Heavenly Father allowed me to go through the trial of addiction to gain a deep abiding testimony of Him and my Savior Jesus Christ, and very importantly the power of the Atonement. The strength, peace, and love for others I have found because of RECOVERY is something I want everyone to experience.
“For those with the spiritual gift of writing—they'll write and it has the effect of building up the body of Christ and speaking His truth to help others grow in Christ.” Author Unknown.
Part 7- Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.
Ok, this is crazy, my last blog post was 18 months ago. What in the world is going on? I love writing and I have yet to cease doing a thorough written moral inventory everyday. But I got caught up with life and every time I would sit down to edit my writings of the last 6 steps I would just get distracted. I would tell myself “no one reads blogs”, I would also think that my writings about the 12 steps was only meant for a time and a season. However, that wouldn’t be the case because I utilize the steps daily, I talk about the steps daily, I study the gospel and how the steps correlate with the recovery and related literature daily, that list could go on and on.
Brian has encouraged me to finish writing about the 12 steps at least once a week. He has told me several times to at least finish the steps then I can stop. He has also complimented me on more than one occasion that I have a gift of writing. As I was reading tonight I came across this, “For those with the spiritual gift of writing—they'll write and it has the effect of building up the body of Christ and speaking His truth to help others grow in Christ.” I have been praying for a few weeks about how to reinvigorate myself and gain more personal revelation. I think reading that quote was my answer, through writing. Even if this is for my own personal gain and solidifying my testimony further, then FABULOUS. But if that quote can be true through my gift of writing and help others “grow in Christ” then I can only be eternally grateful.
I have been really focusing on repentance and what a gift it is truly is in our daily lives. I have been talking about the Atonement and daily repentance with my sister, mom, nieces, and best friend for about a solid week. When I opened my blog to see what step I published last and saw that step 7 was next I was kind of shocked because I thought for sure I was two steps ahead. But, here we are, humbly asking Heavenly Father to remove our shortcomings. Low and behold my deep conversations and focus has been on daily repentance and continuous improvement.
What brought all this to my attention in such a deep way was studying the new Young Women’s theme announced in this past conference. The part that stood out to me the most was “As I strive to qualify for exaltation, I cherish the gift of repentance and seek to improve each day.” I love this change so much for everyone, especially the youth. When I was in young women’s and growing up, I reserved repentance for big, humongous sins. Anytime a lesson was given about repentance it was the proper steps of repentance and that always included speaking to a priesthood leader about the mistake. In my young brain that meant that just a casual “sorry Heavenly Father for yelling at my mom” or “sorry I was rude to that girl at school” in my prayers was good about once a week. I also would wait for something to REALLY bug me and then I would finally surrender to the thought that maybe I should just pray quick and it will all just go away. I didn’t truly see repentance as a daily requirement and gift for daily happiness.
When I truly utilized the Atonement for the first time and understood the sanctifying power it could bring to my life I was in complete awe. I never knew true peace and never exactly felt a clean slate. I always had small regrets of stupid things I said, gossiping about someone in a harmful way, lying or omitting, criticizing people, looking down at others, being insincere, seeing the bad in most situations, this list could fill a book so I’ll stop there. But these regrets were never something I looked at the Atonement as a cure for, rather unpleasant feelings that would pass with time. The understanding and testimony I have of the Atonement of Jesus Christ now is that I don’t need to feel the heaviness of all those little regrets anymore. The gift of repentance, especially if utilized daily means that I can have clear conscious and new beginning EVERY DAY.
Step 6 is where we recognize there are lots of character weaknesses we possess; we take note that we are divine beings going through a mortal flawed experience. We self evaluate all of these imperfections and find faith that Jesus Christ was able to overcome them all. In step 6 we gain the knowledge and trust that we can give them to Him, because that is simply what the Atonement is all about.
Step 7 comes from the trust, knowledge and faith we gained. This is where we ask Heavenly Father to remove them from us. We humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings. Simple right? The answer is YES. If that doesn’t sound simple, then you haven’t fully grasped everything necessary to fulfill this from step 6. It is only easy if you trust that the grace of God is real. We will never obtain perfection, that isn’t the point of this life, Christ came to earth for this very purpose. With a genuine and honest heart, we can know that we will always make mistakes no matter how hard we try. The way I see it is progression, when I am HUMBLY asking Heavenly Father to remove a shortcoming of mine, I am asking in a way that says, “I am really trying”. That is all He asks of us, to try to do better. He knows we can’t be perfect, that was part of the Plan of Salvation. He wants us to know that we aren’t perfect, yet we are striving to be and the miraculous part is that His grace is sufficient. “Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.” ―Brad Wilcox
Brad Wilcox illustrates something really good here as well; “Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God.” That isn’t to pass judgment on anyone not keeping the commandments but to me just reminds me how I personally want to be living my life. It reminds me that I have once felt the desire to become comfortable with sinful behavior and now I feel super uncomfortable when I make mistakes. I don’t try and talk myself into something being ok when it is against my morals and the way I know God wants me to be living. I also have been highly motivated to continually seek personal revelation, not just for myself, but for my little family as I am trying to raise my kids in righteousness. I know that that goal is fulfilled by keeping the commandments of God, and the only way to truly be keeping them is by repenting daily and asking Heavenly Father to please help me overcome my natural man and mortal self.
I am reading a book right now called “Odds Are You’re Going to Be Exalted” by Alonzo L. Gaskill. At the beginning of the book he talks about getting his temple recommend renewed and when asked the final question, “do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances”, he exclaims “YES” to the stake member interviewing him. The stake president member looks at him kind of shocked and he asks if that is weird to answer that way. The stake presidency member says he just hasn’t ever had someone answer so profoundly and continues that members usually get a little sheepish and feel a bit awkward saying yes. After I read that I realized that I have been guilty of being sheepish when answering that question as well. I reflected on the principle of repentance and if we are utilizing it every day we can also answer that question with a weighty YES. It all goes back to that peace we feel knowing that every day we are humbly asking Heavenly Father through the gift of the Christ’s Atonement to remove our shortcomings and continue to try and do better every day.
My prayer and hope is that we can all utilize this amazing gift of repentance. Also, as my sister’s friend and favorite podcaster Melanie Price Wellman says on her “Come Follow Me, For Us” podcast “we should all be excited to repent”. We really should, who doesn’t want genuine peace and true joy in their life? I know from personal experience that harmony within ourselves and satisfaction in life only come from being right with Heavenly Father and trying our very best every day, knowing that Christ will being filling us and our lives with His divine amazing Grace.