am and have over to Your loving care, saying Thy will be done in Jesus Mighty Name Amen. That is simply my surrender Prayer time. My prayer time consists of waking and thanking Him for breath, life, for Him, His love, His Son, His Spirit, My Son, My recovery, Abstinence, Mom, you get it, and going on to asking Him to have all of me, to free me from selfishness, rebellion, pride, ALL defects of character, anything standing in my way of being of utmost service to Him and my fellows, and then I just thank Him for His love on me, His mark on me, His Word on me, I just spend precious moments with the One who not only Created me, who died for me , who rose again for me, and who is coming back for me again one sweet day, or the One I will enter into His gates and hear, well done, thy good and faithful servant. I pray to pray like a beggar, serve like a slave and rejoice like a saint for God, the most loving, gracious, merciful, powerful friend I could ever want or need, and be so humbly blessed to be His Daughter. My identity is found in Christ alone. No greater love than this.
I loved Jill's way of praying from last quarter so I am also sharing her share as well, I also pray to have a body to match my witness friend in Jesus Mighty Name may we all.
the ACTS formula of prayer. I start with Adoration, taking one quality of my God and telling Him that I adore Him. For instance, “Lord, you are a God who heals. I adore that about you! I love that you make people healthy and whole.” Next, I have a time of Confession where I confess my wrongdoings for the past 24 hours. Next comes Thanksgiving, which is always my favorite part. I once heard it said, “What if all you had today was what you thanked God for yesterday.” I thank Him for a lot every day. Finally is Supplication, which simply means asking for things. But I’ve learned in program not to ask for things for myself. I might pray for protection for certain people, for blessings on those I’m having trouble with, but for myself I pray only for knowledge of God’s will, and the power to carry it out.
Step Eleven tells us we shouldn't be shy on the matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works IF we have the proper attitude and IF we work at it. So we need to use ACTION and ATTITUDE. This Program always enforces that this is a Spiritual plan of Action. Spiritual action equals Spiritual Miracle, because, "Faith without works is DEAD." :) So the Big Book is telling us that Self-examination, meditation and prayer puts us in contact with God. Basically before bed I review Steps 4 through 9 and also take my Step Ten at night as well. and also thank God and have time of fellowship which again is relationship, conversation. Asking His will be done and the strength to carry that out.
"ON AWAKENING" (not mid day at work, after work, at night, on the way, or after breakfast, NO,... as soon as we wake up!!) Let us think about the 24 hours ahead.!!! We consider the plans for the day. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially that we be free from self-pity, self-seeking, dishonesty (all defects; selfishness, rebellion & pride;primary roots) The reason is then because our thought life will be free for God to move in. We will be free from wrong motives. "Before we begin" SO important, and it took me a while to get the importance of this and see how this is meditation.. "Before we begin" thinking our own thoughts and planning our own plans.. we BE STILL, and ASK GOD to DIRECT our thinking... LISTENING to our INNER VOICE.. The Holy Spirit or God speak to us I love it :) These thoughts are Godly guidance through meditation to God!!
I also love that the big Book tells us that our Creator, or God will provide us with the answers to all or our issues. In thinking about our day we may face indecision, or which course to take. We ask God for inspiration an intuitive thought or decision. We relax, and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for w awhile. So God is going to tell us His plan for our lives in the form of an inspiration, an intuitive thought or an intuitive decision.
The Big Book tells us to test our thoughts. Not all of them come from God. But with time and practice we begin to rely upon this insight. What used to be a hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes the working part of the mind. It does in my experience take time to truly know the discerning voice of God and the Holy Spirit, and even more helpful is most people ask me how do I know for sure if this or that is the will of God, and the most wonderful help is God will never tell us to do, to become or participate in anything that is contrary or go against anything that is in His Word. We also have our Sponsor's Spiritual Advisors, Pastors, Clergy. "Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous." How many times have we heard well intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all to plain they were sorely mistaken."
We also pray all through the day asking what our next step is to be, and that we be given whatever we next to take care or each problem. Asking for freedom from self will and NO request fro ourselves, only if others be helped. We never pray for our own selfish ends. This is all about creating a healthy prayer life. We include our friends and family in our daily morning spiritual activities, as well as using other spiritual literature outside of OA. I love a daily devotional called, "Jesus calling" by Sarah Young, so short and sweet but so powerful a great daily blessing of spiritual food.
We must get out of self-will in order to learn God's plan for our lives. We constantly must remind ourselves we no longer run the show. Saying many times a day, "Thy will be done."
The Step Eleven Promises is we are in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decision. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. It works- it really does!!
So what if we meditate and ask and don't receive any God given thoughts or guidance? It does happen from time to time, remembering, "all we have is a daily reprieve based upon the maintenance of our daily fit spiritual condition." If we don't receive guidance, it means we might be blocked from God, or the Holy Spirit in some way, and there is some spiritual work I must do; either a habit or indulgence I have not yet given up, a person I have to forgive, wrong relationship, or I have taken my will back. Or I have some cherished sin, or am not DOing what God has been asking me to do previously. Maybe I am in the food, or sugar? or gossiping? Whatever it is is, I must enlarge my spiritual life... or else!! I have to check these points in my life, get honest, confess, repent, return to my first love, and get right back to a spiritual basis of life or else.. DIE!!! I may not have another recovery or abstinence in me. Or another breath, Thank You God for this one!! Spiritual Action is again required to get my spiritual miracle, because faith without works is DEAD :) My relationship with God must remain active 24/7 so my faith is too, and my prayer life isn't over just because I said Amen. It isn't like Roger and out. I can just start right back up, it is an ongoing 24/7 love walk. I am constantly chasing Jesus. It is So much happier than chasing empty calories that were killing me, Jesus is my sweet reward, my prize, I press on. Compulsive food was my death bed; all 745 pounds of me. We take the spiritual action necessary to re-establish our connection with God, and then be willing and listen again. Be still, and know that He is God, and He wants to talk to you!! He loves You!!! He is for you!! He can't take His eyes off of you !! He holds all your tears in a bottle, and He knows the numbers of hairs on your head. Oh how He loves you! Talk to God, then listen. Prayer, and meditation. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge for His will for us and the power to carry that out.
AA BIG BOOK
OA 12 STEPS & 12 TRADITIONS
AA BIG BOOK (p 85-88)
Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on the matter of prayer. It works if we have the proper attitude and work at it. Be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection. We ask God to direct our thinking. On awakening think about the next 24 hours ahead. Our thought life will be placed on a higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. Ask God for inspiration, intuitive thought, or decisions. We relax and take it easy, we do not struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come. Being inexperienced we won't be inspired at all times. We usually conclude meditation with prayer. We need to especially stay free from self will. We say many times a day Thy will be done. We let God discipline us in the simple ways we outlined. Faith without works is dead. Prayer works. P.U.S.H. Pray, Until, Something, Happens.
OA 12 STEPS & 12 TRADITIONS:
In OA we believe we recover with a relationship with God alone. In order to recover we need a living, developing relationship with God. It takes more action to improve our relationship with God. By taking time on a regular basis most of us set aside time undisturbed God time. During this time we develop through prayer and meditation a conscious connection and trust with God. We should continue to talk to God even when is seems like a senseless exercise. Many of us who continually practice prayer and meditation are greatly rewarded, even awed!! This private time with God gives us direction and strength, guidance and serenity. Keep it simple, and remember our goal is to develop and daily closer conscious contact with God. There are many wonderful prayers that nourish our daily spiritual growth. Praying only for God's will and the power and strength to carry it out. We bring our will into alignment with God's will. Many people write their prayers in OA as writing clarifies issues, expresses emotions, express them honestly and it can be a very tangible way of praying. We can mail or prayers to our Sponsor, put them in a God box, mail them to a tree, whatever helps us. The key is that we stop worrying, take spiritual action and surrender or release our cares to God in prayer. Our energies are no longer bound up in worries and resentments. Meditation is our way of quieting our mind. Prayer is a resource for healing and strength which cannot fail. God is the only source of help that is always available. Prayer and meditation are the links to this unfailing resource. Through prayer and meditation we align ourselves with God who gives us everything we need to live our lives to our fullest potential.
God, forgive me
where I have been resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid today. Help
me to not keep anything to myself but to discuss it all openly with
another person - show me where I owe an apology and help me make it.
Help me to be kind and loving to all people. Use me in the mainstream
of life, God. Free me of worry, remorse or morbid (sick) reflections
that I may be of usefulness to others. AMEN
1. How is compulsive
over eating a hiding place from life for you? How can God now
be a hiding place for you?
2. Describe how you
define daily conscious contact with God? What does that look like for
3. What scares you
about the knowledge of God's will for your life?
4. How is your life
changing daily? How is your awareness of when you are acting out of
resentments? selfishness? dishonesty? and fear? Share ways
you are noticing the changes.
5. What is difficult
about trusting God with your requests?
6. How are you now
enlarging your spiritual life? What is your prayer and
meditation currently like and what are your new commitments?
7. Now on a positive
note, what is your take away, or what have you learned?
Humble thanks for
allowing me to walk along side of you on this spiritual journey to