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Step 3 of Overeaters Anonymous – Surrender to the Universe

As part of my continued Ode to the 12 Days of Christmas for Bulimics and Anorexics this post is about Step 3 of Overeaters Anonymous, which reads:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

When I was first in OA and read this step this sure sounded like I was giving over my power to God.  As a compulsive person, a Type A personality and a perfectionist with definite control issues, this sounded as far from normal as anything I could imagine.

At the time I was practicing the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous I didn’t really believe in God.  I certainly didn’t have a visceral, real, or even remote connection with anything spiritual either.  I was as far away from love and joy and bliss as I could be.  Finding a way to believe in God and then turn my power over to him made as much sense as telling me if I was driving 100 mph on a dark road to let go of the wheel and trust that God would co-pilot for awhile.

I was like…”what?”  How exactly is this going to help me?

Really?  You want me to just let go of the wheel? Ha! You’ve got to be kidding.

More than 10 years later and a ton of inner work and time spent deepening my connection to the universe, my inner self and who I really am makes accepting this step possible.  Today, I have come to know a connection with the Universe (or God or Spirit) and believe God will take care of me.  In fact, I believe he’ll take VERY good care of me.

I now practice a mantra that helps me in tough times or when things seem backwards from how I expect them to look:

Everything happens for a reason and that reason is there to serve me.

This mantra to me means turning my power over to God.  It means trusting that whatever strange or weird or perhaps awful thing just happened in my life there’s a purpose behind it.  Not only is there a reason for it, but it’s there to serve or help me.

This is how giving up my power to God looks to me today.   It means I trust the universe to have my best interest at heart and to bring about the best outcome I truly want for my life.  I also have come to believe that when things happen in life they do so we can learn lessons.  It’s part of our spiritual growth.  If you’ve read my writing much you have heard me talk about how I believe all of life is one big classroom and we’re all studying different subjects at different times.

In this classroom of life, God takes care of us with such great love and compassion that he brings about things in our lives that give us opportunities to experience and learn the lessons we’ve chosen to learn on our life’s path.

I must admit, when something’s going really upside down in my life the last thing I would have done 10 years ago was to just say “it’s ok, this is God’s will” or “this is supposed to happen and it’s exactly as it should be”.  I would have cried, or hid out or binged about how upset I was that it was happening to me and then only a week or a month or maybe years later would I have seen how it actually was a good lesson for me.  That situation made me stronger.  It made me happier in the long run. I came to realize after the fact that God actually did have my back and the best outcome did come to pass.

That’s called living a life without regrets. It’s living a life of purpose and faith.

One final tidbit to share on this 3rd Step of OA and that is the notion of surrender.  I just looked up what surrender means and a partial definition is to yield to another.  I want you to understand there’s a distinction here between giving up and surrendering your will to God or the Universe.

Give Up – to cease making an effort; resign oneself to failure

Surrender – To abandon oneself entirely (to a powerful emotion or influence); give into

What Step 3 of OA says is not to give up or concede failure, but instead give into the idea that you’re taken care of and your life is unfolding as part of a wonderful plan.

If you’d like to share any feedback on my interpretation of step 3 below in the comments, please feel free.

Get ready for my next post – Step 4 of Overeaters Anonymous (OA).  Here’s a preview:

 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.