One thing that stuck out immediately as I continued reading was this quote:
When we are consumed with competition, we lose sight of that which God has given to us personally. When we fail to value our own gifts and instead covet those of others, we risk losing the chance to magnify our own calling in life. We cannot rise to the full measure of our own creation if we are continually trying to be someone else.
This is so true. Competition is a huge part of pride, which is enmity towards God. My will vs. God’s will is not where I want to be today. Instead, I need to be asking GOD what He wants of me today, what can I do today to please Him and to help His children.
When I think of pornography addiction, it’s all about coveting and idolatry. It’s not about being grateful for what I do have, but always looking for the greener grass somewhere else. And the grass is never greener even though it may be perceived to be.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said this about spiritual progress:
When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.
This reminds me of the statement one of the guys shared in the meeting a few weeks ago – “You can only coast downhill.” If I’m “coasting” in my spiritual progress, I’m headed downhill, sometimes, very quickly.
But if I’m working, studying, praying, asking, submitting, and striving to connect with God today, I’m climbing up the ladder, ascending step by step.
I really love this quote, especially as I think about the conversations Becky and I have as we try to understand one another and help one another along the difficult path of life:
When you can openly discuss weaknesses and problems without fear of rejection or ridicule, you can create a “safe place” in the relationship. Having the safety to explore problems in an empathic and caring relationship facilitates the kind of self-examination that is necessary for change and growth to take place. When you can let go of perfectionism, it is easier to feel emotionally close to others. Ironically, we often love those people most whose weaknesses and struggles we know.
Openly discussing weaknesses and problems is being vulnerable. The more I can be vulnerable with Becky, the more I can gain trust and the more I can keep all my feelings out in the open instead of trying to hide them and cope with them through Satan’s counterfeit methods. I’m grateful for the reminder today.
Satan encourages relationships that are selfish and end when they become inconvenient.
How true that is.
I may have shared this yesterday, but want to share it again because I feel it really is the kind of relationship Becky and I have today:
Love has been described as “friendship that has caught fire.” Learn how to be friends first, as the foundation for the relationship. Add the capstone of romantic attraction last. A relationship where you can be friends and share thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, activities, and interests with one another is more likely to stay on fire than one that can share only physical attraction. That capstone of attraction can then be a great gift from God. When you use that attraction as God intended and keep it within the bounds that God has set, it has the force and power to keep the friendship of marriage “on fire” and forge a bond of love between a man and a woman that can last through all eternity.
I feel so lucky to be married to my best friend. I feel so lucky that we can share thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values and interests with one another. I feel so lucky that, today, we are able to share concerns without defensiveness or resentment. Those feelings I had in the past were only due to the bad state that I was in, the selfishness, the pride, the anger at myself, the frustration with my terrible choices.
Today I’m grateful that she shares her feelings with me – even if they are feelings of fear, trauma, anxiety, or pain. I want to know what she’s feeling and I want to adjust how I do things in order to make our marriage a “friendship that has caught fire.”
I really love this quote too:
Differences can help to fill the gaps in abilities that may be missing in our own personality and help to round out the family.
I’m so grateful for the differences we share; I feel they really do help “round out the family” in ways that we couldn’t do on our own.
That reminds me of the talk by Elder Bednar about how men and women were made to complete one another. I feel that so much today about Becky.
This is a great quote too:
Accepting responsibility is the beginning of real personal power in relationships. If you can be courageous and loving with yourself, you can begin to look at your own personal areas of needed growth.
I have to take responsibility for my own actions, my own feelings, and my own choices. I can’t control what Becky feels or does, but instead, I have to worry about how I’m choosing to surrender to God (this is the serenity prayer in action).
This is great too and ties right back to vulnerability and sharing feelings:
Submitting to love means that we allow our hearts to be vulnerable to a righteous spouse. We become more tenderhearted and gentle with our husband or wife. We then no longer consider kindness and service as subjugation or a burden. They are gifts of love.
I’m grateful for this study today. I’m grateful for the time Beck and I had last night to walk and talk. I’m grateful for the feelings of love and respect I feel for her today. I’m grateful for recovery from addiction. I know I can’t do this alone – only through the Atonement of Christ can I truly be healed. I’m grateful for a wife, a best friend, who is there to talk things through with me. I’m grateful that she’s making efforts every day to forgive me for the horrible choices I’ve made in the past that have hurt her so much. I can never thank her enough for giving me the chances she has to make true amends, to repent, and to become the person I want to be.