Monday, March 20, 2017

That dang pride of mine...

Well, you all get to hear more about how much i need to improve, so i apologize if this puts anyone to sleep:)

The Lord has really just been opening my eyes lately, it's crazy!!! More and more I'm recognizing just how much pride really does affect every other sin and transgression. Pride occurs in SOOO many ways. I've really started to recognize better when it rears it's disgusting head, most often simply starting with a feeling in my heart. It's interesting how simple things aggravate pride and bring it to the surface. 

Thoughts such as "I don't need help. I can do this on my own. I'm better at this than him. I'm glad I'm not as stubborn as him. I'm grateful I'm more socially inclined than that person. I don't need the rules, I can do things my own way. No matter what you say, nothing will change my mind. I refuse to accept what you say."

These thoughts and others have often plagued my own personal life, and have caused me, in retrospect, a great deal of heartache and misery. Pride essentially is enmity towards God and our fellow man. Putting ourselves above them, or seeing ourselves as independent of anyone else. I've seen that thought and behavioral pattern be so detrimental in my life, and has ultimately led to EVERY other mistake and sin I have committed in my life. Pride is the root of my natural man, and the motivating factor behind all of my transgressions. This has become abundantly clear as of late, and has caused me to seriously reflect on how I can overcome it.

I have realized more and more that if I cannot overcome my pride, I will inevitably revert back to my past behaviors and sins. As we know from the Book of Mormon, those who relapse or return to their old ways often times turn out even worse than when they started. They become as the Zoramites or Amalekites, who at one point knew and loved the commandments and doctrine's of Christ, but as they returned to their pride, became carnal, base, devilish, bloodthirsty and evil. They eventually became the leaders of the very army they at one point opposed and fought against.

This is the consequences of pride, and it's caused me to seriously reflect on what I need to do to get rid of it. I'm not sure if that's entirely possible, but I do know that I can develop the Christlike attributes necessary to properly recognize it in myself, and "pay no heed to temptation". Again, this is a process, and it begins with accepting that each and every one of us struggle with pride to some degree. Some of us are of a more humble disposition than others. I am definitely not that person hahaha. But i'm working on it, and I would strongly encourage each of you to look inside yourself and see how pride is affecting the daily sins we each commit. They are inseparably connected, and it is that same pride in each of us that masks itself from our view. It is only when we desire to see ourselves clearly, and have the guidance of the Spirit, that pride can no longer hide it's face from spiritual eyes, and it is revealed in all it's ugliness and evil.

I gotta stress that in that process, we don't have to get down on ourselves. We can recognize that our true nature, as spirit children of God, is not pride, but humility. It is our mortal disposition, the natural man that comes with this earthly existence, that is the possessor of that sinful habit.
Our recognizing pride in ourselves should not discourage us, but should humble us. Sometimes those two words can seem like synonyms, but they are not. Discouragement comes from the devil, humility comes from Heavenly Father.

I'm a prideful person...I struggle to accept rules and listen to those in authority. I constantly place myself in a position of thinking I am above those silly things, and have no need of anyone to tell me how to live my life.

I have also seen first hand where the path of pride has led me. It was, and forever will be one of the darkest places I have ever been. It is a path that leads straight to misery, and I bear my strong witness that it will only bring you pain and heartache. I fought against my Father in Heaven for a long time, refusing to accept His outstretched arm, at times even doing things I knew would hurt Him and my parents. I was angry, and felt cheated of so many things in life I thought I deserved and was entitled to. My pride had blinded me to His hand, and His love, and I resented Him day in and day out because of it.

My pride led me to drug addiction and family conflict, depression and discouragement, and ultimately, like i said before, Misery. I treated my friends, family, and loved ones as objects used to further my own desires. I reached a point where I simply could not continue to live the way I was. I did not care if I lived to see the next day, I was surviving each day by using drugs to escape from reality. I recognized that if I continued on that path, I would most likely not live to see my 20th birthday. One night, utterly exhausted, my pride finally gave way to reality. This was not a choice I had made, but rather a direct result of the consequences of my actions. My reality had literally broken my pride, and I saw myself for what I had really become. I knelt down at 3 am in the middle of a rain-soaked street, and began to pray for the first time in about a year.

I told Heavenly Father that I was done...I literally could not go another day living like this. I didn't care where I ended up tomorrow, I didn't care what happened to me today, I hated being alive and I hated who I was. I told Him I was done fighting...I gave up..and told Him that whatever He had to do, to do it, and I'd accept it. And that I was sorry.

A couple days later i was admitted into a rehab center, where I came to see myself clearly, not only all the bad, but also the good. I learned to accept myself, to combat my pride, to be humble, to rely on God again, to cope when things got hard and I wanted to give up.

Today I still struggle. Drug addiction is hard, and I still have days where I wanna use. But I know who I am now. I know who God is. I know He loves me. I know, without any room for doubt, that Jesus Christ has paid the price for my sins. He has suffered so that I wouldn't have to suffer the full penalty for my mistakes. I know that humility has kept me sober. I know that my mission has changed me so much. I could not do what I do each day if I did not accept that I need His help each and every day.

God lives. His son Jesus Christ, loves each of you so much. He walks your path, and bears each of your burdens, whether you want Him to or not. It's up to each of us to accept His sacrifice, and let the healing power of His Atonement change and empower us.

Humility is the key to recovery. Acceptance is the door. Christ is the way. I know these things are true. I have experienced them personally.

I invite each of you to consider how pride affects your life and your relationships, and urge you to pray about how you can overcome it. I love you all.

Elder Bybee
"He Lives"

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