Step Four–With Honesty and Gentleness

fear not

My initial reaction to Step Four went something like this: “A moral inventory? Why would I ever want to do that—it sounds terrible!” I had been through the steps two or three times before I began to see something different in Step Four. Assurances of comfort stood out to me; in block letters at the top of the page I wrote the Lord’s words from Isaiah “FEAR NOT; I AM WITH THEE.” The Promise of Step Four in Healing Through Christ gave me courage to begin: “By opening our hearts, we learn valuable lessons from our past and see ourselves with honesty and gentleness.”

Honesty and gentleness. Those words kept running through my mind, as did the assurance that I would not do this alone; President Faust’s counsel “include [the Lord] when you take inventory of your personal worth” gave me courage to start, because I knew I was not doing it alone. I took several weeks to examine my life decade by decade, and as I did, I realized I was seeing things from a wiser, gentler point of view than I had at the time.

And how the rest of the steps opened up to me! With my inventory, I was able to work more deeply in Steps Five through Nine. I was working the steps in a way I had never done before.

When I came back to Step Four last week, I realized I needed to do an inventory of a situation that had developed over the last few months. I needed the clarity, and honesty and gentleness, that comes from applying Step Four. The process is flexible enough to work with a lifelong inventory or an inventory of just one specific issue or event. I’m no longer afraid of what I will find in my Step Fours inventories; I’m eager for the opportunity to learn with the Lord by my side to enlighten, comfort, and give my hope for change.

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