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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, and 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 and there he was."

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 a take some away from over here!".

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

What if we took the same attitude, letting 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 those parts) until we 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 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 something that you and I also have a lot of: potential. If you didn't have potential, you wouldn't be pruned.

The fact that you are being pruned is proof that you have a 'farmer' that is trying to make more of you than you already are and that you have potential in the 'farmers' eyes.

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 anyway. How to build up the parts that need to stay.

So whether you are as stubborn as a rock or as wild and uncontrollable as a weed, you are in for the ride of your life as your Higher Power prunes you toward a better life and toward being a better person.

Or you can always decide to stay the way you are, thinking you are already good enough.

Well, there's a problem with that, because if you aren't changing for the better you're going stale or rotting away. You can't stay the same any more than a fish in a river can stay in one place. Either let the current of life carry you downstream, which means you look like a dead fish (and we all know what dead fish smell like) or fight your way upstream, proving to all observers that you still have life in you.

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 which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.

The complete Serenity Prayer is also available on this website.