In Steps 6 and 7 we become entirely ready to have God remove our character weaknesses and then we ask Him, humbly, to do it. So then what? Do we just expect Him to wave a magic wand and, poof, our character weaknesses are gone? No. Part of becoming entirely ready is getting to the point where we are willing to do the footwork He gives us to develop the new positive habits and behaviors that will take the place of the negative ones. I become a co-creator with God as I create the new me, just like Jesus was a co-creator with God as He created the world.
I have observed that there is a process we go through to implement change in our lives. I call it the AADWAR process, which is an acronym for Awareness, Acceptance, Desire, Willingness, Action, Results.
Awareness: “Something needs to change.”
Awareness is the first step of the change process. Nothing will change in my life until I make a decision to change it. I am not going to make a decision to change something unless I know it is a problem! I can become aware of things that need to change as I read, study, and pray with a humble heart. If I listen with an open mind to others share in meetings and at Church the Spirit will tell me how to apply what I hear to my life. My loved ones will also bring opportunities for change to my attention if I am willing to listen to the message instead of reacting to the method of delivery.
Acceptance: “This really does apply to me now.”
I am sure each of us could make a list of habits or behaviors we “know” we need to change, but have not done anything about. I certainly have a few of those items. Acceptance is an important part of the change process. When I go from thinking “I should make this change” to thinking “I will make this change” I have found acceptance. Acceptance may be triggered by the pain caused by my dysfunctional old behavior or by a prompting or confirmation from the Holy Ghost. Often times pride is the reason I struggle with acceptance.
Desire: “I have a vision of what I want to be like.”
Just because I know what I need to change does not mean that I have a desire to do the work necessary to get there, especially if I don’t know what my new replacement habits or behavior will look like! When I can visualize what my life will be like having made this change, and develop a desire for that new lifestyle strong enough to motivate me to actually make it happen, I have taken a powerful step toward getting there. Once I have the desire I ask the Lord what I need to do. He gives me work to do, actions to take, a “roadmap” to get me from where I am to where I want to be.
Willingness: “I am willing to act.”
Sometimes, despite having a strong desire for the new life that a certain change will bring, I cannot overcome my fear or reluctance to take the necessary action. Until I become willing to do the footwork, nothing will change! Praying for willingness is very effective. There are times when I choose not to pray for willingness, because I know that if I do pray for it, the Lord will give it to me, and I don’t want to do it! There is a difference between having a desire for the new behavior to be a part of my life, and being willing to do the work necessary to get there. When I cannot make myself pray for willingness, I may be able to get myself to pray for the willingness to be willing. I know that sounds silly, but it really does work.
Action: “I do the footwork.”
Once I have become willing, I start to implement the plan the Lord gave me. I may be scared out of my wits, but I do it anyway, as Susan Jeffers says in Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway. I may feel uncertain about whether I am doing it “right” but I remind myself that I am after “progress, not perfection,” as the AA/Al-Anon slogan says. I don’t let perfectionism keep me in a state of procrastination. And most importantly, I focus on doing the footwork, not on what the results will look like, because I am not in control of the results.
Results: “Up to God”
Letting go of the results is one of the hardest parts about the change process. In the past I started with the results I wanted and worked backwards to figure out how and what to change. Unfortunately, I was frequently frustrated and disappointed because it rarely turned out the way I had envisioned it. Now I know that the results are up to God. The results are up to God! Actually, this is a relief, when you think about it. God knows what I need far better than I do. He is capable of bringing other resources to bear to help me achieve my full potential. If I can let go of what the results look like and trust Him, I am always amazed at what he can do with my cooperation, which is necessary, because the Lord will not take away my agency.
One trick I use to let go of the results is to make a decision to search for the blessings in the results the Lord has given me. When I see them, and embrace them, and write about them, and express gratitude for them, I begin to “own” them. Eventually they become a part of my life and I see that God’s vision of my life is even better than mine.
- What needs to change in your life?
- Where are you in the AADWAR process?
- What are you willing to do to progress?