Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ask, and Receive

Of course.

I felt I was doing well last night but my heartburn kept me up in the night, my mind wandered into indulgence and I slipped. I failed to stop when I could have. I should have.

This morning I waited for the guilt to crush me. It didn't. I confessed to my husband. I don't know what I wanted from his reaction but I didn't get it. From his reaction I couldn't even be sure he heard me as he left for work.

I sat to read the scriptures this morning. Only yesterday I re-committed myself to this daily study during breakfast. Don't stop now. As I pondered and journaled, I realized I was waiting for shame to crush me, not guilt. Shame is what hurts. I was already feeling guilty because I was disappointed in myself. I'm better then this! Why did I allow this?

I turned to 2 Nephi 4. This is the chapter when Nephi says he delights in the scriptures but is harrowed up by his own sins. "O, wretched man that I am!" I especially identified with verses 27-31. Why do I give in to these sins which destroy my peace? But then I can follow his example in beginning again. "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin...give place no more for the enemy of my soul." Then he asks for help.

In my studies yesterday, I read about Prayer in the Bible Dictionary and was reminded that God gives to those who ask while submitting to His will and uniting with Christ by praying in His name. Matt. 7:7-11 reminded me that I'm praying to my father. He is forever willing to bless me with gifts. (This felt appropriate at Christmas time.) If an earthly father, being wicked, is so willing to provide gifts to his children, how much more willing is our Heavenly Father to bless us when we ask?

Well this morning this concept was repeated to me again from 2 Nephi 4:35. "I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh."

I need to ask Him. I need to pray in that moment of temptation. He will help if only I ask. It's all in my desire to ask His help. I think sometimes in those moments it's hardest because I am wrestling with my desires. A part of me, that human corrupt part, doesn't want Him to help me because that part of me desires indulgence. I must continue to strengthen the other part of me- that spiritual part of me that desires righteousness- because it must be stronger to win the fight.

So more then ever after a slip I must return to scriptures and prayer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Heart, Like Riding a Bicycle, and the Power of Living Water

People shared some metaphors at the last meeting that really resignated with me.

First someone talked about how when someone gets a heart transplant the body has to accept the heart and so specific instructions are given by the doctor that will help that happen.  But if those instructions are not followed specifically, the body will reject the new heart.

Such is the same with a new spiritual heart. When we are blessed with a new spiritual heart, the Lord also gives us directions so as to keep the heart healthy and avoid rejection through a relapse. Then we would have to begin all over again.

Then right after I wrapped my mind around this concept, another person shared this metaphor.

Recover is like riding a bicycle. It may be difficult to learn at first and we may fall a lot. We fail and fail again, and sometimes it really hurts! But once we get the hang of it, it clicks, and we will never forget how to ride that bike. But we must keep pedaling and moving forward or the bike will fall over. However, after we know how to ride the bike, our Father in Heaven has let go of the seat. He knows we can do it on our own and therefore He expects us to be able to get back on and keep going without His hands-on supervision. He will encourage us but he won't hold onto our seat anymore. We just need to keep up the effort of moving forward.

However, we must also remember if we ever need His help, He is waiting for us to just ask. 2 Nephi 4:35.

Lastly, when we hear the phrase "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," have you ever answered it with "how?"

You can't make lemonade with just lemons. What else do you need? Sugar and water.
When you are given a challenge or a trial, and first you must squeeze out the good stuff and throw the rest away. Let it go. Look for the good, and sweeten it with your own perception of optimism. That's the sugar.
What's the water? The living water. Jesus Christ. He will take your trial, your effort, your little bit of optimism, and he will fill it up to the top to make it into a blessing. Because He knows, and He loves you.

That's how we make lemonade out of lemons. :)

Jesus taught in parables for a reason. It's speaks our language and resignates inside our hearts better then any other lesson tool. I love metaphors.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Separating Righteous Intimacy from Addiction

This post is along the same lines as my last one in the way that it pertains to both someone with an addiction, and a spouse of an addicted loved one.

Early one recent morning I awoke from a dream I was having with my heart pounding in anger. I looked over at my sleeping husband and vividly felt the angry feelings subside as I realized what had happened in the dream hadn't happened in real life. However, I do know that dreams have a way of working out subconscious emotions. I reviewed the dream in my head and came up with an interesting conclusion. My anger at my husband came because he had been acting exactly like me!

I'll give a bit of a warning before you read about my dream because it is a personal dream. However, I'm an open person and this blog is anonymous. I will attempt to write in the most tactical way so as not to trigger anybody.

In the beginning of the dream I was feeling devotion and affection for my husband and was trying to pull him closer to me. He was laying down, faced away from me and as I prodded him and tried to show him my interest, he did not respond. I even got a physical response from him, but he wasn't acknowledging it. I hope that makes sense without me having to go into any greater detail.

I started feeling sad then, and asked him what was the matter and why he wouldn't face me. He finally looked at me with a blank and withdrawn expression and said, "The only reason you want to be with me is because you've been looking at naked pictures online." I immediately objected. I told him I promised I hadn't at all that day and that I hadn't in a long time. I wracked my brain for when I had but he turned away and I knew he wouldn't believe me anyway. I was hurt, and then I was mad.

"How dare you!" I thought. "How could you use that against me when you know how much it hurts me. How could you even think my feelings for you have anything to do with that filth! How could you even suppose that I was that heartless!"

I cried. I ended up sitting on the floor on the other side of the bed crying. But then I got so angry at him, I threw myself back onto the bed to start striking him on the shoulder and scream at him that he was so mean!

That's when I woke up.

The feelings were so real because they are honest and true. My addiction has nothing to do with the way I feel about my husband.

And then the light came on at that thought. His feelings about me have nothing to do with his addiction either.

For so long I had felt hurt because his actions from his addiction were somehow connected to his feelings for me. I'm not saying they aren't to the spouse or loved one. To someone without a sexual addiction, physical intimacy is ONLY about love. Addiction is not about love at all. It's corrupt and is completely separate from love.

Now in my last post I addressed the myth that physical intimacy can help ease temptations from addiction. That is not true. Temptations will still exist, and could come on just as strong even after being intimate in a healthy relationship.  However I will add this. Having a truly loving relationship with someone still helps emotionally and spiritually.  Being intimate with my spouse helps me to appreciate the beauty in the act of a healthy spiritual, emotion, and physical experience with someone I have covenanted to love and care for. It's in complete contrast from addictive behaviors, which drag one down into shame and sorrow. Instead, a healthy experience with my loved one who I have covenanted to cherish for eternity uplifts my soul and brightens my spirit.

I'll add this experience doesn't always feel that way. I want to acknowledge those who still feel filthy during intimacy with their spouse. It's a very sad but true reality that sometimes even with a spouse we can feel like a tool or the outlet for addiction. This is when we are completely justified and right in saying, not tonight, dear.

The spirit is not here.

But as we pray together and work to have that spiritual presence with us, the experience can become healthy and beautiful again. I testify that it has worked for my relationship and has helped us both as we fight off our temptations and cleave to each other.

I hope sharing this will help somebody out there.