Great post on a great topic! Thanks, John.
I totally relate.
A few years ago -- I let my business go. I decided to go totally spiritual.
I figured "I'll do God's work and do it to the absolute best of my ability.
I won't let regular everyday life or work or business distract me.
I let nearly all of my clients go, and sent them to find someone else to serve them.
I rented a building that was to become a "Soup Mission."
A place where all the homeless alcoholics and addicts -- still drinking and using,
could come for a place to stay, a roof over their head, and a hot meal, with some
clean clothes and a shower -- in a totally healthy and clean environment -- where they
could simply focus on recovery and learning to live sober.
They would learn new skills -- and be assisted in finding work and furthering their education.
There was to be built a professional detox facility -- where doctors and medical care
would be available to help them detox without dying.
There was plenty of room there -- so, space was available for any recovery group to come and hold their meetings. AA, NA, Al-Anon, OA, etc. Free rent & coffee provided -- and a place for fellowship after their meetings. My thoughts were: "This will provide a positive and healthy environment for those that I was trying to serve -- and it would provide an opportunity for those who desire to practice their own steps to have an opportunity to reach out and help others, if they wanted to."
While I still had money and could pay the bills -- all was well.
Then, I began to run out of money. My thoughts were "Surely, this is God's work and His will for my life, I'm doing my absolute best, and then some -- for sure -- God will come through and provide what is needed."
What was kind of heart-breaking was: Several people had committed to help before the project started.
After it got started -- there was a lot of opposition from the Guru members in the local AA Fellowship, and they began going out of their way to interfere with and stop what I was doing. The heated rumors began to spread and controversy after controversy was started.
My thoughts were "Well. That's okay. This is not AA, what I'm doing. This is simply God's work and God's will for me and for those that I'm trying to help."
Eventually -- I ran out of money. I couldn't afford to continue paying the bills. I had no choice but to let it go.
It was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.
And, I learned first hand, more about the 12 Traditions, than at any other time.
While what I was doing was not AA -- my foundation for day to day operation and living and operating was held as close as I could keep it, to being within the spirit and principles and practices of the 12 Traditions.
Another heart-breaker, was listening to the chatter from those, who never felt "led by God" to help in any way whatsoever -- other than to "offer their prayers for success with it" -- who continued to spread rumors and opposition, finally chatted, after I was totally broke was hearing "Well. It must not have been God's will or it would have succeeded." LOL.
For me, those words were like a parent hearing, of their newborn sick baby, in a hospital that, "Well. Your kid died. If it was God's will for your kid to live -- surely, He would have provided a doctor in the hospital to look at your kid."
I learned a lot about people. About God. About, spirituality. About "God's will." About, "being a human having spiritual experiences" rather than the prosaic and lofty sounding of "a spiritual being having human experiences."
I learned that in God's world -- money is still a requirement -- if one wants to truly help others -- and, that with all of God's will and blessings -- if the money isn't there to pay the bills -- it doesn't mean that it isn't God's will -- it simply means that you can't afford to continue doing it. And, you have to find an alternate way "to be of service to others."
I learned that those who stand on spiritual hill-tops and proclaim "If God is for it -- nothing can stand in the way of it" is nothing more than useless chatter, from those with their heads and their feet planted firmly in the clouds -- without ever letting the feet or their hands touch the ground. I learned how groundless and useless and wrong it had been for me, in my own past of judging others -- like judging those in religious institutions -- as "being in it for the money and not really in it to help people -- because all they seem to do is 'ask for money' to help them."
I do have to say -- that it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I wouldn't have traded it for anything.
It turned my believing into "God's will for me -- is for me to work, at a job, or a business -- and to use my best abilities in business, serving others -- so that I can earn as much as my earnings potential will provide for me -- and raise as much money as I can -- to give the money, to those who are in the trenches, trying to help others."
I learned about keeping my feet and my hands into the dirt of the earth -- being productive, and working, while I keep my thoughts in the clouds with God.