I have to say this last reading had so many points I could expand on, I could probably write half a book on this section alone – so much of this relates to experiences I’ve had, myself.
Firstly, that prayer isn’t self-serving. I read somewhere that prayer isn’t giving God instructions, but reporting for duty. That’s certainly an overstatement, as I believe God is so much more interested in my well-being than in how well I perform “for him”, but the underlying idea is true. I am fundamentally self-centred, and that bothers me. My prayers are always about me, me, me – not saying “bless me, bless me” but rather “improve me, improve me”. When I look at myself I see so many shortcomings that it’s hard not to bombard God with prayers to take them away. And yet, to avoid being overwhelmed and for that reason not tackling any of my shortcomings at all, I am learning to ask God to point out ones that he is giving me the strength & grace to work on.
Second thing – that I can’t hand over responsibility for my final actions, or for hearing God, to others. I have learned this painfully last summer. I was around people who cared, loved me… but they were and are civilians and do not understand the nature of this disease. I believe that I have been given this program by my Higher Power, that this is his way to keep me in a daily active submission and dependence. They believed I was letting a man-made program dominate my life, making the program my higher power. I have now learned that I cannot make civilians understand – not truly – and that I have no need to. And even though these individuals were in authority over me (my pastor), and he still is my authority, I have also learned that the fact that he is human and fallible means that I have always, always got to check with God for myself for direction. I cannot rely on my pastor, or in fact anybody else. I go to them for input and guidance, but I have to own the final decision – and in order to own it, I HAVE to be sure that I have unmistakeable witness from God for it.
I really like this book. Thanks all, enjoy your weekend & I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving (thankfully, we don’t celebrate it here in the UK!)