A.A. – Step 7

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

In many ways steps 6 and 7 are joined at the hip. You really can’t do 6 without doing 7, unless you are like me and can sometimes only take small, baby steps.

I was ready for God to take away some of the things I didn’t like about me. I still hesitated about asking Him to do it. Then He took away the wrong things, from my not-so-humble point of view at the time.

Someone asked Michelangelo how it was that he carved that fantastic statue of David. The one where David is thinking about accepting Goliath’s challenge. The stone from which David was carved had been rejected by other sculptors because it was flawed. Michelangelo’s answer was something like, “I saw David in the stone from the start. All I did was carve away what wasn’t David to reveal him.”

Just chipped away what was not David. God does that with us!

Sometimes I wonder how hard it would have been for Michelangelo to do that if the stone would complain as the pieces fell off. “Hey, that hurt!” or “Why is this happening to me?” or “I liked that part, you should put it back!”

No, the stone never complained, it just let Michelangelo do his work.

What if we took the same attitude? Let our Higher Power chip away at what is not the best of us! No matter how much we like those parts and no matter how comfortable we have become with them! Then we can stand free, no longer fettered by thick blocks of defenses.

Michelangelo had it easy, the rock didn’t have to surrender to him, it had no choice.

You and I have a choice. We can fight and stay stuck as we are, or we can swallow our pride (and our stupidity) and allow the painful process of pruning to begin. Yes, pruning.

It is really stupid for a farmer to think of pruning weeds. He doesn’t prune them, he destroys them. He prunes the items on his farm that have potential. If you and I didn’t have potential, we wouldn’t be pruned.

The fact that we are being pruned is proof that we have a ‘farmer’! He is trying to make more of us than we already are and that we have potential in the ‘farmers’ eyes. Even if we don’t see it. Even if others around us don’t see it. He does! A loving, intelligent Higher Power can figure out how to best prune you. How to get rid of the parts that are not really worth keeping. How to build up the parts that need to stay.

So whether as stubborn as a rock or as wild as a weed, we are in for the ride of our lives! As our Higher Power prunes us toward a better life and toward being a better person. Or we can decide to stay the way we are, thinking we are already good enough.

Whatever isn’t changing for the better is going stale or rotting away. We can’t stay the same any more than a fish in a river can stay in one place. Either the current of life carries us downstream, like a dead fish, or we fight our way upstream. All a dead fish can do is float for a while. By swimming upstream we tend to look alive, and we truly are! By the way, I am not the only person that prefers to be around living people!

Act dead (the dead fish smell!) or act alive. Life is a struggle, don’t avoid it!

Life, the potential for the future. It’s developed by chisels and pruning shears held by the hands of a Higher Power worthy of our trust.


* The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs that are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.

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