“Could.” It’s really not a pretty word to look at. Literally, I can’t help but see “cold” in it. I don’t like cold. And, in its meaning, it has such a huge … “if-ness” to it. A ‘maybe’, but not likely. Long odds. A dependency. Specifically, it feels, a dependency solely on me. On my effort. On some … ability I’m supposed to have, but can’t quite get right. Time after time.
I mean, look at the other word choices that could -um – have been used:
Might? Seems more positive, like there’s a better chance for it
Should? Ah, takes the … responsibility right off of me; any failing is not my fault
Will! That’s the one! It’s definite, no matter what I actually do
In case you’re not with me here, the phrase “A power greater … could” is from Step #2 of the Twelve Steps of recovery. “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” It speaks about believing that there can be – will be transformation. Healing. Spiritual formation (or re-formation). Principle 2 of Celebrate Recovery puts it, “Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover (or change)“. Therein, in that last clause, is the real truth of it.
I … could (I can’t get away from the word!) … only try to tell you how often I find myself sent right back to re-learning this concept. Because of doubt. And fear. Because of negativity when answering the question, “What if?” And then I know it’s time to get back to basics again. Again.
I have absolutely no problem with Step 1: I’m a screw up, and almost all I’m capable of is screwing off. But I need constant reminding that there is a way forward from this, and that the most important part is that I am not alone in the fight to improve. Perry Noble says,
“…I finally grasped that facts are greater than how we feel. If we allow our feelings to determine what we think and how we behave, we will never escape the pit of despair and hopelessness that anxiety places us in. However, if we allow our minds to be shaped by facts, we can live a life that is full of hope and peace, despite our circumstances.”
(Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry)
At first, this seems contradictory – I mean “hope” and “peace” are feelings, right? But (and it’s a very big but), it is the facts – not opinions – that “God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me” that make the difference.
“Earnestly believe.” I looked up the definition of earnestly, but I think the best way to define the word is “the difference between knowing something and believing it.” Can you get more factual than that?
“A power greater… could.” “He has the power to help me change.” The potential is there. Solidly. But it takes – it will take – it will always take – effort on my part, even if the only thing I can do at any given time is believe that change is possible. And likely.