People in recovery or on a spiritual quest are often told to “Keep the faith” or “Trust your higher power.” But what if you don’t have a deity to turn to, or you’ve never learned how to “Turn it over.” Under these circumstances, such clichés can sound like a bunch of gibberish. Before we can have such blind faith, we must learn how.
Finding Your Own Higher Power
God doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. For example, most agnostics reject God because of early childhood indoctrination or simply don’t believe what they were taught in the first place. Likewise, many people have difficulty reconciling a “loving God” who would allow people to suffer unimaginable hardships. But instead of rejecting religion as the sole source of God, each person should find a higher power that resonates with their own center of truth.
You can decide what works for you. Think of a time that you felt so at peace, that you were in a stress-free zone without any awareness of a troubled mind. Some people feel like this when seeing an inspirational movie or reading an enlightening book. Others feel totally connected to love when fishing, gardening, or walking in the woods. Some people are euphoric when helping others. Hobbies, music, sunsets, meditation, walks on the beach, staring at the stars are other ways to connect to inner calm and light that transcends worry and pain.
It doesn’t matter your higher power as long as you achieve conscious contact with a higher consciousness when connecting to that energy.
Learning There’s More than Meets the Eye
Trusting an unseen force is an oxymoron. How do you trust something you never see? But if you think about it, you trust something you don’t see every moment of your life. You’re trusting the sun will rise and set, that everything around you stays put, and that there’s a universal intelligence that maintains cosmic order – including chaos as part of that order.
To develop trust, you must know when to act and when to stay out of the way. And if you don’t refrain from taking control, you’ll never learn to trust.
Obviously, if someone is in a life-threatening situation, you don’t just stand back and watch. But there’s a difference between a real threat and an imaginary danger. And there’s a difference between helping and enabling. Imagine your teaching a child how to swim, and she refuses to hold her breath or kick her legs. You’re afraid the child will drown, so you keep rescuing her, no matter how exhausted you become. A good gulp of water could be highly motivating. She will then internalize the value of swimming rather than being directed through life without understanding why.
And while it might seem crazy to step back and allow life to play out, it’s the only way that life can work out for the best. If you’ve done what you can to accomplish a goal and then sit back and allow things to fall into place, the results are usually better than forcing an outcome.
Only by waiting and then witnessing the miracle, you develop faith. Then, after a few times of “Letting go and letting God” (whatever you conceive God to be), you’ll have grown enough spiritual muscle that you aren’t driven by fears that control your every action. Only then can you do the footwork and let the unseen forces of love do the rest.
If you don’t believe this, I challenge you to try it a few times. Do your part and let life do the rest. Only then will you be able to judge for yourself whether you can trust yourself or something unseen to run the universe better. Unless you’re willing to enter the waiting room, you’ll never know the joy of trusting a loving, invisible, higher power that starts with faith and, over time, turns into complete trust.
Join our movement to save millions of lives from addiction.
Donna Marks believes that the models for diagnosis, treatment, and addiction have failed. Her mission is to help save at least one million lives by 2030, through education and prevention. She has been an author, consultant, educator, public speaker, licensed psychotherapist, and addictions counselor in private practice in Palm Beach, Florida for more than thirty years. In 1989, Dr. Marks developed a chemical dependency treatment program at Palm Beach Community College, that has since grown into a four-year degree program, and for which she was granted an Award of Appreciation. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became a Certified Addictions Professional, Certified Gestalt Therapist, Certified Psychoanalyst, Hypnotherapist, and Certified Sex Therapist.
Dr. Marks is the author of the 22-award winning book, Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.
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