What does it ‘turn it over’ and ‘give ourselves to God’ mean?
For anyone who has an active experience of God within and without, it is no secret what these two phrases mean, nor it is a mystery, though ‘turning it over’ certainly gets the AA fluff award. It is often thrown around in meetings with that sort of nauseating affect that so effectively repels me from attending. But it is simply a decision to stop trying to control everything and everyone. We do our work and leave the outcome to God.
‘Giving ourselves to God’, however, is not only loaded, but also sends some of the “I’m so smart” types flying into a rage. Instead of going to pieces, why don’t we just look at it on a practical level?
When we give ourselves to God, we essentially do two things: one, we are vowing to do God’s will, which means that instead of always doing what we want, we do what we need to do for others or to get closer to God. When we get our head out of the way (our ego, ambition, selfishness), what fills the space is God’s will. It’s fine for me to enjoy myself and live from the heart, but I cannot ignore God’s will. When we are faced with the choice to ignore or retreat from an opportunity to serve others or grow spiritually, we are choosing self will. When we choose the spiritual opportunity instead of what’s easier and softer and serves only us, we are choosing God’s will.
If a friend calls me up out of the blue and says, ‘Hey Charlie, let’s go help this guy I know in detox… let’s bring him the spiritual solution’, and I say, ‘No thanks dude, I’m good, I’m busy right now eating ice cream and watching American Idol and being brainwashed by CNN et al’, I am selfishly choosing my will and ignoring the will of God. People don’t call and ask me these things randomly and for no reason. For all intents and purposes, this is God calling and it is my job to make the unselfish choice, to choose the will of God, especially if it differs from my own.
Sometimes my will and the will of God align, which is the ultimate goal – to live in harmony with our Creator and His universe. Hard to always do, but this is what we strive for, unless you want to remain a selfish piece of shit. If that is the case, stop reading this and just go get jammed. I mean, why not? The worse you get, the closer you are getting to getting better, right? I feel as though God laughed every time I got high, knowing that with every line of dope I was one step closer to coming home to Him. Sure you don’t need to keep using dope until your mangled enough to choose God, but hey, if that’s what it takes, it’s better than muddling through and chronically relapsing for the rest of your miserable life while you put your wife and parents through non-stop hell.
Finally, by giving ourselves to God we are also vowing to simply do the right thing. We vow to listen to and follow our conscience instead of blatantly ignoring it. We vow to take actions to help it grow into a fountain of strength and wisdom. An addict will crush his or her conscience almost into oblivion, and getting better and giving ourselves to God is very much just the process of restoring it and living right. We vow to stop lying, cheating, stealing and huring others. We stop being selfish if there is no benefit in it.
Sometimes, of course, it is simultaneously selfless to be selfish, like when we take care of ourselves, for instance. I am no good to anybody if I run myself in the ground and burn the candle at both ends. Taking care of myself and selfishly taking time away from family/work/service is actually the will of God because it makes me better able to serve Him and serve others.
A healthier Charlie means I can help more people and help them in a better way. Plus it makes me a better example and less of a dick. I certainly have no business working with others if I’m a crap example of recovery. In fact, I question this in myself all the time. I often wonder what the hell I’m doing presuming to be in good enough shape to help others. But hey, nobody’s perfect and I’m pretty sure it’s better to at least try than it is to sit on my ass doing nothing.
God, teach me how to grow into a better man…