Image courtesy of Chaiwat/

Today’s blog is going to examine what sounds like a simple concept: “willingness.” Only it is not so simple. Personal change can never happen as long as we are not willing to change. I can want to lose 10 pounds with “all my might”, but until I am willing to do what it takes for that to happen it won’t. How many times have you or someone you know been lectured in the doctor’s office about quitting smoking, losing weight, bringing your cholesterol down, keeping your blood sugars level, exercising more, etc.? Health care professionals are wasting their  breath unless the person needing the change starts being willing to do what it takes to make the change happen.

How do we get to this mysterious place where we are ready to entertain the idea of change? I know, for the most part, each of us has to hit our own unique “bottom” before we are willing to give up on fixing things ourselves and ask a power greater than ourselves for help. It is that moment of surrender that lets willingness in the door.

At this point, I think it will be helpful to share an extensive quote from Bill W. ( Anonymous, !967. As Bill Sees It , p. 122):

Willingness Is the Key

“No matter how much one wishes to try, exactly how can he turn his own will and his own life over to the care of whatever God he thinks there is?

A beginning, even the smallest, is all that is needed. Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and have the door ever so slightly open, we find that we can always open it some more.

Though self-will may slam it shut again, as it frequently does, it will always respond the moment we again pick up the key of willingness.”

This quote tells me that unless I am willing to change—to turn things over to the God of my understanding—-then nothing will change. Right now I know I could lose ten pounds in the next month if I weighed and measured five small feedings every day and stuck to eating only specific proteins, vegetables, and fruits. But I am maintaining/gaining small amounts of weight rather than losing because I am not willing to turn my eating over to God at this point. I am enjoying the “freedom” of doing it my way. I am a diabetic, but surely I can be like other people and not gain weight as long as I don’t eat flour, starches, and sugar.

Wrong. I am a unique child of God. I need to trust God to know what is best for my health. Why should I be surprised that I need to follow a unique plan of eating to stay healthy? I cannot drink like other people. I cannot eat like other people. I can feel sorry for myself and sit moping on the “pity pot” all day long planning my next alcohol or food binge….or I can start to wonder what would it take for me to be willing to turn  it all over to God again? And in just that moment of wondering, I am letting that key of willingness start to chip away at my self-will. Surely, I pray, I will not have to hit a “hard bottom” of suffering, sickness, and almost dying before I am  willing to hand my eating over to God.  I am eating foods that are healthy for me. I just don’t want to follow a strict regimen of eating specific foods at specific times  for breakfast, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner and bedtime snack. I’m tired of eating specific foods at five  specific times.  I am in a sort of “half-in and half-out” healthy eating limbo; I want to find a new, softer way of “eating healthy.” I want to “do things my way” just a little bit longer. And, as long as I do that, I will be slamming the door on the willingness that can lead to health and serenity.

I used my personal experience with my food addiction to illustrate how our mind and our rationalization can keep willingness—-the very thing that can help us—-from saving us from ourselves and our self-will.  Willingness is the key to escaping any addiction or problem we may be experiencing. But we have to be willing to pick it up in order for the key to work.

Please comment about the concept of willingness and the role it has played in your life. May God bless and keep you.