Step 7: Humility

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.  

Humility is admitting our weakness. Being humble allows us to set off pride and to behave in deference to the God of the universe because we need help. We need help to recover. We need the God who does all things to repair the pieces that are broken. We need him to prop us up sometimes. We need him to get us through the month, the week, the day, the hour. Sometimes we struggle to get through this very minute.

Humility and humiliation are two different things. Humiliation was our status as victims of our abusers. We were a punching bag. We were a means to release steam. We were a sex object. We were second class. As survivors we struggle to regain power that was taken or given away. We struggle with self-worth. We struggle with all the things that make living painful.  

We struggle to throw of the humiliation for the secret things that have happened to us while we were in captivity with our abusers. We relive the pain and those terrible things that happened to us. We carry the humiliation around in our cells and in our hearts and in our heads. It’s a heavy burden that weighs us down, makes our shoulders slump, and bends our head directing our vision away from your eyes.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”[1] Humility is admitting that weakness to God so that he can take away the things that trip us up.

What trips us up? Everything. All the things that have happened from the beginning until now have created a version of us that accepts insults, jealousy, control, and a heavy hand raised against us as a situation that we will willingly enter into. The situations that we enter into are directly in contravention to our very instinct to survive. We want to leave and we want to stay – both desires exist at the same time.

Only you know those things that created your situation. Only you know the things that you have accepted. Only you know the things that trip you up. Only you know the things that swirl around in your head when you’re running away, trying to sleep, showering, breathing, dreaming. Only you know. Only you can ask God to help you with those things.

Make no mistake, in order to recover we need to address our shortcomings and reevaluate our romantic relationships. We are the common link in all our bad relationships and this is the step where we get to ask God to help us do better with the choosing and the picking. We can’t ask for help unless we humble ourselves.

After I left my abuser, I knew that I never would allow another person to beat on me again. I vowed that I would never again submit. I would always stand tall and strong and I would take no crap from anyone. But I didn’t know how. So, I continued to take all kinds of crap from people. I didn’t get beaten any more. But, but I got lies and cheating. I allowed myself to be relegated to second or third or last on the list of importance.

Even after ten years of recovery, I was still trying to get through this step. I was fumbling and making mistakes because I was getting what I thought I wanted and in the way I thought I would get it. I was in a relationship with a man who didn’t want to get married but I wanted to get married. I tried to deny the things in my heart and finally could not. I loved him but that wasn’t enough.

Once I decided to be different and do better in this particular area, I asked God to help me. I began to see that I was the common denominator in all my relationships. There were two things I needed to change – what I allowed from others and how I treated me. I saw that I needed to require more from the people that I allowed in my life. I saw I needed to treat myself the way that I wanted other people to treat me. These become dating values.

The problem with not having a dating value system is that when we don’t have a value system we will accept anything because there’s no standard to measure up to. We don’t know what rates attention and what should make us say goodbye. We don’t know what matters to us. We don’t even value ourselves because we don’t know what we’re worth. We don’t know our thoughts, feelings, opinions, or goals.

 I decided to pay attention to what people told me with their words and their behavior. I had been ignoring most of what people said and did in favor of what I wanted to believe about them. I decided to demand what I knew I was worth before I even agreed to a single date. Why? Because I was tired of wasting my time and getting my heart hurt.

I wanted marriage and if a person couldn’t even see themselves on that path with someone, I didn’t want to walk down any path with them. I decided that if any person in my life would not treat me as number one they would not be allowed in my life. I was at the top of my own list and I wanted to be at the top of my person’s list; I believe that I deserve that. I could look back and identify where I disregarded my desires, wants, and needs in favor of just going with the flow or getting along. The person must be able to respect those things, solicit those things from me, even if I don’t get my way.

There were times where I accepted so much less in hopes of getting more. I had to institute a new standard to measure up against. I looked around and tried to understand where I was missing the mark. I prayed and tried to look in books, movies, and other sources. I didn’t even know what I valued personally. I struggled. Then I realized I valued integrity – do the right things even when no one is looking. How do I measure that? I settled on the Ten Commandments. Where was my personal value found? In my being created and loved by the creator of the universe. What was I worth? Everything.

Even just these small steps helped me out of my relationship spiral. I could measure up everything a person said and did against something and decide to accept it or reject it. I could state up front what I wanted before even going on a date or wasting time. I could rely on God to point me in the right direction and to help me do better because now I knew where I fell short.

We can say “I want to get married someday to someone and I don’t want to date someone who doesn’t see themselves on that path too.” We are used to saying “I don’t know what I want.” We say it even though we imagine the faces of the babies that will be ours. We rush and ignore and brush aside these things so that we can be with this person in this relationship.

Once I made these decisions, my relationships changed. I broke up with the man who didn’t want what I wanted. Then I took some time. The next man who asked me out got questioned before he got a yes. I wanted to know if he ever wanted to get married. I asked him if he believed in God. I asked him if he’d ever been convicted of domestic violence. Then I prayed and asked God if I should date him. I humbled myself. I already knew my shortcomings were with relationships and I needed help. So I relied on God to step into that space and direct my steps.

We can’t get to this spot without admitting we need help. We can’t get to this spot without asking God to remove shortcomings. We can’t get to the other side without removing our pride and arrogance and asking for help. He’s not going to remove all our problems, we’re not going to be made perfect. We’re still going to make mistakes but we can begin to make progress. Sometimes we have to work through things to fully understand. Other times God knows what we need and how we can get back on track. We can move in the right direction. We can do better, we can be better, and that is the goal.

[1] 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

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