Monday, June 12, 2017

Emotional Hope vs Spiritual Revelation

We all have our good and our bad days right?  Well, I have been having a streak of bad days and I am grasping for hope.  Hope seems like a simple principle to learn.  It doesn't require any where near the amount of work that building your faith does, or paying your tithing, but in it's level of importance, there are few principles more important than hope.

Hitting Rock Bottom

Porn Addiction: hitting rock bottom, causing a change of heart.
As I am learning more and more about hope and it's role in my life and in my recovery, looking back I see that learning to have hope has been one of the most painful and emotional task that I have taken on.  Explaining this is going to be hard because when I hit rock bottom back in December of 2016, I had no idea of the full impact my actions had on my life and my family.  I had been so blinded by the lies that I had been telling myself and my spouse that there was no way I could even begin to imagine the impact my addictions had caused.  Until that day came in December when I was headed going to grab a bite to eat and get back to the office to make sure that all of my Christmas orders that were coming in were being taken care of.  I remember heading down the stairs of my office building, holding some computer equipment that I didn't want to keep around and as I stepped out the door, like in a flash of light I saw five or six different police cars and trucks racing towards me as fast as they could go.  I first my thought were, wow - what is going on. I better stay out of their way but those thought didn't last long, within a second or two, there were a dozen offices with assault rifles, pistols and shotguns aiming at me and all of them at different tones and phrases where screaming at me to lay down on the ground and put my hands behinds my head.  If you could imagine what this would be like for you, well that's was pretty much it for me.  The only time I have ever had any issues with law enforcement in my life was when my dog bit a neighbor's goat and I ended up with a 2nd degree misdemeanor - nothing else ever before. I remember feeling the shear terror that I was going to be killed right there. My body wasn't responding to my brain like it should have. My brain was telling my body to lay down and don't move but I wasn't moving.  As I looked around and saw all these firearms pointed at my body, I some how was able to start to move and I dropped to the ground and well the rest is history.  This experience and the following 12 hours were the scariest part of my life ever.

Finding Hope

As I mentioned in my article "Step One: Honesty", jail is a terrible experience but what you do with your time there can start to change your heart and your spirit.  For me, I spent my time reading the scriptures, and going through the LDS Addiction Recovery Program over and over. I also kept a journal. I wish I had it tonight because I would like to look back and see what has changed in my personal perspective.  But I do remember that it was during my time locked up that I started getting really frustrated with myself because I didn't trust the hope I was feeling in my heart.  Understand my situation here. I was locked up for nearly 30 days, I was alone, I only saw my wife on one occasion and that was within the first week, so I paint this picture so that you can understand my state of mind.  I was extremely lonely and isolated from everything and everyone I loved.   I was torn with immense guilt, and a desire to change my life and help my family heal.

Now you have a good idea of where I was mentally and spiritually.  So when I share this part with you, you will have a better understanding of my situations.  I remember many times, kneeling beside my bunk, or praying at the table where I studied and asking Heavenly Father if there was any hope of me ever being to be with my family again.  I would be filled with this intense peace and joy that would bring me to tears and I started interpreting that as my answer to my prayers.  But as the days and weeks would go on and I would talk to my spouse or get letters from her, it was clear that she had no interest in being with me ever again.

I share this all with you so that you can understand the reason why "hope" for me was and still is, one of the most painful parts of this entire journey.  I had this amazing feeling of peace and love when I prayed about my family's future but in reality, there was no future.  This caused me a lot of frustration because I wanted to be close to the spirit, I wanted to be able to hear and understand His promptings, but I was so lonely and isolated that I think now that I confused my spiritual revelation about my family's future with my emotional hope.  If you have ever wanted something so bad that your entire heart, mind and soul is filled with this  hope, you can understand why those emotions associated with that hope can be confused and the feelings from the Holy Ghost.

 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?  D&C 6:23
12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
D&C 11:12-14
From my point of view, as I looked at what I was feeling when I prayed about my future with my family, I asked myself, do my thoughts lead me to do good? Yes!  Was my mind enlightened? Yes!  Was my soul filled with joy? Yes!

Brain Twister

So this is where I become confused. I would feel one way but the message I was getting was complete polar opposites.  This has been an ongoing battle for me over the past 6 months.  Today I still have hope (very little), but I stopped praying and asking Heavenly Father about my reunification with my family simply because I am too emotionally involved to be able to recognize the soft and quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost.  I also know that I would go through hell and back, and give up anything and everything if I could to have one more chance with my family.  It's frustrating to know that for the first time EVER in my life, I have the tools, the knowledge, and the desire to be the best father and husband that a man can be - but I also know that sometimes these changes happen too late.

In addition, there are aspects of my so called "personal revelation" that are missing or that I wasn't taking into consideration.
  1. Free Agency:  My best friend has her own free agency and no matter how much I want to dedicate my life to making amends for my past, if she doesn't want it, I can't force it.
  2. Revelation: When it comes to matters between two people, God will speak to both sides and confirm the same message to both of them.  The fact that my best friend doesn't get the same message as me, tells me that my that what I am experiencing are the emotions that come with "emotional hope".
  3. Patience and Time:  Many of you are going to message me if I don't include this and you are absolutely right.  I have no idea what the future hold and I need to continuing working as hard as I can to become the man that my kids needs and trust that God knows what He is doing.
So what am I going to do?  I don't know to be honest. I know that I have to keep going. I have to stay strong in the program I am in, I have to continue my spiritual adventure and learning to be a better person.  I also know that my time is very limited and in the next few months I want to reach out and help as many people as I possibly can recognize the dangers of their choices and help them see the addiction for what it is and what the consequences could be.

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