Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Step 2: Hope (Part 2/4)

Key Principle: Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.

Step 2 gave me what I needed: hope. I would encourage you to read this step on your own, but I want to share some of the things I learned.

First of all, change doesn't have to happen right away. It's a process, there are cycles involved, and you really have to work hard. You might be scared,  you might be cynical, but if there is any part of you that desires change, I'd say go for it. It says in this chapter, "Gradually, the principles...started to work for us. As we kept coming back, we began to feel something we had not felt in years, hope" (pg 7, emphasis added). Hope for change doesn't have to happen right away. If you desire it, keep exercising your hope for hope, and eventually you will find true hope.

Here are more quotes from this chapter. These quotes each touched me at different times for different reasons and always give me hope when I need it. All areas of emphasis are added. 

"In this atmosphere of faith and testimony, we found hope that began to awaken us to the mercy and power of God." God is merciful. He works in mysterious ways, and He is merciful. As hard as I think my life is sometimes, I am so grateful for everything that has come my way because without my trials, I wouldn't be who I am. I wouldn't be as strong as I am or have the faith and patience that I do if He hadn't extended His mercy to me.

"We found ourselves blessed with the grace of Jesus Christ to maintain our abstinence one day at a time." Whenever I look at what we have to overcome, it overwhelms me. Truth be told, I am an easily overwhelmed person, probably due to school and all my trials. But, being an easily overwhelmed person has allowed me to trust God more openly. When I live one day at a time, I feel the blessings of grace and mercy bestowed on me. When I ask myself, "Can I abstain from anger today?" I think I can do it. But when I ask myself, "Can I completely get rid of my anger right now forever?" I feel no hope. Don't look at everything you have to do and be overwhelmed. Just live each day as God wants you to. Each day, ask Him for strength. He will help you get through that day, and then you can focus on tomorrow when it gets here.

"As we took step 2, we became willing to replace trust in ourselves and our addictions with faith in the love and power of Jesus Christ." I think this speaks for itself, but I do want to point out the word willing. You don't have to completely turn yourself over to God in this step. Through hope, you will find the desire and willingness to turn yourself over. Being willing isn't nearly as hard as actually doing it, but it opens the door to doing it.

"This program is spiritual, and it is a program of action." As much as you want to, you really can't expect things to just change without putting in some effort of your own. The nice thing is, this can be as joyful as you want it to be. You have your agency to put forth the action necessary to make changes in your life, attitude, or whatever you need changed. You also have the agency to choose if this change will bring you joy or if you will do it grudgingly. Sometimes, you may do it grudgingly, but over time, I hope you find joy. If it makes you feel any better, I have my grudging, bad attitude moments. But overall, I have found a lot of joy.

The last two quotes, I just want you to think about on your own. I have a lot I could write about them, but I want to leave the interpretation up to you to think about. Thanks for reading. I pray that you will find peace in whatever you are searching for.

"If you follow these principles and allow them to work in your life, you will find yourself being restored to spiritual health through your newfound relationship with the Lord. His Spirit will help you begin to see your choices more honestly and clearly."

",,,when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance" (Elder Bednar, quoted in this chapter)

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