And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33)
For most people, the one sure way to quickly become abstinent and then to consistently continue in abstinence is to start with a humble, simple abstinence. We must view our beginning efforts as the Lord does, with mercy and humility. Like the Little Drummer Boy’s offering to the Christ child in the famous Christmas carol, our humble efforts at abstinence are an offering to Him, no matter how simple and tiny they are.
The Lord is merciful, kind, patient, and long-suffering with us.
That is one of the most important revelations we will ever come to know. He will take the tiniest offering that we can sincerely give and treat us as if we’ve given Him everything—because He knows that at that moment, we have. Like the widows mite, we have given all we have.
And like the parent who receives lopsided, popsicle-stick Christmas ornaments from their pre-schooler, the Lord accepts and rejoices in our efforts.
What someone else lays on the altar has nothing to do with me and my journey of recovery. We must not look sideways at others. We must look straight ahead at our Father and our Savior who are waiting to bless us.
Our first step to true abstinence is to put that small, honest effort on the altar, then turn to the Lord. He will give us the power to sustain our willingness and our efforts.
As we continue to do this, day by day and hour by hour, we discover the reality that He will sustain us and increase our ability to abstain. We feel our faith in Him grow. Then with this growing faith, we decide that maybe with Him, we can lay another increment of our weakness on the altar—and let go.
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