I read a small devotional that AA puts out called, Twenty-Four Hours a Day. Today the meditation was,
“Ask God in a daily prayer to give you the strength to change. When you ask God to change you, you must at the same time fully trust Him. If you do not fully trust Him, God may answer your prayer as a rescuer does that of a drowning person who is putting up too much of a struggle. The rescuer must first render the person still more helpless, until he or she is wholly at the rescuer’s mercy. Just so we must be wholly at God’s mercy before we can be rescued.”
In my life I have often asked for God’s help to change me, and many of those times I wasn’t really ready to trust God and change. Just as the meditation says he answered my prayer and rendered me helpless until I had no other choice but to trust him, because all other options were exhausted. Those times were painful and full of worldly trouble, but each and every time I allowed Him to take control… things got better.
St. Augustine also prayed a prayer kind of like that when he almost desired to stop fornicating. He prayed, “O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.” Let’s be honest, we all pray prayers like that. We want to be better, but we like our pleasures, and comforts. We want to be more involved in church, but we are too busy; we want to stop drinking, but later when were are older; we want to control our temper, but people do stupid things; we feel bad about having sex outside of marriage, but it feels so good; we try not to worry, but we only trust in ourselves; we want to lose weight and exercise more, but it’s so hard.
When temptations and pleasures like these cause us problems, we look to God and ask him to help us. In my case I’ve even looked to God and told him it was His fault I couldn’t change because He wasn’t helping enough. Praying to God and asking Him to help us change is a dangerous prayer when we don’t completely trust Him, or really don’t want to change. I’ve had Him render me helpless and it was not very fun. It was good for me and like Marine Corps boot camp I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I’m not anxious to go through it again either.
This meditation and my past experience really got me thinking about the changes I’m trying to make in my life. Do I really trust God, and am I absolutely serious about wanting to change, or am I playing the religion game and making myself feel spiritual and pious by telling God what I think He wants to hear?
Today I spent some time reflecting on the above meditation and asked God to search my heart and let me get totally serious about letting go and having Him change me. It was not an easy or fun time of reflection.