new life

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In Alcoholics Anonymous, (2001,4th edition, p. 63), there is a paragraph that introduces what those in AA call the “Third Step Prayer.” Among other things it asks God to remove difficulties—-not for those praying but so that others can witness God’s power, love, and way of life. It concludes with a request to be able to always do God’s will. I have had many personal and professional opportunities through the years to ponder this prayer and to begin to understand the wisdom it contains.

Recently, I have begun to view it as a tool for  “detachment from self” that shifts my perspective from personal need to that of sharing, by attraction rather than promotion, God’s way of life. I have been asking God all my life to help me through my difficulties—but doing so for the benefit of others rather than myself has created a paradigm shift to a totally new perspective.

Those in AA talk about “doing the next right thing.” Some religious groups use the phrase “What would Jesus do?” Using the lens of surviving difficulties so that you can be a living illustration of God’s way of life goes a bit further for me. When I sincerely pray to be a channel for God’s love and wisdom and to be of service to him, the result happens almost without effort.. I find myself doing things I would have never dreamed possible before—-and if doubt starts to creep in, I remind myself I am only a channel and it is all about God rather than myself. The key for me in living this “effortless change” is  changing the focus of my attitude from self to God.

One example of how this has worked in my life occurs on a regular basis in the particular church I attend. I  sometimes have the privilege of reading from the old testament and the epistles to the congregation. I have a tendency to worry about reading  perfectly. When that worry is paramount,  I know I am focused on self rather than God. This reminder that it is “not about me” quickly erases the self-centered worry and concerns.

Another example is writing this blog every day. In the past, I have always written articles in professional journals, and writing that way was both a challenge and a job, something I had to do to be promoted. Such writing was difficult because it was focused on me and self-gain—and I felt strongly pressured to produce “perfect writing” because that was usually one of the main keys to getting published in professional journals. As a result of asking several times a day to be blessed to God’s service, this blog has emerged. I won’t say writing it is effortless, but it does feel God inspired.  I find myself looking forward every day to writing it because I never know which way God is going to send me, what I can learn that will guide my spiritual journey, or what God wants me to communicate to others….in other words, what used to be a job is now an adventure I get to look forward to on a daily basis.

Please comment on today’s topic of “effortless change”. I am very much interested in hearing how this concept influences your life. May God bless and keep you.