So far, we have done our inventory (Step 4). Like the business person talked about in the Big Book, we have taken stock of our character flaws and assets (Step 5). We figured out which of those things we want to keep as valuable and which we want to let go of (Step 6) and became ready to ask God to remove the flaws (also Step 6).
We're now at Step 7, and the essence of Step 7 is humility.
The following definitions for humility aren't found in any dictionary, but I think they define the word perfectly. Humility is the state of being where I am open and teachable. Being humble means that I am available to learn whatever I'm supposed to learn; I'm not closed off or closed minded. Humility is knowing my place in the world not a social strata/status kind of thing, not a put-down or a class society thing rather, its knowing that I deserve my share of the air and atmosphere and space here on earth. Being humble places me neither above nor below anyone else, just exactly where I am supposed to be. Being humble opens me to whatever God wants me to be.
Why should I ask God *humbly*?
For one thing, I want to make sure that my motives are correct. What do I want to achieve by working this step? I want God to remove my flaws so that I can be what? Successful in business or social affairs? Healthy? Righteous (and so that everyone can know just how righteous I really am)?
I need to ask humbly because there's only one thing that I want and hope for after working Step 7: the ability to feel comfortable and secure in my own skin and in the world.
Finally, I need to ask humbly because I am not God. Now, you may think that this is a given, but the reality is that I don't always remember, and sometimes my ego and pride get the best of me. Asking God humbly to do something reminds me that while I may think I know what's in my best interest, God is the ultimate arbiter of what's best for me. More about this in a minute.
to remove our shortcomings. Oh. You mean *I'm* not going to do it? Huh. This is actually a kind of relief. *Gods* going to do the dirty work. Isn't that cool?
By the way, it doesn't mean that I get to sit back and keep on lying and stealing and hurting people. Remember the story about the guy and the flood? There's a cute slogan: God may move mountains, but sometimes you just gotta bring a shovel.
And Gods going to do this in GODs time, not mine. Yes, this can be frustrating, but there it is. Its part of the contract I made when I agreed to give up my job as Senior Deity.
An anecdote (true story). Several years ago I called my sponsor from a pay phone (before cell phones) in Grand Central. I was beside myself because I had just engaged in a hurtful behavior that I was so tired of doing and I was POd at God for not taking the defect of character away and I was frustrated and annoyed. My sponsor said very quietly, If you're still doing it, either you're not ready or Gods not ready.
I may think I have all these character defects that need to be removed NOW, but Gods going to be the One to make the ultimate decision.
What happens if I'm not ready to let go of a character defect? The Big Book says that I should continue to pray and ask God for the willingness to let it go. What happens if I find that I'm plagued by some character defects that I thought God removed? I don't get crazed (remember I'm not in charge); I take a deep breath, assume that this is a growth opportunity and keep asking God to make me willing.
I love this prayer from the Big Book, so I want to share it with you:
When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven.
STEP SEVEN ~ QUESTIONS
1. How do you behave when you're being humble? What's your attitude like?
2. Why is it so important to have a humble attitude in order to work Step 7?
3. Talk about the connection between Steps 6 and 7.
4. I used to think that Step 6 was nothing more than a way-station between Steps 5 and 7. I don't think that way anymore. What do you think?
5. I read somewhere that getting all upset and crazed and frustrated when we find that were still clinging to some character defect that we thought we wanted to get rid of means that were still thinking that were in charge and that were definitely NOT humble. What to do you think?
6. There's a great OA slogan: Act as if. How does that relate to Step 7?
7. What's the relationship between a successful Step 7 and your motivation for asking God to remove your shortcomings?
8. Are you ready to admit that you may need to take Step 7 many times (even for the same character defect)?
9. Can you share a Step 7 "growth opportunity" that you experienced?
10. When you're ready, take a private moment for you and God and say either the Big Book Step 7 prayer - or a prayer of your own choosing that expresses the same thoughts. Take a deep breath. No, you're not perfect, but you're sure on your way to a saner life.
Yours in recovery,
Penny (compulsive eater/food addict)