A temptation that besets most of us when we attempt the fourth step is a desire to avoid pain. We keep our confessions too general. We hope that we can just be done with this and move on to the part where God starts removing our defects of character. We either get hung up on trying to complete the perfect fourth step, or we cut corners just to make the whole process go away! But here are further insights from Psalm 51 that might temper our tendency to find a way to perform better in this life so that we might avoid punishment or snag more rewards.
Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. Psalm 51:16-17 MSG
I do NOT prefer a heart-shattered life. I would never pick it. Who would? Life by its very nature has heart-shattering moments and no one escapes unscathed, even folks who strive to perform their way through life in the hope of avoiding suffering.
For today, focus on this: Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. Pair that with an understanding of God who wants to bless us, not curse us and what we end up with is a thing I have so sorely needed in months past: comfort.
There are many places to look for comfort that result in making for a longer step 4 inventory – but coming to understand and recognize the loving attentiveness of God to our desperation is a beautiful and hopeful thing. Notice how God might be attending to you in your daily experience. Tomorrow and the next, I have two stories to tell. One to illustrate the pervasive and problematical performance temptation and the second to serve as an illustration of God’s attention to our suffering.