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 sixth step of humility is that we are content with the lowest and most menial treatment. ~ The Rule of Benedict.
“I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” ~ Philippians 4:12-13
Benedict isn’t approving poor treatment.
Like much of the Gospel things are backwards in God’s Kingdom compared to what the world would teach. At first glance Saint Benedict seems to be asking us to put ourselves below others in a negative way. It’s true we’re supposed to let others go before us out of respect but not with a self-deprecating manner or attitude. In humility we let go of the part of ourselves that we think is so important; we put others first and become willing to do menial tasks. Then we are able to let God honor us not look for it from people.
Accept life circumstances as they come.
Saint Benedict asks us to follow Christ and what the Apostle Paul teaches us in the Scripture quoted above. We can’t think we are above anyone or any situation in life. We must find peace in the struggle, with God and with ourselves. As we trust God to strengthen us, we can face whatever circumstance comes our way.
Outward situations can’t dictate our happiness.
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.
Humility steps lightly in peace.
“Humility steps lightly, not intent on having the now be more… Humility enables us to see that the present holds riches for us that we have not seen before because our eyes were focused beyond the present moment.” ~ Joan Chittister.
Humility finds contentment in God’s love.
God doesn’t want us to strive for the things of this world. Neither does He want us to strive for His love. We don’t have to do anything for it. God has freely given us His love. He wants us to freely receive what He has already given us. All we have to do is come to God and let Him have all of our heart.
Find contentment. Stop striving. Receive His love today!
Soak in the contentment of God’s love as you listen to this incredibly beautiful worship song by Rita Springer.
MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS; ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP TO LEARN THESE CORE VALUES AND PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE.
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.
PRINCIPLE SIX: Honesty
What must improve?
“When our addiction was the center of our world, we lived a double (or triple or quadruple) life. We said one thing and did another. We told different people different stories. We told ourselves contradictory stories. And we tried to keep track of it all. But of course we couldn’t. No one could. And eventually our world of lies and contradictions imploded.” ~Dr. Patrick Carnes**
As a recovering addict, honesty is one of the most difficult yet critical things I must practice. After 10 years of recovery I’m still learning how to be honest.
To walk out Principle Six I have made a deal with myself. If I slip or struggle in my area of weakness I must be willing to admit it. Admitting it is far easier and less painful than the potential fall out that might come if it is discovered. Our confession must not be used against us. We have to feel safe when sharing the weaknesses we have with others. It can’t be used as ammunition later. The beauty of honesty is its simplicity. Life is much less complicated when we are able to be honest with ourselves and others. Keeping a check on my self-talk is key. If I am tempted to, or actually do slip, I must ask: What story am I creating in my mind around my behavior? Am I willing to accept the consequences that may come with the honesty that is needed?
RESOURCES: A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes **
Step 6:We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Having completed Steps One through Five, we may be tempted to stop here. But some of the most important work is yet unfinished. In Steps One and Two, we recognized our powerlessness and came to believe in a power greater than ourselves. In Step Three, we turned our will and our life over to God. In Steps Four and Five we faced the truth about ourselves and then admitted that truth to God, ourselves and to another person.
We are now aware of our faults and realize the need for their removal.God can’t change us until we’re willing and so far we haven’t asked Him to change us. In working Step Six we become ready to have God bring about the needed changes in our lives. This step isn’t an action step but rather spiritual and emotional work, preparing us to release our weaknesses to God.
These needed changes require cooperative effort.God plants the desire and provides direction. We bring a willing heart ready for the action required. We mustn’t try this alone but instead let go and let God. He is the only one who can change us.
As we work the program one day at a time, our willingness to surrender will increase. We may be fearful of giving up our trusted coping skills; faulty or not, they got us through many painful times in our life. We must trust God to reshape us; He won’t remove any character traits we need.
God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. ~ Phil 2:13
Take a moment. Close your eyes and put yourself in God’s hands.
Trust the Master Craftsman, He only wants the best for you.
Having been out of town the better part of the month, I’m late posting June’s 12 Step work. Better late than never 😉 Blessings…
Step 6:Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Getting ready for God to remove character defects in itself is a process. Some character defects are like old friends, comfortable and available.
We can’t even get ready with out God’s help!
In Steps One and Two we realized our powerlessness and found God’s Power to be greater than ours. Step Three we turned our life and our will over to God. Steps Four and Five we admitted hard truths to God, to ourselves and to another person.
Now in Step 6 we wait for God to do some internal work on our hearts. It’s not an action step on our part, but rather preparation that will enable us to become ready to release our character faults when the time comes in Step 7.
This is not quick work. Most of our character defects have been deeply ingrained in us since childhood. These patterns of behavior were often used as coping mechanisms in a traumatic environment. It will take time and practice to switch from our comfortable character defect to trusting God and allowing Him to be completely in control.
We must see our faults not as comfortable friends but harmful behaviors that have begun to control our lives. Once we know the truth about our faults and what must be removed; we can overcome our fears and with God’s help, gather our self in readiness to go forward in recovery.
Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.~ James 4:10