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June 26, 2013

What is a Character Defect?


What is a character defect?  A character defect, is actually not a very complex concept.  As always it is us that is the one to makes it more complex. 

When I was taking step 7, I viewed it as the big brother of step 3, and thought, we'll I already took step 3, therefore, I've got it....  In my arrogance, I didn't see the heart or the core of it.  In a way step 7 is like a step 3.  In step 3 I made that decision to turn to the Lord, specifically as it relates to my addiction.
 
However, even before I could do that, I had to take step 1 and 2.  Similarly, I needed to understand what is a character defect before I could ask Father to remove them.  A character defect is exactly that.  It is a defect within my character.

I made choices to listen to the voice of a negative influence, and/or engaged in a behavior and/or practice that developed into a character defect.  For example, one of my character defects is procrastination.    

The way that may have played out into developing into a character defect is, there would be something that I didn't want to do, so I wouldn't do it, i.e. homework, chores, reading my scriptures etc.  Sometimes I could feel an influence specifically telling me or encouraging me to not do something, and I would listen because I just didn't want to.   Eventually procrastination became a working part of my character, and it would literally be a challenge not to procrastinate.

The Lord doesn't want me to be a procrastinator.  President Kimball put it this way:

"Because men are prone to postpone action and ignore directions, the Lord has repeatedly given strict injunctions and issued solemn warnings. Again and again in different phraseology and throughout the centuries the Lord has reminded man so that he could never have excuse. And the burden of the prophetic warning has been that the time to act is now, in this mortal life."

There he gives us the code of the procrastinator, "do it now."  That is the antidote for this character defect. The Lord wants me to have all of my character defects removed, even procrastination.  As I yield my will to Him, He removes it.

He removes it the very instant that I sincerely turn to Him.  There is no lag time.  Whenever I catch myself in a character defect, then I remind myself that it is me that is holding on, rather than the Lord making me suffer.  (God is not a god of suffering but of love.).

In those moments of frustration, I recognize that I am not living the principle of the 7th step, I pause, ask the Lord's spirit to return to me, do a mini inventory to isolate why I am indulging in that character defect, and then resolutely turn to the Lord in all sincerity of heart asking Him again to remove that defect, and what my next step is to be.  I have found that every time that I have done this, that The Lord has come through for me. 

I feel fortunate to have been taught this pattern by my sponsor.  I feel blessed to know how to access the atonement on a daily basis, and to feel the loving guidance of my Heavenly Father.  I know now that I do not need my character defects any more, and now that I have the program, I can begin to turn into the person He wants to to turn into.