For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

- Mosiah 3:19

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Faithful Obedience

Yesterday I met with my therapist, and I told him of the dream I had Tuesday night, or rather early Wednesday morning. I was up late grading papers and growing in my resentment towards my students for having me suffer through the in-coherency of their arguments, their logic, their poorly constructed prose and the like. (I realize my writing and logic suffers much, but then no one's grading me, at least I hope not!). I had gone to a support meeting earlier that evening and heard someone share, "When praying, it doesn't matter who's listening OUT THERE, what's important is who's listening inside..." I tried to allow that to distill into my senses, but something about faulty logic and incomplete sentences hindering arguments makes one easily focus on other things.

I did not heed that powerful sentiment. Rather, sometime near 1 am, I found someone to come to my apartment and act out with. And so it happened. After he left, I decided no more grading and to sleep, it was close to 2am. I normally wake up at 5am so I would be getting three hours of sleep - I was OK with that. However, I kept waking up every half hour or so, with an intense pain, the heaviness of what I did was settling on me. Despite my inability to get restful sleep, I did have a dream which came back to me as I was in my therapist's office.

In this dream, there were two versions of me, they were in dialogue and clearly concerned about me. I recall one asking the other, "What are we doing?" The other responded, "I'm trying to get us to hit bottom, so we don't do this anymore." As I sat with my therapist, I was startled and scared by what my subconscious had to say. He too was clearly concerned. I'm not sure what my bottom looks like, but at the rate I'm going now, it could be something devastating. I hope to never find it.

While I was in his office, slumped into his big comfy sofa, I had a realization about faith and obedience. I'm reading out of the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. Earlier that day, I read about Enoch in Moses 6. There Enoch asks, "wherefore am I thy servant?" To which God replies, "Go forth and do as I have commanded thee..." The Lord never answers Enoch's question, rather He tells Enoch what to do to get an answer to that question. Hundreds of years later, most likely, Paul tells us in Hebrews, that before he was translated, "he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

Enoch certainly struggled, he took a people who angered God and celestialized them. He, too, struggled with his mortal predilections, but God saw faith. Enoch had faithful obedience. He knew that while obedience was the first law of Heaven, everyone falls short, therefore he relied on God's grace. He knew that those who struggled daily can enter the celestial kingdom, despite how many times they fall, even if it means they have to crawl, beaten and bruised, passed the finish line. These are faithful and obedient - these include all the people who never givjavascript:void(0)e up trying, who struggle daily with prayer, scripture study, and seeking God, but they never give up, no matter how hard it gets.

As I reflected on my addiction and the realization I had about my behavior, my therapist simply stated, "don't give up." While I feel like giving up, I am encouraged by the insight I gleaned from Enoch, and the many others I know who struggle daily, but move forward in faith of something better.

And so today I will not give up.

1 comment:

  1. Every day is a new day, a new opportunity to "not give up." I can tell you are a good and sincere man. I pray you and I both not only hold on, but progress toward our worthy goals.