Friday, November 16, 2012
Step 3 Activity: Create a God Box
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
God boxes have been around and in use way before Mary Lou Quinlan popularized them with her book, The God Box, released in 2012. I have assigned this task to each of my sponsees working on their third step since I first began attending 12 step meetings in 2005. And I learned about them from my sponsor who learned about them from her sponsor and so on. Their tenacity within 12 step programs likely comes from how effective they are in aiding us in turning our lives over to a Higher Power (HP). I find the use of my God Box to be the most tangible way of turning my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power. The physical act of handing a piece of paper over to God has deepened my understanding of what it means to turn something over, to surrender.
You can use any box or basket or bowl as a God Box. All you need is something that can contain little slips of paper. However, I think the act of decorating a God Box makes it more meaningful for me. These boxes (or baskets or bowls) are basically the equivalent of a mailbox for God. I collect boxes all year long. Generally, I save any box smaller than a shoe box (though people have used shoeboxes and even larger boxes). I have used business card boxes, candy boxes, jewelry boxes, medication boxes, cell phone boxes, cigar boxes, boxes that small electronics come in (headphones), boxes that fancy skin products have come in, stationary boxes, cigar boxes, gift boxes, small shipping boxes and even baby wipe boxes.
-boxes (again, any kind or size will do)
-collage materials (magazines, origami paper, wrapping paper, old calendars, stickers, scrapbooking supplies, old greeting cards, books, colored paper, etc)
OPTIONAL (require use of a liquid glue such as Elmer's):
-glitter or glitter glue
The instructions are easy - have fun decorating your boxes! Here are how a few of mine have turned out:
So, now what do I do with this God box? Basically, the idea is to write down anything you are worried about and put it into the box, asking God to take care of it for you. Of course, like with any prayer, placing the item in the box, you are releasing HOW your Higher Power will go about taking care of the problem for you. You must let go of the outcome. Here are some examples of things I put into my God Box:
Some people write out the things they are turning over as a full prayer. They may write out, "Dear God, please help me with... Thank you. Love, ME." But I find I have lots of things I want to put in there, so I just get right down to the issue. Again, reading from my items in the photo above, you can see I don't ask for a specific outcome. I wrote "whether or not my family likes their Christmas presents," not "Please make my family like their Christmas presents." The act is turning the outcome over. The request is really, "Dear HP, please help me stop worrying whether or not my family will like their presents."
Although some people suggest never revisiting the items placed in your God box, I have a ritual that I have found very meaningful. Every New Year's, I empty the contents of my God box. I unfold each piece of paper, read it and toss it in a fire. What I love most about this ritual is seeing the things I spent so much time worrying over and realizing how they all worked themselves out. It's a good reminder that I don't need to worry so much, especially when I turn things over to my HP.
Links to others' stories about their God boxes:
Inside the God Box on Real Simple
The God Box app by Mary Lou Quinlan
eHow to make a God Box
pre-made God boxes
What do you want to put into your God box today?