Pursuit of the Eternal

The Lord is seeking men [and women] like Nehemiah—… who fulfill the oath and covenant of the priesthood. He seeks to enlist unfaltering souls who diligently go about the work of building the kingdom of God—those who, when faced with opposition and temptation, say in their hearts, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”
When faced with trial and suffering, they respond, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”
When faced with ridicule and reproach, they proclaim, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”
Our Heavenly Father seeks those who refuse to allow the trivial to hinder them in their pursuit of the eternal. He seeks those who will not allow the attraction of ease or the traps of the adversary to distract them from the work He has given them to perform. He seeks those whose actions conform to their words—those who say with conviction, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”

We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. exerpt taken from April 2009 General Conference address, “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down.”
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Move Forward

Original post Oct. 21, 2018

Updated Feb 17, 2022

Photo by Анна Рыжкова from Pexels

It may seem easier to be complacent, but why would I want to remain complacent or “comfortable” when I am meant to progress, learn and grow?

Well, for one… it’s hard! I’m still learning how to overcome behaviors and habits that hinder my ability to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, which ultimately allows me to receive direction and inspiration in my life (D&C 121:45–46; D&C 20:37, Doctrine & Covenants; Moroni 4:3, Book of Mormon).

I’m going through the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the third time because I just want to progress; I want to move on and move forward in my life. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for as long as I can remember. I never saw it as a problem, but from the time I was a kid. I was doing what many kids do- steal candy from our parents’ closet and binge eat on candy, sweets and treats from Halloween to Christmas and Valentines day to Easter. These rituals seemed to focus on binge eating and secrecy.

Eventually I began binge eating then extreme dieting and rigorous workout regimes during my adolescence. I was obsessed with food, diet and exercise. It haunted my thoughts constantly, and took away time I could invest with loved ones or creating or doing something worthwhile. Instead, I chose to fill my time with activities that “numb” my mind from the anxiety I felt with daily stressors.

Stress is a part of life, and stress is not unhealthy. I recently learned that stress causes the same physical response in your body as excitement; however, the only thing that changes is how I’m perceiving the stress. If I tell my brain, “I’m freaking out” then my body reacts negatively with anxiety. If I tell my brain “everything is okay” then my body reacts accordingly.

When I experience some advanced form of stress in my life, I would turn to habits to numb my mind. In 2018, when I first created this post, when even the tiniest bit of stress showed itself, I typically didn’t think twice before I went straight to spiritually destructive patterns. I had (and continue to have) a desires to change, and I believed I could through Jesus Christ. If we’re struggling with any addiction whether it’s alcohol, drugs, anger, eating, watching shows, listening to music, having unhealthy thoughts or anything that drives the spirit away; I know there’s hope to overcome these patterns, but we must always be honest with ourselves.

Here’s a link to step 1 for ARP

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-12-001-step-one-honesty?lang=eng

autumn-trail-georgia-918492-gallery (2)
Fall Time in Georgia

References:

Addiction Recovery Program. https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/addiction-recovery-program-guide?lang=eng

Photo. Web accessed. https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/category/fall?lang=eng

Step 4: Truth – Make a Fearless Moral Written Inventory

I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.

Nephi

I’ve been working on step 4 across a five year period. I’ve completed the 12 steps in the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints once in 12 years. I’ve restarted the Program several times, but tend to get stuck on step 4.

It seems self-abusive patterns sneak back into my life when things get hard. As I took step 4, I discovered underlying emotions and beliefs that were symptomatic of pride, envy, bitterness, and resentment. I learned the importance to supplement each day with gratitude, faith, prayer, and scripture study. Other vital steps include striving to remember my divine heritage as a child of God, striving to counsel with the Lord, and striving to follow promptings I receive. These daily practices help me step away from addiction and step toward Jesus Christ.

SELF-ABUSE

I’ve experienced varying forms of sobriety. In 20 years, this is the longest length of time I’ve resisted temptation, including self-abusive patterns, yet many days I make choices which slide me back to neglect my needs whether temporal, spiritual, or emotional.

I used to physically harm my body, especially during the ages of 15-17. Now, when I self-abuse, it’s in a verbal/emotional form. I look in the mirror or sit on the sofa and listen to the thoughts pick apart my body, my looks, my character, and who I am as a person. I could choose to walk away, I could choose to hum a favorite hymn or familiar tune, but when I’m tired, weary, and worn down, it becomes increasingly difficult to battle the adversary’s blasts of attempts to tear me down.

When we listen to the harmful thoughts, it engages our minds in an emotional self-destructive warfare. We have the ability to choose to tune our mind differently, but we must become aware of what’s happening. Typically, these patterns have seed in our childhood, are immensely difficult to break, and cannot be done alone.

To overcome these harmful cycles, Step 4 deals with telling the truth and making a fearless written moral inventory. It doesn’t mean we won’t have fear in writing our inventory.

The following ARP passages have helped me to navigate difficult memories as I’ve worked on my personal inventory:

Look beyond your past behaviors and examine the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that led to your behavior. Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are actually the roots of your addictive behaviors. 

Unless you examine all your tendencies toward fear, pride, resentment, anger, self-will, and self-pity, your abstinence will be shaky at best.

ARP – STEP 4

REFLECTION ON ADDICTION

This last week, abusive thoughts and temptations infiltrated my mind more often than usual. I’ve been dealing with sickness and lack of sleep. It seems these are times when harmful thoughts are most prevalent. Regardless, I continued to work on my inventory and came to realize how mentally crippling beliefs, attitudes, and emotions affected my destructive decisions.

I was concsciously unaware of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs which existed and continue to influence my reactions, but as I’ve addressed them and made a physical copy of my inventory, I’ve slowly begun to process examine these tendencies in the situations that come to my mind. Prayer and trusting the Lord through your process is key.

GRATITUDE

In his 96 years, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen many trials. But he says there’s a simple remedy to help us find joy in hard times—gratitude.

President Russell M. Nelson on the Healing Power of Gratitude

Gratitude precedes miracles. Thomas S. Monson, 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, described the following biblical experience to illustrate this truth:

In the book of Matthew in the Bible, we have another account of gratitude, this time as an expression from the Savior. As He traveled in the wilderness for three days, more than 4,000 people followed and traveled with Him. He took compassion on them, for they may not have eaten during the entire three days. His disciples, however, questioned, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Like many of us, the disciples saw only what was lacking. “And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes. “And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed: “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.” We have all experienced times when our focus is on what we lack rather than on our blessings. Said the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Gratitude is a divine principle. The Lord declared through a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. … “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.” In the Book of Mormon we are told to “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you.” Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.

The Divine Gift of Gratitude

Gratitude, combined with faith can bring about miraculous events, including healing. I still have a long ways to go, but I’ve gone almost a year without a MAJOR relapse into eating patterns, gaming, or pornographic pursuits. I’ve had micro relapses but nothing compared to my past addictions. I could not have made it this far without Jesus Christ and His infinite sacrifice through The Atonement. Gratitude is one way to combat these patterns.

I could not have made it this far without the Saviors merits, mercy, and grace. I could not have done this without The Lord and all those people he has placed in my life to help me along my way. I would be a completely different person without my Lord, my God. My Redeemer. The truths I have learned through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ have given me the direction to take, one step at a time.

I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained, the experiences, the trials, and hardships. They have brought me to my knees and have brought me closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They have brought me closer to my family and relationships that uplift and inspire. I have worked on making reconciliation in many relationships and have been working to right wrongs that I didn’t realize needed addressing until going through another one of the Church’s Programs, The Emotional Resilience Course.

EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE

My cousin Audrey and I have been working on the emotional resilience course through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints too. This has been a huge help. Yesterday here’s what we covered:

You are a child of God. He is the Father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it” (Boyd K. Packer, “To Young Women and Men,” Ensign, May 1989, 54).

“Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God. That fact transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation” (Dallin H. Oaks, “How to Define Yourself,” New Era, June 2013, 48).

“You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.
“Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 105).

My Foundation: Our Divine Identity and Purpose

MY TESTIMONY

I know as I remember the truth that I am a child of God and that everyone around me are children of God, a loving Heavebly Father, then I can begin to change my patterns of self-objectification and objectifying others. We are not objects to be acted upon. We are human beings with hearts and souls with divine worth and potential. As I remember these truths I can see others as they really are and I can see myself as a true daughter of a Heavenly King who loves me infinitely and truly wants whats best for me, but I mist choose. It is my choice. A choice a make daily to either follow after truth and light, or to turn away from the Savior. Many times, I turn away! But because of the gift of repentance and because of Jesus Christ, I can change! Glory glory hallelujah I can change!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible, swift sword;
His truth is marching on.


[Chorus]
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.


2. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat.
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.


[Chorus]
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.


3. In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.


[Chorus]
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.


Text: Julia Ward Howe, 1819–1910
Music: Anon., ca. 1861


Alma 5:50
Doctrine and Covenants 65:1–6

Battle Hymn of the Republic

God is truth. God is light. God is love. As I have trusted Him, and let Him direct my path, my joy is fuller, my happiness is more glorious, And my life is more uplifting and fulfilling. I promise that if you look to God, even if you can no more than desire to believe to know the truth for yourself, God will guide you. Just pray. I promise He is there. I promise He is listening. If it weren’t true. I would not be here today! God lives! He will hear you and answer your prayer if you but ask in faith, nothing wavering, to know the direction you must take to follow after truth. I promise if you ask God, our eternal Father in the name of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, in faith, he will answer your prayer.

In the sacred name of My Lord and Savior, He who is most divine, most Holy, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Move Forward

It may seem easier to  be complacent, but why would I want to remain complacent or “comfortable” when I am meant to progress, learn and grow?

Well, for one… it’s hard! I’m still learning how to overcome behaviors and habits that hinder my ability to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, which ultimately allows me to receive direction and inspiration in my life (D&C 121:45–46; D&C 20:37, Doctrine & Covenants; Moroni 4:3, Book of Mormon).

I’m going through the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the third time because I just want to progress; I want to move on and move forward in my life. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for as long as I can remember. I never saw it as a problem, but from the time I was a kid I was doing normal kid things which meant stealing candy from my parents’ closet.

Eventually I began binge eating then extreme dieting and rigorous workout regimes. I was obsessed with food, diet and exercise, and I still am. It haunts my thoughts constantly, and takes away time I could be investing time with loved ones or creating or doing something worthwhile. Instead, I’ve chosen to fill my time with activities that “numb” my mind from the anxiety I feel with daily stressors.

Stress is a part of life, and stress is not unhealthy. The way I view stress is. I recently learned that stress causes the same physical response in your body as excitement; however, the only thing that changes is how I’m perceiving the stress. If I tell my brain, “I’m freaking out” then my body reacts negatively with anxiety. If I tell my brain “everything is okay” then my body reacts accordingly.

When I experience some advanced form of stress in my life, I would turn to habits to numb my mind. Now, when even the tiniest bit of stress shows itself, I typically don’t think twice and go straight to spiritually destructive patterns. I have a desire to change, and I know I can. If you’re struggling with any addiction whether it’s alcohol, drugs, anger, eating, watching shows, listening to music, having unhealthy thoughts or anything that drives the spirit away; I know there’s hope to overcome these patterns, but I must always be honest with myself.

Here’s a link to step 1 for ARP

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-12-001-step-one-honesty?lang=eng

 

 

 

 

autumn-trail-georgia-918492-gallery (2)
Fall Time in Georgia

 

 

References:

Addiction Recovery Program. https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/addiction-recovery-program-guide?lang=eng

Photo. Web accessed. https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/category/fall?lang=eng