Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed .
For our group, step seven was more of a writing project than a visual arts project. The only supplies we needed were:
-colored index cards
-pens or writing instruments
On the blank sides of the index cards (unruled), we used the black Sharpie marker to write a character defect we identified ourselves as having. We wrote this one word in the middle of the card. I personally prefer the term "character defense." All of these "shortcomings," are behaviors that served me at some point in my life. These traits enabled me to survive stressful and/or traumatic circumstances when I was unaware of having an option to turn to another more positive tool. Where the term "defect," implies a degree of judgment, I prefer thinking of these behaviors as "defenses" that no longer serve me.
We then drew a line dividing the card into an upper half and lower half.
On the top half of the card, we added other words that represented character defenses or "shortcomings" that we believed we had that were somehow related to this main theme.
On the bottom half of the card, we considered the question: If I were to remove fear from this shortcoming, might there be a positive character trait that I might want to keep? For every "defect," we were able to identify some positive aspect to the trait, which had been corrupted by fear, turning it into a defect.
Then, on the backs of the cards, we used the black marker to write a positive character trait that represents the opposite of the shortcoming.
There were no right nor wrong answers for any of these writing exercises.
Finally, underneath that positive character trait, we wrote a prayer to our Higher Power, humbly asking God to remove this shortcoming.
I keep these cards in my God Box. This is a gesture of turning this process of character transformation over to my Higher Power. This also allows me to refer back to them. I can then read the prayer when I notice a character defense rearing its ugly head in my every day life.
What character defenses of yours do you believe you have outgrown? Which ones have already been lifted?