Step Seven represents a turning point in my recovery process. It forms a bridge between the inner work of the first si steps and the final steps, which emphasize outer work--changes in behavior. My shortcomings may seem to clutter our personal road out of the past, just because I am working the steps doesn’t mean that my life is at it should be. Will God really come into the mess and lead us out? God is my ultimate help in clearing the way to a better future. He looks forward to removing my shortcomings so we can better avoid being tripped up? When I came to him with humility, admitting that I still struggle with many of my shortcomings, he refreshes me and give me the courage I need to continue the battle He isn’t put off by the foolish things we do. He isn’t put off by the foolish things I do. He sees what I do but chooses to heal me. He’ll keep leading us toward recovery, one step at a time. Giving up control may be difficult for us. When I get ready for God to remove my shortcomings. I still may want to control how he does it. I am so used to calling the shots that I’ll ask for God’s help as long as he does it on my terms. I may demand that the changes happen on my timetable or in the order I feel ready to give them up. God doesn’t work that way. That is why humility is such an important part of this step. When I put my life in God’s hands, he will reshape me as he sees fit. It is our humility that allows me to accept the fact that he is the Creator. My new life may be similar to the one I left behind or entirely different. God is the master craftsman whatever he does i can trust that he will recreate my life beautifully, once I get out of his way. My pride can keep me from asking for what I need. I may have grown up in a family where I was consistently ignored or disappointed. Perhap my needs were seldom met. I may have reacted by becoming self-sufficient. I determined never to ask anyone for help. In fact, I am going to strive to never need anyone’s help ever again! I must come to a place of giving up my prideful self-sufficiency; i must be willing to ask for help and I can’t ask for help just once and be done with it. I must be persistent and ask repeatedly as the needs arise. When I practice Step Seven in this way, I can be assured that our loving heavenly Father will respond by giving us good gifts and removing our shortcomings. After examining my life closely (as we did in steps Four, Five and Six), I may feel cut off from God. Considering the scope of what I have done, I feel unworthy to ask God for anything. Maybe my sinful behaviors are despised as the lowest kind of evil by those whom I consider respectable. I may struggle with self-hatred. My genuine remorse may cause me to wonder if I can even dare approach God to ask for his help. God welcomes us, even when I feel this way. It is the humble heart that opens the door to God’s forgiveness. What are my shortcomings? I realize that I have them. Is this just another way of saying that I have fallen short of my personal ideals? I have held high ideals to define what I think my life should be like. But I learned early on that I couldn’t measure up to them. I have of then fallen short of the expectations of others, and the standards of God. The weight of guilt i carry! The pain to think of how I have disappointed those I love! The longing for some way to be what I should be! When God removes my sins he does a great job! I can trusts God to remove my shortcomings, moment by moment, if I humble myself to obey his Word. That means having faith in Jesus Christ, to make up for my weaknesses in both character and action. Because of my pride, I may hide maya hid behind our good reputation, my important position, or a delusion of my superiority. I may feel such inner shame that I go overboard to cover up with a self-righteous public identity. I will need a dramatic change of attitude. I must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. I can ask God to change my attitudes. When he deals with my pride, I will be able to stop hiding behind my reputation. I can allow myself to become “anonymous,” as just as another person struggling with addiction. When I humbly yield myself to God in recovery, he promise me future honor and the restoration of my good name. I am not used to getting the things I ask for. How can I have confidence that God will hear my prayers? How do I know if he will answer when I ask him to remove my shortcomings? God’s primary goal is to make me holy--that is, to form his character in me. Looking through, the eyes of love, he already sees me as I will be when his work is done. Then he works out his goals for me in the arena of everyday life. My holiness--the removal of my shortcomings removed. And he has promised to give me anything I ask for in line with his will. Therefore I can have full confidence that God will remove my shortcomings in his time.
When I indulged in my Step One problem, I was full of self-will and self-centeredness. Having completed the first six steps I now have a different attitude--not only about myself, but also about my Heavenly Father. This is important as I ask God to remove my shortcomings. There are no differences between “defects of character” mentioned in Step Six and the “shortcomings” of Step Seven they are one and the same. They are things that separate me from God and make me less effective in my dealing with others. The defects became clear to me in Step Four, and I confessed them in Step Five. In Step Six I became willing to let God remove them and to move forward in my life without them. Now in Step Seven, I will ask God to remove them. How will I ask God? Humbly, through prayer. That is the key to this step. It is with humility that I approach God. I am humbled because I now have a much deeper understanding of God’s might, majesty and omniscience. I compare what I can accomplish to God’s power which is beyond human understanding, and it is a humbling experience. We ask God (as opposed to telling or demanding). I know that I can’t remove our shortcomings on my own. But God can because He has all power. If I do not understand the word “humble,” we will misunderstand this step and misunderstand God as will. What the word may bring to mind is the cowering dog that has been beaten by its master. Having been humiliated, it approaches people and other animals with its tail between its legs. If people think of God as a cruel, vengeful master who can hardly wait to send them to eternal damnation, it is understandable why they would confuse humility with humiliation. Interestingly, the words humble and humiliation both come from the same Latin base humilus, which means “low.” The definition of “humble” sounds as if it were written for Step Seven: “having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects; modest.” The polar opposite of humble is the word pride in the negative sense of the word. So what is the difference between humble and humiliation? If we demonstrate pride and refuse to humble (or lower) myself in my own opinion, I will be humiliated. Who is the person who does not recognize his or her defects of character? It is the person who is still in denial and acting on self-will rather than God’s will. It is the person with pride in the negative sense of the word. It is a person not ready for Step Seven who is on the way to further humiliating him or herself.
STEP SEVEN: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE: Humility
Humility: A modest opinion of one’s own importance. Not thinking you are better than other people. A quality of being courteously respectful of others.
Humility is an awareness of who we are today and a willingness to become who we can!
Spirituality: Is about changing our attitude about pain and discomfort. It is looking through the pain to see the beauty of what is coming!
Humiliation: Describes a strong feelings of embarrassment or mortification, depriving one of self-esteem; state of disgrace or loss of self-respect and prestige.
AA BIG BOOK
Here is the Big Book Prayer humbly, after you have given your list of character defects to your trusted Sponsor: (If you don’t have the gift of humility start by actually asking for genuine gift of humility). We are to pray this prayer on a daily basis from here on to be free.
When ready, we can 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 completed Step Seven.
OA 12 STEPS AND 12 TRADITIONS
We find that step seven is simple; all we have to do is say a prayer, requesting that God take our shortcomings from us. There is a qualification, however. As we say the prayer, step seven calls for us to adopt an attitude of humility. A poor self-image keeps us in bondageto self and thus makes it impossible for us to find true humility. In our self-absorption, we became status-seekers in one way or another.Primarily concerned with getting our own way and the recognition we craved, we tried openly or secretly to place ourselves above other people, hoping to disprove our own feelings of inadequacy. Humility is simply an awareness of who we really are today and willingness to become all that we can be. Genuine humility brings an end to the feelings of inadequacy, the self-absorption, and the status-seeking. Working the first six steps of the program, we have already come a long way toward this new attitude of humility. We have admitted our need for help to live our lives , have begun to let go of self-will, have become willing to acknowledge our true selves--defects and all--and have become willing to have our self-defeating attitudes and traits changed. First, our goal is not to make ourselves more moral than others. It is simply to draw closer to being the people God intends us to be. We pray to be made new, not for our own gratification but so that we may be more useful instruments of our Higher Power. Second, the existence of the struggle to remove the character defects is not a sign that we lack humility. But what attitude do we take during those difficult time? If we are surprised, shocked, deflated, or discouraged when a defect returns, we lack humility. If we get angry at God, ourselves, or other people because we have the defect, we lack humility. Real humility about our character defects carries with it ACCEPTANCE. We accept that each defect, as painful to us as it may be, is a part of who we are. With humble acceptance we can quietly say to our Higher Power or God, “I am this way, and only with your help can i change.” We’re genuinely relieved when a defect is removed. We recognize our release from the defect as a miracle, evidence of the power of God’s healing love, and we are honestly grateful. We offer hope to the ones who still suffer. Humility is a gift as surely as is our recovery from compulsive overeating and the other miracles of healings we experience as we work the twelve steps. Our job is to be willing to let go of old attitudes which block humility, such as low self-esteem, status-seeking, and self-righteousness. We might began with a prayer of genuine humility. We can proceed trusting that our Higher Power or God will grant us the gift of humility, one day at a time, as we continue to let go of our old values and practice the principles of the twelve steps. We proceed with our step-seven prayer, secure in knowledge that we have done our part and God will do the rest. With our list before us, we name each shortcoming individually and ask God to deal with in whenever and however God wants. We express our complete willingness to have each shortcoming removed from us. We express our desire to become more effective in serving and helping others as our shortcomings are transformed into assets. Having said this prayer, we have taken step seven. In God’s time, when God knows we’re ready we will be given new insights into our true defects of character--we will, that is, if we are honestly working our program. When this happens, we apply the principles of the program, including those of step six and seven. We fully acknowledge and accept the shortcoming as belonging to us. We then examine our motives and the effect this problem is having on our lives until we are sure we’re ready to let go of it. We acknowledge our powerlessness to remove the defect ourselves and humbly ask God to take it from us; then we get up and g o on with life in a new frame of mind, knowing that God will indeed remove the shortcoming. When we make a mistake, we acknowledge that fact without claiming that we ourselves ARE that mistake. From now on, we cease telling ourselves we are always going to be dishonest, selfish, abusive, stupid, or bad people. Instead, we repeatedly affirm to ourselves the truth about ourselves--that we are becoming honest, caring, nurturing, wise, and effective human beings as we practice our new behaviors, day by day. These actions may seem like hard work, but we’ve found that willingness to act is an important factor in our own healing. It indicates our sincerity. Effort on our part will help us appreciate the miracle we are about to receive rather than take it for granted. We took action under the guidance of our Higher Power. In order to live sanely and grow spiritually, we find it best to make the principles we have learned in step six and seven a part of our daily lives. We cultivate the willingness to have any newly discovered fears, resentments, and other shortcomings removed. Then as part of our daily prayer and meditation, we hold these defects up to the light of God’s love and humbly ask God to remove them from us being willing to take any action our Higher Power or God would have us take.
NOW YOUR PART:
QUESTIONS FOR STEP SEVEN
Have I developed enough humility from my experiences in addiction to see that I need to let God work in my heart? Is there any doubt that self-reliance has kept God out?
Have I ever demanded to have circumstances changed for my benefit? When?
After self-examination in Step Four through Six, have I been struggling with self-hatred and shame.
Have I ever become impatient with God’s timing in the process of changing my heart and character?
What keeps me from letting go so that God can shape my life better than I could ever imagine or we create myself?
God already sees us as we will be when his work is done. Am I aware of any blocks that keep me from asking him into my heart to do that work? What are they?
What have I learned from Step Seven?
You are not quite done yet:
1a. Are you yet willing to share your character defect list with your trusted Sponsor and humbly pray for God to remove your shortcomings and to add character assets needed?
1b. Do you have an appointment with your Sponsor, or trusted Spiritual Advisor to give away your shortcomings list, and to humbly pray for God to remove them, while adding the needed corresponding assets? When is your appointment, if not are you now praying for the willingness needed?
The Twelve Steps
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