Step Four states :: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Congratulations! You have made it to Step Four. This step is about ACTION! We have been probing and asking questions. We have been searching and discovering. This step is where the rubber meets the road! It is the first step with a tangible display of the transformation happening inside of us. It is not for the faint at heart and can be an extremely difficult step. This step is one that can propel your journey into major transformation because of your fearless approach. It can also delay your work, keep you stuck, and suspend any transformation due to pride, fear, or avoidance. Sadly, this step can also derail your recovery and even prompt relapse because of misunderstanding, pain, or difficulty.
Many an addict has made the rationalization that if I can just work the first three steps it will keep me clean from my addiction, and that very well may be true. My goal in working the 12 Steps, and in leading you through it, is not an absence of an addiction…it is total transformation! That kind of transformation only comes on the other side of the next few steps! Allowing God to step into the places this step in particular will lead you, is where you will find the healing you desire! God did not create us to live a half-life where our focus is to avoid an addiction, a behavior, or a relationship. He created us to live full lives, lives of purpose and abundance.
So, let’s break this step down so we know what we are getting into. What is an inventory? In any business, the owners take time to take stock of assets, liabilities, and surplus. This inventory is specifically that, in regards to our life, our relationships, our fears, our resentments, our attitudes, our behavior, and our communication. This inventory is an honest and fearless look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives. What exactly does searching and fearless mean? We humbly examine everything! We search through the people, institutions, situations, and events of our lives that have caused us pain, fear, and resentment. Please don’t miss this part….We determine our part in them. We are not excusing the wrongs done to us (forgiveness will come later), we are seeing and taking responsibility for our resentments, our fears, our judgements, our criticism, our negativity, our selfishness, and our pride.
The good news is this step gives us an honest picture of ourselves. It shows us our strengths and our weaknesses. It shows us patterns of behavior that have caused us pain and trouble. This inventory clears away any mystery as to why we have chosen to anesthetize emotional, physical, and mental pain with addictive behaviors, substances, and relationships. After looking at our searching and fearless moral inventory, we see a very clear picture of how self has blocked us from living in relationship to the God who wants to give us freedom, healing, and peace. This step is the closest step towards the peace we thought we were creating with our addiction in the first place!
This week will be eventful, so buckle your seatbelts! This week we are going to look a little deeper at denial and I will provide some tools to guide you through this step and encouragement to dig in deep! I’ve given you a clear picture of where we are going this week. Why don’t we take a bit of time to prepare for that journey? Find your notebook –
- When and in what ways have I led a “double life”, looking good on the outside while full of shame about my addiction inside?
- By hiding my problems through image management, how has my shame taken root and grown in my heart? Am I fearful to admit what is there?
- In what ways to I hide from or avoid reality?
- How does pride keep me from being honest with myself?
- What is my greatest fear about this step?
- How do I feel about inviting God into this process with me?
- What emotions surface when I realize that God already knows what is going to be on my inventory?
- What obstacles keep me from asking God to search me and know the depths of my heart?
My prayer is that this week will be bathed in God’s love for you and that you will discover at a deeper level how much He adores you! I’m going to leave you with the words of John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, as an encouragement for this week.
Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.