freedomfrom fear

Not only does the love of God go beyond my understanding, the concept of God in general, can be very daunting. When I sit and dwell on Him, I find it hard to believe. Wow, that is the problem! I sit and dwell and find it hard to believe. First, I NEED TO GET UP!! Second, I need stop trying to believe and start knowing what there is to know. As I go about my daily life, my struggles, disappointments, and triumphs I start to know who and how God is in all that I do.

In my recovery process/life experiences, my concept of "God" has changed numerous times. Let me rephrase that, it has grown and developed like any other relationship I have had. I am always changing; therefore, my ideas and beliefs are changing as well. This change is from a deeper understanding. It is not because I am trying to fit God into my life it is because my understanding of God has grown.

"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change."
Albert Einstein.

This topic of "The God of My Understanding," Had come up while I was taking part in a 12 Step program. This Program was part of a halfway house called "The Potters House" which I was managing at the time. I was asked to share my ideas on the subject. The "God of My Understanding" is a huge part of the Spirituality concept in the 12 Step program. It was no secrete that I do not totally agree with this concept. So, I was torn between following the general concept of the 12 steps and going with my heart and knowledge of the God of the Bible. Here are the central ideas I was exploring at the time.Please do not judge me for my beliefs. They do come from a spirit of love and admiration for all those who have battled the dragon of addition.

A Collection of Thoughts

  1. Twelve Step programs don't work; Twelve Step people work, and work very hard
  2. At the heart of Twelve Step work is turning your life over to God, as you understand God.
  3. Being Part of the Twelve Steps to recovery it doesn't matter how you understand God. What matters is that you place yourself in the service of this God. Who is greater than you.
  4. God, however understood, is more than the Ultimate Sponsor, and once you turn your life over to this God you are at the mercy of your God's desires.
  5. The goal is that you put an end to the things that have you bound, and it may be that your God wants to put an end to this also. If that is the case, I am happy for you. It may also be that your God wants to put an end to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and the entire LGBTQ community.
  6. Frankly, the God of your understanding is you. That's why the God of your understanding happens to share the ethics and morality of your understanding as well. Your God loves those you love, fears those you fear, and hates those you hate. You may insist that you don't fear or hate anyone, yet the God of your understanding fears and hates. So work backwards.
  7. God matters even if God doesn't exist. God matters because God is the embodiment of everything you believe about yourself, others, and the nature of life and how best to live it.
  8. What about the God of a Muslim, who is a terrorist, and slaughtered many innocents, there is no Muslim God, only the Gods of 1.2 billion Muslims, each of whom understands God differently. The God of a terrorist's understanding was Muslim because his understanding of God, life, and how best to live it was infused with his understanding of Islam. Likewise any religion.
  9. The God of someones understanding could hate lots of people, just because they are different
  10. So, before you engage in Step Three and turn your life over to the God of your understanding, you had best investigate just who this God is and what this God demands of you.
  11. To do this I suggest asking several questions of your understanding of God:


    • Whom does the God of your understanding love, and whom does the God of your understanding hate?
    • Does the God of your understanding ask you to violate universal moral principles such as the Golden Rule?
    • How does the God of your understanding treat those who understand differently?
  12. Turning my life over to the God of my understanding isn't turning my life over to a set of beliefs, rituals, or laws, but rather places me in direct confrontation with life and death, blessing and curse, good and evil, and demands that I choose. Knowing all the while that I don't always know what to choose.
  13. Not knowing humbles me; not knowing liberates me from self–righteousness and certainty and for compassion toward all beings. Not knowing forces me to think and think again about the rightness of my choices. Not knowing allows me, at least for today, to not be that terrorist.
  14. In conclusion, I believe that the Twelve Steps are a spiritual practice with the potential to lift us beyond religion, beyond ourselves, and bring us into a direct encounter with reality. Like any endeavor that is worthwhile, it has to be engaged with your whole heart. The extent to which we do this is the extent to which human transformation is possible. The extent to which we don't is the extent to which terror in the name of God is inevitable

I did not share all these thoughts. I found it was wise not to try to push my beliefs or understanding on others. My objective was to bring out the fact that our understanding can lead us down a dark tunnel with no light at the end. Or, lift us up together as a community of God seekers.

I used to hold the popular image of God, he who sits up high, watching over all. But now, I have given my will over to a much more personal sense of God, the voice that persists inside my being, guiding me through each day. As I have said numerus times "It is not God who bends, but ourselves". God remains the same yesterday, today, and for all my future endeavors. Knowing Him and understanding who He is, has become a life long journey.

This journey has brought me through many good and bad places. I believe the most important thing in establishing a sense of higher power is recognizing that it is not me who has ultimate control over my life. Yes, this thought is a little unsettling. Once I was able to see and accept that having total control was not something I was ever good at anyway, I no longer wanted the job.

That does not dismiss the idea that I do not have a say in what happens. I have a calm spirit knowing that as I grow in my understanding, I also have developed a sense of faith in myself. I have faith that I will do the next right thing, no matter how difficult, may not only keep me out of trouble but also give me a better sense of my surroundings and purpose in life. A sense of purpose I believe, is something that has been built into us. Without purpose we would not have the desire to exist. There must be a reason for our existence.

In the end, I am convinced, that the God of my understanding must be greater than my understanding. I put a lot of stock in knowing this. So when we fail again, when we run into a problem where there doesn't seem to be a solution, or when days seem too dark to go on, we must remember: God is greater than our understanding, therefore he is trustworthy even when we can't understand the way out, when we can not understand beyond our own understanding. So my purpose in life is to have a relationship with God, to better understand Him, and to share that understanding with everyone I meet.