It’s Choice Not Chance That Determines Your Destiny
Life is hard. There are so many things that are beyond our control, and often that leads to feeling like a victim or at least it did for me. Because of that, there still are some unresolved issues that continue to surface in my life. Fortunately, I now know that this is just an indication that more healing is needed. Of course as much as I have said that, focusing on the pain only makes it worse. Friends told me that I really have to do something about it, and I am really trying but these emotions still mess me up. I know in my head that no one needs to be enslaved by their feelings or the feelings of others, but still.
When my personal inventory was done, the resentment that was at the top of the list was me. I hated myself for what I had and hadn’t done. Basically there was no self-esteem left. So, when I began making amends, it seemed only natural that I should be the first on that list too. (It was natural to think this way because the selfishness was still so deeply embedded inside me.)
My spiritual guide at the time reminded me that the amends to myself was in the process of making amends to others. He said that if I wanted self-esteem, I must do esteem-able acts. To back up his point, he opened up the Bible and went to the first book of John, chapter 3, verses 18 through 20.
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”
I asked that he read that again. He did, and I just sat there in silence. He did too. In that moment it seemed like all our time together led up to this and created a moment of clarity my perspective had been changed. Big time.
True Christianity, the kind that I deeply desire, is characterized by a love in which there is no fear. Despite what the past had presented, there was no reason to continue feeling, thinking, and acting like I had before. No longer will there be any empty promises and boasts of what will be. By the grace of God, now I can chose to live in the Truth and live in this moment without fear and loathing.
Yes, I was hurt, and yes, I am afraid that I may hurt again. Yes, I was concerned about what may happen. I still am at times. My character defect of denial had created a picture of me being a victim or at the least being innocent some of the times. All my life I had said that these where not excuses, that there are explanations on why the past happened as it did. Never again will I ruin an apology with an excuse.
So after what seemed like an eternity of silence, my trusted friend then just smiled and reminded once again – ‘It’s not if it’s right, not if it’s wrong, but is it true.”
Nothing I could say or think could deny this. My pattern of arguing to prove myself had been broken. My feelings had controlled me subtly and the only way to change this was just like the previous steps taken, I had to take direction, get into action and stop procrastinating.
I’m not sure what happened next, but sponsors do seem to say what’s needed at exactly the right time. Maybe they just prepare us for God to sneak in and change us. Whatever it was, it affected me greatly then and still does to this day. All he said was: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
It is really that simple. I have now cast away all the other thoughts and just keep it simple…and change has happened. I know that I am acceptable. I know that everyone is. None are greater or lesser than another. Because of this awareness, no longer do I need to be better than others. We all are doing the best we can, regardless if we know it or not. I know these things now because I did my 9th step. Life really begins when the fear ends.
Please don’t delay making your amends as long as I did. Please. Just start doing what you know is the right thing to do today and the feelings will follow. Don’t wait. Action ignites motivation.
The fact of the matter is that if we don’t change, we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Seriously. Life is a continual process of learning to live with personal integrity. Unfortunately, we imperfect souls all too often fall short. We lie to keep the peace. We refuse to try a new way to do something, not because it’s a bad idea but because it’s strange and different. We continue to carry a grudge. We’re afraid to trust a friend. These things happen, but it’s important to keep our values and goals in front of us. This is really the only way life will get better. If we keep remembering where we are trying to go and take responsibility for trying to get there, eventually we will see the day when life is different. Making your amends will help solidify this new way of living and learning. life is a continual process of learning to live with personal integrity. Unfortunately, we often fall short. We lie to keep the peace. We refuse to try a new way to do something, not because it’s a bad idea but because it’s different. We continue to carry a grudge. We’re afraid to trust our friend. These things happen, but it’s important to keep our values and goals in front of us. This is the only way life will get better. If we keep remembering where we are trying to go and take responsibility for trying to get there, eventually we will.
The amends won’t turn us into being necessarily better women and men, but it will make us more emotionally honest about who we are. They teach us that our integrity is not determined by what we say we believe. Our integrity is determined by what we understand about ourselves, what we do, how we actually live.