red balloon

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this morning about how important it is to recognize those parts of me and my behavior that stand in the way of my spiritual growth. For the most part, I need to overcome false pride and fear. My false pride is manifested cause me to hang on to the myth that I can handle things myself in my own time and in my own way without having to ask for God’s help.

Fear and false pride combine to keep me from being willing to acknowledge what it is I am doing, not doing, or thinking that gets in the way of me turning things over to God—–or at least asking him for help.  Then there is the fear of what will happen if I let go of old familiar mental and behavioral habits that are comfortable and familiar. Will I be the same person? What will God replace that part of me with? As you can see, this type of fear centers around being afraid to trust God. The third type of fear that gets in the way of my spiritual growth is fear of being vulnerable. If I get change my old way of being and instead focus on developing habits driven by love for God and other humans, what will keep me from being hurt in the process? I’ve been hurt by opening my heart in and with love before, so why should I put myself in a vulnerable position again?

So to summarize, what is hindering my spiritual growth is false pride, a fear of the outcomes of allowing this transformation of self, and  a lack of trust of God and my fellow humans. Good thing I  don’t have to overcome those obstacles in one big and immediate “giant step.”  I know that it has been and will continue to be a process of honesty, openness, and willingness. What has changed the most at this point in my transformation is it has become easier to see the part I play in troublesome situations, to consciously let go of false-pride, and to trust God and God manifest in others involved in the situation so I can respond from a place of love rather than fear.  These growing abilities give me a growing sense of serenity—-one which lasts much longer time-wise than it did when I first started on this journey.

I am going to close by sharing  a story form “Drop the Rock:”

“The morning of the Friday I was going to speak, I was met at the back door of the college where I work. Two of my students were waiting for me with big grins on their faces and an air of secrecy. Part of an assignment I’d given them was to supply examples of poetry in action. They obviously felt they had a good one.

They led me in to my desk where a vase was sitting with a string attached, and floating above the vase was a big yellow balloon. It was a very nice looking arrangement, with a juxtaposition of balloon for flower in the composition. They had written a poem on the balloon. Both of the students were brimming with fun and confidence. Then they told me to pop the balloon.

I couldn’t. I hate to pop balloons! I hate the noise. It really bothers me to see a balloon pop. It scares me. Usually I let out a little screech when it happens. They handed me a hat pin and said, “Pop it.” They weren’t going to take no for an answer. Finally, I took the pin, put one hand over my ear, and closed my eyes. I lunged forward with the pin and heard the balloon pop.

I didn’t screech. I opened my eyes and saw an amazing sight. Concealed inside the now disintegrated balloon was a flower. I had no idea how they got it inside the balloon. I felt my eyes fill with tears of joy. At last I understood the Seventh Step. I am just like that balloon. I am so full of hot air that I am afraid to let God pop the balloon and let the flower out. My pride and fear keep me from discovering my own flower and the flowers of others. That night I shared my story with a roomful of grateful drunks and saw lots of flowers in the room. It was like being in God’s garden. I, too, am part of that garden” (P., Bill; W., Todd; S., Sara, 2009-06-03, Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects – Steps Six and Seven, pp.73- 74, Hazelden Publishing. Kindle Edition).

I am going to keep this woman’s “flower image” in mind. It will help me willingly participate in the spiritual transformation process God is helping me make. Please comment and share your own thoughts about overcoming obstacles to spiritual change and growth in your own life. May God bless and keep you.