Do you have a desire to be your best self? Do you want to have your shortcomings and weaknesses removed? Would you like to put your old self behind you and walk into the future a new and improved creature? Well what exactly does that look like? Can you describe the “new you”? What does it look like to allow God to remove your shortcomings? Notice that I said “allow,” because He will not change you against your will. You must spiritually create the new you before you can “become entirely ready” to allow God to make it happen.
Just like an architect visualizes a home remodeling project and creates it in his/her mind, then electronically or on paper before construction begins, I must create (with God’s help) the new me in my mind, and perhaps on the pages of my journal, before I have become entirely ready to be changed in the physical or temporal world. Then and only then will I be willing to allow Him to begin the remodeling process.
All things are created spiritually before they are created physically.
“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew…”
“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.”
Many people are unable to complete Step 6, “becom[ing] entirely ready to have God remove all [their] character weaknesses” because, with no concept of who they would be without those weaknesses, they are afraid to let go of them. Stuck in Step 6, they cannot get to Step 7, where they humbly ask to have their shortcomings removed.
The work of Step 6: how do we become entirely ready?
I have written before about how each step has an “input and an output.” The input to Step 6 is the list of shortcomings and weaknesses we identified in Step 5. (For more on this read “Six Thoughts about Step 5.”) Starting with this list, we have to somehow find the willingness to allow God to remove them.
According to Aristotle, nature abhors a vacuum. Trying to simply have a shortcoming removed is counterproductive. Removing it will leave a space into which something else will rush. If we don’t determine ahead of time what that “something else” is going to be, it could be worse than what we wanted to have removed!
“Unless you examine all your tendencies toward fear, pride, resentment, anger, self-will, and self-pity, your abstinence will be shaky at best. You will continue with your original addiction or switch to another one. Your addiction is a symptom of other “causes and conditions” (Alcoholics Anonymous , 64).” (A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, p. 13. emphasis added.)
So, suppose you get caught up playing solitaire on the computer when you are bored. You know it is a waste of time and decide to ask the Lord to remove it. If you don’t spiritually create a better way to handle boredom first, you might mindlessly start surfing the Internet instead of playing solitaire and develop an addiction to shopping online! Wouldn’t it be better if you prayerfully made a list of productive things you could do when you are bored, made sure you had the resources you needed to be able to do those things, imagined yourself doing them and pictured what it would look like in your life, and then asked Him to remove the solitaire addiction?
What about a character weakness, such as being quick to anger? Suppose you asked the Lord to remove this weakness, and then when something happened to make you angry you just stuffed it and tried to ignore it until you s.l.o.w.l.y got to the point where you exploded. Would that be an improvement? Wouldn’t it make more sense to write and pray about what healthy behavior you could use in those situations, do some research, start practicing using those behaviors and then ask the Lord to remove the “quick to anger” weakness? Would you be more likely to “become entirely ready” to have this weakness actually removed by doing this work than by simply thinking, “I don’t want to have this weakness anymore,” and asking Him to remove it?
If I do the work of Step 6 by spiritually creating the “new me” after prayerfully considering what options I have and what I want the “new me” to look like, the Lord will be able to remove my shortcomings when I ask Him to in Step 7. It will be up to Him whether and when He will remove them. If I know that I have done the work required of me to “become entirely ready” to have them removed, I can accept with serenity the will of the Lord. I know that I am a better person simply for having done this work. That makes it worth the effort.
- What shortcomings would you like to have the Lord remove in your life?
- Have you become entirely ready to have them removed?
- What will you do today to become entirely ready for the Lord to remove your shortcomings?
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