I have been pummeled by this slogan lately, which is usually a sign I need to pay attention. But I can be a little slow on the uptake. Fortunately for me, my God is patient and persistent, and He has a sense of humor.
Here’s a brief recap of my recent history with this slogan. It was the topic of my meeting last Monday night. The next day my sponsor blogged about it. On Wednesday, the meeting topic was slogans, all of them. Participants were invited to talk about whichever slogan spoke to them. Guess what? One of them was “Let it Begin with Me.” Then, this morning, I picked up a current meeting list to give to a sponsee. The slogan on the cover? Well, you know. I don’t need to hit you over the head with it.
But God sometimes has to hit me over the head.
You see, I’ve been praying for some time about what to do about a key relationship in my life. I’ve been wondering if this relationship is still meeting my needs. I’ve been praying about it. Asking for guidance. Then I got it.
A program friend brought up a relationship she wasn’t sure was meeting her needs or her expectations. She had relationship envy. She had been observing the same relationship among some of her other program friends and those relationships seemed better and more satisfying.
Setting aside the problem of comparing her insides with another’s outsides, I reminded her that she was the one who had withdrawn from the relationship in question. I didn’t say “Let it Begin with Me,” but I could have.
Then it hit me. I had answered my own question. Since I wasn’t listening to all of the messages He had been sending me, God put the answer in my own mouth.
I was the one who had withdrawn from the relationship in question. If I didn’t like the current state of affairs, I had to “Let it Begin with Me.”
I looked up the slogan in “How Al-Anon Works” and found it full of fresh meaning. Ironically, I had highlighted the very phrases that were appropriate to my situation. But I’m a great forgetter. Sometimes I need to be reminded.
Here are a few things the book says:
“When we are tempted to blame others for our problems or to justify our own poor behavior by pointing to the poor behavior of others, this slogan reminds us where our focus rightfully belongs…. ‘Let it begin with me’ is a way to change the things we can—especially our own attitudes—instead of waiting for everyone else to change to suit us.
This is like going hungry while waiting for someone who doesn’t cook to make dinner. ‘Let it begin with me’ might suggest that we go ahead and cook for ourselves, go out for dinner, or make plans with someone who cooks. In short, we take responsibility for getting our own needs met.”
So today, I will “Let it Begin with Me.”
Thanks to all of you who left such thoughtful comments concerning memorable posts. I hope to catch up with all of you in the next couple of days.