Miracles News

July-September, 2021

Letting Go of Defending Myself

by Rev. Kelly Lewis, Ordained Ministerial Counselor

I make what I believe I need to defend myself against! And, I can let it go! Voila!

It is now 12 years that I have been in recovery from alcoholism. I have had minimal urges to drink, and when I have had them, I can quickly remind myself why I don’t want to go back to that life of suffering.  However, I can also say that I have not had much exposure to alcohol, so I have not had to “test” myself to see how I would feel about it being “in my face.” 

This was mostly a natural occurrence due to changing the people I associate with, rather than a resistance to being around it.  I simply stopped spending any time with people who drink alcohol, not because I didn’t think I could handle it or because I judged them, but just because I didn’t think I had anything in common with “drinkers” anymore.

However, I recently had a friend ask me to come to her house to spend an evening with a bunch of her friends, and she literally called the get together “wine night.”  Wine was my FAVORITE.  I felt highly anxious at her request, suddenly fearing the difficulty of wanting and resisting alcohol. But at the same time I felt Spirit nudging me to go, to push myself in this way, to maybe make some new friends and to also to be able to “shine my light.”

I should also mention that I have never been much of a “group person,” unless it has been in a spiritual setting. I am an introvert and thrive with deep one on one conversations with people, but when in a group (outside of spiritual settings) I have historically had a tendency to feel overwhelmed and despondent with what I had always felt to be “shallow talk.”

Needless to say, while Spirit was nudging me to go, my ego mind was saying “NOOO!” But hesitatingly, I went. Before leaving though, I spent time in prayer and meditation, praying that Spirit would guide my thoughts and words and that I would remember to just be LOVE. 

I have to say, I had no anxiety that evening and did in fact meet some fabulous women! I did not feel anything about their alcohol consumption, in fact it barely registered with me that they were drinking.  I simply focused on being present with them, to hear what they were saying, not just the words but what was beyond the words, and to see them as Love.

This felt miraculous. Not only did my thoughts around the situation change, but my experience changed. I have never felt this at ease and present with a group of people in this type of setting (outside of a spiritual setting) and I have never not wanted alcohol when I have been around it to this extent. I left that evening knowing that I have had a lot of healing and felt so much gratitude.

What came to mind was the teaching of ACIM that we create the things that we defend against in our minds. We then believe that we have to protect ourselves against it because of how real this thing becomes. We realize that there is nothing to defend against when we are willing to put them down, to set aside our defenses.  ACIM States: “You make what you defend against, and by your own defense against it is it real and inescapable. Lay down your arms, and only then do you perceive it false.(W-170.2:6-7)

I created an issue in my mind, this anxiety around being around alcohol and this group of women. It felt scary indeed and I wanted to avoid it all together. But then I realized with the assistance of Spirit that I was making this up in my mind and there was nothing to fear. I saw that indeed there was absolutely nothing to worry about and truly Love and joy were my experience. When you work with Spirit, seek guidance, maintain openness to Love’s healing presence and are willing to show up to what might seem like challenges, your life changes miraculously.

This is all particularly relevant with all that we are facing these days. There are many who live in fear and are taking actions to defend themselves, in various ways. It is so important to our peace of mind that we remember we are always safe in God because we never left. We can choose to drop our arms and surrender with trust and into Love. The fearful things that we defend ourselves against are only in our minds, right beside the peace that is ALWAYS present.

Rev. Kelly Lewis, O.M.C., is a Pathways of Light minister living in Saginaw, Michigan.
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