Pearls Suat Eman

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/

Last night I participated in  a book study of Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects Steps Six and Seven (Bill P, Todd W., and Sara S., 2005). Several “spiritual pearls” emerged from the discussion. Many of them were attributed to Sam Shoemaker, an Episcopalian priest who helped Bill W. enter recovery.

Here are important highlights I brought home with me from last night’s meeting:

  1. I need to surrender my will to God on a daily basis .
  2. This  will help me acknowledge and change problematic behaviors and personality traits (character defects) that impede my spiritual growth.
  3. I need to invest time and effort in improving my relationship with God in order to continue to grow spiritually as this will make this surrender/insight/change process much easier.
  4. To progress in my spiritual journey I need to cultivate the habit of “looking inward and upward, not outward and downward” (p. xvi)

Why do these look so challenging and difficult to me?  In the past, my “self-will” and stubbornness of wanting to do things my way and by myself often kept me from turning things over to God.  Sometimes they still do. But, as I read this “instruction list” for spiritual progress, I realize I am already following these instructions  in my daily prayers, meditation, and writing. My daily immersion in prayer and meditation have brought me closer to God, and it is easier to surrender to him because of that closeness and trust.

There is something about the 4th item in the list above that keeps calling my attention. At first, it does not appear to be directly related to the other three .  Until I look at it closely. Then I realize, metaphorically speaking, that I have to look inward to realize what I need to release to God, and I have to look upward to release it in relationship with God. If I looked outside  myself I would never see what it is about me that I need to change. Chances are I would be seeing the “problems” that abound in others. If I focused my attention on the character defects of others, I become judgmental  and critical and “look down” on those I am judging. That would definitely halt my spiritual growth.

One last spiritual pearl from last night’s book study was not from the book—–it was from one of the participants who shared something she had read or heard somewhere else. The wisdom that she passed on is:  the people we meet today may be as close as we come to God today.  Since I believe God is in each human being, I thought there was a lot of truth in that statement.  Maybe I do need to look outward sometimes to encounter God—-God is not “just in me” or only “up there.”

Enough. Please comment and share your thoughts on today’s content. Thanks. God bless and keep you.