Sunday, November 20, 2011

Powerlessness and Unmanageability; Fear and Faith...

Originally posted on Live Journal: Suburban Eschatology Part Two (March 3, 2011, 9:58 AM)

The last few days I have been feeling very overwhelmed and a little down. I've been focusing a lot on what I haven't been able to do and not on what I have been able to do and what I can do. This funk has extended across all the boundaries in my life, from recovery to family to work (which is looking for work right now). Last night, surrounded by good friends, I heard something that reminded me of some basic principals that I have been neglecting the last few days, and afterwards, I felt much better.

I had to sit down and take a look at some fundamentals. Have I been doing the next right thing as it comes along? Yes, I have. This is not always what I plan, since when I make plans, God laughs, but I have been doing the next right thing as life is presented to me. I've been able to help my family a bit, I've been able to help some people in recovery a bit, I've been getting a few basics taken care of in my life. I have been clean and sober. I have been sane. All of these are good things and I should take none of them lightly or for granted, I should be thankful for them. To paraphrase the Sheen, I've been winning.

Have I been caught up in self-will, or have I been trying to follow God's plan for me to the best of my ability, thinking of what I could do for others, of what I "could pack into the stream of life?" Here, too, I feel I pass the test well. While I have taken some time over the past week or so to take care of my own health and sanity, a couple naps, a couple long walks, and a couple hours in the hills taking pictures and decompressing, my life over this period has been all about helping others, primarily my family and others in the recovery community. While right now the work with my family is very frustrating, my work within the recovery community has been very rewarding. Sometimes I worry that I put these people too far ahead of myself, and that is a danger, but this work is also very selfish in some ways, it is the core of the recovery program that makes everything in my life possible. Without it, I can easily get lost in much darker territory than the little funk I've been wandering through the last few days.

Most of this funk, I can see, has come about from forgetting a couple key principals of my life, primarily that I am powerless and that life is unmanageable for any human power, including my own. Instead of surrendering, doing the next right thing, and letting God lead me, I've been bucking the reigns a bit and this has created the feelings of frustration that have been creeping up on me recently.

Yesterday, I had plans that I could not follow through on because they were not the next right thing to do, picking my kid up from school and helping out in Beaverton were the plans God made for me. Yesterday, I was frustrated because my family does not follow or, apparently, value my advice or parenting experience with my children, nor do they seem to value or follow the advice of the many years worth of counselors, therapists, and doctors who have been involved. But all of that is beyond my control. I can not change them or control them, I only have power over my own actions and my reactions in those situations. I have to, as they say, "let go and let God..."

Another element I have been dealing with is fear. Quite a bit of it, in fact. Fear over my finances, fear about the welfare of my children, fear over my own personal security at home and the ability to keep it safe and sane (essentially, security, safety, and sanity here being defined as keeping the lights on, food in the fridge, and the rent paid). I need to combat that fear with faith, and action. Of course, it is the action part that has been kicking me in the ass. I've been trying to get some things done in this department, and I have done what I could, for the most part, as I could. But I fear that it is not enough or that it is too little too late. I fear that if I ask for help it will be denied, or that the cost of the help will be intolerable, so I run the risk of procrastination. I may have some difficult choices to make today, and I fear choices… Choices are dangerous things for me that must be handled with much caution (and only with prayer, meditation, and council with others).

So, while I feel I have been doing the best I can in the action department, I have been lacking a bit of faith here, and this has been taking its toll on me. And this, really, lies at the root of everything I've been going through for the past week or so. I've been lacking faith in myself, in others, and in God. I've been letting fear seep in, tainting my days, and I've been letting it distract me from faith. I've been lowering the white flag, and seeing life as a battle to be won, not as a path to be followed. I've been trying to navigate that path according to my own will instead of following it to its inevitable destinations.

When I grab the map and start charting my own course, I lead myself and others into trouble. Things can get pretty bad, pretty quick. For the most part, I have not done this recently, but I've been fighting the urge to grab the map and to take charge. If I truly have surrendered my will and my life to a power greater than myself, then I need to have faith, and take comfort, in the assurance that God is leading me to exactly where he needs me right now. I may not like that place, it may not be the most comfortable place, it might not be where I want to be right now, but it will be where I need to be right now. His will, not mine…

Time to start today.

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