Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. (*)
Step 7 is one of those Steps that has two parts. The first part is about humility; the second is about acceptance.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions defines humility as “the desire to seek and do God’s will.” (p. 72)
We tend, however, to confuse this simple statement about humility with notions about humiliation and shame. Dictionary.com agrees that the synonyms of humiation are: “degradation, dishonor. See shame.” In fact, getting stuck in humiliation and shame can be considered the antithesis of humility – of the simple desire to seek and do our Higher Power’s will for us.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that shame and humiliation are considered by many, including me, to be shortcomings we need to let go of because they keep us from using the gifts we’ve been given. For example, if I were to deny I’m a good writer and that I’ve been a pretty fair steward of the talent that was given me I’d be denying the gift I’ve been given by Spirit. It would be a false humility.
The “desire to seek and do God’s will” is, after all quite simple, and again, it’s about our willingness. We don’t have to have all the answers, we don’t have to act in some ideal way or have only certain kinds of thoughts. All we have to do is be willing, right here and right now to let go of our shortcomings.
Back when I was first getting sober an old timer used to bang on the table every Saturday saying something like “You’ve got to accept it just as it is!” He’d continue expressing his experience that acceptance was the key to this business of letting go and letting God. He’d point out that if you had truly accepted whatever it was you were trying to let go of it would be gone in an instant, and if it hadn’t disappeared you hadn’t fully accepted it, saying “of it’s own action it will change.”
I thought he’d drive me mad! Week after week I had no clue what he was talking about, until around a year later, I got it. It goes back to Step 6. Implicit in being entirely ready is the acceptance we need.
As a matter of fact, Steps 6 and 7 in many ways mirror Step 1. Until I’d totally accepted I was an alcoholic, with no reservations whatsoever, I continued to get drunk. It wasn’t until that acceptance, that hitting bottom, that sobriety was even possible for me. Apparently this is also true for the less dramatic character defects we have. At least I’ve found it so.
How does this fit with your experience with Step 7?
Love, blessings, and abundance,