From "Real Man" To "God’s Man"
When I was faced with a decision two years ago to either get into recovery or get left behind without my family, it forced me to take a look at my life and to be willing to accept some ideas that I hated and was very afraid of accepting. Powerlessness was the very first thing I had to come to, and the very last thing I wanted to admit. All my life I had been told to be strong, be a man, be tough. Admitting powerlessness to me meant just the opposite; I thought becoming powerless was something I would have to do, not something I already was. I never realized before that powerless was even an option. I thought that I had to be powerful. I did not know that God’s plan was based on my powerlessness-I was supposed to be powerless! This was new information, and really, when I was honest, it was a relief. I was real tired of screwing things up.
However, at the time, I did not have this clarity that comes with the honesty of seeing how screwed up your life is. I confused powerlessness with being a wimp, a baby, or a wet dish rag. A real man was not powerless! Little did I know that admitting defeat over a problem would set me free from a wrong self will, and God’s will could take over. That’s when I would experience more power than I could ever have imagined. Things would move along without any effort on my part at all. After all, even a wet dish rag (in right hands) can produce amazing results.
I had heard early on in my recovery that you had to die to self. I thought that was one of the craziest statements I had ever heard. As I sobered up, however, my thinking and my believing began to clear up and change. That’s when I realized that only by dying to one thing, could I be reborn to something else.
When I think of this dying to self to live to others, I think of my experience with a tobacco plant. I was raised in south Kentucky, where tobacco is a major cash crop for many small farmers. Every summer I would work with the tobacco crop from the maturing of the plantbeds in early February until the stripping of the cured leaves in late November. In order for the plant to be more productive it has to be kept pruned, sometimes severely. If a tobacco plant is left to follow its own "will," it will grow tall and spindly. The lower leaves, which are the main cash bringers of the plant, will remain narrow and thin, and of very poor quality. To make sure this doesn’t happen, the plant is "topped" before it can go to seed. This process allows the more productive leaves to broaden and grow outward. After it is topped, it tries to "sucker out." Every time a sucker starts to grow between the leaves the farmer plucks it before it takes the strength and growth from the leaves. The plant is powerless; it has to rely on
sound management from the farmer. This is the way I have seen my life unfold. By admitting I was powerless over alcohol and all of life itself, God became the producer in my life. This has allowed me to grow outward, not inward; for others instead of for myself. Every time a problem arises (like the sucker on the tobacco plant) it gets plucked before it can grow. This keeps me focused on God’s will, not mine.
When I go back and think things over, I know God never ever meant for me to have any power other than the power of accepting Him. After all, I didn’t get to choose my parents, my sex, my race or where I was raised. I couldn’t change my diaper when I needed; I couldn’t even feed myself. I never at that time thought about it one way or the other. I just accepted it as the way things were supposed to operate. It was the first faith walk I ever took. Then in the end if I still were to think that I had power, God would get the last laugh, because six other people will pack me to my grave. This is true for every one of us. I have never attended a funeral where the star of the show walked themselves to their graves.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 3
- Judging Good and Evil
- The Self Can’t Be Improved
- A Look at a Book
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Moments with Meryl
- And Man=You and Me
- Creation and the Fall of Man
- A Call To Arms
- THE MAILBOX
- Where Are the Elijahs of God?
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 8 and 9
- HOPKINSVILLE, KY CONFERENCE
- JACKSON, MS CONFERENCE
- SEVENTH BRITISH SPRING CONFERENCE 1993
- From "Real Man" To "God’s Man"
- Editor’s Note
- No Independent Self Part Two