The Twelve Steps and Lent: Step 4
None of these steps, dear friends, is for sissies. None of these steps is effortless or easy or perhaps even reasonable.
Then again, reasoning and rationalizing is what got you into this mess, Ollie.
Making an effort to entrust your will, your life to an oft-times invisible (to our eyes) Ultimate Source is a stretch for you if you have been repeatedly betrayed, abandoned, manipulated, physically or emotionally battered is, to say the very least, outside of your comfort zone.
Now you embark on a journey of inner discovery and challenge - well, that's the positive way to approach this step. The negative way to this level - the direction from which most of us come to this 4th place - is couching in terms of dread and shame and exhaustion and feeling paralyzed by the enormity of the black hole we have semi successfully avoided for oh so long.
'What do you mean by "searching"?' It means (to me) several things: comprehensive, inquisitive, recalling with detail, deliberate. You could just skim over things.... you could avoid thinking about the provocation to an act or an unkind word or your past resentment toward someone. Skimming, just scraping off the surface, will do you no justice in this exercise. Your goal is to get to the bottom of all of this jumbled jungle of emotion, scar tissue, defense mechanisms, actions, inappropriate reactions, manipulation, deception (particularly self deception), sensitivity and weakness. It is taking the time to peer within.
'What do you mean by "fearless". It means (to me) looking without the burden of judgement. You can venture into that jumbled jungle if you are not paralyzed by the fear of doing so. You can continue, even when you have moments of regret and guilt (which are tools you can later use to your advantage when the inner slate is clean). Don't fear the difficult. Don't fear finding the truth that has been buried beneath layers and years of compensation.
Were you aware that the phrase "Fear not" appears in the Bible 366 times? We are ALL afraid. You are no exception. I am no exception.
Perhaps writing your findings down in a notebook or journal will help you in your searching,fearless inventory. It may be cathartic to pull these thorns, these weeds that have had a stranglehold on you out and reduce them to scribble on a page. Outside of you they will wilt, lose their grip.
I want you to 'hear' something that may astonish you. Everyone who has been through the 12 step process is pulling for you, encouraging you, supporting you. Although the reason that lead them to the 12 steps may be very different than yours, they have walked and will continue to take the 12 steps and know that it takes courage and help from a Higher Power to make the journey and stay on the path. They know because they have been there or are there. You are not alone!