Today, not only was the Relief Society lesson about it, but so was sacrament meeting...
I thought about going home, but I knew Melissa would want a friend to sit by... and I just felt like I needed to go to Relief Society. I did.
Mary was teaching - she stood up and started talking about how she went shopping when she was in a bad mood, and she jokingly said, "This addiction is not so bad - At least I am not at a bar..." Then she asked everyone else's thoughts.
One girl (I don't know her name) commented that any addiction is when we turn to something besides God to make ourselves feel better. I have had similar thoughts, but she said it very brilliantly. I was suddenly very teary and emotional. (Oh geez... I can't be this way for this lesson... push it back! Push it back! Push it back!!)
Then Mary thanked her for her comment and went on to read a paragraph from the talk:
Today I speak to all whose freedom to choose has been diminished by the effects of ill-advised choices of the past. I speak specifically of choices that have led to excessive debt and addictions to food, drugs, pornography, and other patterns of thought and action that diminish one’s sense of self-worth. All of these excesses affect us individually and undermine our family relationships. Of course some debt incurred for education, a modest home, or a basic automobile may be necessary to provide for a family. Unfortunately however, additional debt is incurred when we cannot control our wants and addictive impulses.And she chose to emphasize the part about controlling our wants. She began really focusing on self-control: shopping at Wal-Mart or DI, never eating out, etc.
Robert D. Hales, “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually,” Ensign, May 2009, 7–10
I left. I went and sat outside and cried. I am not even sure why... except that the guilt was pressing down so hard, and the confusion from everything inside of me screaming that what she was saying is WRONG, and yet it came from a General Authority...
I prayed again. I was reminded what Paul said about why I go to church. He talked about how I am there to teach others, to help them understand what the gospel is really about. Ok, what is the gospel really about? What can I teach people?
This gospel is about abundance. It is NOT about self-control, or self-denial, or anything like that. Its about making choices. Shopping at Wal-Mart doesn't make you a better person just like shopping at Banana Republic doesn't. The Lord wants us to be happy! He wants us to enjoy our lives, and He has given us a lot of wonderful things to be enjoyed. The whole message of this talk is that the Lord wants us to be happy!!! He is giving specific instructions for specific problems, but really He just wants us to be happy...
My addiction is self-control and self-denial. Although that is different from a lot of people, it doesn't make me any better than anyone else. It still goes against the Lord's plan.
I chose to go back in. I wasn't sure what I would do when I was there... I was pretty sure I couldn't just sit there and listen. (Which is WHY it is so hard for me to go. There are things I KNOW, and I can't just sit there when people go against that. But I have been taught that is exactly what I SHOULD do - I should sit quiet and listen. I shouldn't contradict people. I should agree with what they are saying, and if I don't, there is something wrong with me. The confusion that comes from fighting against myself is huge, and sometimes too much for me to bear.)
And so, I got back in, listened for a second, and then made my comment. I am not exactly sure what I said, except that the Lord wants us to be happy. Going to the extreme of denying myself of everything didn't make me any happier. The gospel is a gospel of abundance.
As I finished talking, I began to shake. In fact, I am still shaking...
And now, I am going crazy inside my head. Although I spoke up and said what I needed to say in Relief Society, its like my mind and body are now fighting against me. I CAN'T eat a big lunch, I HAVE to go exercise, I am so out-of-control, I don't deserve food, rest, or to be happy. Look at me, wearing this dress. I didn't need this dress... Why do I have it? I have plenty of stuff... What is wrong with me? I am just a selfish bitch, and everyone knows it. Everyone in Relief Society thinks I am crazy and stupid. How dare I talk out like that?? Who do I think I am? No one wants to hear what I have to say... I suck. I don't give enough, I don't fast enough, I am not enough...
I am trying to fight against that. I am trying to not ACT out on those thoughts, but I feel horrible inside. Its like the new me is being overtaken by the old me. I am in a war with myself.
The other side feels like a herd of 800 lb gorillas. I am just little me. I don't know if I can fight against them. I feel so small compared to them. How can I win??
Keep in mind that General Authorities speaking in General Conference are speaking generally. For most members of the church, over indulgence is a problem, and that is what he was trying to address.ReplyDelete
It's okay that over indulgence is not your issue. You have a different addiction that is just as dangerous (if not more so) than the addiction he was trying to address. Your particular addiction probably won't be addressed in general conference because it isn't as general of a problem. That doesn't make you any less important or any less good. Just follow the spirit, and the Lord will help you deal with your problems on a more personal basis.