Staying out of trouble does not come naturally for me. Advancing age eliminates most of the physical temptations but, my mind still functions at full throttle and sometimes I get in over my head with the ego employing many of my character defects in very unspiritual ways. I can’t help it; the devil makes me do it.
Truthfully, there is no one to blame except myself. I have experienced the mercy and grace of a loving and forgiving Father who stood with me in the depths of my personal hell of alcoholism and then led me miraculously to a life of recovery. That Father traveled with me to the “far country” or, perhaps, he led me there to change the incorrigible reprobate which I had become into a man willing to heed the wisdom of a higher power’s truth.
Staying out of trouble nowadays means keeping my mind on the important things in life, observing the troubling events of life, sorting the two like dirty laundry and putting whites in this pile for a bleach wash and heavily soiled colors in the other pile. Wash and tumble dry. It’s a simple household chore that can become a wardrobe fiasco if I don’t pay attention to the need to separate the two. Just as bleach will change my favorite blue jeans, issues beyond my control will color my attitude if allowed to fester.
So it is with serenity and peace of mind. Simple attention to the essentials of clearing the trash and sprucing up the pretty things will keep my spiritual house in good order. When there’s a thought to launch a verbal assault on someone’s opposing opinion, I must observe that thought, process it in a bath of compassion, and then let it go. No, Larry does not always do that and the results are predictable. I feel initially victorious, then questioning, then angry with myself for not walking that mile in the other person’s shoes to gain insight into his/her mindset.
I have yet to master the art of ego denial, the need to be right, the desire to have the last word. My Father tells me that it is unnecessary to come out on top and often I will argue, “But you don’t understand, this is very important, I must retaliate to validate who I am.”
“Really? Larry, are you saying that My validation is not enough for you, that My mercy and grace will not suffice?”
The need to jump into the fires of political turmoil, the need to feel I am the last champion of a pressing social dilemma, the need to correct an errant theology all become festering soul sores if I don’t run them through the laundry first. Let God do the sorting and I can then start the washing machine.
When all things are viewed first through the eyes of a Higher Power, my life can be serene and peaceful.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
2 Replies to “toil and trouble”
“I have yet to master the art of ego denial, the need to be right, the desire to have the last word.” ditto, my friend. Listening, I have found, is the hardest thing I have had to learn in recovery. I need to change that remark…I am STILL trying to learn!
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I think it’s impressive that you’re trying to learn to “let God do the sorting” and then you do the washing! I think that is something that most of us struggle with. I know I do….. Great post, Larry!
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