In He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, we find the phrase: “who appeared to be as productive and happy as the Latter-day Saints” (p. 1)
Productive and happy. Those are the words that jumped out at me. I can be productive, but I’m not happy while I’m doing it. I’m driving myself, pushing myself. I’m angry at myself, because no matter how much I do, it isn’t enough. I can do a dozen “good works” in a day, and still come to the end of that day and feel dissatisfied and discouraged.
And that discouragement makes me want to go “use”—to participate in my addiction—because I’m such an also-ran, a slacker, a loser. I mean, why not? What difference will it make anyway?
Oh my goodness! I can’t believe the perfectionist I am. I don’t know how I missed getting sucked up into Lucifer’s pre-mortal plan of perfect performance and nothing less. With my attitude, I should have been one of his ardent followers!
As I write those words, the thought that comes to me is that the only thing that saved me then, in pre-mortality, is the same thing that will save me now. Faith in Jesus Christ.
I had faith in Christ. I believed His testimony that forced compliance to a standard of perfection was not a good way to go. Perfection is the objective, yes. It is the end-condition in which the Gods dwell, but it is NOT a forced, coerced perfection. It’s a voluntary, genuine, slow-aged, inside-out perfection, chosen for one’s self.
I saw the truth of that back in heaven, as evidenced by the fact that I am here now. But I seem to have forgotten it now that I’m here, experiencing the full impact and trials of earthlife. Perfection is something that I must grow into, not something that I can demand of anyone—not myself or others.
So, to be productive and happy—now that would be a miracle! And it is. I had a day like that yesterday. I listened to the testimony in He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, in the introductory lesson, and I took my obsessive-compulsive mind/attention off the problem, and looked to the solution as often as I needed to during the day. What that meant for me was taking five minutes about six times during the day to open the Book of Mormon and pick one phrase to pause over and liken to myself—to hear the Lord’s counsel to Colleen through it.
That sounds like a lot of churchiness, I guess. Who can do that and lead a normal life, something in us whispers. You can be sure that whisper is not coming from the Lord, from God, from the Holy Ghost.
In reality, it didn’t take that much out of my day. In fact, I had a day that was happy—and out of the happiness and peacefulness in my soul, I came to the end of that day and found that it had been a very productive day, indeed. What a miracle! I got just as much done today as I would have done if I’d continued obsessing. I was just as abstinent (more so) than if I had tried to avoid my addiction all day. It was a good day—a God-given day.
Stop chasing the goal. Look to the Lord and live.
And if, by the grace of God, ye have a good day, ye can in nowise deny the power of God (rough paraphrase of Moroni 10:32–33).
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