Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fight as if with the Strength of God

So I think I have had a lot of emotions lately. I had an experience a while back that I was going to write about. I’m still going to write about it, but more has happened since then, and it has helped me see the bigger picture. So I did something wrong a while ago. It wasn’t really related to pornography, but was still something I needed to repent of. This had happened before, and I felt bad that I once again needed to ask for forgiveness for this same thing. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the Lord always forgives me. He commands me to forgive someone who trespasses me 70 times 7 times. The reason He commands me to do that, is because He is trying to help me become like Him. He has infinite forgiveness for us. This doesn’t make it okay to go out and do anything we want just cause God will forgive us, but it does allow us to repent, and draw closer to the Savior when we happen to do something wrong. So I had been thinking about this, and had been grateful that I have a Savior who loves me, and who is always there for me, and will always forgive me when I sincerely ask. I just love the Atonement.

So then, one afternoon, I was a little bored and, well, I ended up having a slip-up. I think I was pretty shocked that it happen, and it definitely upset me. BIG TIME. I broke down like I don’t think I have ever broken down before after a slip-up. .I cried and cried and cried. I kept saying that it just had to be a dream, it couldn’t be real life, this couldn’t have just happened to me. I still do wish it was just a dream, but the further away from it that it gets, the less likely it is that it was a dream, and if it is a dream, this is one long dream. So anyway, This is the reality I now face. After I broke down, I finally regained my composure, and then I just felt numb. I couldn’t really feel anything, and I couldn’t really think about it. That night I kinda tried to pray, but it was like I had forgotten how to pray. I was so upset at myself. I am still kicking myself. I can’t believe it happened. But the next day, I was reading in my scriptures, and I read Alma 56:56 and it is talking about Helaman and his stripling warriors. It says that it was as if they “fought as if with the strength of God”. I love that. I realized that was my answer for now. That is what I need to work on. I need to be strengthened every day, so that I can fight as if I had the strength of God. I know that He is willing to strengthen me and to enable me with His power so that I can successfully fight Satan and his followers. I have seen it happen in my life plenty of times before. I just need to trust and rely on Him. Really trust Him, and really rely on Him.

I know that, once again, God will forgive me of my sins. I know I have asked for forgiveness before, and promised to never do this again, but He understands. He knows that I am trying, and that I was knocked over in a moment of weakness. Now I need to work on learning to fight as if with the strength of God. That will come as obey “every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:12). Above all, I know that God loves me, and I know that He will strengthen me when I put my faith in Him.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Journey of Recovery

So I have been working on the Addiction Recovery Manual that is published by the LDS Church. In step 7, which is about humility, it talks about asking the Lord to remove from me, my shortcomings. As I started asking the Lord for His help in removing my shortcomings, I realized that in addition to needing to be strengthened by the Atonement, I also need to have my shortcomings removed. These may seem similar, but they are different. I can become really strong, but until my shortcoming is removed, I haven't really experienced a complete transformation.

That being said, there was a good week or so where I have been tested. It started off small, with just somethings that wouldn't get out of my head. Something like this has definitely lead to a slip up in the past, but I knew it wasn't going there this time. After I sang hymn after hymn in my head, it still wouldn't leave. It wasn't until I had the bright idea to pray that it went away. I prayed, and acknowledged the great strength that I have been blessed with through the Atonement and for all the help that God has given me to allow me to make it to where I am today. I once again asked for strength, to not let Satan have power over me, and to not allow this to be a set back for me. I was blessed immediately, and the song was gone. I am so grateful for how willing the Lord is to bless me when I ask Him, believing in Him, and believing that He can and will help me. I continued having small temptations for about a week, and then I was hit with a big one. It was by far the biggest one since my last slip up. I would definitely say it was a close call. It came on really fast, and before I knew it, I just had to stop everything I was doing, and basically convince myself to leave and do something else. It took just about all I had to be able to leave. I had plenty of justifications in my head as to why it would be okay to proceed down that road, but the thing that kept coming to my mind was that I knew I wasn't having virtuous thoughts. Somehow, that was enough to get me to leave.

I am so grateful that I was able to stop and re-evaluate the situation. A couple months ago, I don't think I would have been strong enough to stop. I have really been strengthened by the Atonement of my Savior. He has helped me so much, and I know He is giving me the experiences that I need in order to have my shortcomings removed. I am also so grateful that I was able to stop and change my course because, although I didn't think of this in the moment, I had plans to go to the temple the next day, and it was so good to be in the temple. It is seriously worth every effort you can make to get there. I know that serving in the temple blesses your life in so many ways, and is another way that the Savior can strengthen your soul.

One last thought for this post.. I was reading Elder Christofferson's talk from General Conference. I love it. He talks about how at the Judgement Day, we will not be judged based on a list of good and bad things we have done, but rather that we will be judged based on what we have become. I am so grateful for this. My "list" of bad things is long, but I am overcoming those things, and I am becoming better. I need to continue that for the rest of my life, but I am grateful that I have been forgiven, and that my Savior is helping me to reach my potential. I know that everyone truly has the potential to become like God. We can all do it. No matter what we have done, if we rely on the Savior, and strive every day to be just a little better than we were yesterday, we will be blessed. We might not always get better each day, we will sometimes have setbacks, but as long as we are striving, and relying on Christ, I KNOW that we can overcome ALL things.