Thursday, May 24, 2012

Healing

“If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou
canst be healed” (Alma 15:6, 8)

 When we think of healing, we usually think about our bodies. What else about you might require the healing power of Jesus Christ?

The need to be healed implies a wound or a sickness, so really this questions is asking in what ways am I wounded and it what ways am I sick?

Wounded

I find myself thinking that I shouldn't be "wounded," that the idea of having a wound that has been inflicted on me by someone else implies a victim, and I don't want to be a victim.  But waht if that wound has been self-inflicted....what if my spiritual wounds are my own doing?  That's not victimhood then, that's owning my actions and their consequences.

So, how have I wounded myself? How have made myself sick?

My spirit is weak, it is sick....I have allowed myself to become disensitized to to entertainment that drives away the spirit.  This is a wound that needs healing.

My body is weak, it is wounded...I have allowed my mind and body to be controlled by an addiction and that means my body and mind are not working the way they should, or could if I were not wounded physically and emotionally.


It is also true that my interaction with others--both how I have been treated and how I treat others--has made my spirit sick and has wounded my body, and the savior can heal that too.  He can give me the power to overcome my own self-consciousness, he can help me fear God more than man, he can grant me peace in righteous living, he can help me "Be still and know that I am God."

And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

The Israelites only had to look and live.  So it is my duty and my salvation to look to God.  and if I am looking to God, then it is a lot harder to veer off course.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Divine Strength for Recovery

How can the gift of divine strength enable you to
maintain continuous recovery?

Psalms 59:17  Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing:
 for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. 

The Psalmist sings that God is his defence... in what way though?  When I need defending, in what way does God accomplish that for me? It would seem thait has something to do with the power that comes from:

1) divine grace-this is the power given to us by God through the Goodness and mercy of God.  This is the addedd power and strength that comes from the atonement, it is a gift from God and it is his way of empathizing with our mortal situation.  This is not predicated on our obedience or on our worthineess, but comes straight from God's love, compassion, and charity.  And it is this reason that charity is long suffering...because God is long suffering...God continues to give us his Grace even in the face of our struggles to be obedient.

2) obedience to God's commandments.  In addition to strengthening us through is grace, god strengthens us by granting us a portion of his Spirit according to our obedience to His commandments.  God cannot grant us more of his Spirit without our obedience. 

D&C 121:47: Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

So, this is perhaps what it means when Nephi says we are saved by Grace after all that we can do.  Not that Grace makes up for our gap between Earth and Heaven, but that after all we can do, it is by grace that we are saved.  Nothing we can do on our own will ultimately save us. That will come by the Grace of God.  It is a divine gift.  But to be exalted, to receive all the father has, to be strengthened by the Lord so that our confidence waxes strong, we must be obedient to God's commandments.  Our job is not to save ourselves, but to follow the Savior and be what he would have us become, and leave the saving to him. When follow the savior, he blesses us with more of his Spirit, which makes it easier to follow him more.

So if divine strength is going to help me through continuous recovery I must

1) rely on divine grace. Pray for it, look for it, and acknowledge it when I see it.

2) seek the strengthening power of the Holy Ghost.  Live obediently, act on promptings, stand in holy places.

Will do!

-AC

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Gift of Grace


“Let us . . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time
of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

When I can think of the idea of acting out and even the thought seems abhorrent...that is grace.

When the face of my children remind me of my own nothingness, and my own reliance on God...that is grace.

When I am blessed for my efforts despite my imperfections...that is grace.

When the scriptures remind me to repent, and remind that God is patience....that is grace.

When I am blessed with opportunities to serve and the spirit supports me in that service...that is grace.

When my wife embraces me in spite of my weakness...that is grace.

When the sacrament soothes my spirit...that is grace.

I think that part of receiving God's  Grace is akin to receiving the Holy Ghost.  Both Grace and the HG are granted unto us, but it is our job to receive it.  Unless we are willing to accept God's grace, it can do little for us.    And I think we accept that grace by doing the Lord's will, by "entering into his rest."  Relying on God's grace means giving up the toil of mortality in as much as it pertains to trying to figure out on our own how to make it through the world.  When we enter into the Lord's rest, we decide to include him in all of our decision making and in so doing we receive grace, peace, forgiveness, and confidence.  This is the Lord's rest--not a rest from challenges, but a rest from the anxiety and despair of the world. We can have hope...I have hope that through the Savior Jesus Christ I can be forgiven.

-AC



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Savior’s compassion

“Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said
with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”
(Mark 9:24).
It's been a rough 24 hours.  I haven't acted out, but I did follow a link to a new article about pornography that led me to some censored photos related to the story.  It was the pornography addiction equivalent of walking into the liquor store and running my fingers over the bottles without actually buying anything to take home.

And when I do that, when I let Satan keep his hook in me, when I try to keep even one toe in that world, the Spirit withdraws and it makes it very difficult to love my wife, to patiently parent my children, and to focus on my work.  This was a little misstep, a hiccup that could have been much worse, but it is also a reminder that I am still addicted, that it only takes one moment of weakness combined with the right series of stressers for me to relapse, and I am not ever going to do that.

I used to wonder, before I started this program, when I would relapse. It was almost an inevitable thing for me--i wondered how long I would be sober, except that I didn't use that language because I didn't think of my problem as an addiction.  I thought about it terms of will power. How long can I hold out this time?  And inevitably I would screw up and feel absolutely miserable.

Now I don't think in terms of relapse, but in terms of these little moments.  I have decided never to view pornography again. I will not view pornography again.  I have also accepted the fact that I temptation is part of life, that my triggers will be my triggers and that I will have to face that temptation in a variety of forms  forever.  I have accepted that some days will be harder, that some days I will go down paths that will leave me feeling the way I am feeling right now, but I am also determined to keep my eyes wide open, to to recognize when I am going down those paths and step back. I am determined to take the steps necessary to allow the atonement to work in my life. And I will feel better soon. For now I am grateful for the sensitivity of the Spirit that doesn't allow me to rationalize away anything.

And mostly, I am grateful for the Lord's compassion and patience with me.  This whole time he has stood beside me, waited for me to make the decision to seek his help, to work through my addiction with fear and trembling before him.  I know I cannot do it alone Lord, and I am grateful that there is always a second chance, that no matter how late the hour, that I can come to him and find rest.

-AC