At my home group meeting last night I was trying to take my sponsor's advice and not try to rehearse what I was going to say. I tend to overprepare for everything. It gives me the illusion of control. But I understand that the ideal is to ask God to give me the words when the time comes. If I am thinking about what I'm going to say, then I am likely to miss something I needed to hear.
I admit that my ego and a lack of faith have kept me from practicing this principle. But last night I gave it a try.
Last night was a ticket meeting, so rather than go around the room, everybody got a number. If your number got pulled, you got the chance to share. If your number didn't come up, you got to listen. So it was a good time to practice this idea. In a group where everybody shares, I find myself getting more and more worried about what to say as my turn draws near. In this case, I had no idea if or when it would come.
As it turned out, my number came up pretty quickly. I said a silent prayer that God would give me words because I had no idea what to say.
I never thought about myself as a manipulator. More the opposite. I tended to say whatever came into my head, and if I bludgeoned you to death with it, I'd say, "I was just being honest."
But I could see that when I tried to control my daughter, that was manipulation. I was willing to "help," but only if she behaved the way I wanted her to.
Motive was easier for me to talk about. My sponsor is always asking me about my motive, and sometimes the same action is right or wrong depending on what my motive is. It's okay for me to call my daughter because I love her and want to see how she's doing. It's not okay for me to call her because I want to control her in any way.
I also talked about other people's motives being none of my business. That my job was to take the next right thought or action and leave the rest to God. If I try to figure out another person's motives, it's a losing game for me. I just drive myself crazy.
After I spoke, a lot of other people talked about their manipulations, and I realized I had done most of them, I just never recognized them as such. Every time I listened to my daughter's phone conversations to try to discover what she was up to, I manipulated. Every time I waited for my daughter at the coffee house across from the movie theater so I would see if she tried to sneak out and go somewhere else, I manipulated. The list goes on. You get the idea.
I felt a little dumb, really, that I hadn't gotten that. Like I had taken a test and put the wrong answers.
So I was surprised at the end of the meeting when one person approached me with her call sheet and asked which Kathy I was because she'd like to call me. And I was even more surprised when a woman came up to me and said, "Have you ever heard the phrase 'no good deed goes unpunished'?" She wanted me to be her sponsor.
I was floored. Of course, I told her I'd be honored to be her sponsor. But secretly I didn't get it. There have been plenty of times in the program I've thought I had something to offer other women. But lately, I feel like I'm just struggling to get this myself.
My sponsor is fond of saying, "My God has a sense of humor." I couldn't help thinking that about myself last night. I just pray he gives me the words for my sponsees when they need them.
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