Tag Archives: character defects

Ready or Not?

17 Jul

In Step 6, we take another important step in our recovery: we begin actively submitting to the changes we know need to happen. By this time in the 12 steps, one has written out his/her inventory and been honest about not only the offenses of others, but one’s own wrongs toward others (and self). And, confession and forgiveness supposedly followed. But, before we experience victory over our compulsive and/or addictive behavior(s), we have to voluntarily submit to a new way of living. This does NOT happen overnight! And yet, there does have to be a starting point. Sometimes people say they stopped doing substance abuse overnight, or they stopped cheating on a spouse. Even when behaviors are stopped, we will be vulnerable to other ways of escaping, if we do not replace the unhealthy behaviors (sinful, problem behaviors) with righteous patterns. This calls for honesty before God and renewing our minds – setting our minds to embrace and stand on the Truth in Scripture.

An important part of practicing this step is having humility. In my own life, codependency has been an issue for which I sought help, both in counseling years ago, and, in an ongoing way, in groups and accountability relationships. The slippery slope for me is thinking I’ve got this, that I now can handle it on my own and without having to daily confess to God how much I need His help, that I am dependent on Him, and telling God that I want to keep turning things over to His control, especially those things I want to fix or control in others’ lives. Christ’s humility is such a model and example for us! When the Bible tells us that He learned obedience from the things He suffered, I am reminded (and, still somewhat mystified) that even Jesus learned obedience! He willingly humbled Himself to take on our human limitations. How much more I need to humble myself before my Lord!

When I get to the core of why I don’t experience victory and freedom from my issues, I go back to asking what is keeping me from surrendering totally to God’s will and control in my life? A barrier for me is that I do not (at times) truly believe that God can take care of some things without my help, or that He won’t or might not do what is best. How prideful! How ridiculous! But, if I’m really honest, that’s a core sin – pride, lack of trust. While in my head, I know a right concept of God, in my heart of hearts and in my everyday life, I fall back into failure to practice what I say I believe. I allow unbelief and doubt to go unchecked right alongside my faith. Scripture warns us about this and says we will be double-minded in all our affairs. I don’t want to be like that! Thank God for His Word of Truth and for the Holy Spirit who convicts me when I willingly go against what God tells me to do. Confession, forgiveness received, and committing anew to submit – yield – to God’s Sovereignty is what I have learned is my only way to the victory. With His help!

I have experienced victory, yet it is not 100% constant. I am thankful for his promise in Philippians 1:6, that He is faithful to complete the good work He began in me (our sanctification and glorification)!

Pam

Confess

13 Jun

Principle 4
Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
Happy are the pure in heart. Matthew 5:8

Step 5
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

I heard someone say one time that as Christians, we are quick to say we are all sinners….but we are reluctant to admit that we actually do sin.  This step requires us to admit that we sin not only to ourselves and God but to another person!!!

The God part was not as hard for me when I came to this step…..I know He knows my heart, my motives, my thoughts and my actions…..so I knew that I wasn’t telling Him anything that He didn’t already know.  Although I was pretty deep in denial in the beginning, I did come to a point where I recognized my shortcomings and character defects after working through the first 4 steps.  I had to come face to face with my weakness and sin if I was truly going to do an open and honest inventory.

BUT to tell another person….now that was an entirely different story.  I am in recovery from co-dependency with people pleasing being one of the specific areas where I struggle.  I was concerned how ‘telling another human being the exact nature of my wrongs’ might change how I was perceived by this other person……this person might not like me anymore….and being accepted and liked is the ultimate need of a people pleaser.

God encouraged me, however, to move forward with this step.  In Proverbs 28:13 He tells us, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  In James 5:16, He says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

What I experienced when I was finally obedient and shared my inventory with another person, was not rejection but love and acceptance in spite of all the awful things I shared plus total freedom from the burden and weight of those sins.  I no longer had to work at maintaining a façade of being the perfect person I thought everyone expected me to be trying to hide the dark side of my sinful nature….but I could relax and be who I really was – an imperfect person with a sinful nature who actually does sin!! Only through loving the Lord and leaning on Him can I overcome my hurts, habits and hang-ups and live the abundant life He has promised.

This was a real turning point in my recovery… I began to see trying to please people brought only anxiety, pain and a lack of self worth……focusing on pleasing God, however, brought peace, joy and contentment.  John Baker sums up this step and principle this way: “In confession, we open our lives to the healing, reconciling, restoring, uplifting grace of Jesus Christ who loves us in spite of ourselves.”

Don’t let pride, shame or fear prevent you from experiencing the freedom that comes from confessing your sins to God, to yourself and to another human being.  Recovery requires honesty.  Psalm 32:3-5 says, “There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration…My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them.  I said to myself, ‘I will confess them to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”

Chris

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