Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There Remaineth An Effectual Struggle To Be Made

A few years ago I was at work and found myself viewing pornography, yet again. I needed to just get away from work for a while, so I walked outside to a nearby park and just sat on a bench to think. I kept going over what had happened. As I sat there, I started to recognize a very important pattern. It didn't have to do with things leading up to me viewing pornography, but rather what happened to me after.

At that point in my journey, I was really good at shaming myself. I felt worthless. I felt like I was never going to get over this. I felt like I was a failure. I felt just about every self-degrading thing I could think of. This often led, or contributed to a steep downward spiral that seemed to make it much more likely for me to return to pornography, and generally just made everything worse. What I realized as I sat on that bench was that I was letting Satan win twice. He was winning not only when I viewed pornography, but also when I beat myself up afterwards. I got knocked down, and then promptly began to kick myself, ensuring that I stayed down.

Recognizing this destructive pattern was key for me. I realized that the Savior’s response to my sin and weakness would be much different than my response. The Savior would put His arm around me, love me, teach me to become better, and help strengthen me so that I could. So I tried to be more compassionate to myself. The change hasn’t come overnight, and I’m still working on it. But trying to shift my mindset has helped me progress in ways I wasn’t able to before. I still have to remind myself all the time to stop kicking all the time. But when I remember to trust God and follow His example, it is easier to repent and I get back on track so much quicker.

One scripture that I often think about is Mosiah 7:18-19. “O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made. Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God."

Sometimes my struggles seem to be completely in vain. It seems like no matter what I try, my enemies still have power over me. But like king Limhi, I also trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made. I trust that all the struggles that seem to be in vain are actually important exercises that will help us. If we let them, they can teach us, strengthen us, and prepare us for that effectual struggle that still remains.

Changing my attitude toward myself after I fall has helped my struggle become more effective. What do you do to make your struggles more effective? I’d love to hear and learn what you are trying.

1 comment:

  1. has resources to help! Yoga, mindfulness training and working through some of their other programs are helpful.