I have to admit, before last week, I didn’t know what steps came after admitting you have a problem. For as long as I can remember, I have said and heard other people say things like, “Well, at least you admit that is a problem. That’s the first step.”
So last week, I shared about that here on Middle Places and I went ahead and looked up the 12 Steps online. I shared the second step in that same blog post. And then I closed that window on my computer. Yesterday, I sat down with my laptop, trying to decide what to blog about this week, and I realized I should probably check out the remaining steps. After all, if I told you all about taking step one and step two, it wouldn’t hurt to share a bit about the rest of the steps, right?
It turns out, I have been inadvertently continuing my personal spiritual 12 Step program without even knowing the steps. Although, I may have steps three and four reversed in practice.
Step 3: Make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him.
Step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
Reading these again, I don’t think I reversed them. It’s more that I swirled them altogether into one happening.
Having read my recent blog posts here, a friend sent me a set of CDs he said I might find helpful. I wouldn’t have thought to pick them up on my own, because the title mentions living “the second half of life,” and I’d like to believe I haven’t reached that benchmark yet. However, the CDs were exactly what I needed. The author, James Hollis, says that the second half of life isn’t chronological. I find this explanation helpful:
“In the second half of life, the questions become: ‘Who, apart from the roles you play, are you? What does the soul ask of you? Do you have the wherewithal to shift course, to deconstruct your painfully achieved identity, risking failure, marginalization and loss of collective approval?’ No small task.”
It was listening to these CDs that helped me begin a fearless moral inventory of myself, and it is in the process of this inventory that I am deciding to turn my will and my life over to God as I understand God. EVEN IF how I understand God doesn’t match how my husband or mother or sister or best friend or child understands God. Even if how I understand God continues to change shape.
It’s like that country song I loved as a kid, “Life’s a dance you learn as you go.” My tempo changed mid-spin. Perhaps yours has as well. Maybe you thought it was a waltz, but now the beat has kicked up a bit and you gotta shuffle. Maybe you thought it was the Electric Slide and now you’re being asked to freestyle. I don’t know what your personal crisis might look like, but I know you can do it. I know you can fall down, get up, dust yourself off, and come back for more.
Thanks for joining me for another meeting, another set of confessions, another challenge to move forward. Now, let’s get back out into the world and use what we’ve learned.
Will you dance with me?