Dependence is one of the synonyms for addiction, and it means “the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else.” Outsourcing your freedom. That thing that we rely on to lessen the blow when we are faced with a problem that we do not think we can solve or even cope with.
I am not the kind of person who surrenders – no, fight to the death and then run away as the ship sinks or the city burns behind me. Surrender means I know I am powerless, while fighting to the bitter end lets me go on believing that the opposition was just too tough or the wind wasn’t blowing in my favor. It means running and hiding and waiting for the next battle, which I inevitably lose over and over again. The very definition of insanity.
Surrender means I will never win, no matter how hard I try, but somehow I still believe that giving up and lapsing into despair is much more honorable. Throwing in the towel means that if I cannot win, nobody can. The feat is impossible and no one can help, which is quite comforting to a sick mind that does not want to admit there is something wrong with me.
Surrender, however, means that I recognize my inability to overcome while also acknowledging that it is not universally impossible – someone else can and will overcome what I cannot – if I will only ask.
Step One: Came to believe we were powerless…that our lives had become unmanageable.
This is potentially the most unsteady, intimidating step to take…but it is so necessary that the rest of the steps will not serve you until you know this truth and trust it as reality. If you still have an inkling or spark of hope in your own power to fix your problems, stop for a moment or even for days and ponder this question: when you try to orchestrate your life and circumstances, what happens?
I have to be powerless in order for God to be all-powerful. I have to know that the definition of insanity is “Do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” as Einstein said. My addictions were fueled by this principle and this lie. This time, the alcohol or the pills or the food or the gym will fix my problem and clean up my mess. If I just _____ enough, things will be okay.
Why is this important to relationships? For me, admission of powerlessness meant that I was ready to see that my logic, which I valued above everything else, was not the answer. That was a hard and humbling realization because my sense of self-esteem came from my “rational” intelligence. But however hard I tried to navigate platonic or romantic relationships, I kept messing up and running into difficulty.
When I surrender control to God, I go to Him and admit that I cannot fix my mistakes; I ask Him to show me what to do and to help me be of service. Most of our relational problems come from innate self-centeredness, but when I ask God to take the steering wheel, that also means I turn my life’s purposes and goals over to Him. Those of us who know anything about God also know that He is in the business of giving generously and helping others. The antithesis of my selfishness.
Do you do anything over and over again and expect that, this time, the results will be different?
Where are you frustrated?
What do you try to do and never seem to succeed? Does something work for a while and then stop working? Does anything hold you back from believing you are powerless over your life and circumstances?
What do you rely on more than anything else?
What relational problems do you struggle with?
Would your life change if you told God He can do whatever He wants with your life?