I did it. I worked step 4! I know it took me long enough. This time I just wrote in my journal about what I learned from mistakes made more recently because I already worked step 4 for things further back. However acknowledging it also made me realize I haven't escaped some of the character weaknesses associated with my past yet. Maybe I never will but understanding the truth is that first step.
The reason I chose the quote above for this post is because I have noticed something about myself after really working step 4 and 5 in the past. Once the truth is acknowledged and denial is crushed, we are able to break free from the bondage of the lies. I used to live in the past because it haunted me. I'd be awake at night going over events over and over in my mind trying to figure out what I should have, could have, or would have done differently. I knew it was pointless but my mind wouldn't rest on these subjects and people. Until I wrote an inventory and did what I could to see my own weaknesses and faults, and apologize for these events. I finally let the past go, and you know what happened? I sleep better, no longer haunted by the "should haves" because they no longer weigh on me. I've let them go.
Working step 4 has given me the ability to move forward in my life and focus on now and a brighter future instead of constantly living in the past...re-reading that page.
Step 4 might seem hard when you are coming upon it, but it's because the truth is hard. The truth hurts. Lies are easy because they cover up the pain like a bandaid. But the lies also enslave you and bind you down.
The savior said in Luke 12:51 that people assume He came to the world to speak peace and comfort to everyone. But then he says Nay! He brings division. It's because he speaks true doctrine, and the truth can be hard. But it's the only way to escape the enslavement of the lies we tell ourselves.
The truth sets me free. The Lord shows us the truth about ourselves so we can be humbled, and then made stronger through Him. What's rather ironic is that the lies which weaken us also make us full of pride in our weakness. Letting go of that pride may be painful, but when we face the truth and humble ourselves, it allows us to become better, improve ourselves, and grow closer to the Lord.
At a recent stake relief society conference, I was told that judgement day is not going to be a measurement balancing all our good deeds against all the bad deeds in our lives. Instead, it will be the measurement of our character THAT DAY. Whatever we did in the past during our lives impacted the person we became at that moment. We well be judged by the person we became through the experiences we had, whether bad or good. So what is important is not dwelling on our deeds, but improving our character every day and making progress every day.
D&C 123:17 "Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed."