I remember the day things started changing for me. I was in an Alanon meeting (a support program for friends and family of alcholics). I had been attending these meetings for some time without much effect, it seemed to me. I was still miserable, and I didn’t really understand why.
Anyway, that day in the group someone said something like, “You know, belief in a Higher Power is really the cornerstone of this program. You can’t really get anywhere without it.”
My heart dropped. I had become an atheist in college and was still one in graduate school, which is where I was at the time. I knew I was supposed to have a Higher Power, but to be honest, I had been trying to work The Steps (they have those in Alanon, too) without it. Or sometimes I would say my Higher Power was Nature or The Universe or something.
It wasn’t working for me though. “Nature” can actually be pretty cruel. Ever see Wild Kingdom? They always show some poor gazelle being eaten by a lion or some poor wildebeest being eaten by a crocodile. And let’s be honest, life for humans can also be short and brutish even without being eaten by a river hippo.
And what about “The Universe?” That was too nebulous and cold. I mean, what did the universe care about me anyway? It didn’t seem to.
I knew deep down that I had no real Higher Power. Nope, just ol’ little me, all on my own. And it wasn’t working out.
Then came the day that woman said that about absolutely needing a Higher Power. My stomach twisted in knots, and I made my way home in a daze. When I got out of the car, I looked around my front yard with its green grass and pink four o’ clocks spilling out of the garden. It was a beautiful, hopeful day, and I suddenly found myself praying. “God, if You’re there, I need to know the truth. If You’re there, please lead me to the truth.”
For the second time in my life I heard a voice in my head say something very clearly: “Keep a journal.” And I knew what the voice meant. I was to keep a journal of all the ways God worked in my life.
You might ask, “How does that work? You didn’t even believe in God. How could you record the ways He was working in your life?” Good question. But it DID work. First, I started keeping notes about “coincidences” that occured. After that, I kept notes about answered prayers, mine and other people’s.
Amazing things started happening. The more I wrote these things down, the more they happened. It was truly incredible. I began to believe in prayer! In fact, I thought it was the new superpower in the universe!
In those early days when I was keeping the journal, small miracles started happening to me all the freaking time. And I started noticing them happening to others. Although frequently these other people didn’t recognize them as such. “Wow, what a coincidence,” they would say. Or, “that sure was lucky.”
But I started not to believe in coincidence and happenstance. I mean, what was up with that oddly reassuring voice that told me to keep a journal? And what about all this answered prayer I was recording? My beliefs shifted to a living God, one who cared about me and about everyone.
As I said, that was when things started changing for me. If you have a loved one who has or if you yourself have big doubts in God, try asking him to show you what you need to see in order to find the truth. But remember that this is a powerful prayer. My life changed radically after that. And it wasn’t butterflies and smiley faces all the time. I went through some huge changes and, let’s be honest, change hurts. It was so worth it, though, and I would never consider going back.
What about you? Do you feel you are on a spiritual journey? What are some things that have helped you along?