Step Six invites me start with my heart, as I prepare to surrender my weaknesses to God. In previous steps I laid a foundation by turning to Him in trust, examining my life, and identifying the recurring patterns of weaknesses that have undermined my happiness and relationships. Now I “humbly and prayerfully seek the spiritual gift of a change of heart” (Healing Through Christ, p. 59).
It can be frightening and discouraging to admit our weaknesses and prepare to release them. After all, at times they have been our protection, when we had no where else to turn, no other way to cope, no refuge to run to in our search for safety. But as we work the steps, we begin to find new ways to approach our challenges, and we can let go of “devices that once protected us but have now become self-defeating” (Melody Beattie, Codependent’s Guide to the Twelve Steps).
This process was frightening to me because I’ve had a self-critical voice in my head for most of my life, and it felt like focusing on my weaknesses would just feed that voice and make it stronger. But in this step I will be working with the Lord, and the familiar voice of shame is not His. That shaming, hurtful voice comes from Satan, whose name literally means “the accuser.” In Revelation 12:10-11 we read
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony
I know that voice that accuses me day and night: it points out all of my failings, it tells me to hide in silence and shame, it convinces me I will never change. It is the voice of the accuser. But that voice is a liar.
I am beginning to recognize the voice of my Advocate, Jesus Christ. He offers salvation and strength and entry into the Kingdom of God. His blood overcomes the accuser and renders him powerless. His voice helps me see my flaws when I ask, but that gentle awareness is always accompanied by hope through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Spirit tells me that I can change, that He will help me, that through His power I can be transformed. I don’t need to be afraid or be ashamed. As the Lord invites me to see “what I lack yet,” I can become ready to release my grip on weaknesses that have been my lifelong companions, and turn to God with trust that He will help me to come unto Him and be healed.