In observance of my Benedictine Monastic practices, on the last Friday of each month in 2019 we’re walking Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility. With each step we come closer to our spiritual transformation and the perfect love of God.

The twelfth step of humility calls us to always manifest humility to those around us.  ~ The Rule of Benedict

I am bowed down and humbled in every way. ~ Psalm 38:6

Each of the 12 Steps of Humility progressively build on the next, creating a strong foundation on which we can stand for years to come.

With each step we grow closer to God’s perfect love that casts out all fear. As we walk humbly before others we reflect a life that has been radically transformed by Christ.

Let’s review the journey we’ve taken this year. Each of the paragraph titles are hyperlinked to the corresponding columns in this series.


Recognized God’s Presence: Fear of the Lord This is a foundational step for the rest. Here we learned to have a proper reverential fear of the Lord, keeping our self in proper perspective, while knowing that God is present with us at all times.

Accepting God’s Will: Turn from Willfulness  Our life is to be modeled after Jesus. He did nothing and spoke nothing that wasn’t from his Father in Heaven. This is where our heart and mind need to be: To think like Jesus thought and to be one with our Father’s will.  That will come as we continue to stay in God’s Word and in His Presence. Only then can we hope to turn from the stubborn willfulness that plagues our humanity and live God’s best life.

Accepting Spiritual Direction: Obedience   An obedient, humble heart increases our openness to receiving directions in our daily life. This applies to our relationships with a supervisor, teacher or parent. But before we can express our obedience by complying with a command, we must first listen. Most importantly we must listen to our Heavenly Father who will in turn help us obey our earthly authority figures.

Persevering: Quietly Embracing Patience  Benedict links obedience with patience  and perseverance. When facing difficult situations most of us don’t embrace the suffering quietly or without weakening. Jesus encourages us no matter what we’re experiencing, if we will endure, if we are faithful to the end, we will experience deliverance in this lifetime and certainly in the next.

Acknowledging Our Faults: Radical Self-Honesty  Saint Benedict teaches that the path to humility requires pure honesty. Humility calls us to truthfully bring to light whatever is hidden deep in our heart. These may be things that we’re even in denial to ourselves about. Often answers and even healing come as we’re sharing with our trusted friend or counselor.

Living Simply: Contentment   A humble heart is fixed on God so much that the changing external circumstances of life don’t affect our mood. Our realities don’t dominate our state of mind or spirit. We submit our desires to God’s will in our life for today knowing He has good planned to come from it all.

Honest About Yourself: Be Mindful of Your Limitations  In recognizing our personal limitations we find the first secret to victory. If we can humble ourselves and admit our human weaknesses, see our need for help from God and others, we’re on the right path. Scripture teaches us, God’s power works best through those who know their limitations and who turn their weaknesses over to Him.

Being Teachable: Be Moldable  Being moldable and teachable isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength, faith and trust. Our challenge is to make sure the person who is molding us is following God’s direction and Biblical values.

Listening to Others: Restrain Speech When we’re trying to communicate with someone, we expect them to have proper manners, to restrain their speech, give us their eyes and listen. God isn’t any different. He wants our undivided attention when He’s trying to speak to us.

Speak Kindly: Avoid Idle Laughter  Just like God’s kindness leads us to repentance, so too our kindness toward others can lead them to God. Let’s cultivate an atmosphere around us that invites others to Christ with our words and behavior. Words that harm others are not funny. Humor is about seeing the lighter side of life. It should be used to lift people out of troubles not beat them down into them.

Accepting Others As They Are: Speak Modestly  Here Benedict describes the appropriate way that we should converse with others. We’re to be generous and sincere in our listening. Then when it’s our time to speak we are to brief and gentle with our words, not loud or boisterous.

There’s no arguing that Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility are a tall list of expectations for us to live up to. They certainly are demands that one couldn’t possible attain without consistent help from God.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit graciously gifts us with the strength and abilities we need to press into His Presence and begin the transformation process. Only then can we even begin to live a transparent life that reflects the goodness of God daily.

Let’s end this series, this year and this decade contemplating the infinite Goodness of God with this lovely music video by Bethel Music. I pray God’s many blessings will chase you down this new year ahead.

12 Principles of Recovery :: GENERATIVELY





Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How do I pass it on?

Generativity is helping others. Giving back. Contributing to society. Making a positive difference. Creating a better world. Leaving a legacy. Guiding and encouraging the next generation and the many generations thereafter. 

~ Dr. Patrick Carnes **


The Christmas season is known as a time to be generous. But our giving back and paying it forward should be a year round practice. 

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in person and on my blog. It is always encouraging to learn how my pain and mistakes have helped other women.
Each season of life brings different avenues to share. There are times when I feel like I’m not making a difference. Then suddenly God reveals how my message has made an impact in a very simple way.   
We never know when or how our story is going to help others. So we must stay sensitive to the Spirit’s nudges and be ready with an answer of hope. 
A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes**

The 12 Steps of Humility






A monk always manifests humility to those around [her]. ~ The Rule of Benedict

I am bowed down and humbled in every way. ~ Psalm 38:6


Whatever our influences are they will show themselves in our attitudes and actions toward others. If we are careful to keep our hearts and minds on God’s way that will come through to those in our path.

Humility connects us to the world… calms us and it calms others. It inspires and it assures; it enriches and it enables. Humility gifts us with happiness and graces the world with peace. ~Joan Chittister*

Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility are a difficult list of expectations. Certainly they are demands that one cannot attain without consistent help from the Divine. 

Thankfully God knows our heart and gifts us with the strength and abilities we need to press into His presence and begin the transformation process. 

But it’s up to us to take the first step with intention. By recognizing God’s presence, accepting His will and the spiritual leadership He puts before us, we can persevereacknowledge our faults, live contently and honestly, restrain our mouth and laughter so we can listen and learn from others

Hopefully at some point we will be centered and serene enough that others will see in us the humility that we are trying to achieve.


The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century by Joan Chittister
Twelve Steps to Inner Freedom: Humility Revisited by Joan Chitister*
The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride by Bernard of Clairvaux
St. Benedicts’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living by Jane Tomaine
The Rule of Saint Benedict Edited by Timothy Fry

Image credit: nicholashan / 123RF Stock Photo

The Road to Recovery :: STEP 12


Step 12: Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9

Principle 8 (Celebrate Recovery): Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires. ~ Matthew 5:10

The Twelfth Step is not a graduation into a life free of addiction. Times of temptation are sure to come, but that is our opportunity to practice what we’ve learned from The Steps and hopefully show others we have changed. 

Staying mindful of our recovery walk daily. One thing that has helped me consistently over the years is reading the Life Recovery Devotional. It has 30 readings on each of the 12 Steps which makes it perfect for the entire year. I start with Step 1 in January and follow each step with the calendar month. 

We must find a way to share our story. We can’t waste the lessons we have learned. We must be sensitive to when, where and how the Holy Spirit nudges us and share our message of healing. 

Fellowship with healthy believers is critical. We need friends who love us enough to be honest with us and call us out when necessary. Most importantly we need to keep God a priority so we will stay on the right path.  

If you can’t see the video screen below Click Here for our Road to Recovery theme song.

Working the Steps :: STEP 12

Step 12:
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted.
~ Isaiah 61:1

Step Twelve completes this part of our journey. Through this process we’ve been changed, we have experienced a spiritual awakening, our lives are now an expression of God’s will.  As we go about our daily life we look for ways to demonstrate this new confidence, showing our commitment to recovery and our growing awareness of God’s presence in our lives.

Sharing our life experiences is sometime difficult, we must be sensitive to whom we tell our story and how much we share. Not everyone is ready to hear our recovery story.  Practicing first with an accountability partner or sponsor is always good. The more we tell our story, the easier it gets. And with that ease, the emotional pain that we may carry today will be relieved.

Though much progress has been made we haven’t completed our journey to wholeness. That won’t happen in this world. But as we continue our growth we must daily be aware of the principles that will enhance our walk with God. Each of the Twelve Steps is a vital part of fulfilling God’s plan for our life. And as we experience daily challenges that try to pull us away from God, we must use the steps as tools for coping rather than falling back into old patterns.

Let’s quickly review each of the Twelve Steps:

  • Step One ~  Reminds us of our powerlessness.
  • Steps Two and Three ~  Show us our ongoing need for God’s help.
  • Steps Four through Nine ~ Guide us through self-examination and making amends. 
  • Steps Ten and Eleven ~ Help us avoid slips and keep us in touch with God.
  • Step Twelve ~  A milestone showing our commitment to God’s will for our recovery.

The most important part of Step 12 is the hope rooted here. By sharing our story we give others hope for freedom from addiction. It’s possible for life to be good again. As we prepare to tell our story, we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others. It’s not having some big dramatic story that give it value; it’s the end of the story that counts.

Post reminders around the house related to spiritual growth. In my role as a wife, mother, writer, minister and now grandmother, the tools of my work, whatever that work may be, play an important part in my spiritual growth. Here’s what’s on the reminder card I keep posted in the kitchen.  It’s adapted from St. Benedict’s Rule of Order.

“Each implement of your work is a sacred vessel on the altar of your transformation.”

Go forward now, intentionally pressing into each day, committed to give and do your best. Trusting God is by your side, changing you into the new creature He designed you to be.  Don’t not tell your story. There is someone who needs to hear it. Anyone can argue theology or doctrine. But who can argue with what God has done in your life? No one!

Once again… take a few minutes to enjoy our Twelve Step theme song for this year…
Step by Step by Bryan Duncan  http://youtu.be/l7BvJ0obHZk

Working the Steps: Step 12

December… the perfect month to focus on Step 12:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

We are all recovering from something: hurts, habits or hang-ups. And if we’re recovering, that means someone helped us overcome our problem. And if it was Christ, we must tell others.

When I was homeschooling my children in the 90’s we had The 21 Rules of This House by Gregg Harris on our refrigerator. (still do by the way) One of my favorites is Rule #11: When we have something nice to share, we share it.

What better gift to give someone who’s hurting than your story out of bondage into freedom! 

This Christmas season, give hope to someone; take an opportunity to share what God has done in your life. I believe people are more receptive to The Good News this time of year than any other. 

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and wrong… slaves to passions and pleasures of all kinds… But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was revealed, he saved us… God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for. This is a true saying. ~Titus 3:3-8

Photo Courtesy 123RF Stock Photo