November 13, 2012

addiction and the housewife.

choose wisely the path you take.
Let me tell you about a SMALL change i made this week that has made all the difference.  After talking with my wise sister in law (you can read about her experience here) I decided to take a more active role in CHOOSING my priorities.  I recognized an addictive tendency that I have to get sucked into the computer before I have set my house in order.  I recognized the internet was taking precedence over my family- and I changed things.

As I gently recognized this pull, I used my choice to pull against it.  I decided I would not turn the computer on, or answer the phone, before I had accomplished a few goals each morning.  I began to hear the subtle deception in my mind trying to dissuade me from my choice.  As I stood firm in my resolve, I felt a peace settle on me and my home.  I felt one step closer to creating a home of order.

There is great wisdom and power in personal choice.  Ralph Wald Emmerson said, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased."

We ALL have addictive tendencies.  They may be great chains of addiction-- pornography, same-gender attraction, depressive thoughts, laziness, gluttony, hate, materialism, alcoholism, prescription or non-prescription drug addiction, eating disorder, theft, worldliness, greed, etc.  Or, they may be smaller threads of addiction, substances that alter your mood or other forms of escape like caffeine or reality television, reading, selfishness, chocolate, the internet, sleep, complaining, gossip, pride, laziness, etc.

The GREAT test of this life is learning to CHOOSE for ourselves.  To ACT and not be ACTED upon.  Any act where your body rules your spirit is a sin.  Happiness and joy will come in this life as we learn to bridle our passions and be filled with love (Alma 38:12).

In my mind, I have THREE voices.  The voice of the Spirit, the voice of the adversary, and my own voice of CHOICE and reason.  President Packer taught, "As the old man a generation ago said, “The Lord’s votin’ for me, and the devil’s votin’ against me, but it’s my vote that counts!” And that is good, solid doctrine.  You will have just what you want. On one hand, you have inspiration from the Holy Ghost, and, on the other hand, you have what President Ezra Taft Benson called “sinspiration” from the angels of the devil. They are with you all of the time."

There are MANY in the world today that do not believe in God or Satan.  With claims of "enlightenment" they advocate a life free from ethical bounds, they denounce warning signs as "fear tactics", they promote nature over choice.  I do not believe these people are evil... but, I do believe they are deceived.  Beware lest you are deceived.  I love the description of the devil in 2 Nephi 26:22, "he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever."  Addiction begins as a flaxen chord-- but it can quickly become a strong chain.  Do not be blind to the cords that have power to ensnare you.

I do not believe that our body or our sexual urges are evil.  I do not believe that seeking wealth is evil.  I do not believe that the internet is evil or that knowledge is evil.  Brigham Young said, "Show me one principle that has originated by the power of the Devil.  You cannot do it.  I call evil inverted good, or a correct principle made an evil use of it."  Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 69).  Any good or even any REALLY good principle, taken to an extreme, is EVIL.

LOOK at the evil that religion has inflicted throughout history.  We are not immune from Satan's deception.  Every good principle has dangerous boundaries to the right and to the left.

Let's talk about sex.  What an awesome, beautiful, unifying, pleasurable experience.  I would say, except for the experience of actually delivering a baby, sex is the best physical experience we can have on this earth.  The physical urges that draw us in and bond our bodies and souls to another person are divine, powerful and amazing.  Sexual intimacy is a great gift from God.

It is WRONG for ulta-conservatives to condemn human sexuality as lustful or suggest that sexual passion is sinful.  It is just as wrong, however, to believe that there should be no bounds placed on the exercise of our sexuality.  It is ignorant to believe that our thoughts and appetites are "who we are".  It is ignorant to not realize the power man has to choose to act or not act on physical urges.

EVERY parent has felt the physical urge to beat their child.  I really believe this.  I remember the first time.  My baby had screamed ALL NIGHT LONG.  I was tired and I was rocking and rocking and rocking while he SCREAMED.  In one moment, my love and concern for him changed to anger.  I did not hurt my child, but I felt this urge to shake him quiet.  Immediately I recalled warnings we had read in the hospital about "shaking baby syndrome."  It was as if a light bulb went off in my head.  I remember thinking, THIS is what they are talking about.  Warnings are good.  Incidentally, that urge to shake him, shook me.  It was only moments later that I felt another feeling, urging me to turn on the lights.  To my horror, I saw that my baby was covered in hives.  Todd and I rushed him to the ER and found he was having an aller,gic reaction to penicillin.  Please discern the thoughts and urges that come into your mind.

In an article called, "Bridle All Your Passions" the author asks, "Is self-denial wise because there is something wrong with our passions, or because there is something right with our passions? Alma taught his son: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” (Alma 38:12; emphasis added.) He did not say we should suppress or eliminate our passions but rather bridle them—harness, channel, and focus them. Why? Because disciplining our passions makes possible a richer, deeper love."

Did you read that?  It is an ETERNAL TRUTH!!!  Teach THIS to your children!!!  We must lovingly teach them to disciple their passions WITHOUT teaching condemnation for our passions!
"disciplining our passions makes possible a richer, deeper love!"

This married couple goes on to quote, "President Spencer W. Kimball once said that “marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive.” (Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1976, p. 147.) There is some kind of mysterious magnetism that draws us toward one another, like homing pigeons looking for home. And when we have paid the price of patient preparation, self-discipline, and an irrevocable commitment to another person’s happiness, we can taste the sweet joy of authentic human love. To be encircled about eternally in the arms of such love is to fulfill our deepest longing for security and belonging."  We ALL have this innate desire for family.

I have been married for almost 15 years.  During that time I have been pregnant 12 times and have given birth to 7 children.  I have nursed all of my children.  It is safe to say, that I understand the very real, very powerful impact of HORMONES.  I do not, however, subscribe to the idea, that sexuality is determined by our hormones.  ANY monogamous couple has learned that passion does not dictate action.  Similarly, action does not always dictate passion.  A mutually fulfilling relationship is one that combines both physical and spiritual.  As we CHOOSE to love, spiritually and physically, we are filled with a greater capacity to love.

Beware of a society that teaches sex is about self.  It is not.  Sex is an act of giving-- when two people unite in giving, they are both edified.  Beware of a society that teaches pregnancy is a mistake or an unwanted side affect.  It is not.  Pregnancy is a miracle and a gift.  Beware of a society that teaches you to explore the edges of self pleasure to discover who you are and what you want and indulge in whatever makes you happy.  This is dangerous.  Choose the home you want to create.  Choose the life you want to create for your children and work towards that goal.  Sure, you can engage in survival of the fittest.  I suggest that, even in the wilderness, FAMILIES tend to survive better than individuals.  Check yourselves.

You can fail to identify the influence of evil in your life.  But that does NOT make you more enlightened.  It makes you easier to deceive.  It puts your children at risk.  Beware.  Knowledge does NOT make you afraid, it makes you wise.  You who don't believe in cliffs can ski through unmarked mountain slopes, with or without fear.  But, as for me and my family, I hope we will ski down the well-lit paths in safety.

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. … It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. … Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts” (The Screwtape Letters, New York: Macmillan, 1962, p. 56).

Brigham Young stated: “Many think that the Devil has rule and power over both body and spirit. Now, I want to tell you that he does not hold any power over man, only so far as the body overcomes the spirit that is in a man, through yielding to the spirit of evil. …
“The spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the Devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both."
“Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization. When you are tempted, buffeted, and step out of the way inadvertently; when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives. But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 69-70).

To overcome temptation you and I must control our thoughts. Exit from your mind bad thoughts. Avoid the wrong way of unrighteous thoughts. Stop thoughts that lead to behavior unbecoming to a Latter-day Saint. You do not have to yield to temptation! Discipline what you allow your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your mouth to speak, and your hands to touch.
Yielding to temptation can lead to the addiction of both body and spirit. Addiction can be overpowering and lead to enslavement, and enslavement leads to loss of freedom and inner peace.

 Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873–1939), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
The body that has been given to us was for the purpose of allowing the spirit to exalt itself to a nobler condition. The lightning that is seen flashing from cloud to cloud, from mountain top to mountain top, is an electrical force that may tear down buildings, set fire to property, and destroy life. Conduct electricity through the dynamo wire, and motor, and behold its wonderful results working for the service of man, accomplishing something under the control of a physical instrument, it thus becomes a power for good. So with steam, if allowed to evaporate freely it does little good, but restrain it in the boiler, send it through the engine, and under its power you may travel across the continent or sail from shore to shore. And so, too, with this highest, most potent of all spiritual forces, the intelligence that is in man; enshrine it in a spiritual body, that it may have the experiences of spiritual life; and then give it a physical body, that it may enter into and obtain the joy and experiences of physical life, and you have enlarged its powers immeasurably” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1912, 107).

I LOVE THIS LIFE!!  I love the opportunity to choose.  I love the opportunity to teach my children and to share my beliefs with you.  I know that there is a God.  I also know that there is evil.  I pray that all of us will choose good!  Choose good.  Choose to be pure.  Cleave unto that which is holy inside of you.  God loves you.  He wants us to be happy.  He wants us to experience a fullness of joy.  He blesses us every day.

"He is our Heavenly Father; he is also our God, and the Maker and upholder of all things in heaven and on earth.  He sends forth his counsels and extends his providences to all living.  He is the Supreme Controller of the universe.  At his rebuke the sea is dried up, and the rivers become a wilderness.  He measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meteth out heaven with a span, and comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and weigheth the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance; the nations to him are as a drop in a bucket, and he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; the hairs of our heads are numbered by him, and not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father; and he knoweth every thought and intent of the hearts of all living, for he is everywhere present by the power of his Spirit- his minister, the Holy Ghost.  He is the Father of all, is above all, through all, and in you all; he knoweth all things pertaining to this earth, and he knows all things pertaining to millions of earths like this."  (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 19).

You are known and you are loved.  May we all live to the goodness and potential that is inside each of us!!
To ACT and not be acted upon.  Thank you for reading my thoughts and the thoughts of those who are more wise than I am.  Understanding the power of addiction DOES NOT make us hateful, unenlightened or ignorant.  Recognizing and acknowledging the power fighting against us makes us stronger and WISER.  Wise to choose a better way.  


Great talks about overcoming temptation... PLEASE READ THEM.
They say it so much better than i do!

"Beware Concerning Yourselves"
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