Last night at my home group we had our monthly speaker meeting and birthday celebration for members. We had a wonderful woman, Christie D., come share her experience, strength, & hope (ES&H) and during her share, she said something that really made me sit up in my chair. Just as she was hitting her bottom she said…
“And it finally hit me… I never asked God what it was that HE wanted.”
I don’t know about you, but for a selfish and self-centered alcoholic like me, there’s only one way I could possibly become aware of a statement like that in my life. It has to be God speaking TO me and THROUGH the insanity of my alcoholic brain.
I woke up this morning thinking about that and also thinking about a young man (and dear friend) in the Fellowship who passed away last night. He battled Cancer for the last 5 years of his 7 years of sobriety. This friend was an amazing human being who was absolutely the power of example and I remember him sharing with me from time to time that he knew what God wanted him to do with his life. I don’t know if he actually “heard” a voice, or if it was just a feeling inside – but he was clear about what God wanted him to do with his life in carrying our message of hope to the still suffering alcoholic.
I’ve heard that to hear God’s voice I must belong to God. I hear God’s voice when I spend time with God. The more time I spend intimately with God and His kids, the easier it is to recognize God’s voice and its leading in my life.
God speaks to me today in a variety of ways – through the written word, through the people I encounter each day, through the experiences I have in a 24-hour period, through nature and city alike, and through music. I believe that if one has come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, they know the voice of God, it’s just whether or not they actually attribute it to God. For most of my life I’ve heard the voice of God very clearly, but it wasn’t until November of 1987 that I knew it was God. Once I had that understanding, everything shifted and it provided me with a new level of confidence in my decisions even if they may not make sense.
I don’t share this often because my ego is afraid of what people may think, but since getting sober, I’ve actually “heard” the voice of God two (2) times; once while sitting in the A.A. International Convention in San Antonio, TX (July 2010), and then once again six years later in July of 2016 (something about July… LOL).
I won’t go into all of the details, but in July 2010 as I was sitting in a workshop at that convention in San Antonio, I actually heard a voice (in my right ear) that said to me, “You’re going to get on a plane, fly back to NY, your’e going to join the Forest Hills Group, and you’re going to become their GSR.” WHOA! That was a bit random and WAY specific. And without going into the whole story, I did exactly what that voice told me to do. That started a chain of events that has led 13.5 years later to a life of service to the Fellowship which I continue to be immensely grateful for.
I was sitting in my apartment in Queens, NY and I had just come back from a trip to Texas to see my parents and I heard it again. I had flown to Texas that Memorial Day weekend to spend time with the parental unit and when I flew back to NY, that experience had been weighing heavy on me. I would pray about it, think about it, pray about it, think about it… and finally, I heard that voice again and it said very simply… “I have work for you to do in Texas.” BAM! There it was. The second time I actually heard a voice. On July 4th that year, I called my parents and told them I was moving home. While I’d spent a lifetime trying to get and stay out of Texas (and I did a pretty good job of it – I was gone for 30 years), I knew it was time to come home – so I did. I was at a point in my life where I just didn’t argue with God. That decision, again, I am immensely grateful for, for SO many reasons. I got a new best friend out of it, I got a host of new sponsees out of it, I got a new home group that truly is the best home group I’ve ever had out of it, I’ve been gifted with some amazing service opportunities as a result of it – but mostly, I have a completely new relationship with my parents as a result of the fact that I listened to it.
When Christie shared that statement last night, it simply reminded me that the voice of God comes to me in many ways. Sometimes it’s as obvious as actual words I can hear, sometimes it’s that still small voice I feel deep inside, and sometimes it comes from you. I just need to remember that the only way I can hear it is if I have turned my will and my life over to it, trust it, surrender to it, and have a deep and personal relationship with it. That didn’t come over night, but I am grateful that it happened so when I hear the voice of God today – I generally don’t confuse it with the voice of Rick.
In love and service,