Step Six states : Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
One of the reasons Step Six can be so difficult is that we have been self-willed and self-sufficient for as long as we can remember. There is something inside us that seems to tell us we can handle this on our own. “I know my defects, I can see them clearly, and therefore I can change them.” We try to do God’s work for Him. Our work is not to remove our defects, that is God’s work. Our work is surrender! Surrender our will to hold on to our behaviors, surrender the need to do the work ourselves, and surrender the outcome of the change. I don’t care what anyone says, surrender is hard work!!
It is very likely, if there have been addictive behaviors and attitudes active in you, you have tried to fix them yourself. You have probably, like myself and others, run the spectrum of self-propelled attempts at fixing and changing yourself. You have been unable, despite a valiant effort, to change yourself, your attitudes, and your behaviors. My guess would also be that there are some of you reading who have spent a lot of time in religious activities and institutions that you have placed your hope in as an agent of change. I am assuming, if you are still reading, that none of those things have been successful. The missing piece for you is being entirely ready to surrender to God and let Him do His work in you.
Today I am going to borrow some probing questions from Keith Miller’s book, Hunger for Healing. Take some time today to work through these in your notebook.
- Consider which religious behaviors you have engaged in that you now realize you used in the hope of fixing yourself. (e.g., longer prayer time, more intense Bible Study, doing volunteer work.) Describe your feelings about doing each of those things at the time (joy, impatience, obligation, hope, frustration, fear, anger, boredom, etc.)
- In what ways have you tried to fix yourself with your own power (e.g., stuffing feelings such as anger to “prove you had faith”; trying harder to resist a temptation or a character defect such as impatience, sarcasm, or resentment; criticizing yourself harshly whenever one of your character defects was active)?
- What character defects have you recognized that you need to become willing to let God remove?
- Are there any character defects you have discovered that you enjoy and are not sure you want God to remove – or know you don’t want Him to remove? If so, name them (e.g, greed, grandiose thinking, lust, etc).
- Describe how you have attempted to use your own power to fix others (e.g., giving advice, giving them books or discs they have not asked for so they can get fixed, withholding communication or money or sex until they do what you “think best”).