Recently, I read the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps written by Richard Rohr for a class which studied and guided us through the book. The book and the class uses the principles of the original Twelve Step program to help the class members discover their idols. A quote from the class material at the end helps sum up what the study did for me. “…the greatest work God does … is to help us see what we really desire instead of what we idolize.” Our real desire is intimate fellowship with God, but we often try to replace that with possessions, persons, projects, purposes and/or philosophies.
Attending class sessions and reading the book was the easy part for me. I probably would have grown some by doing just that. The hardest part for me, though is the thing that brought the most gain. I had several assignments like asking those who know me best what it is like being on the other side of me, doing a personal inventory of my life, listing those I have harmed, begin reconciliations with those I’ve harmed where it would bring healing to them and not bring up old wounds. I have not yet completed all these assignments.
Our last assignment included looking back on the past weeks and assessing what benefit the study has been. That is the way I would like to continue this entry. The assignments that were the most difficult were those that exposed the fact that so much of my life even the good things that I’ve done began motivated by a love for God, but too often resulted in pride and self righteousness. If that is all I gained from this class, I would only be discouraged by the many ways I have failed God and hurt others. I would fall into a spiritual depression. I needed to recognize this, though, to gain the important reality that this personal inventory was meant to reveal.
Looking back on my life, what I recognized is God’s faithfulness. Whether I was faithful, humble, prideful or lacked faith, God never gave up on me. I see how often I needed Him and how little he needed me, but allowed me to partner with Him anyway. He consoled, convicted, comforted, corrected, convinced and cared for me at just the right time and right way every step along the way. Any good I accomplished was God. The rest is me. Oh, how much He loves me and how one-sided our love relationship has been! God’s unfailing love and my desire for and dependence on His love is the compilation and the confirmation of these several weeks.
Fredrick M. Lehman wrote this stanza and refrain in his song entitled ” The Love of God.” I would like to use them to conclude.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,/And were the sky of parchment made,/Were every stalk on earth a quill,/And every man a scribe by trade./To write the love of God above,/Would drain the ocean dry./Nor could the scroll contain the whole,/Though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure!/ How measureless and strong!/ It shall forevermore endure/ The saints’ and angels’ song.
Please pray with me and for me that my relationship with God becomes less and less one-sided.
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.