Make a searching and fearless written moral inventory of yourself.
Step 4 Reading
Step 4 Reading
Now that I have made the decision to truly trust in God to help me, I am given the opportunity to show my willingness to trust Him by searching my life without letting my fear stop me with rigorous honesty, and no justification.
Someone recently told me that with taking step 4, it's not just about identifying sins. It's about defining myself. I don't just reflect on what I have done wrong in my life, but what I have done right, and what motivates my decisions. In doing this, I identify my gifts and talents as well as my weaknesses and shortcomings. In identifying these characteristics about myself, and being mindful of my weaknesses, I am better able to strive to align my will with God's, because it's the first step in correcting my mistakes and growing my weaknesses into strengths.
The first time I completed step 4, I tried to do it by listing events from my memory chronologically from the earliest thing to now. It was a huge undertaking. I found some things to be taken care of and learned from it, but I knew I was not done completely because I knew I could not do it all at once. It would be impossible. That didn't mean I stopped at this step forever. I did my best and moved on, having faith that the Lord would point out more as I became ready for it. This has happened.
I did the step for the second time by writing names of people and examining my relationships with them. I felt I needed to apologize for things or mend something, or just come to terms with past events.
This time, I wrote in my journal, just pondering particular weaknesses and how it has affected certain people who came to mind once more. As I wrote, I began to discover that many the actions in my life that came to mind were motivated by a weakness that was because of a strength, or vise versa. I decided to list my strengths and weaknesses that I have discovered so far. I realized that some of my strengths sort of compliment my weaknesses, and vise versa, and some of my weaknesses escalate each other. I noticed some things that create cycles in my own behavior. It turned into a learning experience about really how I define myself and what I want to change.
This step is hard! But I can assure that it can change your life if you take it faithfully and fearlessly as it says.
It is also important to write! Write it all out, even if you are afraid of someone reading it. Writing helps you slow down your thoughts and really proves them to give you a greater understanding. I also believe that more help comes to me spiritually if I am writing or praying out loud. Once it was described to me that the reason I felt this way is because the angels would assist me. The Holy Ghost is always there to help. But angels are too. However, they cannot dwell within us like the Holy Ghost does. So they cannot know the thoughts of our hearts. But they can hear us pray out loud, and they can read what is written. I feel the angels help me a lot more when I do these things.
I also know that writing things down seems to make me take things more seriously because it's out. It's a substantial reality if it's written down in front of me. I no longer can hide things even from myself. The justification stops when I write it down. I can no longer deny what I write in black and white.
Harmful things that are written down can also be destroyed once the step has been completed. Some people wait until after step 5. Then they purge themselves with the destruction of their written inventory. It can be a symbol of the power of repentance to cleanse you. Those things are no more, and the Lord remembers them not.
Be brave! Step 4! Let's do it!