Just a warning, these devotionals are going to start out looking like a feel-good story. Then stuff is going to get real. Buckle the seatbelt!
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
…story began on Day 3…
From yesterday: To return to the story from a few days ago, my primary takeaway from those conversations with Jim was how freeing it was for both of us to admit there was no defense.
A handful of times in my life I have noticed the desire to defend myself and resisted it. I say “a handful” because it honestly has not happened very often. Once every 7 or 8 years or so I’m gifted with enough awareness to recognize my desire to deny and defend and to take a stand against it. (I don’t remember the last time this happened, but I do remember the last time I instantly defended myself. Because it was last week.) Once that happens, though, I find within myself an overwhelming sense of peace and freedom. This experience is fleeting- it doesn’t last very long- but it lasts just long enough to make me aware that it is possible.
That sense of peace and freedom is the result of living in reality, even if I’m only able to do so for a few moments at a time about once every decade. When I stop needing a defense I taste the abundant life that comes from acknowledging the reality of myself and share it with the person who caused me to feel threatened.
For me, and I can only speak for myself, I find that motivating. I learn in those moments the reality of truly abundant life. When we stop fighting and relax into the reality of what is, then we gain a whole new perspective. The fight itself is pointless because it does not actually protect us from anything. Defending ourselves against the threat of reality does not protect us from reality- it just leads us into denial. It simply stands in the way of our ability to discover abundant life. In that moment, we experience less tension than we would if we embraced reality but, in the long run, we create far more tension for ourselves because it becomes increasingly difficult to fight reality as the evidence continues to stack up against us.
It is difficult to acknowledge that we are not as good as we like to think. Yet, when we are willing to do this and relax into the reality of reality, we find peace.
If we were ever able to discover this truth and hang on to it for more than 5 seconds at a time, wouldn’t step 5 seem like an exciting thing to do?