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Simple, but not easy

Message from the Director - August 2022

About ten years ago, I made a decision that would change my life, but before I get to that story, I want to look at what a decision is. A decision is not making a choice, a choice means picking one of two or more options. I make a hundred choices everyday, do I want rice or potatoes with my dinner, do I want rocky road or bear tracks ice cream after dinner. Making a decision means deciding to act on and follow through on one or more options. For any decision to mean anything, it always requires further action.

But there is a catch, in order to apply decisions into our lives, we need to know what we want MOST in life. In other words, we’ve got to have an idea of what we’re ultimately after in our life—our purpose. The next step is knowing what to do on a smaller scale to ensure that we’re living out our purpose daily, or for myself, one day at a time.

Step 3 of the 12-steps states that “I made a decision to turn my will and my life [thoughts and actions] over to the care of God”. You see living in my will led me to loneliness, resentment, fear, self-pity and eventually thoughts of suicide. Living in my will made me feel empty and unfulfilled, without purpose. I had reached the point of not caring whether I lived or died as life was becoming too painful to endure. By God’s grace, I was introduced to a recovery community called Jericho Road. This is where my recovery began, and where I learned to live out God’s will for my life by giving up on my own will. Not as easy as it sounds, I can take back my will anytime I want to, but as my relationship with Jesus was being nurtured, living in God’s will become a little easier, again, one day at a time.

At first, knowing what God’s will for me was very confusing. The questions, doubts and judgements swirled in my head. How do I know the difference between my will and God’s will? What is this going to cost me, my independence, my decision making? All these churchy people were telling me that God spoke to them, I was thinking they were crazy. I never heard God in my life, and if I never did, you certainly haven’t! You can’t con a con.

This is where community came in. I had people that I didn’t really know who cared about me and loved me unconditionally. That alone freaked me out, but that’s a different story for another day. I was shown that a good place to start doing God’s will was to do the opposite of what I wanted to do. When I came into recovery, I was a selfish, self-centred and self-seeking person. I was told that doing the opposite actions of my thinking was probably a good beginning.

Author and speaker Paul J Bucknell says,

“Most of us have never found the secret of discovering God’s will. We are too caught up on our search for our own will.” I had to stop searching for my own will, my own will got me lost, tired, empty and broken, over and over again.

After a couple of months, I began to see how others were seeking God’s will and plans for their life through the practice of prayer, reading the bible, discipline and listening to the Holy Spirit.

This is where I had to make a decision. I had seen what God had done in so many people around me, they had something that I wanted, they weren’t miserable all the time, they smiled, they had a sense of joy. My skepticism began to melt away. There was only one thing I would lose in turning my will and my life over to God’s care, control. I asked myself, where had driving the bus gotten me so far? When I drive the bus, I spend most of my time in the ditches. Making that decision became easier upon reflection of my past. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

To quote the AA big book, “This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our director. He is the Principal; we are his agents. He is the Father, and we are his children.”

When I made the decision to turn my life over to God, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I am not powerless because I am weak, I am powerless because God is almighty.

Now for the actions, as a friend of mine says “the boots to the ground” things that I can do daily, since I can take my will back any day, I need to make that decision daily. Living in my will does not happen all at once, it is like pulling the strings of a balloon, one at a time until I have a mittful and I float away from his will. My actions include, prayer, reading my bible, fellowship and accountability. The first two actions are uncomplicated in nature if they are done daily. I find setting aside the same time in my daily routine makes prayer and bible reading an achievable goal. Accountability and fellowship are a little harder to do at first. A friend of mine always says “Doing my will starts off being easy but then becomes harder to do but doing God’s will starts off hard and then becomes easier to do”.

Today I am happy, I know peace, I feel loved, I am able to love, I know what it’s like to be wanted and accepted, to feel unique and at the same time I know that I am a part of, rather that separate from. Broken relationships have been restored.

When I have problems come up in my life, I have serenity and peace knowing God’s got this. Money cannot buy this freedom from self, it is priceless, it is God’s grace in action. I am filled with gratitude and joy. I have hope.

This is what keeps me going, Jericho Road is not just a recovery community, recovery is a by-product of what we do. Through our staff and residents, we give hope to those who feel hopeless. Simple but not always easy.

Kevin Williams

Executive Director

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