It’s been a few days since I wrote in my journal. I did listen to conference talks in my car, and yesterday I planned to write and then got bombarded with chaos from clients. But I feel a tendency, when these things happen and I miss studying, to shame myself and call myself a failure.
Today, though, I’m not going to do that. Today I’m going to live in the moment, have a good study, and know that I’m doing this study not to please men or put it on my “checklist of obedience,” but instead I’m doing this study so I can draw closer to God, feel the Spirit in my life, and live in recovery one day at a time.
One quote that comes to mind is from President Uchtdorf’s talk about grace:
Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God.
He also said:
We obey the commandments of God—out of love for Him!
As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. “The Spirit of the Lord [our God]” brings about such “a mighty change in us, … that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”2
These are answers I need to hear.
These are reminders that help me avoid shaming myself.
This one too:
Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short. They know firsthand that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”32 They raise their voices with Nephi in proclaiming, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.”33
This is me when I feel shame. I want to make the time every day to study and feel the Spirit strongly in my life, but I often times fall short. My “spirit is willing, but [my] flesh is weak.”
As I continued to read the talk, this section really stuck out to me (and I feel it would be a great FHE lesson) –
It talks about Christ and the Pharisee Simon who are at a meeting together. Simon is a good man as far as appearance and seeming to do all the right things: he goes to church, pays his tithing, keeps the laws, dresses appropriately, etc.
However, while he and Christ are together, a woman comes to Christ and anoints his feet with oil and cries to him for forgiveness. Simon immediately judges the woman – he knows she’s a sinner and he can’t believe Christ would let her even touch him or be close to him: if Christ really were a prophet, he would know who this woman was.
Christ perceives his thoughts and shares this parable:
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: … one owed five hundred pence, … the other fifty.
“And when they [both] had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”
Simon answers that obviously the one who owed more would love the creditor more.
Christ goes on to say:
Seest thou this woman? … Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
President Uchtdorf then asks, “Which of these two people are we more like?”
Are we like Simon? Are we confident and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness? Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards? Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?
Or are we like this woman, who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin?
Do we love much?
Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?
I’m so grateful for these questions. I’m grateful that, today, I feel like I’m trying to be like the woman – grateful for the chance I have to be close to my Heavenly Father, despite the terrible choices I’ve made in the past. “That was me, but that’s not me today.”
I’m grateful for the connectedness I feel with Becky today.
I’m grateful for her love for me despite the pain and sorrow I’ve put her through.
I’m grateful that, through the Atonement of Christ, I’m able to be reconciled through Christ’s sacrifice, and that there is still a way that, through the grace of God, I can return and live with him.
I’m grateful for this study today.
I’m grateful that I want to live in recovery today.
I look forward to a productive day in recovery.