Step 6 of 12: Get Ready

Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.

--St. Augustine

Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character.

Our ego tells us that life works either like this: sin-->repentance-->transformation-->love, or like this: sin-->punishment.

However this formula is totally recalibrated by God to be this: sin-->love-->transformation-->repentance

God doesn't love us if we change. God loves us so we can change, and God's love is infinite and everlasting.

With this step, we come face to face with paradox. We are called in Steps 4 and 5 to confront our own defects of character, but now we're to wait until we are entirely ready to have God remove them. For some of us, this is all a new way of thinking that may seem like "hurry up and wait." So far, we've realized our powerlessness to control some of our behavior. We've acknowledged a greater universal power who can bring sanity back into our lives. We've turned our lives over to that power in response to a forgiveness offered by infinite love. Then, in the clarity of that light, we took on the task of honest and deep introspection followed by a confession to God, to ourselves, and to another person. So what do we get now? Well...nothing, but everything. Such is the paradox.

We must both surrender and take responsibility. But we can't design our own transformation. If we try that, we'll simply get what we already have--a life mismanaged by our own ego. We have to be entirely ready for God to work. Too often in my own life, I've been ready for God to remove some of my defects now, but the rest later because I wanted a little more time to attempt to clean them up on my own. That's clearly not Step 6.

If Step 6 takes weeks, months or years, there's no need to go to Step 7 until we are entirely ready to release all our hurts, habits and hang-ups to God who will patiently wait until we're ready. When that happens, we can begin to rely on God's abundance and worthiness instead of the world's scarcity and our own worthlessness.

We'll continue with Steps 7, 8 and 9 after we make a slight diversion.