“Obedience brings blessings… Strict obedience brings MIRACLES!”
What is happiness worth to you? What about peace? If you have addictions, or addictive behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, what price would you pay to have them removed? Sometimes, depending on circumstances and situations, we are more willing to walk away from our “comfort zone,” or remove ourselves from temptations path, than at other times. There are times we want to flee immediately and are willing to do anything. My friends in addiction recovery call it “hitting rock bottom.” At times we desire great changes, but sometimes, don’t step back and examine what it is that is truly keeping us from reaching our desired goal, and so continue on doing the same thing, and getting the same result.
When was the last time you examined your life… I mean, really get down to the details by keeping a journal or notes on daily behaviors, events, experiences, triggers, and kept track of their impact on your well being?
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates
As we analyze our behaviors and take time to think about our choices and the powerful impact they have on us, we also come to realize how powerless we truly are when we are trying to do things “our way,” or trying to fix our problems on our own. It is so much easier when we turn to someone who has been there… who understands… who knows with complete exactness who we are and our divine potential. Counselors, spouses, friends, trusted advisors, are all good people that can help us, and can give us great advice. Anytime we break out of isolation and the “doing-it-on-my-own” attitude, we are opening ourselves to a better way. The best way is God, who is the only one that has all knowledge, is eager to help us and shower us with HIs love, and He is mighty to save.
Mike’s Story: A friend of mine shared his experience with his addiction to pornography and what it took to get him on the path to real, lasting recovery. With his permission I share a part of his story from his own words:
“…Charlotte was right after all, I was full of excuses as to why I was justified staying right where I was, thick in spider’s lair caught in the webs. If I really wanted to recover, I wouldn’t hold anything back, and I’d go for it with everything I had. And that meant going back to the ARP meetings, and meeting with bishops, breaking through that isolation I’d imposed on myself and telling people I had a problem that I couldn’t solve myself.
After receiving her final text, I sat down on the corner of my bed and envisioned both the road I had traveled and the road I had yet to travel. I had been willing to indulge in pornography without even a fight these days, because the cost of what it would take to recover, in my addled mind’s weak estimation of things, was not worth recovery itself. So I sat there, and did some more ‘estimating’. I thought about where I’d be in the next five to ten years. And it was not pretty. It involved sexual misconduct, or even rape or jail time.
I knew my lust had grown more and more insatiable. It was always getting worse, never better, that much was plain to me. Like a diver with a depth gauge and weights tied around his ankles, I believe God makes sure you’re fully aware of how deep you’re going. I was the eyewitness who had been present for it all. I had seen the homicidal addiction make entry into my life and eat my soul, tearing off bigger and bigger chunks as it devoured, and I was just watching.
After a while, my psyche had to come up with a new story, because day by day the truth only further implicated me as the actual culprit. Who just sits and watches as their soul is murdered? Before long, that ‘witness’ becomes an accomplice. This self‐deception and denial kept me afloat for a long time, and I was happy to turn a blind eye and believe my own lies… “I know it’s wrong, but I’m in school, work is hard, I just need to relax and fall asleep.
So I was still there sitting on the corner of my bed, staring at the floor in silence, with virtually nothing happening around me, no roommates home or even a mouse to disturb. I remained in deep thought in that moment. Any story worth telling has a climactic moment where the protagonist makes a heroic move and turns the tables in the central conflict. Would you not agree?
This was that moment for me. I saw two options before me, on the one hand I could say, “You know what, that’s a nice thought, but it’s too difficult to get out of this mess, it’s easier to just let the river take me, and you know, it’s really not so bad. There’s some perks every now and again.” Or I could choose to say, “No. This isn’t ‘okay’. This isn’t what I want. This is not what I want for my future. I want a family one day, I want true happiness, I don’t want to feel this ugly turmoil that I have to medicate out of my life, I want to be FREE!
I want to smell the clean free air! I want to walk and not be hindered by this disgusting cancerous tumor that I’ve allowed to grow and fester in the back of my skull! I’M DONE WITH THIS!” And that’s exactly what I did.
I stood up from off the corner of my bed, and I crane kicked my computer into the wall. I then reclaimed it from the wall and slammed it onto the ground before me as hard as I could. This made a loud crashing sound.
Then I lifted my knee high and crushed my heel down on the sidelying computer, bending its transparent style case into the motherboard. I proceeded to just stomp my heel into the computer almost violently until things stopped bending.
Now, if you’re a little bit disbelieving of the story right now, I understand. At the time this occurred, I was disbelieving as well. I kept walking in and out of my room to get a fresh look at the mangled computer chassis on the ground with broken plastic fragments strewn about it, like a murder scene. My adrenaline was pumping, it was an intense moment, but I couldn’t hold back the feeling that angels were rejoicing in the Heaven’s right above me; looking down and cheering, not too different from watching a family member compete at a state championship game.
When I resolved to quit (…again) I determined to throw everything I had at it. I smashed my computer, rather violently I might add, and that was very therapeutic and it felt wonderful.
My recovery was a lot like a domino effect, one small flick, and the Lord had everything aligned beforehand. I had been toying around with each domino individually. I had watched each piece of the set fail individually, and I had thought, “this doesn’t work, nothing works!” But when I threw everything I had at the problem, I didn’t fully realize it, but somewhere in the middle of all that ‘stuff’, there was the subtle and firm hand of God I was grabbing ahold of, which proved to be everything necessary to solve the problem.
The path to happiness, recovery, and healing are different for all of us. Our Heavenly Father can teach us individually what our specific path is, and what we need to do to obtain our desired goal. Obedience to all of His commandments that are found in scriptures, and to our own individual and specific commandments/instructions we receive from Him through the Spirit, is what opens the door to the blessings He is constantly offering us. He doesn’t wait for us to perform certain duties or tasks… we don’t earn His blessings, just as we don’t “earn salvation.” You learn it. You receive it. Our role is to “receive” His blessings. Receiving takes action. Just as I can’t force you to pray or read scriptures, God isn’t going to force you to receive His blessings. He gave us the gift of agency, which is crucial to the plan of Happiness. What does He do? He knocks. He waits… eagerly. He invites us to open the door and receive Him.
I have come to learn that obedience brings me blessings, and that STRICT OBEDIENCE brings MIRACLES into my life! This understanding has helped me tremendously on my own path, and I know it is a truth you can trust in as well. What are you willing to give up, to do, to offer to The Captain of Your Soul? He waits…
Give yourself to The Captain of Your Soul and receive the blessings that are constantly being offered to you, and see the tender mercies He places in your life each and every day.
-From A loving brother