It’s Not All About Me
Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you . . . Acts 18:9-10
I have self-destructive behaviors that I’ve simply come to accept as normal without really realizing it. For instance, I developed my drug addiction just by following my own appetite. Up until that point in my life, my path hadn’t been obviously so destructive. As it turned out though, following me was a disaster, but for a long time, I just accepted that as normal.
In recovery, this habit of following me hasn’t been easy to abandon. In steps one and two of AA, I admit that I can’t recover alone and that I need God. In step three then, I choose to turn my life and my will over to him. This is a life-long process, and one that I must continue to work on daily, because it is so ingrained in me to simply follow myself.
Early on in my recovery, I realized that part of following God, instead of myself, was to reach out to others. Because the 12-steps are taken straight from the Bible, both AA and Christianity teach that and recovery means getting out of ourselves and getting involved in the lives of those around us, to love, serve, and to tell them of what God has done for us.
Early in my recovery, I had a lot of stressors. My marriage was in trouble. My career was shaky. I was still at high risk for relapse. The tendency for me every day, was to look inward and be consumed by my own mess. I was sober though. I was pursuing God. It was time to get out and help others. So, I went to jail. In doing so, something miraculous happened. I got out of my own head as I helped those less fortunate than me. In being obedient to God, I became less consumed with myself.
This was the apostle Paul’s life. Though his behavior seems foreign to us, Paul was singularly devoted to reaching others with the gospel of Christ. When he was kicked out of the synagogue in today’s passage, he simply went next door to the next guy who would listen. Paul wasn’t worried about himself, because he understood that his life wasn’t all about him – and God was with him.
When we’re sick of the misery of our way, we must remember Paul, and we must reach out to those around us. God didn’t design us to follow ourselves. Life is not all about us.