My how I love to deliver this message but bristle with antagonism when it is delivered to me! Have you ever considered the reason we hang on so tightly to a situation or person that causes us pain? Think about that carefully for a minute. What could possibly be the payoff for putting ourselves through such misery? Simple. We get to have a sense of control.
The first time I ever heard the message that the pain was in the resistance was eight years ago. I was watching a young woman who suffered from addiction struggle against submitting to a program of recovery. Her way of living was causing her unbearable consequences but she could not seem to loosen her death grip around doing things her way. Experience had taught her that this would only lead to destruction, yet she pushed forward.
I was thinking about this in respect to what we do as family members of those in recovery. In my own life I cannot seem to get my hands off of the problem even when my loved one has found a new way of living that does not require my direction. What I have realized is that the fear of letting go can far surpass the hope of allowing God to handle the situation without my assistance. But until I step out on faith and allow my Higher Power the space to work, I cannot know the freedom in submitting to God.
This idea extends much beyond the scope of the family dynamic. When I allow myself the gift of stepping away I can see that I have not only had a tight grip on my loved one but on all of my affairs it seems. Think about the situations that cause you grief currently in your life. Are they not all across the spectrum? How many of us have pain around a friendship, a work dilemma, a discrepancy between family members, our marriage, financial insecurity, the list goes on. I have to ask myself, am I being as defiant in releasing these situations to God as the young woman who would not submit her addiction to a new way of life all those years ago? So the pain really is in the resistance.
The disease of addiction and the effects of codependency are progressive in nature. Therefore, my spiritual condition must progress right alongside if I am to experience of life of purpose and abundance. What that looks like for me today is to acknowledge in all areas that my pain is caused by my resistance. In order to continue to live the life I love I must submit to a will other than my own. When I took my third step in the program of recovery I turned my will and my life over to the care of God. A wise man once reminded me that this meant I would never get my way again. At the time that was the worst thing I had ever heard. Today, I know that it simply means I have an option to continue to submit to God and allow his plan to unfold in not only my life but the lives of the people around me. Thank goodness I don’t get my way anymore! But the pain is still in the resistance…