Also, this interchange in capturing from a few days ago has made a big difference to me:
And it was a small thing—it seemed that way then and has for a several days.Lord, I am discouraged and tired of failure in this process—it robs me of any faith that there can be a happy ending to this. Is there something I can succeed at, however small?
Not giving in to your desires is a smaller thing than you know. It appears huge, but it is not.
Will you help me today? I need help to be aware of my desires, especially even before I would normally become conscious of them and it would be too late.
Please help me do that small thing today—to give up my desires to be swallowed up in your will. Please let it seem a small thing to me today.
I’ll quote excerpts from an extended thought over several pages of "Clean Hands, Pure Heart" here because it describes so accurately where I am and gives me understanding in the “I’m powerless” vs. “use your agency and willpower” dilemma.
This is helpful to see the need to cry to the Lord in “powerlessness” (I really wish there was a better word for this) while still being required to do all I can do—in other words cry out in “powerlessness,” but then exert whatever “power” I do have, or whatever “power” or agency or will the Lord has already given me or gives me; even if I don’t feel power coming from him to fill me or give me strength, just use whatever is available no matter where you think it’s coming from. In the past I've been trying to let go of any impulse from myself to try and control (the "white knuckling" I've read about) and instead to let the Lord do everything. In other words, to be powerless. It hasn't been very successful.CHPH page 83-85:
...I could cry out to Jesus for mercy. (Alma 36:18; 38:8) Each time I found myself being tempted, I began to say: “Lord, I am powerless over this temptation. I need you to take it from me. Please take it away and keep me safe from sin.” ...I found to my great amazement and relief that “God could and would, if He were sought” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 60). ...Instead of automatically giving in each time the enticement to sin was thrown at me, I found I could surrender the temptation to the Lord and not give in. ...I have had to surrender a temptation several times until I succeeded in letting it go, but I have found that if I persist in giving each temptation to the Lord, over and over, for as long as it takes, I am delivered every time.
...I found I could apply the same principle of surrendering my thoughts to the Lord. After all, He said: “Look unto me in every thought” (D&C 6:36).
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
...even with the Lord preparing a way for me, there was still something I had “to bear.” I still had to exert whatever willpower or agency I possessed, but now it was suddenly possible. It seemed that either the intensity of the temptation was lowered, or something had been added to my previously inadequate ability to resist. Miraculously I saw myself begin to say “No” to the temptations. What a glorious feeling that brought! Gradually, I regained the hope that I was not condemned to repeat the sin over and over for the rest of my life. There was a way out.
I found it to be challenging to remember (and to want) to surrender to the Lord each time I was tempted to l~st, but I also found that the Lord was willing to help me long before I could do it well. ...the Lord has made it possible... one step at a time. Each sacrifice of my will for His has been accepted and rewarded with an increase in “sobriety.”
Yes, I may be an idiot not to have understood this, but the Lord is patient.
In my capturing recently the Lord told me (I am not saying this is for anyone but me) that "powerless" was what I had felt all my life and part of why I’m susceptible to addiction and that he knew I was not going to assume any credit or glory for his work so I shouldn't worry about that, but that I should learn to feel powerful and think of myself as powerful when his spirit is in me and with me. Powerful over the adversary. Strong and powerful in the Lord, when he is with me. This is my new personal definition when I read "powerless" in recovery materials.
The last few days I’ve been trying to live as if I have received healing already (a kind of faith, I think). Even then I find that I have big spots in my day and routine where I need something to fill those emotional, physical, and other gaps which present themselves to me in moments of busy work, boredom, or even of intense concentration, as needs to be filled by addiction
I need to be prepared at these times to ask for help and also have ready alternatives in mind and at hand. Sometimes a short midday nap can “reset” or “reboot” my mind and mood. Sometimes a short walk and change of venue. I realize now that if I'm having to call on the Lord for help to surrender temptation every 5 or 10 minutes all morning, I shouldn't congratulate myself for calling on him so often—instead I should know that I am in a dangerous spot and need to change something. Otherwise I am likely to drift unconsciously in thought while doing other things—sort of half-mindedly “preparing” in the background to act out, much to the surprise (not really any more) of my conscious self.
I am grateful for another day yesterday when not yielding to my desires seemed a small thing and not a heart-wrenching sacrifice. I pray that it can be that way today as well.
I ask thee for thy spirit to be with me and within me throughout the day. I will try to be in touch with you throughout the day. I pray for direction at critical moments or to know what to do and say to serve thee. I am willing to let my hands be thy hands if I know what to do. Help me show that I mean that by being willing to do what you have already given me to do that I am not doing completely yet.
Thank you for being with me these last few days.
Jesus, what would you have me know or do today?
Trust my words to you. Accept my peace in your life.