Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again, death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:8-11
I have been going through my 12 step program again recently. I have never actually ever completed all the steps before, but this time I am determined to see it through to completion. Partially because I’m stubborn like that, but also because I finally feel like I have all of the “pieces/tools” in place to be able to accomplish it.
I have found over the past year, since my salvation was secured, that it has been extremely difficult to prove and explain to people the difference that being saved has placed on my life. The differences between being under the influence and being sober were huge enough alone. Then add Jesus to the mix and we have an explosion of newness! Things that I said in the past don’t match up with things I say now. Things that I enjoy doing are now either changed or I crave them all the more. Goals for my life and changes that I would like to take place are exactly the ones that I used to fight against.
Being loved unconditionally and being accepted for everything that I am, as I am, fills a void. When I allow this love and security to take over and fill the voids, I no longer want to stumble around trying to figure out what it is I was meant to do on my own. I have the perfect teacher and sponsor on my side! He will never lead me astray.
Now, with that said, I used to be stuck at Step 4. I finally broke through that painful experience and, with Christ’s love helping me, I was able to take that step. (No one likes to really look at themselves and see where they have failed or where they need to change. How they actually contributed to the bad in more ways than they want to admit. How my decisions led me to this point in my life.) BUT, now I find myself stuck at step 6.
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” To quote the Big Book, “this is the Step that separates the men from the boys,” and I can now see why. To be ENTIRELY ready… to me it’s like being entirely ready to give up all creature comforts, to take away the very way I have learned, since birth, to act and react to any and every thing. It feels like wiping my brain clean and starting over. It’s kind of unnerving. No…it’s scary.
We build up barriers and ways of dealing with certain situations and people as a way of “protecting” ourselves. They may not be the healthiest behaviors or ways of thinking and they probably do not line up with what God tells us to do. It opens us up to all of the things that we fought so hard to protect ourselves from.
It’s those very triggers that keep me from being completely open to God moving in my life and using me. It’s those defenses that keep me from being reached by those who God places in my life. It’s those habits that keep me from reaching those that God would have me show the love of Christ to.
Don’t get me wrong, I desperately wish and I pray constantly to have God break me and shape me into who He wants me to be. (A person without my personal defects of character.) The vision I have of who I could be and the peace that would come over me is so real and so inviting. It’s the same vision that kept me sober in those early days. The same feelings that made me want to change and to seek my Higher Power (God). It’s the same sunrise view, basking in the glow and the warmth of God’s love, looking ahead and feeling completely loved, completely accepted and completely happy! It feels and looks like heaven.
So why does this wonderful feeling and vision not just swallow me whole and leave me craving nothing but? You know that saying, “old habits die hard?” Perhaps it’s partially to do with that. Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown so accustomed to my initial reactions that I don’t even think about it before opening my mouth…now I’m just growing in the habit of regretting things afterwards. I have a feeling it has a large part to do with my biggest fear, which is also a huge character defect.
I recognize the things that need to change and they are things that I WANT to change. Things that I want to hand over entirely to God. How to do that and what that looks like, I’m still stuck on. So, I’ll pray and continue to ask God to break me.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Tags: Character defects, God, Growth, healing, Newness, Surrender
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