Faith is Pointless Unless It’s Tested
There are times in life when you come face-to-face with the naked truth and it scares the crap out of you.
I don’t care how much life you’ve lived, how much recovery time you have or what kind of experiences you’ve faced. Those are the factual details of the history of you but are not the heart of you.
And that’s what I care about–the heart of you, because when your heart hurts, you can feel like your faith is being tested.
At least that’s my experience. The trick is learning how to stand still and let your faith be tested.
Fixing a hurting heart
Here’s my naked truth: Wednesday, May 20th, is my 24th anniversary of entering recovery. Here’s what my ego has to say about the occasion:
“You would think that after 8,760 days of sobriety and somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 meetings, you would stop misplacing your faith. You’re no more than a non-drinking, 12-step fraud.”
Yikes. The words sound harsh even to me as I type them but they do speak to how I’ve felt lately.
I can’t say I’ve been restless, irritable and discontent. Floundering, distracted and lack of focus more accurately describes my state of mind.
Oddly enough, there are plenty of things that are right with my life. We had a vacation in paradise recently, my work is going well, the bills are getting paid and our dogs are healthy. But this one little-bitty area of my life–my recovery–feels off.
12-steppers are quick to point to the Big Book for answers. Lack of sponsorship, they say. Go to more meetings.
Yes, I hear you, and I need more.
I read a reference to the story of Moses leading his people out of the desert while being chased by Pharaoh’s army. When Moses and his tribe hit the Red Sea, he looks back and sees all those chariots fixin’ to run up his tail pipe. He cries out to God for help.
God tells Moses to stand still. Wait. Have faith.
Moses may well have had the faith of the ages but until that day, his faith was pointless.
We create our own difficulties
Does your ego ever tell you you’re a fraud like mine does? After the latest round of the Who Do You Think You Are Game, I discovered that 24 years of recovery means I’m much better at recognizing my ego’s BS.
I’ve also decided that my ego doesn’t know jack about recovery. If it did, it would know that creating strange mental blank holes for me to fall into are traps that faith sees from miles away.
What are some of those strange mental black holes? They’re things like blaming sources outside of me for my pain, shaming myself for allowing something to happen and assuming something is always going to be the way it is right now.
Those things are my pharaoh’s armies. The inclination is to run harder and faster when in reality I need to heed the advice given to Moses–to stand still.
Standing still allows me to see that every single thing in my life is a result of a choice I made and if I don’t like my circumstances, I can choose differently.
Nothing is absolute and everything is changing. Just because something disturbs me today doesn’t mean it’s a forever thing, unlike the fallacies that my ego tries to pass off as truths.
The difference between happy and sad is a decision. Until my faith in the process of recovery is tested, it isn’t really faith at all.
Come to think of it, that’s quite a lot to learn in 24 years.
Photo courtesy of pippalou