A short word with heavy meaning.
My husband has broken my trust many times. Every time it's been broken, it's been harder to trust again. Every time my trust has been broken, my heart has hurt more and it's harder to recover.
I reached a point where I wasn't sure I could or wanted to trust God. Because of the many spiritual experiences I had received and the confirmation and witness that I should marry my husband, when his addiction came forward, I went through a period where I wasn't sure about trusting God. I mean, how could He put me through this? I felt betrayed.
That really didn't last too long for me. I can't remember exactly how long I felt betrayed by God or angry at God, but I got over it as I worked on my healing. I received Priesthood blessings that helped me know that God had a plan for me, and I turned to the scriptures and tried to use the Atonement to help me with my hurt. I studied the Atonement. I studied humility. I studied the Plan of Salvation. I studied faith. I studied hope. I studied charity. I'm still studying those things because the healing process takes time, faith, and devotion.
Thankfully, this wasn't my first big trial. It was by far the biggest, but I had experienced enough to be able to rely on my testimony and belief that everything happens for a reason. Another reason for thanks was that I had written down my experiences as I was trying to decide whether or not to get married to this guy, and I knew that it was of God. And I knew that if my marriage was of God, then there must be some reason why I was going through this with my husband.
Over time, I realized that God trusted me with my husband. God knew that I was the best match for him. And, despite everything, my husband is the best match for me. He makes me better, and because of this trial, I am decades wiser than I would be at my age without this trial :)
We have a choice. We always have a choice. In this case, with whatever you are experiencing, the choice is this: choose to trust God, or choose not to trust God. If you choose to not trust God, you are setting yourself up for a life full of pain and misery because basically, if you choose not to trust God, you are choosing to trust Satan, who is the father of all lies. If you choose to trust God, you choose hope, love, forgiveness (eventually?), understanding, patience, etc. If you choose to trust God, you will find healing. If you don't trust God, you will probably grow bitter, hateful, and resentful.
In step 1, we realized that we could not overcome our trial alone. We admitted to ourselves that we are powerless to overcome this and that our life has become unmanageable.
In step 2, we came to believe that the power of God could restore us to complete spiritual health. That belief may be small, but we have exercised that belief to build it stronger, and we have hope for the future as we cling to God.
The key principle of step 3 is: "Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ."
Like I said, it's a choice. There is a reason this is step 3, and not step 1. We wouldn't be able to just decide to turn ourselves over to God, especially if we have serious trust issues with Him because of our experiences. After realizing we can't do it alone and coming to believe that the power of God can restore us, then we can decide to turn ourselves over to God's care.
The last time I worked on this step, I spent a whole month on it (maybe even a little more). Saying you trust God is easier than actually trusting Him. To really trust God, you give up the only thing that really is uniquely yours: your will.
"When we took step 3, we faced the truth that recovery was far more the result of the Lord's efforts than our own. He worked the miracle when we invited Him into our lives. Step 3 was a decision to allow God to recover and redeem us. It was a decision to allow Him to direct our lives, remembering, of course, that He always respects our agency. Thus, we decided to put our lives in His hands by continuing to follow this spiritually focused program of recovery" (pg 13).
"When we took this step, we felt terrified of the unknown. What would happen if we humbled ourselves and surrendered our lives and wills completely to the care of God?. . . We were convinced by past experiences that making a definite commitment was nearly impossible, given the insanity surrounding us in this world. We had seen too many commitments broken" (pg 13).
It's okay if your efforts are "anxious and halting" at first. That is normal. When your trust has been broken, and you don't really know who to trust, it's normal for you to give trust, then get scared and take some trust back. You might worry that the Lord will be kind of mad for the inconsistent trust. Don't be worried. He won't withdraw His support and love. He will always be there waiting and helping you come. He will give you strength through this process.
As you start to submit your will to God, you will find strength you didn't have before. You will experience love and devotion that you haven't felt in a long time, if ever. You will find peace. You will experience joy. And you will have more hope than ever.
President Packer is quoted in this chapter, and I love what he says: "Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to Him--without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one's agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself and say 'I will do as you direct' is afterward to learn that in so doing, you possess it all the more."
So much good will come from turning yourself over to God. Really, that giving up of our will, is part of the purpose of life. It will help us become disciples and eventually return to Him.
The idea of turning your life and will over to God might seem a little disconcerting. It might be scary at first. That's okay. That is normal. Don't freak out. By the time you are finished with step 3, you will have a stronger trust in God. But until then, you work and find faith and the means to trust God.
I'd encourage everyone to read this step on their own. You will gain much more understanding from the words of the manual than just what I have written here. And, there is so much gold in this chapter. I wish I could just copy and paste the entire thing on here so it's easier access for you. The link to the program guidebook is here.
I'd also encourage you to write down thoughts, impressions, and things that stand out. Act on your impressions.
And, once again, feel free to email me if you need to: firstname.lastname@example.org