Day 18 – Step Work
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught of the power of the Lord to help you:
“We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Nephi 1:20).
How have you underestimated or overlooked the Lord’s tender mercies in the past?
I honestly don’t think I ever really thought about them in the past. I think I was so proud and thought that all the blessings and good things that came my way were just due to my hard work, my persistence, and my doing. As I look back, I’m so overwhelmed with appreciation for all the things He has done for me. From Becky’s dream about the whole “mistake” to His guidance for me to leave PR – all of these things have been tender mercies. I’m grateful for His hand in my life.
How is this changing?
Today I recognize His hand in everything. Today I’m willing to submit to Him. Today I realize that I can’t really do anything without His help and guidance. All I can really do is turn my life and will over to Him and let Him direct me.
Today I want to recognize his hand in everything.
Describe some of the tender mercies of the Lord that you have received over the past few weeks.
One of the tender mercies I’ve received in the past few weeks is the desire to want to talk with my son about his feelings, about what’s going on in his life, and about how we can work together. I’ve been so blinded and self-centered in the past that this never occurred to me. I’ve also really felt strongly about asking forgiveness in the moment I feel I’m making a mistake.
Another tender mercy happens all the time: when I’m in an area where I know there will be a variety of women – Walmart, a mall, a big event, or wherever there may be temptation to look on someone from the waist down, all I have to do is ask for His help and He’s there to help me.
It’s amazing how much strength He provides just by submitting my will to Him.
I want to be aware that my limbic brain has the tendency to fight this feeling and say, “No, that’s all you, that’s just you talking yourself into not looking,” but I know that’s not the case. If it was all me, I’d probably be looking again and the real part of me doesn’t want to do this.
Elder Bednar has promised that the tender mercies of the Lord will do MUCH to fortify and protect us in troubled times. How does this apply to abstinence and recovery?
It’s just like I mentioned above – He is always there to protect me and fortify me WHEN and IF I ask. That’s the key – I have to be willing to ask (or knock) and He stands there waiting to help me.
This could be a scripture study in and of itself. “Ask, and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.”
Will you exercise faith in the words of this Special Witness of Jesus Christ in regard to maintaining your abstinence and ongoing recovery, one day at a time?
Absolutely. This is what I want to do. This is what I’ve been doing one day at a time now for 307 days of recovery. And I realize that I can only stay in recovery and abstinence one day at a time with His help.
Will you choose to allow Him to “keep you sober” one day at a time?
For sure. I’m grateful for the understanding more now that it has to be one day at a time. I’m grateful that I realize more now that I have to turn my life and will over to Him or I’ll fall right back into the pit of despair and endless woe.
“Some individuals who hear or read this message erroneously may discount or dismiss in their personal lives the availability of the tender mercies of the Lord. . . . We may falsely think that such blessings and gifts are reserved for other people who appear to be more righteous or who serve in visible Church callings. I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 106–7; or Ensign, May 2005, 100–101).
Are YOU tempted to discount or dismiss the personal availability of the Lord’s grace to keep you sober and heal you? If so, will you repent of this doubt and begin to practice “believing?”
I think at times, yes, I am tempted to feel that, “Yeah right, He won’t help me.” Or, “Whatever, I can do this on my own,” but I know today that that isn’t the case. I want to recognize his hand in everything I do. I want to talk with Him more.
I’m grateful for this desire. I do believe that He is there and is willing to help keep me sober and heal me.
You will see the tender mercies of the Lord in your life as you learn to watch for them and as you come to believe that the power of God can indeed help you recover.
Do the tender mercies of the Lord seem more available to you now than when you first came to the program? How?
Yes. I’ve been in the program since 2007 and have experienced some level of sobriety in the past. However, today I feel more in recovery instead of just sober. Sober, to me, means I’m willing to abstain. In recovery, to me, means I’m willing to submit to Him and surrender my heart and will over to Him. A big key to recovery for me is practicing the chin up approach since that, to me, is an indicator of where my heart and mind are.
I am willing to think about the tender mercies more and strive to recognize them today.
I feel like that willingness and recognition has come only because I’ve been willing to submit to Him through prayer and through conversation with my wife and others.
Have you felt unworthy of the Lord’s help in the past? How?
Yep. For a lot of my life I’ve felt unworthy of His help because I wasn’t doing the things I should be. I was dragging around the weight of sin and addiction. I honestly didn’t even realize at the time that this was addiction – I thought it was just a bad habit or something I’d get over when I got married and was able to appease those appetites.
I was wrong.
I feel more worthy today though and feel hopeful that those feelings will continue to get stronger as I practice recovery one day at a time.
Have you come to believe in the Lord’s love and willingness to forgive and bless you? How does this feel?
Yes. I really do feel His love and willingness to forgive and bless me. I’ve felt it even when I was in a bad spot, and I’ve really felt it strongly as I’ve come clean and been willing to talk to my wife and others about my addiction and about recovery.
I’m grateful for these feelings. I’m grateful to feel the Spirit again in my life.
In step 2 we “come to believe” that the Lord WILL help us abstain and recover. Where are you at in this phase of the recovery process? Please share your honest feelings about this.
I honestly feel like today I’m there. I do believe that the Lore WILL and IS helping me abstain and recover from my addiction to lust, pornography, masturbation, and inappropriate sexual relationships. I feel He is listening to my prayers in the moment of temptation and is fortifying me against the power of Satan.
I’m grateful to be where I am today and look forward to finishing the day with that same willingness.
I am grateful for the Atonement in my life.