“Lord, I Cannot Get There From Here!”
It was one of “those” mornings. You know the kind I’m talking about, the ones that start out a little late, the ones that feel like everything is set to go wrong, the ones where every little thing is a bit off-kilter. I will not bore you with a laundry list of the details. We’ve all had mornings when it seems like life is determined to work against us and it feels like we are trying to swim through peanut butter. Just to give you a “for example,” on this particular day I went to grab the yogurt I mix with fruit and eat for breakfast every morning of my life and it was gone. I searched high and low and then low and high. I mean, how many places can a person reasonably look for a container of greek yogurt? I finally looked in the freezer and there it was. In the freezer? Really?—and no one to blame but the one who put the groceries away—me! Well that’s the kind of morning it was. I did remember that I had an 11:00 appointment, and before I got into the car at 11:10, I had at least managed to stick my short hair under the bathroom tap and give it a comb and spray and to throw on most of my makeup. I had quickly exchanged my old exercise pants, which on this day had not gotten any exercise, for something just barely more presentable. I hopped in the car and took off, in a hurry of course. As I rounded the corner out of my neighborhood, ready to move through the cross street and get on my way, all I could see before my eyes was orange, a large orange “road work ahead” sign and dozens and dozens of orange cones. That was it! I said out loud, “Lord, I cannot get there from here!”
Well, of course I did get there—eventually—but I did not get there my way. Admitting to God that I of myself cannot get to where He wants me to go from where I currently am is not a new concept to me. It has become a way of life.
Over 25 years ago I was introduced to the necessity of honestly admitting my inability to do something I knew the Lord wanted me to do. When it came to maintaining a healthy weight, I could not get there from here. On a Saturday afternoon, in desperation, I once again perused the self-help section at Deseret Book, looking for answers. My eyes locked on one title. The words were a revelation to me—Willpower Is Not Enough. In my case truer words were never written on the spine of a book. Sunday afternoon I read the last page and took myself to my first addiction recovery meeting. Me, an addict? No way! How can that be? The closest I’ve ever been to a drug was the smell in the air at the James Taylor concert I went to at the Hollywood Bowl in the early 1970s. I am not a woman you might immediately peg as an addict. I’ve been a goal setter extraordinaire and a Personal Progress activist.
Terrified, I entered the room that night and, to my dismay, I discovered that those who were living in recovery were people who had admitted that, by themselves, they were powerless to change—that no matter how hard they had tried, without help, they could not get to recovery from addiction. They too had tried and failed and tried and failed again more times than they could count. Like me, they had first come to the meeting because they had come to the end of themselves.
I knew I had come to the end of myself—to the end of my power, but I certainly did not see anything positive about admitting it. Heavens no! I had lost the battle. I was a disappointment to myself and to God. All my life I had wanted to prove to Him that I was good. I wanted to be good for Him, to please Him. Of course I knew He loved me. God loves every one. But I wanted Him to like me, to be proud of me. In my mind I pictured Him, watching me from some little distance, with His arms folded across His chest seeing if I could finally rustle up some self-discipline, seeing if I could get there from here, but the honest truth was that I couldn’t!
I feel differently now. After two and a half decades of practice I believe beyond a doubt that to take myself to the Lord and admit that I cannot move forward of my own power is the most powerful thing I can ever do. He is not watching my every move to see if I have finally managed to get some self-discipline. He is respectfully standing by, and He is standing so close that He can feel even my slightest turn in His direction, so close that He can see my smallest spark of desire for His personal powerful assistance.
It does not matter if you struggle with addiction or algebra, spending or starving, raising kids or raising enough money to pay the rent, the common cold or cancer, depression or donuts, or simply with all the roadblocks that make it hard to get from one end of the day to the other. The next time you cry out, “Dear Lord, I cannot get there from here,” imagine a smile on His loving face. And why is He happy? He is overjoyed because you have just turned the key, the key that allows Him to finally come in and help you get from here to there.
If you want to read more about the power of admitting powerlessness read Step 1 from A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing and read other thoughts on this subject in my blog at Twelve Step Reflections.com. Go to the menu and click on The 12 Steps and then on Step 1 Honesty.