I used to treat God as a means to an end. When I turned to Him, I always had some agenda, a goal or purpose for seeking Him. I had a reason for doing good, being good. If I did what God wanted me to do, then He’d (hopefully) do what I wanted Him to do. If I was obedient, He would bless me with my current definition of success.

And why shouldn’t He bless me? Especially since the success I wanted was righteous! I wanted a Christ-centered life. I wanted an eternal marriage. I wanted to raise children with strong testimonies of the gospel. This was my agenda. This was why I prayed and fasted and gave service in my ward. It’s why I studied the scriptures and wrote in my journal and did my visiting teaching.

I wanted to do and be exactly what the scriptures and the prophets were constantly encouraging me to do and be. I wanted that “perfect” Mormon family. I went after that goal, that definition of success, with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

And without realizing it, I made my goal into my god. I was giving the pursuit of that goal what I should have been giving to God.

And what happened? My Christ-centered life was ridiculed by my peers. My first temple marriage fell apart. Or more accurately, was ripped apart by Satan’s influence. More of my children than not choose not to have regular interaction with me. In fact, I have children who I have no reason to ever believe will want to talk to me again in my lifetime. I’m not sure a few of them would even come to my funeral.

As a woman who lived and breathed and gave her whole soul to the idolatry of the perfect LDS family outcome, those are sad things to admit. No, “sad” isn’t the word. Devastated is closer. Very nearly destroyed.

But God’s grace and mercy recovered me from the devastation.

Over the years in my journey of recovery, I have sifted through layer after layer of pride—recognizing it, admitting it, then letting it go. I have given up on goals and agendas and expectations of what I could or should expect when I come to God.

I have learned to join my Savior with no other desire except to be with Him. I have no other agenda but to hang out with Him, as I would if I had lived on earth during His time in Galilee.  My only goal is to be in His presence, to walk and talk with Him, sharing what I see and hear and experience with Him, and listening with my heart for His commentary on the events of my life.

That has become my only agenda. And my definition of the greatest success, the greatest “favor” (see 1 Nephi 1:1), is simply having a knowledge of the goodness and mysteries of God.

I can leave all the rest of my life in His hands.

Coming to Christ and allowing my imagination to be filled with the power and influence of the Holy Ghost so that I might receive and believe the words of Christ as they open to me in the scriptures is all that has sustained me.

It’s all I need to sustain me.

I can leave all the rest of my life in His hands.

~Colleen H.

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