Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Humility is a Choice

While I was driving on Sunday, I prayed for some revelation on step 7 for myself. How to overcome the fear of humbling myself? How to take the next step? My answer was to pray to overcome my weaknesses, individually and specifically.

As I thought about how to do this, I contemplated things like praying for everything to go wrong so my patience is tried or praying for things to happen that are out of my control to help me with dependence (or at least to help with my control freak-ness). Those ideas scared me, so I kind of pushed away those thoughts until I could take more time to ponder how to "humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove [my] shortcomings." 

Skip ahead to yesterday. Let's just say yesterday was less than perfect. It could have been worse, though. Some things happened at work that were very challenging, and I got pretty down on myself. As I was fighting that darkness and trying to figure out how to turn that over to The Lord, my husband told me that he had a small mishap (I'm so grateful for his honesty. Bad timing is better than not telling). Then, I got sucked into some fears and darkness regarding that. And then in the evening, things did not happen as I wanted. I went to bed way later than I planned, ate too many cookies (which always makes me feel worse), and I received a blessing for one of my physical trials and was told that my trials are specifically for me to have patience and trust in God, have faith in what is in my patriarchal blessing, and that I will be healed (someday...don't know when yet). I then started fighting darkness there because my first instinct was to be mad at God, which is never a helpful choice. I was mad because I finally asked for this blessing after not wanting to for a while because I knew I wouldn't be healed. I guess it's one of those things where having the faith to not be healed is harder. I knew He would say to have faith and trust and patience, but I wanted so badly to be healed, and I had the faith that I could be healed, but I was afraid that I wouldn't be healed. And I wasn't. I've been patient. I've had faith. I've trusted (or tried to trust) a lot. So, it was not comforting. At first.  Which is why I was getting mad.

I really had to fight for the anger and darkness to go away. Those are two companions I never want, but Satan is strong. If I am weak, he (they) can usually creep in pretty easily. I had to pray and read my scriptures and really try to get the anger to subside. I didn't want to be mad at God. As I wrote in my journal about my blessing, the anger went away, and I was filled with peace (for a time. I got angry again right before bedtime as everything hit me again. I was going to bed too late, and I knew I would have to get up early for work, and blah blah blah. Sometimes, I really irritate myself, and I wonder how my husband puts up with me).

On my drive to work this morning, I thought about yesterday. I felt a lot of peace with how hard I tried to fight off the anger and the steps I took (I didn't write about everything on here) to overcome my temptations to anger and anxiety. I reflected back to my revelation on Sunday during my drive. I thought about step 7, and my weaknesses, and what I need to do to overcome them. Everything that happened yesterday showed me all (or most) of my weaknesses and how dependent I am on God. My experiences yesterday showed me  that without the help of God, my weaknesses can overtake me because I can't do this alone. 

 This morning, when I got to work, I went into a secluded place and prayed. I prayed for help and guidance in overcoming my weaknesses. At the end of my prayer, I had a distinct thought. One word. Atonement

The Atonement is what will help me overcome my weaknesses.

There are two action steps listed in this section of the guidebook.

1. "Seek for the power of the Savior's Atonement to become effective in your personal life by meditating on the sacrament prayers."

Next time you hear the sacrament prayer, change the words to make it personal to you. Reflect on those words during the administration of the sacrament. How does it change your perspective of the covenants you make and your understanding of what Christ has done for you?

This is something I have done quite frequently since the first time I did this step. Replacing words to make the sacrament prayer more personal reminds me that the sacrament is for my soul, that I witness to God that I am willing to take upon me the name of Christ and that I will always remember Him and I will keep His commandments. In return, I will always have His Spirit with me.

Doing this makes the sacrament come alive and reminds me of the covenants I have made. It helps remind me more often during the week of my covenants to come closer to Christ and live as He would have me live.

2. "Pray humbly for God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself."

What do I need God to do for me?

I need Him to help me be more patient and trust in His timing.

I need Him to help me deal with stress better.

I need Him to help me handle change and let go of needing to be in control (I'm kind of a control freak. What can I say? Who doesn't like things to go their way?).

I need Him to help me accept responsibility for my actions and stop trying to blame others for my weaknesses.

I need Him to help me not freak out when I go to bed late. And I need Him to help me remember that when I sincerely pray to be well-rested and get up on time, He always blesses me with that.

I cannot overcome those weaknesses on my own. I can't. I tried. I am stubborn, and I like being independent (those are also weaknesses I need help overcoming), and I have tried to do this on my own. I just can't. I can't be the wife and lover I want to be when I have these things dragging me down. I can't become more like Christ and have Christlike love in my marriage when I won't turn my weaknesses over to God. There are lots of things I can't do unless I pray for God to help me. 

Humility is a choice. I am learning that everything is a choice, really. I choose to be angry. Sometimes it's hard to control, but when I am really angry, it's usually because I choose to give up fighting Satan. I choose to say negative, hurtful things. I choose to be too independent and not turn myself over to God. I choose when I am happy. I choose to be excited. I choose to be sad.

Now? I choose to be humble.

"Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God... yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe" (Alma 32:16).

On a side note, Christ was humble. He did the Lord's will, even it caused Him to bleed from every pore and, eventually, die. He gave credit to God for the great things He did.

If I want to be like Christ, shouldn't I also choose to be humble? 

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