“Mack, do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?” -Wm. Paul Young: The Shack, pg. 142
Mack, Greg, Bonnie, Sharon, Bill, Tommy, Sarah………..
Can you fit your name in to the statement above? I certainly can.
This particular statement came from Jesus during a conversation with Mack about Mack’s fears about God and Jesus. The fears are related to Mack’s anger over the brutal death of his daughter, and his belief that God didn’t give a damn about his daughter and allowed this brutal tragedy to occur. This anger about his daughter was piled atop Mack’s history with his addicted father. Anger upon anger left Mack with a vision of a God who did not care about anything which Mack loved.
Those of us in recovery frequently speak of our monkey mind. We acknowledge that our minds are dangerous places to stay for very long. Many of us share our stories of projecting in to the future. Our projections most always result in some fear based image that stirs negative emotions related to some fantasy in our mind. Personally, when I do this, I stand in shame and disgust over the absurdity of my thoughts. These thoughts are never connected to my reality, or God.
Why, after 17 years of recovery, does fear and anxiety continue to plague my opportunities to fully experience God’s peace and grace?
Step 3 of the 12 Steps of AA: We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to God as we understood God.
In the yoga tradition, we practice ‘ishvara pranidhana’, total surrender to God.
In Ojibway practice, we walk the red road, leaving the temptations of the world to the side.
In Christianity, we are born again in the spirit of Jesus.
From any perspective, I drop my addictive nature like a bag of garbage to make space for the Godly nature that is my sobriety. When I experience fear and/or anxiety, I am quick to pick up my garbage bag in the belief that my old friend will offer relief. I always do this alone. I forget that my God is willing to accept me with the bag of garbage, stench and all. This makes no sense. Right?
The unconditional love of God makes no sense. That is precisely what I have to surrender, the need to make sense of God. I have to surrender my perspective of God. I have to take God out of the box, out of my expectations, out of my tit for tat perspective and allow God to be God.
When I rest in the present, I can experience God. In the stillness, I experience God. In the future, I leave God out of my fear based fantasies.
I spend a lot of time preaching about mantra, that thought or vision which guides us to a place of peace and serenity. Yes, I am practicing meditation with mantra on a daily basis. So why does a statement like the one above rock my world with truth? It reminds me of the journey. This is the journey of constant surrender. It is also a journey of constant glimpses of grace and peace.
The glimpses are present when each of us is present, one to the other. Our willingness to share our pain and struggle always results in the awareness of grace and peace. This doesn’t make sense to me. Yet, it puts me in the presence of God. It is reality and I thrive on it.