We are finally starting step 5. I hope those of you who beat me to it started already because, like it says in step 4, if you let the inventory sit with you without moving on to step 5, it's like acknowledging a wound without taking care of it. Hopefully the break I put between 4 and 5 allowed some of you to catch up a little more though. I definitely didn't intend for that to become acknowledging a wound and not giving it proper care.
I LOVE steps 4 and 5. They are so cleansing. I know it can seem weird to be going through this when you might be thinking, "Why me? So-and-so is the one who needs repentance and forgiveness. That person is the one who needs to confess and forsake." I know. I had those thoughts myself. But, like I mentioned at the end of my last post, this program is helping us turn to Christ. We, as those who have been hurt by our loved one's addiction(s), need Christ so much. We need to experience the power of the Atonement. Although we may think we need to experience the part of the Atonement that allows us to forgive, we need to experience the Atonement in its entirety. We need to turn to Christ. We need to become more Christlike ourselves (which will help us forgive and heal), and to do that, we need to confess and forsake our sins too--whatever they may be. I don't know if I can emphasize that enough.
As I have come closer to Christ, I have realized that I have a lot more perfecting to be done than I thought. I used to blame everything on my husband and hold his addiction against him. I rationalized things in my head because I thought I was better than him. I've learned that I'm not better than him. I'm just different from him. And we have been able to use our differences to strengthen each other.
As I have drawn closer to Christ, I have drawn closer to my husband. A reader of this blog told me that my husband and I seem to have a great relationship despite all the problems we have had (and still have). I take that as a beautiful compliment :) It hasn't always been that way. In fact, as you probably gathered from my beginning posts, there were many times when I wondered why I was stuck with him (sorry, sweetheart...he reads this blog. but he already knew that anyway. I just hate saying it again). I even tossed around the thought that we don't have kids yet, so really, we aren't quite that tied down. A divorce would be messy, but without kids, it would be less messy. . .
Of course, that isn't the answer--at least, not for me. I made covenants. And I felt the Spirit testify to me that he is the man for me to marry (and to stick with), and God knew what I was in for. God knew of his addictions, and He still wanted me to marry him. So, once I started remembering my covenants and my revelations, and when I started searching for the purpose and seeking to understand the Lord's plan for me, then I was able to choose to draw closer to Christ.
In drawing closer to Christ, and to achieve one's full healing potential, we need steps 4 and 5, and that is why I love them.
Step 5 is confession. The key principle for this step is, "Admit to yourself, to your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to proper priesthood authority, and to another person the exact nature of your wrongs."
That really could mean a lot of things. I had a lot to confess. Of course, not all of it was really serious (like an addiction), but I have come to realize the true meaning of no unclean thing being able to dwell in God's presence. A sin is a sin. It doesn't matter if my sin isn't "as bad" as my husband's. What matters is my divine nature, my divine potential, and my sins. If I sin, I need to repent. Simple as that. Really, you can be as extreme about that as you think you should be. I didn't go to my bishop confessing all the times I have been mad or said something rude to someone. But, in our meetings (we used to meet with our bishop weekly. he is a fantastic man of God) I was able to discuss with him the things I was learning and expand my knowledge of gospel learning. I did confess to him my pride, and he helped me understand some things about pride and humility. I "confessed" a lot of things to my husband, but mostly, my confession was between the Lord and myself. After I was finished with step 5, I felt similar to the way I would imagine feeling if I was baptized again. I felt like I had a clean slate and was ready to move on with my life. I felt ready to become a new and better person (which ties perfectly into step 6, which is change of heart. Don't you just love the way the steps work?).
I guess you have to ask yourself what you really want. If you really want healing, if you really want to turn to Christ, if you really want to be on the path to turning your will over to God and living as He would have you do, then you need to take the necessary steps to get there. No matter how intimidating they may seem. If you are scared to move onto this confession step, I'd encourage you to pray to God for strength. Pray to know of His love. Pray to know if this step is one that He wants you to take. And if it is, pray to have the courage to follow through with this.
Turning your life and will over to the care of your Father and Jesus Christ is wonderful. This weekend I have done a lot of soul searching, and I have come to find that they are truly there. I mean, I have known that: I have received many witnesses of that during my life. But, like I talked about in my recent posts, I have been going through a hard time. During this time, I have really turned to the Lord more, and I have found Him right there. Sometimes, Satan tries to block Him from us. But He is always there with arms outstretched, waiting for us to see Him. I am doing some things that are really hard, and I am facing challenging trials, but I know that Heavenly Father wants this for me. And, like I said in my last post, I know that I am on the right path, and my trials don't mean God loves me any less. In fact, my trials show me that He loves me all the more. I truly believe that the harder my trials, the more God trusts me (well, trials of the sort that I am facing right now. There are trials that come simply because of poor choices on my part, but right now, my trials are being given to me by God for the most part). God trusts me to make the most of my trials, and He trusts me to become the person He knows I can become through these trials. I am learning how to truly turn to Him for everything in my life and live according to His will. And I am excited for my journey with you through the rest of the steps :)
More on step 5 in the next post!