It was interesting this morning: I went golfing with some friends at 6:00 a.m. and the topic came up about pornography, cheating, and a family member who had had problems in both these areas.
They joked about their wives crying about the topic; they joked about some of the details, but I couldn’t really laugh. If they only knew what I had done and who I’d become, they probably wouldn’t even associate with me.
I felt bad today as well because the golf was really fun, but it went quite a bit longer than I’d expected and my phone was dead so I couldn’t contact Becky. Finally I saw my friend’s phone and got a hold of her. I could tell she was upset and I didn’t know what to do.
I know scenarios like this remind Becky of where I was before in my life.
I realize what happened today was a mistake and I should have found out before we left how long it was going to be and then opted to just play nine holes and drive my own car.
I want Beck to trust me and know that I’m thinking about her and what she needs.
Yesterday was a harder day: I was more short-tempered with the kids and it seemed like everything they were doing was getting on my nerves, especially after church. I attribute it to a few things:
- I was tired from the night before – our friends had stayed until 12:30 and I didn’t get the best sleep.
- I was hungry, which has a tendency to make me irritable as well.
- I may be a bit stressed about a few things: my new calling as assistant scout master, the end of the month and where I’m at financially.
I know none of these are justifications or excuses.
I also think I need to really focus on getting to at least 2 meetings this week since I haven’t been for a few weeks due to conflicts in schedule.
All of these details, me being later today, me being snippy yesterday, and me not having been to a meeting in a few weeks – all of these are reasons Beck has to worry and fear I’m falling back into the Carnal Nate.
I felt strongly that when I got home, I would make studying an important part of the first of my day.
When I went to LDS.org, I found this video on the front of the page:
The adversaries victory would have been to destroy our family…
I know I’ve made mistakes today.
I know what I’ve done has probably made Becky really nervous.
I just tried to talk with her and can tell things are not well.
I guess one of the things I’m worried about is that if and when I make these mistakes, is she going to hold me under the fire and assume that I’m falling back into my addictive behaviors?
I have no temptation to go back to those behaviors – at least no temptation today.
I want to be clean. I want to be free from my addictions. I want to be trustworthy and dependable. I want to be a protector and helpmeet.
I don’t want to let her down. I don’t want to let Heavenly Father down. I don’t want to let my children down.
Another article I just found on the front page of LDS.org is titled: “Becoming Perfect in Christ” by Elder Gerrit. W Gong of the Seventy.
Some of the quotes I like from the article:
Understanding the Savior’s freely given atoning love can free us from self-imposed, incorrect, and unrealistic expectations of what perfection is. Such understanding allows us to let go of fears that we are imperfect—fears that we make mistakes, fears that we are not good enough, fears that we are a failure compared to others, fears that we are not doing enough to merit His love.
[Through his atoning love] we can put our trust in Him, diligently keep His commandments, and continue in the faith (see Mosiah 4:6)—even as we also feel greater humility, gratitude, and dependence on His merits, mercy, and grace (see 2 Nephi 2:8).
I think I feel shame.
I feel ashamed that I wasn’t back here on time to help Becky with the kids.
I feel ashamed that I was out with friends and wasn’t aware of the time.
I feel ashamed that maybe I’m trying to justify why I was late or make it seem like it wasn’t my fault or wasn’t a big deal.
I feel shame that Becky is upset with me, is let down, and maybe feels like she can’t trust me today or in the future.
I feel shame that I made a mistake in my judgment of time and how long things would take.
I feel shame that Becky won’t even look at me or talk with me.
Fully accepting our Savior’s Atonement can increase our faith and give us courage to let go of constraining expectations that we are somehow required to be or to make things perfect.
We [can] feel assurance, “for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).
Is it right that I feel this shame?
I tried to reach out to Becky and apologize and explain, both through phone and text, what had happened. But she didn’t seem like she wanted to talk.
Do I and Becky have problems with perfectionism?
In the article I’m reading, it talks about perfectionism:
an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now.
Perfectionism can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, procrastination, discouragement, self-justification, and depression. These feelings can crowd out the peace, joy, and assurance our Savior wants us to have.
A few of those characteristics sound familiar to me when I think about myself:
Could perfectionism be part of the core reason I have addictive tendencies?
Could perfectionism be in part due to how my parents would say I was their “perfect son”?
Did I put unrealistic expectations upon myself and then, when I didn’t live up to those expectations, did I just give up and give in to Satan’s temptations?
What about with my family now? How does perfectionism play a part in our family culture?
I feel both Becky and I put a lot of pressure on our kids to be perfect, or at least to be the way we feel they should be.
I feel both Becky and I put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect too.
We also impose expectations of perfection in our own homes. A father or mother may feel compelled to be the perfect spouse, parent, homemaker, breadwinner, or part of a perfect Latter-day Saint family—now.
Another serious dimension of perfectionism is to hold others to our unrealistic, judgmental, or unforgiving standards. Such behavior may, in fact, deny or limit the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in our lives and in the lives of others.
From a talk called “What Does It Mean to Be Perfect?”:
Be sure that you do not have higher standards for yourself or others than the Lord has established. Find satisfaction in your progress while acknowledging that perfection may still be distant.
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
I don’t think I’ve ever written this or talked to Becky or anyone about it – partly because I don’t want to ever “throw blame” or “pass the buck”. But I feel some contributing factors in my “shame” and “blame” and addiction have to do with the fact that at times, I don’t feel I’m living up to Becky’s standards for what she thinks I need to be. In the bad times, I would even say stuff like, “It doesn’t matter what I do – it’s just never enough…” or stuff like that.
My caution is that I don’t feel it’s her fault that I’ve acted the way I have. I don’t think I’m justified at all. I just want to be totally honest and try to determine what I can do to get past these feelings of perfectionism and failure on my part.
Faith acknowledges that, through repentance and the power of the Atonement, weakness can be made strong and repented sins can truly be forgiven.
For those who fear failure and who procrastinate, sometimes by overpreparing, be assured and encouraged that there is no need to withdraw from challenging activities that may bring great growth!
I feel bad.
I feel tired.
I feel sad.
I feel disappointed.
I feel a bit hopeless that Becky will ever really forgive me for my terrible mistakes and that each time I do something like what happened today, she will rekindle the same feelings she had they day I told her about my online relationship.
I feel like Satan wants me to feel this way, he wants me to fail and fall.
I feel it’s time to pray and move forward, doing my best and submitting my will to God’s.