Tag Archives: 12 step

(Change the channel or take a walk?) “The Show About Me” (part 2)


One of the most common responses people have when they get fed up with the re-runs of living their own small show is that they try to flip to a different channel. That is, they somehow realize a kind of radical change in life is necessary, so they try to re-make themselves.

Perhaps they start a new relationship, change careers, adopt a baby, buy a vehicle or expensive toy, go back to school, get plastic surgery, switch churches, move away, or in some way try to live out a better story. You’ve probably tried it, I know I have.

Maybe a person gets into religion, or he gets away from it. Maybe they start to need anti-depressants or anti-anxeity medication. Some abuse substances or live more dangerously. Something just seems wrong–and one tries to fix it.

Plenty of the time, these efforts do bring some distraction and change, and therefore a certain kind of freedom or renewal is felt (at least for a bit); but down deep, nothing important has changed at all. After a little while, the person still feels frustrated or undone. (Or something else unpleasant.) The channel may have changed, but what is lived out is just a Spin-off of “The Show About Me”. Sadly, very few fully realize that their perceptive, and how they live out reality, is fairly the same even after a massive change. The same troubles will assail them, in some way. However, the baggage gets heavier.

Our Creator is the true center of the Show (not us). The Supreme Being is irresistibly calling out, wooing us, and our thirst deepens.

It’s a fact that when a person is too dehydrated they may actually stop craving what they truly need-water/hydration and replenishment of nutrients. They may feel tired, ill, hungry, or numb, instead of thirsty. In an ironic twist, the person doesn’t desire what will make them healthy again. It’s a perilous situation. Without help, people die this way.

This kind of confusion happens spiritually too. Often, in fact. A common (household) term often used for what turns out to be a spiritual problem like this is most often called a “midlife crisis” or sometimes an “identity crisis.” It’s common for people to get a point where they need to “find themselves,” or re-define themselves, sometimes multiple times throughout one’s life. This “want to” to change is healthy, though many times misread. An identity shift like this may happen once or several times in one’s life where a person tries hard to better one’s circumstances, and find relief.

If you haven’t enter a stage like this yourself, I’m sure you can think of someone who has. For instance, in the last 18 months seven marriages at our church have spun out of control or failed. I believe a misunderstanding of this spiritual opportunity is a big reason why.

What must happen to be truly free, and on a full path to growth? Something more like a walk has to happen rather than a small show we create. A walk with God and changing one’s perspective to surrender to God and “his” Big Show (the authentic one “Reality”) is a path few take, or attempt for all that long. It just isn’t a simple or smooth road. It is a mysterious, sometimes troubling one, where the answers are rarely simple or pat. This is the path of faith (believing in what you can’t see, but still know is quite real). Sometimes changing the channel, multiple times, seems like the only sensible thing to do. The negative part is that we only get more of the same when we do that. It’s still our story we want to control, and our story stays small and frustrating.

As many who have done the enormous personal work to recover from drugs or alcohol can attest, one usually has to hit “rock bottom,” (or be fully ready), before surrender to a new, and bigger Show occurs (a life centered in God’s Reality). It all starts by doing something very rare and counter-intuitive. It’s something we all fear: Losing control and Humbly yielding to the Higher Power, and admitting that without grace, and true dependence on God and others, a better way cannot be possible. Perhaps the scripture comes to mind, …”if you try to save your life, you’ll lose it. But if you lose your life (yourself) for my sake, you will find it…”

In contrast, we wish to be self-made.… yet, only a small show about “me” is self-made. Transformation, growth, and sturdy happiness (joy) comes instead through the bravery of surrender to the greater Reality, and taking the more treacherous but rewarding path that comes with this decision.

In part III installment on this topic, I’ll mention some things that happen once this pivotal choice is made. A person’s attitude and outlook change; and how one orders one’s life undergoes critical and unavoidable development with radical shifts in thinking, acting, and relating to others–for the better! We’re talking here about spiritual formation.

I’ll describe that a bit more, soon, in part III. Check back in the next few days and see.

This is a lot to chew on, especially if this is a new concept, and you’ve never encountered these ideas before. Some people call it “being born again”…. and in a real sense, a new life starts for the person who is ready: A whole new life begins.

…to be continued…

Reflections questions:

Have I been living my own small story?

Have I longed for a richer life, but have really only being encountering re-runs or spin offs of a short-changed Show?

What is stopping me from walking a new life?

What are your responses, insights, or thoughts on this topic?

Freaked out!

The face of "Freak out"

I got this on Facebook from Susan Sims. Me thinks she pulled it from somewhere online. If anyone knows the proper source for citation, give me a shout out.

I thought this picture just perfectly captured what happens on my insides when I get suddenly horrified or surprised. Notice the weird hand gesture of fright. Classic.

In a rather unrelated note, due to my employment research, I found this, and I thought it would make a fine read, even for those not in recovery. Please note the restorative humility it takes to get well seen in these steps. It makes one wonder how many of us are all that well, right?

(I welcome your thoughts and comments!)

12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (& Biblical References) by Alcoholics Victorious

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol … that our lives had become unmanageable. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. “… my grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) ..for it God Who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose.. (Phil. 2:13)
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of GOD as we understood Him. “… If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23**)
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)
5. Admitted to GOD, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
6. Were entirely ready to have GOD remove all these defects of character. “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.” (Isaiah 1:19)
7. Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23, 24**)
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Give and it shall be given you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38**)
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith GOD has given you.” (Romans 12:3)
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with GOD as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will, and the power to carry that out. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Col. 3:16)
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2) **The words of Christ