Today is day 2 of my work with a sponsor. I’m excited to get started and work on the steps of recovery today.
Here is the assignment:
We have paid an awful price in self-inflicted pain and suffering because of our addictions. But blessings have poured forth as we have taken each step to recovery. Having had a spiritual awakening, we strive every day to improve our relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we are healed.
Have you paid an awful price in self inflicted pain and suffering?
Absolutely. Not only was the pain harsh during my addiction and when I hit rock bottom – the hiding, the secrecy, the regret, and the feeling of being “past feeling,” but when I came clean and told Becky what had happened – that was true pain and suffering, mostly due to the pain and suffering I had caused her. This has been ongoing as I’ve seen her fall back into feelings of fear, lack of trust, and pain due to my selfish choices.
Never again do I want to feel this pain or regret. Never again do I want to cause the pain and suffering to myself or my wife or kids.
These feelings of pain and suffering have all come because of my thoughtlessness and selfishness. Today I don’t want to be that person at all.
What has this price been?
The price has been nearly losing my marriage, my kids, and all that I’ve worked so hard for. The price has been losing the trust of my best friend and wife. The price has been not having the Spirit with me to guide me and direct me.
I’ve been working since February of this last year to slowly gain the trust back of my wife. I don’t think it’s fully there yet and it may never be there completely, but all I want is to do the will of Heavenly Father and show Becky that I truly was a different person then than I am now. I want to show Heavenly Father that I can be trusted. I want to rid myself of addictive behaviors and actions that cause so much pain, suffering, and regret, along with anger, resentment and lack of true feeling.
How has it been self inflicted?
The pain and suffering has been self inflicted because looking at pornography and starting an online relationship was my choice. No one made me do this. It was no one else’s fault but my own. It was my decision. Every time I reverted back to browsing the internet, or starting an online chat, or looking at pictures of anyone, even if they weren’t “pornographic” yet, I was choosing to alienate myself more and more from God and from my family. These choices almost cost me every blessing. These choices were so selfish.
I’m glad that today I’m a different person. Today I don’t want to even get close to those choices. Today I want to submit my will to God. Today I want to live in recovery and be worthy of the Spirit to guide and direct my life. Today, I’m choosing to be who God wants me to be. This is my choice.
Now to my scripture study. I’d like to continue studying about grace and how that can be applied in my life today.
The talk I’m going to read today is called “In the Strength of the Lord” by Elder Bednar.
One thing I like that Elder Bednar says right away, something that I want to do more specifically instead of thinking, “That could apply to Mandy (or whoever),”
I have heeded the admonition of Nephi to “liken all scriptures unto us” (1 Ne. 19:23) with a greater sense of purpose and intensity than I have ever done before.
I like this scripture he shares too:
“Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.
“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:6–7).
Elder Bednar invites readers to pay particular attention to the word grace in this scripture:
In the Bible Dictionary we learn that the word grace frequently is used in the scriptures to connote a strengthening or enabling power:
“The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
“… It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts” (p. 697).
So what I get from this is that grace not only helps us exercise faith unto repentance, thus allowing the river of Christ to empower us, but it also helps us do things for others that we couldn’t do on our own. Grace seems to be tied to the gift of the Holy Ghost that gives us divine inspiration to do things we may not have even thought to do otherwise.
Ammon said the same thing:
“Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever” (Alma 26:12).
I think one danger with my personality, or maybe just one weakness I have, is that when I do good things, I can tend to take the credit. I feel like, “Wow, I’m such a good person,” or “Look at me and how I choose to magnify my calling.” This is wrong. The only reason I even have ideas to do good or have desires to help others is through grace and inspiration from my Heavenly Father. When I was in my addictive ways, I didn’t have lots of thoughts, if any, to do good for others. I was always thinking about me and what was in it for me.
Although, yes, at times I would do things that may have been nice, most of the time it was to “be seen of men,” to show that “I was a good home teacher” but not to really teach the doctrine or testify.
I feel it’s good to be aware of these things and realize that without God, I am nothing. Moses said the same thing:
Moses 1:10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural astrength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that bman is cnothing, which thing I never had supposed.
Elder Bednar goes on to say:
Truly, brothers and sisters, in the strength of the Lord we can do and endure and overcome all things.
I feel this. Only through the strength of the Lord can Becky and I be in recovery today. Only through His had can the trust and love be repaired and even renewed to better than it’s ever been. But I have to submit my will to Him and realize that it’s only in and through Him, it really has nothing to do with my power (which I don’t really have). The power comes only as I let the river of Christ run through me.
It’s interesting: as I read the rest of Elder Bednar’s talk, I realized that it was his opening talk in conference after he’d been set apart as one of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in November 2004.
I’m grateful for the words of Elder Bednar, both then and now. He is an inspired leader who, like Ammon and Moses, recognizes that it’s only through the grace of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, that he can do all things.
I’m grateful for this study today.
I’m grateful for the grace of God.
I’m grateful that I have a better understanding today than yesterday.
I look forward to tomorrow when I can study more and think about how these words apply to me.