By: Staci Stallings
Reviewing and for those just joining us….
- Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
- Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
- Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
- Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Today we take the next step, Number 6:
- Step 6 – We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
The other way to say this is “Complete surrender.”
We’ve realized we can’t do it, we need God’s help. We’ve decided we believe in God and that only He can restore us. We’ve decided to put God in control, searched our minds and hearts for where we’ve gone wrong and then admitted those wrongs.
However, until now all we’ve been doing is labeling what’s wrong, admitting that it’s wrong, yes, but mostly labeling.
Today it’s time to put the whole mess in God’s hands and surrender it.
The trouble with this one is we often believe that God expects righteousness prior to His willingness to step in and work. He doesn’t. In fact, only HE can make us righteous. But we think that’s the way it should work, so we hold back, thinking we will work on ourselves until we at least clean up some of the mess.
It’s like me when I was early-on married. I was not and am not a great housekeeper. To me, other things are far more important… until that fateful day that my sister who at the time lived only 5 miles from me called. She wanted to let me know that THREE of my great aunts were on their way to my house for a visit andthey just left! I’m not even sure I hung up the phone. The next 4 minutes and 52 seconds were a whirlwind of throwing things into the back closet and behind the couch (yes, I’m serious). Who knows what I did with the dishes!
But I could not let them see the mess that was my house!
So many of us are like that with our spiritual houses. We want to tidy up at least a bit before we invite God in.
It’s like Marianne Williamson says, (paraphrase), “I thought God would show up and redecorate a little. Instead, He started knocking down whole walls!”
Let me assure you, God will not do a surface makeover and put new paint over dirty walls. His goal is to build a mansion in you for HIM to live in–no minor redecorating will do!
I remember when I read “The Shack,” there was one part in it in which the Holy Spirit was going to help the guy replant his garden (in his mind and heart). The first thing the Holy Spirit did was start pulling up the weeds and the briars and the brambles from the garden. He even pulled up stuff that looked all right. In short, He completely CLEARED the garden before He started replanting it.
So surrender is sometimes more arduous than it sounds. God may require a complete gutting of the structure that was there. He may decide to start over because you’ve been building your life with shoddy material and inferior supplies.
Also, this is a PROCESS. No overnight and it’s done on this one. In fact, I think for me I’ve found that this process is on-going. About the time I learn to fully trust God and surrender to Him in this situation, another pops up that requires even deeper trust. He asks me to give over to Him deeper parts of myself, deeper fears, guilts I thought no one knew about, prisons that I have tried to bury and forget about even for myself.
So as you do this step, please remember and hold onto that God knows what He’s doing, and He doesn’t ask for things to be removed that are not necessary to be removed. He will prune from your life not just the dead branches or the sickly branches, but sometimes He will prune even the good branches, so that the GREAT branches will have the best chances to survive and thrive. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.
thank you Staci….I really needed your explanation of the 12 steps.
you have a down to earth way of teaching the 12 steps…and I appreciate your writings.