My personal relationship with Jesus did not come from a childhood of weekly church attendance, although I did attend church every Sunday growing up. My mother and her parents are churchgoers in the strictest sense of that term. I believe a very strong intellectual assent and foundation of who God and Jesus are was gained through my childhood church experience. That foundational exposure cannot be taken lightly.
However, it was a life crisis related to a five-year struggle with bulimia that started my senior year of high school and lasted through my senior year of college that literally brought me to my knees in a posture of surrender. A book about the Twelve Steps as applied toward eating disorders gave me the road map to seeing my spiritual sickness and my addictive tendencies, as well as a way out by relying on God (not my own ideas) to achieve peace.
The Twelve Steps combine broad concepts like authenticity, surrender and community within a framework that requires personal honestly about our own unhealthy patterns. But they are more than just concepts and truly are “steps” to be taken and completed. You have to actually participate in the recovery process and be able to admit you need help alongside a safe group of others working their own recovery program.
Our Care Process utilizes some of the same concepts that have made the Twelve Steps a seemingly timeless approach to improved mental, emotional, and spiritual health. The Care Process always begins with someone coming to us needing help. Surrender and powerlessness are the starting points of the Steps. We ask those seeking care to be willing to share their issues with a few on the team. Transparency. We ask for accountability and a willingness to look at one’s own ways of contributing both positively and negatively to the problem. And we continue to point them back to God and what He may be showing them in their current situation, while offering “in the flesh” encouragement and support through verbal processing.
It’s not that we talk about the Twelve Steps within the Care Process, but because so much of my story and awareness of how God does care about the details of my life were a result of working the Steps the first time over 25 years ago, they do influence the way I understand Care. We are all in this together – this thing called life – so let’s help one another!