Book Excerpt 9: “Fake it (Faith It!) Till You Make It!” (Or……If you build it, HE will come!)

Yes, it may be ‘Survival of the Fittest’…..but it’s also being smart, clever, sneaky, and most of all…….Trusting & Faithful….More like dogs than foxes!!!

Fake It (Faith it) Till You Make It!

 The recovery phrase “fake it till you make it” keeps bouncing around in my head from recovery literature and meetings. I know exactly what this refers to, and practicing this phrase has helped me in my recovery, but I struggle with the language of the phrase. It reminds me of a time when I did just “fake it” without “making it” as I isolated myself, using, misusing, and abusing my drug of choice.

The phrase “Build the form and let your Higher Power fill it” is a better fit for me. It is a phrase that has moved beyond “wet cement” and into the concrete phase, to continue the metaphor of sidewalk construction. When I was directly involved with building a large church, I spent many days watching the workers create new sidewalks by first building two-by-four frames, then waiting for the cement truck to come and fill those forms. This is a helpful analogy for me in daily living.

I know I am powerless. In my understanding, this means I can only build the form, believing that my powerful Higher-Power-Cement-Truck will come and fill it, even though that process can take a long time. I can “faith it till I make it.” I read recently about a European country that is building a whole set of railroad tracks over the Alps, even though it could be years, if ever, before train service even comes to that area. They built it in faith, believing it would come, not unlike the faith of Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams who heard the haunting voice say, “If you build it, he will come!” He built it and his father came. There was deep healing in their relationship.

I am building it. My Higher Power comes daily, often through other people, and fills the form. Very often it is a completely different result than I expected. It’s like the chorus of the song, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need.” What I have received is so much more than what I have needed.

In recovery, I have been given power, strength, energy, enthusiasm and peace as a result of the twelve-step program, living out the 12 Promises* in my life. If I did not have that “spiritual cement truck” to fill the forms I build daily, I believe there would be nothing of lasting or eternal value.

 

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 Peace and hope as we are empowered to build

 the form, remembering that “Faith is the substance

 of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

~ Hebrews 11:1 ~

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The Spiritual Steps of the Program – 2,3,11

 

I am born alone. I die alone. I spend my life drawing near to others so I will not be alone, yet catching glimpses of the DIVINE that lives in and through me, helping me believe I am never alone…

 

Can this be true?

“Living In the Now, Not Yet!” ……….. (Book Excerpt 8)

Living in the Now—Not Yet!

A Foretaste of Heaven NOW!

 Here is a great truth I believe: We are going to live forever and our eternal relationship with the Divine begins now and goes on forever! By the grace of our Higher Power, we don’t have to somehow hope to sneak in the back door of Heaven, whatever you understand Heaven to be in this life and in the next.

 Heaven begins now and goes on forever!

 I haven’t found much certainty about this truth on the part of most spiritual people I meet, nor in much of the spiritual literature I have read—it’s one of the best-kept secrets. Yet this truth is one of the joys of true recovery and spirituality.

There is much talk of waiting, waiting, waiting for something better. I fully understand this sentiment, being in my nineteenth month of sobriety and the hell of all the consequences of use, misuse, and abuse. But today is all we have. As the title of the movie states, this might be As Good As It Gets. The present, right now, is all we have. What if today is our last day on earth?

From much of my reading and interacting with others over the decades, there are many well-meaning words out there, but they often seem to me like pie in the sky when you die, a product of fear of aging and death. This is sad, since the great truth in recovery and healing—and living each day with the grace given us—is that we are living in the “now, not yet.” We have a divine relationship with our Higher Power and have the hope and promise of eternal life—it’s a done deal—but we are not there yet. We often experience “previews of coming attractions” in the spiritual realm. This truth reminds me of one of my favorite spirituals, “One Day Jesus Will Call My Name,” by Phil McHugh.

 

One day Jesus will call my name,

As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same,

I wanna get so close to Him,

That it’s no big change,

On that day when Jesus calls my name.

 

In a growing relationship with our Higher Power, death is only a shadow. The best-known Psalm reads, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.”(23)  I believe, along with many others, that our last breath on earth is our first breath in heaven. Death simply means stepping across the line into what’s really real, and that reality begins now.

In his book The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis powerfully illustrates this truth when he writes about a bus coming from Earth to Heaven, carrying mortals who have not yet been “translated.” They try getting out of the bus in Heaven, and the brilliance of the place blinds them. They attempt to walk on the beautiful leaded-crystal grass and it hurts their feet. The residents of Heaven are called “the solid people,” and they walk freely through the grass, fully enjoying the glorious present. The earthlings, held hostage on the bus, are like shifting shadows that are unable to withstand the heavenly glory that is Heaven’s everyday reality.

We live in the now, not yet. This Now is a foretaste of Heaven, though it is often obscured when we become trapped in our daily, mundane existence, unable to see the eternal forest because of earthly trees. We will live forever. Now, in this reality, we don’t have to be afraid of death—it’s been defeated and becomes our means of transportation whenever we step across that line. Of course, none of us wants to suffer, and I believe we will only suffer according to the measure of faith we’ve been given. Though this can be an overworked axiom shared too freely with people who are suffering, I believe our Higher Power will not give us more than we can bear, but with the suffering will provide a means of escape and give us the ability to not only survive but also thrive.

Therefore, it’s not just “pie in the sky when we die.” We don’t have to mourn and wait and worry and hope. We can realize that when this earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a heavenly, eternal home, not built by human hands. To help us slowly understand this truth, we have been given the Spirit, as a down payment, guaranteeing all that is to come (2 Cor. 5:1-5).  How awesome! What a gift! “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”