We Humbly Ask God to Remove All Our Shortcomings.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
In step 4, we listed our character defects, in step 5, we admitted them to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, and in step 6, we became entirely ready for God, not us, to remove our defects of character. Now, in step 7, we ask God to remove all of our shortcomings and we do it humbly.
So what does it mean to be humble? Of course, as an engineer, I have to list the definition so as to avoid confusion:
Adjective: Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.
Verb: Lower (someone) in dignity or importance: “I knew I had to humble myself to ask for His help”.
In understanding what humble really means, I was able to really submit to God by lowering my own importance well beneath that of God’s importance. In my addiction, Sexual acting out was my “god” and I was it’s only begotten son. I was the most important man in my life, I did not care about others, only about my own sexual satisfaction or own personal wants. After I hit rock bottom and I saw my powerless over sexual acting out and how crazy my life had become I began the process of becoming humble; well, actually God began that for me. I then saw how insane my behavior truly was, I needed help from my higher power, in my case God thus lowering my own importance compared to Him and to others around me. I then went on to give myself to Him on a daily basis, not always perfect, but progressing in the process of turning my life and will over to God’s care. And then I did my internal search and saw who I really had become. I listed my character defects and all my wrongs and I really knew I needed His help.
As an addict, I am too familiar with humiliation so I must distinguish between humility and humiliation. The SAA Green Book defines humility as being teachable, vulnerable, and open. I need to be open to new ways of thinking and new ways of living my life. I need to be teachable and learn these new ideas as well as emotionally vulnerable to others, asking for their help as my recovery continues. Humility, for me, is not walking up steps on my bare knees to show that I a humble worshiper, it is not dragging a 200lb+ cross on my back as I whip myself (or others whip me) with torture whips from the Roman Empire era. The latter two seem more like humiliation … to me.
Just asking for help from others is an act of humility and of being humble. Understanding that I can’t do this by myself is a wonderful gift; it feels great to know that I am not all powerful and I need help, every day. I also have come to the understanding that change occurs on God’s time, not mine. As an addict, I was used to the quick fix, the instant gratification, the quick escape. In my early recovery, I felt the same could be done for my healing; quick and easy with no pain or suffering! I was very, very wrong! I often commented how I would have entered recovery 10+ years earlier than I did and the comments I received back after many meetings was, “it’s all in God’s time, not ours.” It took me working through my own recovery to really realize that everything happens on God’s time, when God says the time is right, not when I say it is. I also need to keep in mind that I need not be concerned with the results, all I need to do is ask.
One of my favorite ways God works in my life is through other people in and outside of recovery. I often state in my weekly Bible reading group that God uses men (and women) around us to speak to us. Sometimes these people “tell it like it is” and point out to me a character defect that has risen up, which in turn allows me to be entirely ready and then humbly ask God to remove it! There are many other ways God uses people to do His work in our lives, but that is subject for another post.
It isn’t until we have looked at all these character defects and humbly asked God to remove them that we are ready to repair any harm we have done in the past. If we do not look closely at these character defects, they might come forward during our amends, things like pride, resentment, fears, etc… might interfere with our Step 8. So it is important to be in a place in our recovery where we can have these character defects removed (even just temporarily enough) so we can move forward and make the list of the persons we had harmed, without having these all too familiar character defects pop up and interfere with the recovery process.
Take what you like and leave the rest.
In today’s topic I read from the Twelve Steps for Christians and the SAA Green Book