Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Constant Rededication

I have been reflecting on some things, and I have some thoughts that I thought I would share. The first has to do with something that was always a discouragement to me while I was struggling. I would repeatedly have some sort of experience that made me vow my rededication. “That was the last time I am going to slip up. I am done with this forever.” I would say it to myself over and over. It got to the point where I almost stopped believing it, I almost stopped believing that I could be done with pornography forever. Then once again, something would happen, and I would rededicate myself to changing. “This time it’s different, I am really done forever. I have learned and grown, and now I know how to be done forever” is what I would tell myself. Then once again, I’d have a slip up. This was definitely a discouraging process. I really did feel like I had made progress, and that I was going to be different than I was before. I recently realized that throughout that process, I was becoming different. I needed to experience all those times of rededication and let down, because each time I learned something new, something that lead to the next rededication. Each let down really was for my benefit, because there was always another lesson that I still needed to learn. You’d think after so many years I would have learned all I could, but I guess not. I still had more to learn. I think I still have more to learn, but I am learning it in other ways, not through slip ups. I know I can never let down my guard, but I do feel like I have made a lot of progress, and things keep getting easier and easier. I never really thought I’d feel like this, but I am so glad I do. 

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is a church meeting I was in a while back while I was traveling. Someone told a story of a temple recommend interview he had given to a member of the Army was serving in Iraq. The soldier had his wallet stolen while he was over there, and thus didn’t have his temple recommend. He was home for just two days, but he made it a priority to get a new recommend. He just couldn’t go back to Iraq without his recommend. He had replaced his wallet, but he felt that something was missing without it. I totally understand that feeling, only my wallet was missing something because of my own actions, rather than the actions of someone else. But I know how that soldier felt, and I understand the urgency he felt to get it back, and also the peace he felt when he placed that recommend in his wallet where it belonged. During that meeting, I rededicated myself to always having a current temple recommend. I never want to be without it again in my life. Something is missing when it isn’t there, and I never want to experience that empty feeling again. It doesn’t just affect your wallet, it affects your whole life.

So here is my "public" rededication to never spend another day in my life without a current temple recommend. You should dedicate yourself to it too, or rededicate if you have already dedicated yourself to it. If you don’t currently qualify for a temple recommend, dedicate yourself becoming worthy and getting that recommend. It will bring you more joy than anything I know of. And it doesn’t matter how many times you have to rededicate yourself to the goal, as long as you keep trying to learn and grow, and keep rededicating yourself. The blessings will come on the Lord’s time table.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Temple Recommend

So I got my temple recommend back :) It was a happy day for sure. I love the temple, and I can't wait to go back. It has been quite a while. The day before I got my recommend back, there were a lot of different things going on such that the temple was really on my mind. I know I didn't have my recommend, but I could feel myself at the temple. I took that as a pretty good sign that I was worthy to go back. The next day, I went to talk to Bishop. We small talked for a bit, talked about my calling, summer plans, etc. Then we got down to business, and started talking about the real reason I was there. After a while he asked if I was going to go to the temple this summer. I responded that I sure planned on it if I had my recommend. He said that it is important to be worthy to enter the temple, and to have confidence before God, but also that going to the temple brings us more confidence, and gives us more strength to be worthy. So he encouraged me to attend, and gave me back my recommend. I was so glad to have it back, but I didn't feel any different, like I thought I would. Everyday while he had it, I would think about it, and how much I wanted it back. Now that I have it back, I am so grateful, but I don't feel any different. I think the reasoning has something to do with what I read in the Book of Mormon Institute manual this week. It says in the manual (which I know is obvious), that it isn't the Bishop who forgives us, God does that. The Bishop acts as a judge in Israel, and represents the Lord, but he does not have the power to forgive. When I went to see him, I had already been forgiven. That is why I could feel myself at the temple the day before. The Bishop just restored the privileges of some of the blessing of the gospel to me. But I tell you what, it feels great to be found worthy by a judge in Israel.

I really feel like I am in a good place right now. I know that I need to work hard to keep it up though. I know that the Atonement is the only way that I can do that. I need to be continually strengthened by it, and I need to use the blessing of personal revelation to know the things I need to do each and every day in order to overcome this completely. Also, as I have also been working though the Addiction Recovery Program from LDS Family Services, I am learning more and more about myself. Some of the things are not relevant since I am not currently participating in my addiction, but there are so many good things in there, and I am learning a lot. I need to continue working though it. I am working on a moral inventory of myself. It is painful at times to try to remember all of the awful things I have done in the past eight years or so, but I know that it will help me leave this in the past forever, and that I won't just relapse, or switch to another addiction.