4th Step of 12 Step Program Hitting Right Between The I’s

March 29, 2014 at 10:04 am

Courage to Change reading was directed right at me this morning.  Perhaps I was ready for it since I had a long quiet time.  Perhaps I was ready for it because I systematically worked steps 1-4 in January and February.  Whatever the reason, thank you Lord for your word to me today.

Step 4:  Made a SEARCHING and FEARLESS moral inventory of ourselves.

One of the topics for this inventory is self-worth.  “ I have found that  I have always judged my value on the basis of my accomplishments, or on what other people said about me.  This meant I had to work all the time, or constantly make myself the center of attention.  At best my sense of satisfaction was fleeting.”  Call it people pleasing. Call it fear of failing and needing to succeed.  It has been and remains a big motivator for me.  It is very human to need this affirmation from others. It does make us feel good to experience the respect that can come with a position of authority, responsibility, or money.  It does feel good to feel part of the “in crowd” that may be the equivalent of the “Big Men on Campus” even if it is a case of being a big fish in a small pond oftentimes.  But all that is shifting sand if that is where we find our self-worth.  I used to enjoy reading books on the Holocaust such as Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” or Elie Wiesel’s books as well as Solzhenitsyn’s books ( A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) on the Russian Gulag  which capture human beings who have been stripped bare of all externalities.  They have no fancy cars, expensive artwork, big houses.  They are all gone.  They are no longer respected physicians, actors, athletes or business people.  It is all gone. What is left?  How do they react?  Where do they find their self- worth?

“With Step Four, I realized that part of my self-worth can be based on my ability to love other people.  Saying a kind word, writing a considerate note, or just taking time out from my other thoughts to appreciate another human being, enriches my entire day.  I have the power to feel good about myself, regardless of my achievements, whether or not other people validate my worthiness.”

Step 4 follows steps which foster a connection with one’s Higher Power as one comes to understand who or what that means for them.   Hence today’s reading closed with a quote from Abraham Lincoln who is not often viewed as a religious man.  Yet some of his writings reflect a deep relationship or understanding of the workings of the Almighty.  Perhaps borne out of presiding over a bloody civil war and his experience of depression:

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”

Intellectually I recognize and acknowledge that God is truly the source of our self-worth.  We are children of a loving God. We are His/Her kindred.   Let us ask the Lord that

“ We may grasp with our hearts how we are immersed in love.  May we recognize You in others and in the events of our lives.   Experiencing your love, may we share your love with our brothers and sisters.  May we say a kind word and appreciate those with whom we spend time today.  May we love as You love.”