This week we received the following question from a friend in recovery:
Has anyone else ever struggled with their faith? It seems like this is why I can’t get past step 2…How do I surrender when I don’t know if I trust God? Has anyone else felt this and if yes, what helped you? I’ve asked others but it seems to scare people so I stopped…hope it’s okay to ask here.
Yes!! It is okay to ask! So glad you did! You are not alone.
Wow, can I relate to this question. Yes, I have struggled with faith. Yes, I have felt like I couldn’t talk about it with others because it might “scare them.”
At the last SA Lifeline Conference, Dorothy Marion spoke about Post-traumatic growth. One of the concepts she mentioned was “Positive Religious Coping.”
She presented the idea that redefining our faith can be a helpful, and even necessary part of growing through trauma. This felt like a huge relief from the shame I felt about the fact that I was struggling to reconcile my life experiences with my faith.
For me, here are some of the things that are helping me grow through a crisis of faith:
Understand the difference between “religion” and “spirituality.”
Religion can be defined as “a collection of belief systems and moral values, often established by a governing institution.”
But spirituality is a measure of one’s intrinsic relationship with their God.
While certain aspects of my religion may seem unsafe or unhealthy now, I have found that working the steps always increases my spirituality. When my religion might not feel safe, I especially need to focus on nurturing my spirituality.
Trust my Sponsor.
I love how Step 2 suggests that to begin, we only need to recognize that we are limited and we need help.
No matter how confused I am about who God is and what He wants for me, I can definitely admit that I am not the greatest power in the universe!
Even when it seems too scary to trust God, I can still wrap my brain around trusting my sponsor, trusting my group, and trusting the recovery I see in them.
Open my mind to “the Higher Power of my Understanding.”
Sometimes I struggle with the fact that the God that is presented to me via my religion doesn’t always jive with the God I have experienced in the private battles of my heart.
When this brings fear and confusion, I try to let go of the idea that I have to fit everything into somebody else’s neat little box, and I try to embrace the “Higher Power of my Understanding” today.
This understanding will grow and change one day at a time as I work my recovery and have different experiences with Him. But, for today, I can only trust my Higher Power as I know Him now.
And that can be enough for today.
I trust that He will reveal Himself to me as I work my program one day at a time and become more ready.
Although it is sometimes tempting to want to throw in the towel and declare “God is not there!”, this is a battle that is worth fighting. This is, in my opinion, actually the most important battle of your life. Keep trying.
Work your steps.
Surrender to your sponsor.
That is the best advice I can give.
Nothing that I have ever done in all my life, in all my religious activities, has ever brought me closer to the God of my Understanding than working the steps.
They have cleared my mind and heart from the clutter of my Self.
They have allowed me to see Him closer to who He really is.
They have allowed me to see myself closer to who I really am.
They have allowed me to see my husband, my children, and every other person on the planet more clearly.
Work your steps. One day at a time.
You will be amazed at where they will take you.