This is about Step Eleven.
I’ve read and prayed and done a lot to define a personal Higher Power that is positive and not punishing. Before, during and well into recovery, I have punished myself too often and too much. So I wanted to find, and define for myself, a Higher Power/God that really loved me.
Being raised in a church-going family and having some Christian education as well, the obvious choice would be Jesus as a loving God, right? I mean, I actually sang that little song for many years in Sunday School and I know all the verses to Jesus Love Me. But even with all that, it never really felt like Jesus loved ME. I mean, the actual, real me. I know he loves all people and I am one of them, but me? Really me, individually and idiosyncratically me? I couldn’t get that.
One night in a meeting I heard a woman talking about her relationship with Step Eleven and faith, and she said, “God digs me.” I was stunned. That was exactly what I wanted. I wanted it that personal, and that warm, and as un-theological as that: “God digs me.”
How to get there?
I began to read. I read Books on faith and recovery, lots of theology, and I read the Bible. The New Testament calls Jesus the Bridegroom. Having been married several times I get that totally. Richard Rohr says that we need an affectionate relationship with God. That begins to hint at having a personal relationship, but that still had a teeny twinge of the evangelical and born-again which I could not abide given the politics that seem to accompany that, as in:”Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior and those who perform abortions should die.” Uh, no. But I still liked the idea of an affectionate relationship with God. After all, we know he has a sense of humor and that’s a big part of affection. It certainly approaches a relationship in which one could say, “God digs me.”
But again, how to get there?
I continued to read, and to remember what I knew about Jesus. The dominate metaphor in the New Testament is Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Again, that’s a very good image, and a great deal of caring is expressed in that metaphor: He feeds his sheep, he goes all night looking for the one that is lost, he corrals, he cares, he shepherds. I understood the metaphor but I grew up in a large city, the only sheep I saw were in petting zoos. What in my personal experience expressed that same kind of caring, devotion, affection and acceptance to the point of seeing all my flaws and still loving me with a sense of humor. What, or whom, delights in me like that?
I knew at once: A Boyfriend.
I have always had boyfriends and even now, married for many years, I refer to my husband as my boyfriend. I much prefer that idea of a partner. So with some hesitation, and some trepidation that this might be sacrilegious, I said this:
The Lord is my boyfriend; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He restores my soul.
And with that I was home. Jesus, my boyfriend; a date for life.