Marcy S., age 47, North Carolina

Before a person can let go of something — or jump into something (like diving into a pool for the first time), he has to have trust. Is that why I can’t surrender my past, my future, and my sins? Because I’m afraid to trust? But it’s not my parents or any other human being I’d be surrendering to — it’s God, all-loving, all-forgiving, all-trustworthy.

What is lacking that I can never hold on to the good feelings, the moments when I am able to trust and let go and be a free and joyful person?

When will I ever be free of the need to punish myself? When I get disgusted enough? Sick enough of being miserable? That need right now seems stronger than anything else — as if it were a demonic force over which I have no control.